Review: Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding

Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified WeddingJudith Martin & Jacobina Martin, Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding

In this book, which is apparently a revised and updated version of her earlier books on the subject, Miss Manners tackles the fraught subject of wedding etiquette. The modern wedding industry tends to use the term “etiquette” to justify a countless number of expensive, stressful, time-consuming tasks. But Miss Manners maintains that etiquette is just a fancy word for treating people with respect — and it has nothing to do with save-the-dates, unity candles, or wedding favors. Using her trademark saucy style, she answers questions on a variety of wedding-related topics and explains that a truly proper wedding is one that leaves both the betrothed couple and the guests as relaxed and joyful as possible.

I had never encountered Miss Manners before, and she definitely has a very distinctive style — sort of a tongue-in-cheek Austenesque tone. I can see how it would get on some people’s nerves, but I absolutely loved it! I also learned a lot of really interesting things about so-called wedding “traditions” that were unheard-of a generation ago. For example, here’s Miss Manners’ remark to a bride who was concerned about wedding favors: “Who told you that you had to give out wedding favors? Etiquette has never thought of weddings as comparable to children’s birthday parties where the guests might need consolation for not being the center of attention.” The problem is, even if favors are unnecessary, most people expect them and will think you’re rude if you don’t provide them. So I’m not sure how useful this book ultimately is…but it’s still a very entertaining read!

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3 thoughts on “Review: Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End (formerly Jenny's Books) says:

    Will people think you’re rude not to provide wedding favors? It would never cross my mind to provide wedding favors — although since it would never cross my mind to have a wedding at all because they sound like a terrible nightmare a la poking sharp sticks at every single one of my insecurities, I may not have the best perspective on this. :p

    I don’t always agree with Miss Manners, but I do love it when she skewers someone who’s being stupid. She is so courteous and yet so pointed.

    • Christina says:

      Maybe I’m underestimating people! I feel like people in my extended family would remark upon a lack of wedding favors. But maybe they’re just weird. (It certainly wouldn’t be the first time I suspected that! :))

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