Emily on Wedding Conversation

WEDDING CONVERSATION, Emily Post (1873–1960).  Etiquette.  1922.


  What you should say in congratulating a bridal couple depends on how well you know one, or both of them. But remember it is a breach of good manners to congratulate a bride on having secured a husband.  80

  If you are unknown to both of them, and in a long queue, it is not even necessary to give your name. You merely shake hands with the groom, say a formal word or two such as “Congratulations!”; shake hands with the bride, say “I wish you every happiness!” and pass on.  81

  If you know them fairly well, you may say to him “I hope your good luck will stay with you always!” or “I certainly do congratulate you!” and to her “I hope your whole life will be one long happiness,” or, if you are much older than she, “You look too lovely, dear Mary, and I hope you will always be as radiant as you look to-day!” Or, if you are a woman and a relative or really close friend, you kiss the groom, saying, “All the luck in the world to you, dear Jim, she certainly is lovely!” Or, kissing the bride, “Mary, darling, every good wish in the world to you!”  82

  To all the above, the groom and bride answer merely “Thank you.”  83

  A man might say to the groom “Good luck to you, Jim, old man!” Or, “She is the most lovely thing I have ever seen!” And to her, “I hope you will have every happiness!” Or “I was just telling Jim how lucky I think he is! I hope you will both be very happy!” Or, if a very close friend, also kissing the bride, “All the happiness you can think of isn’t as much as I wish you, Mary dear!” But it cannot be too much emphasized that promiscuous kissing among the guests is an offense against good taste.  84

  To a relative, or old friend of the bride, but possibly a stranger to the groom, the bride always introduces her husband saying, “Jim, this is Aunt Kate!” Or, “Mrs. Neighbor, you know Jim, don’t you?” Or formally, “Mrs. Faraway, may I present my husband?”  85

  The groom on the approach of an old friend of his, says, “Mary, this is cousin Carrie.” Or, “Mrs. Denver, do you know Mary?” Or, “Hello, Steve, let me introduce you to my wife; Mary, this is Steve Michigan.” Steve says “How do you do, Mrs. Smartlington!” And Mary says, “Of course, I have often heard Jim speak of you!”  86

  The bride with a good memory thanks each arriving person for the gift sent her: “Thank you so much for the lovely candlesticks,” or “I can’t tell you how much I love the dishes!” The person who is thanked says, “I am so glad you like it (or them),” or “I am so glad! I hoped you might find it useful.” Or “I didn’t have it marked, so that in case you have a duplicate, you can change it.”  87

  Conversation is never a fixed grouping of words that are learned or recited like a part in a play; the above examples are given more to indicate the sort of things people in good society usually say. There is, however, one rule: Do not launch into long conversation or details of yourself, how you feel or look or what happened to you, or what you wore when you were married! Your subject must not deviate from the young couple themselves, their wedding, their future.  88

  Also be brief in order not to keep those behind waiting longer than necessary. If you have anything particular to tell them, you can return later when there is no longer a line. But even then, long conversation, especially concerning yourself, is out of place.  89