Etiquette Of Weddings
THERE is no social event which is of greater or more universal interest than a wedding. The mere mention of one makes everybody feel happy and good-natured; and when the great day itself comes off, it finds all concerned in the best possible spirits, even if a few inconsiderate people will persist in crying during the ceremony.
The betrothed - afterward the married — couple are for a time hero and heroine. Every one smiles and showers favors upon them; they are the great and central attractions of the hour. Their every movement is watched with an intense interest which ordinarily attaches to those of very distinguished persons alone. The world — even the fashionable cynical world
shows its approval of the step they are about to take by smiles and nods and figurative pats upon the back.
Marriage is evidently still looked upon as a beneficent institution, notwithstanding the foolish talk of some newspapers and people, — a sort of fashionable cant of the day, — and notwithstanding all the unhappy details of Divorce Court proceedings. It is a great thing, this Anglo-Saxon respect for and admiration of marriage; but some of the results of this feeling, the domestic commotion, undue parade and expense that grow out of it, are seriously deprecated by thoughtful people.
In the first place the bride elect, feeling the importance of her position, and the serious responsibility of making arrangements which shall be in keeping with the - coming great occasion and important change in her life, often wearies herself out with extensive preparations for her trousseau and her wedding. If her parents are rich, or in comfortable circumstances, she spends endless days in shops and in conference with the dressmaker and the milliner. Not very great fatigues. these, a man may say; but they are, when carried to excess, a very great drain on a woman's nervous energy. If the bride's parents are of limited means, her ambition, I am sorry to say, will be likely to be the greater rather than the less for that circumstance. She will toil incessantly over the sewing-machine, making her own outfit, until she is worn and haggard when the wedding-day arrives; whereas it ought to find her plump, rosy, serene and happy. This is no imaginary picture; would that it were!
Then the expense which is so often thought necessary in order to have a wedding go off in good style is very objectionable where it induces people to spend more than they can afford, as, alas! they too often do. Thus a gentleman in New York committed suicide a few weeks after his daughter's marriage. His wife, who was an ambitious woman, and who had succeeded in "marrying her daughter well," made such demands upon her husband's purse for the wedding expenses, etc., that he was led to forge checks in order to give her what she asked for, and took his own life rather than meet the disgrace which he knew must soon come upon him.
Let a wedding by all means be celebrated worthily, and with all due honor of ceremony and observance, but not with too much parade nor with excessive expenditure. One bride at a fashionable church wedding not a hundred miles from Boston was so intent on the success of her wedding procession, and so angry with the street urchins who thronged about the porch for interfering with it, that she scolded them roundly then and there, to the great amusement of the lookers-on.
But what would you? Where a procession has been carefully rehearsed, it is hard to have it interfered with; though some of us are old-fashioned enough to think that such rehearsals border on the profane.
It goes without saying that the bride names the day --after the bridegroom has asked her to do so. June is the favorite month for weddings, because in our climate it is one of the most beautiful months of the whole year. May is considered unlucky, and has been ever since the time of the ancient Romans. Ovid says, " That time too was not auspicious for the marriage torches of the widow or of the virgin. She who married then did not long remain a wife." Where Easter falls late in the spring, it is usually succeeded by many fashionable marriages, and our beautiful autumn season is also a favorite time for them. At Newport there are often brilliant weddings in the beginning of September, when the gay season is near its end but still in full activity. Thus the prudent bride enjoys all the summer gayety and has plenty. of time for a quiet honeymoon and rest before the winter festivities begin. With these advantages is combined that of a pretty summer wedding, and one that takes place with more éclat than weddings in large cities, where no single event can produce any very great effect.
Society has now extended its round of amusements so widely that no time of the year — save possibly Lent — is free from gayeties of one sort or another. Lenox and Tuxedo Park fill in the gap between watering-place festivities and those of the winter season. The gay world amuses itself, in the city and in the country alternately, with a vigor and constancy that would have very much surprised our quiet ancestors. Under these circumstances it would be mere cruelty to expect a fashionable bride to waste a month in a honeymoon of tiresome quiet at some dull spot. The retirement of the honeymoon is no longer, therefore, de rigueur. The wedding tour is also going out of fashion, or at least is no longer considered an indispensable adjunct to the marriage ceremony. This is a move in the right direction, as it has always seemed a senseless proceeding for a bride tired with the preparations for her marriage, and worn out with the excitement attendant on the great event, to start immediately on a long and fatiguing journey. It is still the custom to preserve great secrecy as to the destination of the newly-married couple.
Some young people borrow a friend's country house and spend the honeymoon there. Others go quietly to a hotel in their own city, or in one nearby, and make short excursions in a motor-car if they are so fortunate as to have such a conveyance at their disposal.
A proper formula for invitations to a church wedding is given below. Of late the word " your" is often omitted, and a blank is left, in which the name of the guest is written. For such an occasion it is usual to send out cards to all the friends and visiting acquaintance of the bride, the groom and their parents. These invitations are issued in the name of the bride's father and mother, the bridegroom, of course, furnishing a carefully prepared list of those persons whom he wishes to have invited. Sometimes only a small number of people are asked to the church. Indeed the show and parade connected with these occasions has been so great in recent years, that there is a reaction in favor of smaller weddings.
Mr. and Mrs. James Sinclair request the honour of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Mary Clementina to Mr. Paul Winterton Adams on Thursday the eighteenth of October at four o'clock, at Saint Paul's Church.
It is now the fashion to engrave wedding invitations in plain script on plain heavy white note-paper. Roman or black type or old English text is sometimes preferred. No device is used, unless possibly the family coat-of-arms, or crest, embossed in plain white on the paper. The envelope is entirely plain. For the invitations to the reception, large white cards are now used.
Where people invite their whole circle of acquaintance to the wedding, it is not necessary to send out supplementary cards afterward, announcing the event. The formula of announcement has been very much changed within a few years. Formerly one often received a card simply inscribed with the 'names, " Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Townsend." To friends of the bride living at a distance, who perhaps had never heard of the bridegroom, these sphinx-like announcements remained unsolved riddles for years, unless they were, by good fortune, accompanied by cards bearing the bride's maiden name and that of her mother. In these days the much more sensible and convenient custom has arisen of " telling the whole story." These announcements, like wedding invitations, are engraved on note-paper. A blank may be left, and the name written in if preferred.
Mr. and Mrs. James Sinclair have the honour to announce the marriage of their daughter Mary Spofford to Mr. Paul Winterton Adams, on Thursday the eighteenth of October, One thousand, nine hundred and eleven at Trinity Church, New York.
The phrases " of announcing " and " in the City of New York " are now often used.
All wedding cards are paid for by the bride's family as are all the other expenses of a wedding, with the following exceptions. The bridegroom pays for the license and the clergyman's fee. In New York, a recent law obliges the young couple to go together, to secure the former. The groom also engages the services of the clergyman, unless he lives so far away that it is more convenient to have the bride's family do this. The amount of the fee depends upon his means. Five dollars is said to be the minimum. It should be in gold, although a check is sometimes given. The fee should be enclosed in an envelope. The groom of course provides the wedding ring and the bride's bouquet; he also makes the bride a present, — in accordance with his means, — and sometimes gives the bridesmaids some article of jewelry not of an expensive nature, or a fan. According to modern custom it is the bride who bestows these souvenirs upon her attendant maidens, the groom giving their bouquets. To the ushers he gives scarf-pins, or some similar gift, the bride sending them boutonnières. He also presents them with the ties and gloves to be worn at the wedding. Either he or the best man should see that the proper sizes are sent, or make arrangements with some furnishing store to attend to the matter. The groom provides the carriage which takes him and the best man to church and conveys the latter to the reception, the groom, of course, going in that of the bride. He also provides the conveyance in which the newly married couple start on their honeymoon trip. If it is necessary to provide carriages for the ushers, he does so, although they often walk, distance and weather permitting. Wedding invitations do not require any answer, except in the case of a sit-down breakfast, or of a small home wedding. It is now thought more courteous, however, to answer all invitations to the house, in order that the hostess may know how many persons to expect.
Friends living at a distance and therefore unable to attend the wedding acknowledge an invitation to the church by sending their visiting cards enclosed in an envelope addressed to the bride's' mother, or to the person in whose name the invitations are issued. This is the proper course to pursue, even for those to whom the bride's family are total strangers, their only acquaintance being with the bridegroom or his parents. Many persons send cards, if unable to attend a church wedding, even though they live in the same, town as the bride. Punctilious people consider it necessary to call within ten days after a wedding; one should certainly call as soon after as is convenient.
Where there is to be a reception after a church wedding, additional cards are enclosed in the same envelope with the cards for the church.
Mr. and Mrs. William Graham Grosvenor request the pleasure of your company on Tuesday, the twenty-first of June at half after four o'clock at Thirty Washington Square.
The above is a proper formula to use. These invitations are often sent only to the relatives and intimate friends of the two families, as few people are so fortunate as to have houses large enough to accommodate their whole circle of acquaintance. The bride's family, too, may not wish to incur the trouble and expense of entertaining so large a company.
No one should feel hurt at not being invited to a wedding reception unless it be a general one. Where cards are issued for a church wedding, however, they are usually sent to all the acquaintance of the bride and groom, and those who do not receive cards have a right to feel themselves slighted. Still, it must always be remembered that such a slight may be the result of an oversight and not of intention. The custom of sending announcement cards to those not invited to the wedding, obviates any, danger of this sort. All are thus remembered with politeness and no one should feel hurt.
In large cities it is now customary to issue cards of admission to the church. They are often worded thus: —
Please present this card at Saint Ann's Church, Clinton and Lexington Streets, on Thursday, the fourteenth of June.
The number of the pew is added, where the guests are assigned to special pews. At large weddings there is sometimes an additional card, with the re-quest that the guest (whose name is written in) will present it to an usher. It seems opposed to the spirit of Christianity, to treat a church as if it were a private house and to refuse admission to all but a favored few. But of two evils, one must choose the least; and it would hardly be fair that the general public should so crowd the sacred building as to leave little and insufficient room for the real wedding guests.
An English authority says " the bridesmaids may be from two to twelve in number; " but in this country they rarely if ever exceed six or eight. They should be chosen from among the sisters and other near relatives of the bride and groom, and from the bride's intimate friends. According to the present fashion they wear hats if the ceremony occurs in the day-time. They should always wear very light colors, or white. It would seem superfluous to say that a bridesmaid should never be a married woman, were it not a fact that married women have acted in this capacity in our own far West, and perhaps elsewhere.
In addition to the bridesmaids, a sister or an intimate friend of the bride sometimes acts as maid or, if she is herself married, matron of honor. Her costume is different from that of the other attendant maidens, and is usually handsomer.
Groomsmen are never seen at modern weddings. Their place is usurped by the best man, who supports the bridegroom much after the fashion of a second in a peaceful duel. He is usually an intimate friend or a near relative of the groom. His duties are to accompany the latter to church, to stand by him before and during the ceremony, to hold his that, (or procure it from the vestry), fee the clergyman, and assist the ushers in presenting guests at the wedding reception. In short, his part is exactly the opposite of that played by Captain Cuttle at the celebrated Bunsby wedding; for he, to all outward appearance, uses his best efforts to keep up the sinking courage of the groom, and never urges the latter to run away, so far as is known.
On the day of the marriage he should come to the residence of the bridegroom in good season, in order to pack his friend's trunk or to see that this is properly done, and to perform any service 'that may be needed. He sometimes buys the tickets and makes the arrangements for the wedding journey.
He has charge of the ring, which he hands to the bridegroom at the proper time in the service. Having assisted the young couple to get into their carriage, at the conclusion of the ceremony, he hastens to the house of the bride's parents, if there is to be a reception. At its close, he goes to the station, makes sure that the luggage is there, and sees the newly married pair start off on their trip. If desired, he puts the notices of the marriage in the newspapers.
If the best man lives at a distance from the city where the wedding takes place, the groom should arrange for his entertainment and should offer to pay the expenses of the journey.
The bridegroom wears formal morning dress, as do all the gentlemen at a wedding in the day-time. Fashion now decrees that a dress-suit must be worn under no circumstances before evening, — or rather before late dinner. The groom wears a frock-coat, high cut waistcoat and dark striped trousers, and gloves if he prefers to do so. But he must not wear either white gloves or, a white necktie, since these belong with evening dress only. He may, however, wear a white silk four-in-hand. For an evening wedding, he wears the regulation black swallow-tail coat, with trousers and low cut waistcoat to match — or one of white piqué — white lawn tie, white gloves, patent leather shoes, and a silk hat. He drives to church with his best man, and , waits for the bride at the altar. If he is wise in his generation, however, he will remain in the vestry until the bride's arrival, since it is an awkward and trying position for him, — that of long waiting at the chancel rail, — and brides are sometimes late.
The ushers should be at the church in good season, to see that everything is in order, and to conduct the wedding guests to their seats as fast as they arrive. They are chosen from the relatives and friends of the bride and groom. The chief usher places a white ribbon bow on either side of the main aisle at a distance from the altar which will include space enough for all the invited guests, or for those for whom especial seats are reserved. The relatives of the groom are placed on the right of the altar, that is, next the bridegroom; and the bride's relatives sit on the left of the church, that is, on the bride's left. It is important that the ushers, or at all events the chief usher, should be acquainted with most of the relatives and guests, so that they may all be seated in their right places, the' near relatives sitting nearest to the altar. It is perfectly proper for an usher to ask whether a lady is a relative of the bride or groom, as he cannot be expected to know every one of the relations by sight.
At large weddings, it is now customary to make a plan of the church, assigning the relatives and near friends to special pews, the numbers of which are written on the cards of admission. The ushers are provided with lists giving the names of these persons and the places where they are to sit.
The mother of the bride comes in shortly before the bridal cortège, of which she usually does not form a part. It is better, if possible, to arrange this in the vestry rather than keep the bridesmaids waiting in the vestibule for the bride, who arrives last, accompanied by her father. When all is in readiness the organ peals forth a wedding march, and the ushers advance up the aisle in pairs, followed by the bridesmaids, also in pairs. If there is a maid of honor, she walks alone, just before the bride. Sometimes additional bridesmaids in the shape of little children picturesquely dressed, strewing flowers perhaps, follow or precede the others. Little boys dressed as pages following the bride and holding her train are occasionally seen. Last of all comes the bride leaning on her father's arm. It is the fashion to advance rather slowly, but the ushers, who set the pace, should avoid creeping up the aisle in such a way as to suggest a funeral march.
When the procession reaches the chancel, the ushers divide, half of them turning to the right and half to the left; the bridesmaids do the same. The bridegroom then advances, and taking the bride's right hand, leads her to the altar. The clergyman then proceeds to read the marriage service. When he asks the question, " Who giveth this woman to be married to this man? " the father, who stands a little behind the bride, gives his consent by coming forward and placing his daughter's hand in that of the clergyman, in accordance with the time honored custom. Having now fulfilled his part of the ceremony, the father takes his place beside the bride's mother in the front pew.
After the clergyman has pronounced the benediction he may congratulate the newly-married pair; but he does not kiss the bride, as it was formerly the custom for him to do. At the present day a wedding ring is used in almost all marriage services. It should not be so large as to seem vulgar or exaggerated, and is still the plain gold circlet, which seems to befit the solemn ceremony better than the richest jewel. The bride usually has the ring finger of her Ieft-hand glove cut or ripped up the side so that it can be readily removed, much to the relief of the first bridesmaid, who was expected in other days to pull off the whole glove, and whose efforts to do so were often embarrassing to all parties.
Soft music may be discoursed if the bride desires it during the marriage ceremony; but to our thinking it sounds too much like what Artemus Ward called " dying to slow fiddling."
The organ breaks out with a triumphal peal, and the bridal pair go down the aisle arm in arm, and leave the church as quickly as possible, to escape the curious throng always so eager to catch a glimpse of them, or rather of her. They are driven at once to the residence of the bride's parents. The rest of the bridal procession leave the church in the inverse order from that in which they entered it.
It will be seen from what has preceded that the bride stands on the bridegroom's left. At the conclusion of the ceremony both turn in their places and she takes his right arm when about to walk down the aisle. lit is considered bad form for a bride to bow or smile to any one either while entering or leaving the church; but she is not obliged to keep her eyes upon the ground if she prefers to look forward instead.
The fashion of a bride's dress is so well known, and yet changes so often in its details, that it would be useless to speak of it save in general terms. The extravagance of to-day robes many brides belonging to rich families in the most costly fabrics, with veils of point lace and diamond ornaments, instead of the white silk dress, simply trimmed, and the tulle veil, that were formerly the fashion. White is so appropriate to a bride, as well as so becoming to almost all complexions, that it seems a pity every bride should not wear it, even if her dress be of simple white muslin. A tulle veil is softer and more becoming than a lace one, as well as infinitely cheaper. The lace veil is better suited, however, to certain people, especially to girls who are somewhat stout, or who have rather large heads. The extreme fulness of the tulle veil, and its dim outlines, make the wearer look larger than she really is.
Orange-blossoms are always beautiful and appropriate for a bride, but they are often difficult to procure; hence other natural flowers often take their place in the bridal costume. Myrtle-leaves are emblematic of marriage, and are sometimes worn by brides. Garlands of artificial flowers may adorn a wedding dress.
In the days of good Queen Bess, brides wore their hair flowing over their shoulders. Ben Jonson says:
" See how she paceth forth in virgin white,
" Her tresses trim her back,
According to present fashion, the bride never wears a décolleté costume.
After the ceremony at church is over, the best man, or two of the ushers, hurry to the residence of the bride's parents, to be in readiness to receive the bride and groom.
At the wedding reception the newly married couple take their place at the top of the room. Half of the bridesmaids stand near the bride and half near the groom; or they may all form in line, at the right of the bride. Her parents and those of her husband stand near. As the bride's father and mother are the true hosts, they often take up their position near the door by which the guests enter, as every one will wish to greet them. The parents of the groom are the guests of honor, to whom the friends of the bride and her family should be introduced. The ushers stay near the door of the drawing-room and escort the guests, as fast as they arrive, to the bridal party, presenting them by name, first to the bride and groom and then to the parents. According to modern usage, the guests often move forward in line, the ushers being on hand to offer their assistance, wherever it may be needed, and to introduce all strangers. This is a more expeditious method than the old one.
The indiscriminate kissing to which a bride was formerly subjected, has gone out of fashion. Only near relations and intimate friends now claim this privilege. She should however shake hands with every one and greet all cordially.
The guests pass on to the dining-room, where a buffet collation is served. If the reception is a large one, some solid dishes, such as oysters, salads and croquettes, are usually included in the bill of fare, because guests from a distance are often present on these occasions. At small and quiet weddings, the refreshments may be of the simplest character, a glass of wine and a wedding cake sufficing. In these days of temperance, coffee may be substituted for wine.
It is the ushers' duty to see that ladies who have no gentlemen with them are provided with refreshments.
The bridal couple should not leave their places until all have arrived and have had an opportunity to speak to them. They usually remain for about an hour; they may then, if they please, go to the dining-room. In the opinion of the writer, the custom of drinking the health of the bride and groom, is more honored in the breach than in the observance. It is not observed now, as much as formerly, perhaps because experience has shown that the half-grown boys who are usually present at a wedding, sometimes take more wine than is good for them. It is the duty of the best man, or of an old friend of the family to propose the health of the bride and groom, all the company standing, glass in hand. Champagne is the wine usually served at a wedding.
After the reception has lasted an hour and a half or more, the bride retires to put on her travelling-dress. This should be of some quiet color. It is in bad taste to wear a white hat or other wedding finery on the journey. Some brides appear in a dress which has been-worn already, hoping thus to delude their fellow-travellers into the belief that they have not been recently married.
A sister or one or more of the bridesmaids assist the heroine of the hour, to change her dress and to prepare for the journey. Her mother also comes into the room to bid her farewell. Usually only the intimate friends remain to see the bridal couple drive off and to wish them Godspeed. These assemble in the front hall, armed with rice, for which confetti or flowers are some-times substituted. The bride drops her bouquet as she comes down the stairs, or descends in the elevator, the bridesmaids and other young friends pressing for-ward to catch it. The young couple then rush for their carriage or automobile, amidst a friendly shower of confetti or rice. It is the duty of the maid of honor and the best man to protect the fleeing couple, and to assist them in getting quietly away. Thus they often slip out at a side or back door, where the carriage is in waiting. This has probably been decorated in the meantime, with white ribbons, by some teasing young friend. The best man may arrange to have a second vehicle waiting around the corner, in which the young couple may make their escape.
The traditional old shoe is often represented by satin slippers thrown after the retreating carriage; but these missiles should not be aimed with too great accuracy, as accidents have occurred from breaking the windows or frightening the horses. The rowdyism in which young men sometimes indulge on these occasions, cannot be too strongly condemned. A very mischievous friend may well be invited to act as best man or usher, in order that he may feel in honor bound to preserve the proprieties and to make others do so.
The hour at which the ceremony takes place, may be arranged to suit the convenience of the contracting parties, Morning weddings were very fashionable at one time, but four o'clock in the afternoon seems to be the favorite hour now, in large cities. In small towns and villages the evening is usually preferred, since this is the leisure time for all. Where the wedding takes place at the summer home of the bride's parents, and the majority of the guests live in the neighboring city, morning or afternoon is more convenient.
A bride does not usually dance at her own wedding, but she may join in a square dance if she wishes, the groom or the best man acting as her partner. Dancing on such an occasion is not so much in vogue now as formerly.
If the wedding presents are shown on the day of the marriage they should be arranged on tables covered with white, in an upstairs room. Usually all the other furniture is taken out and the tables are set against the wall, on which some of the gifts may be hung to advantage. All the cards should be removed beforehand. Sometimes the presents are privately shown to the intimate friends a few days in advance. Wedding gifts themselves have changed in character, and the bride is not so much overwhelmed as her mother was with articles of silver some of which are useful and others decidedly superfluous. There are now so many beautiful things in glass, china, bronze, etc., that the wedding guest need be at no loss to select some suitable and charming gift, even if his means should be quite limited. Pictures, fine engravings, etchings, rare or handsomely illustrated books, mantel clocks and ornaments, electric lamps of artistic design, jewelry of course, handsome articles of furniture, such as chairs or writing-desks, — all these and many more are suit-able for wedding gifts. Intimate friends and relatives often give money or silverware, or, if they like, some articles for the trousseau. If gifts are marked at all, it should always be with the bride's maiden name or initials.
Wedding-cake is not sent out as it used to be. It is piled up in boxes on a table, usually placed in the front hall, and each guest takes, let us hope, not more than one box. Sometimes a servant hands one to each person as he passes out.
Some brides prefer to be married in a travelling-dress and hat (usually of handsome silk, cloth or velvet material of quiet color), and to leave at once without any reception. • For a wedding of this sort cards may be issued to all the friends for the ceremony at the church, or the marriage may be celebrated very quietly, with only a few witnesses.
A wedding at home is usually more informal than a church wedding. The clergyman enters and faces the company, then the bridal pair enter together and stand facing him. An altar of flowers is sometimes arranged, behind which the clergyman stands, with a pair of cushions in front for the bridal couple to kneel on. After the ceremony is over they turn round in their places and receive the congratulations of their friends, but only those who are very near and dear are permitted to kiss the bride.
According to recent usage, the ceremonial of a home wedding is sometimes more elaborate. Thus an aisle may be marked off with white ribbon, down the centre of the room. The ends may be held by graceful young women, or they may be kept in place by flowers. The groom may be attended by a best man, the two taking up their station on the left hand of the clergyman. The miniature bridal cortège then enters at the farthest end of the room, the two ushers heading it, one or more bridesmaids following them, and the bride and her father coming last. Or the young couple may enter together, the ushers heading the procession, the best man following them, the bridesmaid coming next, the bride and groom last. Often there are no brides-maids at a home wedding. Sometimes all the guests are invited to the ceremony and sometimes relatives only are bidden to it, other friends being invited to attend the reception, which takes place half an hour later. A disadvantage of the latter plan is that in case the marriage is delayed through any circumstance, the reception guests will begin to arrive before the ceremony is over.
Many quiet weddings take place at the house of a clergyman. A young woman who is earning her own living in a strange city, far from the home of her parents, thus avoids placing on them the burden of expenses which they can ill afford. If neither of the betrothed couple have any church affiliations in their place of residence, they need not hesitate to ask a stranger to perform the marriage service, since this is a part of the duty of a clergyman. They should go together to see him, in good season, that a day convenient for all parties may be selected. They should, of course, consult him about the arrangements, and should familiarize themselves with the text of the service, in churches where there is a ritual. They should bring with them to the ceremony, two per-sons to act as witnesses, who should remain to sign the register. A few more friends may accompany them, but the party should not number more than ten persons in all, as the clergyman's parlor should not be crowded. There is usually a best man, who hands the fee (enclosed in an envelope) to the clergyman, as the latter passes out of the room. Good taste prohibits kissing on an occasion of this sort, especially while the minister is in the room. It is also in bad taste to throw rice about or to indulge in any sky-larking, since this would be trespassing on the kindness and hospitality of the clergyman.
A wedding of this sort usually takes place in the evening. The bride should wear street costume, with hat or bonnet, the groom evening dress, or such black coat as he may possess cut-away or frock. Some little ,festivity often follows the ceremony, such as supper at a friend's house or at a restaurant, or a visit to the theatre.
A widow should never wear at her second marriage either bridal veil, orange-blossoms or white attire. She usually wears either a light-colored silk or a travelling-dress and hat. Unless she be very young, it would seem in better taste that her wedding should be rather a quiet one.
A bride may drop her middle name and retain her family name if she prefers to do so. Fashion now favors this course, and a widow marrying again often retains the name of the first husband as a middle name where there are children of the first marriage living, as serving to show her relationship to them.
Where cards are sent out after a wedding they should give the residence of the newly married couple, so that their friends may know where to call upon them.
Very often they hold one or two receptions soon after the marriage, or the bride issues cards for one or more of the afternoon occasions now so much in vogue. The refreshments for these may be very simple and inexpensive, tea or chocolate, cake and sandwiches, being amply sufficient. Bouillon or punch makes a good addition in cold weather.
It is especially important, where a bride goes to live in a new city, that she should, where it is possible and her husband's means allow, thus introduce herself to his friends. Newly married people are not, however, expected to entertain extensively. On the contrary, entertainments are made for them, and every one who has been asked to the wedding should if possible invite the bridal pair in the course of the ensuing season. As has been said elsewhere, brides should be careful to return promptly the calls made upon them, especially if they go to reside in another city; otherwise they often give deep offence to people who have perhaps made a special effort to call upon them, from motives of kindness and hospitality, because they were strangers in the land.
( Originally Published 1911 )
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Etiquette Of Weddings
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