Thursday, December 2, 2010

For Fiancee and Bride.

Although more freedom of action is accorded by some parents to a girl when she is engaged to be married, the rule of etiquette, which prescribes that no young unmarried lady should enter society or appear at any public place of amusement without a chaperon, is not in the slightest degree relaxed, and it would be quite incorrect for an engaged couple to do so. At a dinner party it is customary to send an engaged couple into dinner together; but it is considered very bad taste for them, at a ball or dance, to dance or sit out too much together, or to make themselves conspicuous in any way by their behaviour. When the families of an engaged couple are not already acquainted it is the family of the gentleman, and not the lady, who should take the initiative in the matter by writing to the bride-elect and calling upon her and her parents, and these letters should be replied to at once, and the visits returned as soon as possible. Although it is the parents of the bridegroom-elect who take the first step in making an acquaintance, it is the mother of the young lady who sends the announcement of the engagement to the papers, and it is she also who writes and announces it to the relations and near friends of her family; and if from any cause the engagement should be broken off, it is the mother of the young lady who announces the fact.

When sending a wedding present, a letter should accompany it of congratulation and good wishes, and it is also a good plan to enclose with the present the card of the donor, and all presents received should at once be acknowledged by a letter of thanks, the bride-elect writing to all who have sent their presents direct to her, and the bridegroom writing to those friends who, being unacquainted with the bride, have sent their gifts direct to him. Should it happen that the engagement is not carried out, all wedding presents are returned to the respective donors. On the wedding day, the presents received are arranged on tables of various sizes for the inspection of the guests, and each should have the name of the donor attached to it, and for this purpose the cares enclosed with the present when sent are generally used.

When the bride is a widow, it is usual for her to remove her first wedding ring before the marriage ceremony. This, however, is not obligatory, and some persons prefer not to do so; it is a matter of individual feeling rather than of etiquette. It is no longer the custom to give precedence to a bride for three months after her marriage. She simply takes the precedence due to her husband's rank. Thus a peer's daughter married to a commoner retains her precedence, but if married to a peer her precedence is merged in that of her husband. The custom of sending wedding cake and cards to all friends is quite gone out of fashion, nor are the words "No cards" inserted in the newspaper after the announcement of a marriage, as no one expects to receive them, and they are therefore superfluous. A bride does not show her visitors the wedding presents she has received, not does she offer them wedding cake.

-The Lady.

Source: Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Saturday October 3, 1896, Issue 6003

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