Nicest of Them All….Weddings Decoded

Alright, so earlier this week I asked the question of which type of wedding would be considered the most formal – morning church, evening church, at-home or venue. The answer? It’s actually an at-home wedding. Let’s jump into the “why” that y’all know I’m so eager to always explain?

Now, remember, this is for the USA, and this is actually the traditional etiquette answer, per Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post. Weddings, by definition, are formal events. This does not equate to formal attire, though. While weddings have been held in churches for centuries, in the USA, it was more common until about the 1950s for weddings to be held at home, provided the bride’s family was wealthy enough to do so. It was considered a very formal affair. Full meals would be provided by servants for hundreds of people. After about the 1820s, families who could afford it went all out for weddings. A minister would still perform the ceremonial part of the wedding, and the reception would commonly follow.

In the 1950s, the USA experienced a religious resurgence with a big push to hold wedding ceremonies in a church building, such as a sanctuary. Still, even then it was popular for the bride’s family to host a full meal and reception at their home or at a family home. As peoples’ homes have decreased in size, the idea of having a receptions at a venue has increased in popularity. In Amy Vanderbilt’s 1954 etiquette book, she declares home weddings “nicest of them all,” showing a preference for tradition over trend. Think plantation home size.

Going by this etiquette precedence, the “nicest” type of wedding and reception a couple would most likely have today would be to have a church wedding and an at-home reception, provided the home is large enough to accommodate a large number of people. It would include a full meal with people serving the meal. An alternative that would be considered just slightly less formal would be a church wedding with a reception at a venue.

Now, if you choose to have a venue wedding, does any of this mean it’s not ok or “nice?” Not even in the least. It is, however, stating that there are certain expectations for choosing a more formal wedding type. That may rub some people the wrong way, but in all areas of life, there are expectations. I have a certain level of expectations when I come to work. Never feel obligated to host any event, including a wedding, that you can’t afford.

Now, going off of the comments, someone mentioned the Royal Wedding between the Duke and Duchess. That, in my opinion, was a perfect combination of old and new. It was a morning church wedding, followed by a luncheon reception. Finally there was an evening “home” reception. The duchess also changed dresses between the events. It was elaborate, but it had an element of youth to it that I loved. She also kept in mind appropriate dress for both venues. As we’ve talked about, the later in the day it gets, the more formal your attire would be. You’d never wear an evening gown to a church, regardless of time, so she kept it before 7 (well before, as it was morning). Prior to the evening event, many of the guests had also changed clothes into more formal threads.

Etiquette helps us to better understand others’ expectations. I hope you enjoyed this post! As always, thank you for reading.

 

Slow Living In A Fast World

I’ve kept a diary since I was in the second grade. While I’ve changed a lot during those years, something that hasn’t changed is a feeling I have a hard time describing. It’s almost as if I push simultaneously pulled in two different directions. The best way I could describe it is, when I was in high school, we had an assignment to describe what we wanted to be when we were adults and how we thought our lives would go. I ended up doing the assignment twice. In one scenario I was a career woman, with one or two kids, constantly busy and wearing suits. (Sound familiar, Garrett?) In the other scenario, I was a stay-at-home mom, living in a modest home with four kids. The common factor in both? I was equally as happy in one as I was in the other. I blame my constant back and forth on being a Gemini (I kid….partly 😉 ).

Anyhow, for a while I erroneously thought that etiquette belonged only in the first world I described. What can I say? I was young and naive. What I found, though, is what I try my best on a daily basis to say on this blog. Etiquette is for everyone. Whether or not etiquette applies to you have absolutely NOTHING to do with how much money you make, if you’re around “important” people, if you have a life that is constantly being scrutinized by others, etc. It, simply, has everything to do with respect for others and for yourself. I don’t know many people who want people to think of them as entitled, selfish people. In general, no one wants to be around those people. Instead, we want to develop caring, real relationships. What I struggled with the most with etiquette was losing the realness. Mind you, this struggle was years ago, but I still remember how it felt, and I think it may be something many of you can empathize with. I also hope that by sharing my personal struggle, you can see that etiquette isn’t about being fake.

I struggled with thinking I was putting on a fascade with I invited people over and had the best dishes I had at the time on the table for them. Instead I should have viewed it as an opportunity to show how much someone meant to me.

I struggled with being afraid people wouldn’t share their real emotions and fears because etiquette seemed formal to me at the time. Instead I should have learned more about etiquette to know that there is an etiquette for everything. Etiquette helps us to reduce the misinterpretations of people’s intentions.

I struggled with wondering if etiquette wasn’t needed if you weren’t rich. Instead, I should have realized that kindness costs nothing and that kindness is the bulk of etiquette.

Etiquette is NOT about living a fancy life, full of social events. You can absolutely live slowly and purposefully while utilizing etiquette.

Etiquette is about others. It’s about not being entitled and always thinking you’re the most important person in the room, even if you happen to be at that particular point in time.

Most people you meet are struggling with something. Defenses can easily be put up, and etiquette helps us take them back down. I think there’s a lot of room for grace in etiquette, which is why I focus heavily on traditions. Some parts I even tend to only talk about in a historical way, as they are no longer relevant to our lives today. Overall, though, while I think formal dinners truly are fun and a great change of pace, I realize there are SO many other parts of etiquette that are easily overlooked and are missing in today’s society. That is the are of etiquette I hope to most share with you.

Thank you for reading!

Why We Prime

{This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make purchases through the links.}

Happy Monday, all! It’s a wee bit early (6am, which is early for me), but I wanted to make sure I got this post scheduled for you! I’ve had a few emails asking about whether or not it’s worth it to have Amazon Prime. Garrett and I chose to have this service a few years ago, and it has been more than worth it for us! It does cost $99 per year, but you receive free two-day shipping on all Prime products.

This may not fit into your family’s budget right now, and that’s completely ok! If this seems like something you’re interested here, here’s a link for a free trial for Amazon Prime. In addition to the free shipping, we also love their movie and television options that you receive to the point that, between having Prime and Netflix, we’ve decided that we’re cancelling Dish Network. *jaw drop* If you know us in life, you know we likely watch waaay too much tv. I LOVE Food Network, and I have most of Giada’s and Ree Drummond’s shows recorded. My goal for our family right now, though, is to become more purposeful. For us, this includes reducing tv watching. By having two lower cost options (Prime and Netflix), we’ll still have plenty of tv-watching opportunities for family night, friends, etc. But by reducing our options, I hope to find we’re more purposeful with our time and spend more time together as a family.

Thank you for reading! I have more posts scheduled that I wrote this weekend when I was more awake that are a bit longer. 🙂

Dressing For Dinner

Wow! My husband and I went to dinner with a group of close friends tonight, and it was the most amazing experience! For those of you who aren’t local to me, we live in a small town, and fine dining experience are few and far between. Due to this, we don’t have many chances to get dressed up for dinner. Tonight, though, felt like a magical occasion, and I loved it.

The Oaks Bed & Breakfast is a recently refurbished home turned into a bed and breakfast. As if this wasn’t neat enough, every Thursday (starting today) they’re having Date Night. (Side note: It’s reservations only.) The meal is set, other than the main protein, which adds a unique element to it as well.

Tonight we had cold cucumber soup, ceviche on a bed of avocado, choice of salmon or stuffed flanked steak accompanied by mushroom risotto and pesto zoodles, melon and mozzarella salad and, finally, chocolate and caramel cheesecake. Every bit was outstanding. It took a while to get through all of the courses, which is exactly what I wanted. I LOVE when dinner is an experience. We also took this time to dress up a bit more than we normally do, and I didn’t realize how much I had missed that.

Additionally, we had great, quality time with friends sans kiddos. 🙂 To top off a perfect evening, we got to sit in the coveted private dining area, which reminded me of the private table in Commander’s Palace.

If you’re within driving distance of Sulphur Springs, Texas, I highly recommend getting reservations for this weekly treat!

The Pay-It-Forward Phenomenon

In recent years, the pay-it-forward phenomenon has become a “thing.” If you haven’t been part of this chain reaction, allow me to explain it and my thoughts on it.

Usually, it takes place in a drive-thru line. Once you place your order, you pull up, fully expecting to pay. However, lo and behold, your meal has already been taken care of. So, in some point in time, someone decided the correct thing to do would be to “pay it forward” right then and there. So, instead of paying for your own meal, you then pay for the person’s meal behind you, and the story continues.

In theory, this is all well and good. However, I truly do not care for the practice. If you know me in person, I enjoy paying for people’s drinks/meals randomly behind us in the drive-thru line. However, I never realized until I heard of this practice, that I may actually be placing a burden on them. I would never, ever want to do that.

You see, many people plan their meals very carefully financially. They should not feel pressured into paying for anything other than what they originally planned to pay for. Now, you may not think this is the case, but I have, unfortunately, witnessed someone trying to guilt someone into keeping this practice going. Not okay.

Additionally, we have pulled away from a grace-filled society. I have a hard time accepting compliments, which can impact my willingness to give them. Not because I don’t think your dress is cute and not because I don’t think you have a pretty smile. It’s because, for a while, it was not a part of my norm.

We should allow ourselves to accept compliments and accept a drink at Starbucks without feeling any amount of guilt. No guilt to pass it on. No guilt that someone might think we’re better. I think some of this guilt derived from a “participation trophy” society. It is not selfish to say thank you to something and move on without trying to level the playing field, so to speak.

I know this is a topic some of you may not agree with me on, and that’s ok. We’re allowed to be different. I’m in no way saying to never pay for a drink if yours has been paid for. I’m simply saying, don’t feel obligated to, and please never make someone feel obligated to. 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts, regardless of whether or not they agree with mine!

As always, thank you for reading!