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Review: Miss Manners’ Guide to a Surprisingly Diginified Wedding

One of my favorite blogs is Meg’s A Practical Wedding, and I’ve been slowly trying to make my way through her list of sane wedding books.  Thus I recently decided to read my very first Miss Manners book.

Of course, I heard of Miss Manners before.  Who hasn’t?  But I had not had the pleasure of actually reading any of her work before.  And I loved it!  The book is set up as a series of letters from readers followed by Miss Manners’ response which she always addresses as ‘Gentle Reader.’  She has a wry sense of humor that pops up constantly as she reminds readers to use common sense and be polite.

If you’re looking for advice on throwing a simple wedding, this is the book to read.  Miss Manners disapproves of many trends that seem to be coming more common at weddings.  She urges readers to forgo practices that are tacky and attention or money grabbing, such as money trees or bags, and go with whatever wedding format you can afford.  Even if that means you’ll just be serving cake and punch for your reception.

I, for one, was relieved to read that many so called customs or traditions are actually neither.  Every wedding invitation I’ve ever received included an RSVP card with a pre-stamped envelope.  Just the thought of paying for all this additional printing and postage made my stomach churn.  After all, shouldn’t the guest know enough to respond?  Well, yes!  Miss Manners explains such cards are not required by etiquette.  Favors for guests are also unnecessary. Miss Manners coverage of what etiquette does and does not demand was truly eye opening for me.  It is the wedding industry that tries to convince unwitting brides that such things are necessary not politeness.

I found this book to be a good reminder of what really matters in a wedding.  That this is an occasion of two people solemnly joining their lives together.  Other things like DJs, registerties, and perfectly matching bridemaids are not essential. The important thing is to invite only people you care about and be polite!

As I read Miss Manners, I day dreamed about having a simple day time ceremony with finger sandwiches and champagne.  I don’t know if that’s what my wedding will actually look like, but having been briefed by Miss Manners on the essential, polite elements of a wedding I feel more ready to face the wedding industry and say no to superfluous “traditions.”


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