Etiquette Emergency: 10/15/14

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{Top image via Lavender & Twine on GWS} BRIDE WARS... Q.  A close friend of mine is also engaged and planning her wedding.  I’ve noticed there is now a lot of tension in our conversations regarding each other’s wedding plans.  It almost feels like there is a competitive and bitter edge.  This is... read more

{Top image via Lavender & Twine on GWS}
BRIDE WARS…
Q.  A close friend of mine is also engaged and planning her wedding.  I’ve noticed there is now a lot of tension in our conversations regarding each other’s wedding plans.  It almost feels like there is a competitive and bitter edge.  This is a close friend of mine and I don’t want wedding plans to drive a wedge in our friendship.  How can I prevent this from happening or discuss it without upsetting/offending her?

A. Chances are if you are feeling a bitter edge, there is one there.  And as with many things in life, the best offense is a good defense.  Do not wait for tensions to boil over.  Instead, ask her to coffee or lunch and try talking with her.  Something along the lines of “Suzy, you are such a wonderful friend and I am so glad we are celebrating such an exciting time in our lives together.  You and Bobbie make a great couple and I cannot wait to see you walk down the aisle and dance at your wedding.  I do need to speak with you about something.  Sometimes when I talk about my wedding plans, I get the feeling that I am stressing you out a bit.  For me, it is great to be able to talk about wedding plans with you, but I want to make sure there is not any tension between us.”  Then be quiet and really listen to what she says to you.

Another option is a bottle of wine and watching Bride Wars together!

SEATING REQUESTS
Q.  As you know, seating arrangements can be tricky! I finally had mine figured out (or so I thought!) when a family member recently requested that they not be sat with other, specific, family members.  This would cause a major hitch in my current seating plans and cause me to re-do a lot of my seating chart.  Is it inappropriate for me to deny the request?

A. As the host, the seating is fully within your control.  Of course, you can ignore the guest’s request, but you must accept the consequences of that action.  It can be a wonderful idea to mix things up at the reception.  Have your college friends mix with your grade-school buddies, have your cousins with his cousins, and your aunts/uncles with the other aunts/uncles.  Let friends and family meet.  You never know what sort of friendships can start at a wedding reception.  This type of seating also encourages people to move, mix, mingle and dance so that they can catch up with those with whom they are not sitting.

ENGAGEMENT GIFTS
Q.  A Friend of my just got engaged and is having an engagement party.  Are gifts expected?  If so, what is an appropriate gift for this occasion?

A. If you have been invited to an engagement party, it is traditional to give a gift.  Usually the bridal registry is not available yet, so small token items are given.  Picture frames, wedding/etiquette books, and vases are typical engagement gifts.

TIPPING VENDORS
Q.  How much should I tip my vendors?  Do all vendors expect a gratuity or only certain ones?

A.  Please be sure to read the fine print on all of your wedding contracts.  For some vendors, they have already generously included their tips in your fees.  For other vendors, such as those who own the business, tips are inappropriate.  For the rest a 10-15% tip of the cost is typical.  For all tipping, cash is required.

Jodi R. R. Smith is a nationally known etiquette expert and author. She is the president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. You are invited to email her your etiquette emergencies at Salem@Mannersmith.com

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