Charm School: Wedding Etiquette

I found the following tips in the June 1952 Better Living magazine.  I thought they were interesting and I certainly learned a thing or two, so wanted to share them with any of you who might not know these particular etiquette rules related to weddings.

The groom is responsible for paying for: the bride's wedding ring (and engagement ring, too); corsages for the mother of the bride and his own mother; boutonnieres for the bride's father, his father and the best man and the ushers;  a corsage for the bride to wear away on her honeymoon; and the clergyman's fee.  It is also customary for the groom to give the best man and the ushers small gifts.

There is generally no set fee for the clergyman but it is customary for the money to be put in a small white envelope which the groom hands to the best man and asks him to pass to the clergyman.  The most convenient time to give the clergyman his fee is before the ceremony when the men are waiting together.

The fee recommended in 1952 was between $10 and $30.  I was curious so looked up guidelines for today's expected clergy fees.  Depending upon whether or not you received pre-marital counseling, and how elaborate the wedding fees generally range from $100 to $400 for an informal wedding.  A very elaborate wedding generally rates a fee of about $1,000-$1,500.   It is noted that a good middle of the road sum for an average wedding is $600.   If you are truly unsure of the fee, you may call the pastor or rabbi's secretary and ask if there is a set fee expected.

If a wedding is to be very informal it is entirely proper to telephone invitations or  to send handwritten informal notes.  It is customary for the mother of the bride to issue informal invitations.

It is perfectly acceptable to exchange a wedding gift, especially if multiples were received of any item.  For this reason, I think you should be sure to tape the gift receipt to either the card or the box the gift was purchased in.  Most stores with a registry do have print a gift receipt.

It is preferable to give wedding gifts prior to the wedding day either at a bridal shower or having a gift sent directly to the bride's home.  However, if you must bring the gift with you on the day of the day of the wedding, do not hand it over as you enter the door.  Instead take it upstairs or ask where you might leave it.  Always be sure to include your personal card with the gift so the bride has an idea who to send thank you note to.

Cards should never be displayed with the gifts.  It is best to keep an accurate record but it is considered poor taste to display to all and sundry who gave which gift.  Gift checks should not be displayed at all.  You may set up a card with a list of amounts of each individual check received but do not include the giver's name.

If a wedding should be canceled:
For a very informal wedding, the bride's mother may write notes stating that her daughter's wedding (include the date) is canceled.  No explanation is necessary.

If the wedding was to be a very large one, then printed cards should be sent out as soon as the change in plans is definite.  A formal cancelation would read as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
announce that the wedding
of their daughter Josephine Elizabeth Doe
which was to have been
on Sunday the fifteenth of June 
has been canceled.


Kathy said...

Interesting! Although I may not have given the preacher enough 24 years ago. We didn't have a fancy wedding, but $600 for the preacher these days? Wow!

Debby in KS said...

Kathy, I think that $600 would be appropriate in the cases of a church wedding. It's more a church donation. We had a Catholic wedding and there was a priest, 2 altar boys, & a coordinator. Plus, the building, which is temperature controlled & such. Ours was 24 yrs. ago and I don't remember how much the suggested donation was. One of my friends was married to a pastor. I remember her telling me that it was $300 at their church and $150 if he went to a local venue. They lived pretty frugally so she was always happy to have that extra money from a wedding. I remember she was near giddy when one couple got married on the beach. They paid for my friend & her husband to stay at the coast side hotel overnight. She said it was like a mini honeymoon for them! They had a fancy rehearsal dinner, free breakfast, & then the wedding meal. Those fees were about 15 yrs. ago.

We paid for our entire wedding ourselves so they're was no dividing.
My husband's parents did pay for our rehearsal dinner, tho'. I'll have to pull out our old wedding planner and look it all over again. It's a binder that's about 4" thick with papers sticking out!
I threw it in the box with all the wedding cards and little keepsakes. When I was planning for that year, it was like another appendage for me!!

Debbie said...

Our wedding was paid for mostly by my family and by my husband and I. My inlaws did pay for the rehearsal dinner but my father provided all the wine.

When our sons were married, both families pitched in. I made all the boutonnieres, corsages and even the bouquets for the bridesmaids for our oldest son's wedding to our beautiful Rachel.

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