Sunday, March 1, 2009

Etiquette Lesson # Four from Betty and Emily: You're Engaged? We're SO Happy for You! Congratulations! Now Get On With It Already!

As you can imagine, Emily Post has a great many number of pages in her Tome o' Manners all about the wedding.  

Oh yes, if you need to know who is obligated to escort old aunt Harriett, the second cousin of the first uncle that dumped your cousin at the orphanage that belonged to your grandfather on your maternal grandmother's side, Emily has the answer for you.  

Whose crest should go on the silver?  No need to lose more sleep over the issue. Emily has the answer for you. (It's not what you think!)

Emily even gets into the more risque details of the trousseau.  Noting that "The various undress things which are to be worn in her room or at the breakfast table, and for the sole admiration of her husband, are of far greater importance than the dresses and hats to be worn in public."


"Not long ago a stocking was thought fine if it could be run through a wedding ring; today no stocking is considered fit to be put on for the town or evening wear unless many together can be slipped through the measure once the test for one. "

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  First we've got to get that bride down the aisle and SOME brides just draaaaagggggg out that engagement.  Well, Emily's got some words of advice for you laggards:  

In the Backwaters of Long Engagements
pg 385 of Etiquette

A long engagement is trying to everyone--the man, the girl, both families, and all friends.  It is an unnatural state, like that of waiting at the station for a train, and in a measure it is time wasted,  The minds of the two most concerned are centered upon each other; to them life seems to consist in saying the inevitable good-by.

Her family think her absent-minded, distrait, aloof, and generally useless.  hi family never see him.  Their friends are bored with them--not that they are really less devoted or loyal, but her men friends withdraw, naturally refraining from "breaking in."  He has no time between business and going to see her to stop in at his club or whatever friends of his may be.  Her girl friends do not see her in the daytime, but gradually they see her less and less because their interests and hers no longer focus in common.  Gradually the stream of the social world goes rushing on, leaving the two who are absorbed in each other to drift forgotten in a backwater.  He works harder than ever, and she perhaps works too.

Once they are married, they no longer belong in a backwater, but find themselves again sailing in midstream.  It may be on a slow-moving current, it may be on a swift--but their barge sails in common with all other craft of the river of life.

That's our etiquette lesson for the day.  This has not been an easy post to write.  It has been difficult and painstaking, but you, my readers are worth it.  The stocking currently stuck in my wedding ring has merely slowed Betty's typing down, not stopped it completely.  I think Emily would be proud.

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