BEST WEDDING PLANNING BOOKS! A very proper choice.

Taking the words of wedding experts with a grain of salt is the only way to survive. That said, there are some great wedding planning books out there full of sage advice. This is probably my favorite.

Emily Post’s Etiquette 18th Edition

This classic guide includes not only information on weddings, but on a myriad of social situations.  Useful for the basics while planning the wedding, afterwards this becomes an invaluable resource for drafting thank you notes, how to address letters to local officials, what to wear to religious celebrations…it’s an incredible resource for any couple. The Post grandchildren carry Emily’s flag into the digital era, including email and social media issues. A must have!

My Little Etiquette Shop: Lessons Learned at…a funeral?

Last week was quite a week. A fair bit of time was given to supporting a grieving family who lost their mother, our neighbor.

Her funeral brought out my contemplative side.  The service was unique, in that the rabbi thought he was a stand up comedian.  At first I braced myself: this was a train wreck.  Knowing he wasn’t someone who knew the family well, but had met with them briefly the day before, I dreaded where he was going with his goofy humor.  However, bit by bit, he charmed everyone in the room (myself included) with his puns, and the way he spoke more about the people present than the one who was gone. He really brought her to life in the way he “riffed” on each meaningful relationship, right down to mock-lecturing her son’s boss saying, “keep an eye on him.”

I love and respect Jewish culture, our wedding was quite traditional. But, as an employee at a floral design studio, and lover of flowers I am comforted by flowers at funerals, which are contrary to Jewish tradition. (I’ll let wiser folk explain).  One woman at the service brought flowers, completely innocently.  The same jovial rabbi spoke a little too sharply to her for my taste about the fact that they were “not allowed.”  From the row behind her, it looked like she felt bad. I often mangle Emily Post’s famous quote about how keeping people comfortable around you makes your behavior proper, no matter what. We’ll make the exact quote lesson 1 from yesterday, followed by the other two.

1) Mind your manners “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” -Emily Post.  Don’t make people feel bad, especially in a sensitive situation like a funeral. <ahem Rabbi…>

2) Trust a professional to do their job. That Rabbi wasn’t going to risk corny humor if he didn’t know where he was going with it, and that he would be able to touch people. Have a little faith, and even when things seem like they are going wrong, they are most likely going to turn in the right direction.

2) Laugh when you want to cry. This is of course a very serious application of that principle.  But it applies in so many situations. If you reflexively tear up in response to a bizarre/awful/terrible/shocking event in your life, take a deep breath, and try to reframe. There’s got to be something funny about what happened. You just have to find that piece of it and let it tickle you.  It takes the air out of almost anything, and you can begin to put the pieces back together.

Have a happy, grateful week everyone! Count your blessings.

Be well, and love well.




Arianna can get herself all in a Huff, but Emily will always be the Post with the Most.

Emily would actually have quite liked Arianna. She’s spunky, and, we imagine, never dull at a dinner party.  The same description applies to Peggy Post, the current Post holding the family post. Peggy has started answering etiquette questions in the New York Times, spicing up the online weddings section. We will be sharing some of them here from time to time.  “But wait,” you might be thinking, “you guys answer etiquette questions on the blog, isn’t she competition?” The answer is no, and here’s why. We freely admit that we don’t know how to properly greet the Queen of Norway. Peggy does.  She also is an enclyclopedia of knowledge about weddings, because it’s her full time job. Resources are always a positive. We liked this question and superb answer because it drilled down into a specific issue about guest lists which we discussed recently. So without further ado…

Q&A: The Well-Mannered Wedding

Published: March 4, 2011

Your Wedding Questions Answered

Planning or attending a wedding, but not sure of the proper way to go about it? In the Well-Mannered Wedding. Peggy Post, a director of the Emily Post Institute and the great-granddaughter-in-law of its namesake, answers readers’ questions.

Who Deserves Plus-One Status?  

My boyfriend and I have had several heated discussions regarding the etiquette of inviting guests with a plus-one. He thinks everyone should get a plus-one, all other factors aside. I think that only guests in a serious relationship (i.e. long term, living together) should warrant a plus-one invitation. Can you settle the debate?

Monica A., Berkeley, Calif.

Let’s avoid sending either one of you to the etiquette penalty box. Today’s standard plus-one is someone who is married to, engaged to, living with and, yes, in a long-term relationship with the invited wedding guest. Beyond these “must invites,” your plus-one decisions will be based on budget and consistency. If it’s only a few and it’s not a budget buster, you might consider asking them all. But if that’s not the case (and let’s be realistic here), come up with a clear parameter. Even so, without a plus-one invitation, some of your single guests may not want to attend. In the end, that’s their choice.

Note to guests: You didn’t get a plus-one invitation and you have a new boyfriend? Be empathetic and don’t take offense. Be happy that you’re one of the “must be there” people on the bride and bridegroom’s guest list.

Can I get an Amen? Thanks Peggy and NYT!