Saturday, September 24, 2011

Arrangements and Conduct on Wedding Occasions

     Preliminary matters - dress of the parties. - A well-informed writer on this interesting matter lays down the following rules to be observed:-
     Where a wedding is celebrated in the usual forms, cards of invitation are issued at least a week before-hand. The hour selected is usually eight o'clock, P.M. Wedding cake, wines, and other refreshments, are prepared by the bride and her friends for the occasion. The bride is usually dressed in pure white; she wears a white veil, and her head is crowned with a wreath of white flowers, usually artificial; and orange blossoms are preferred. She should wear no ornaments but such as her intended husband or father may present her for the occasion; certainly no gift, if any such are retained, of any former suitor.
     The bridesmaids are generally younger than the bride, and should be dressed in white, but more simply than the bride. The bridegroom must be in full dress; that is, he must wear a black or blue dress coat, which, if he pleases, may be faced with white satin; a white vest, black pantaloons, and dress boots or pumps, with black silk stocking, white kid gloves, and a white cravat.

     Duties of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. - The bridegroom is attended by on or two groomsmen, who should be dressed in a similar manner. It is the duty of the bridesmaids to assist in dressing the bride, and making the necessary preparations for the guests. The chief groomsman engages the clergyman or magistrate, and upon his arrival introduces him to the bride and bridegroom, and the friends of the parties.

     Treatment of guests. - The invited guests, upon their arrival, are received as at other parties, and after visiting the dressing-rooms and arranging their toilets, they proceed to the room where the ceremony is to be performed. In some cases the marriage ceremony is performed before the arrival of the guests.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Art of Conversation: Gesture

Comprehends all movements of the body, and should be in accordance with the thought, which it is meant to enforce. The principal instruments employed are the head, arms, and hands. Pantomimic action at every word would be intolerable. Gesture, indeed, must be sparingly used; a mysterious action at the announcement of a simple idea, rude gestures in the midst of a friendly chit-chat, or the rapid movements of a person sitting or standing, who appears to be affected by St. Vitus' dance, are all offences against reason and good taste. He who wishes to please in conversation, must not neglect the art of gesture. It is not sufficient that he has a fine voice and speaks with expression: he must know when to give greater expression to his words by some graceful and appropriate movement, for there is nothing more fatiguing than the never varying motions of those automatons who seem to have neither soul nor sentiment.

Source: How to Shine in Society, or, The Art of Conversation: Containing its usages, laws, rules, application, and examples. (Glasgow: George Watson, 1860), 17-18.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Etiquette of Smoking

Rules for Lovers of the Weed.
Smoking - that is to say, the smoking of men - hardly comes under the rules of etiquette, most men will declare. It is second nature, so incessant and inevitable a companion to man that few would bear an argument on the subject of its hygienic properties, or its propriety.
But aside from health and propriety (says a writer on etiquette). It must be admitted that there are times and places when and where men should not smoke. The modification of old-fashioned rules in this regard has made the lines faint, it is true, and there is no book on etiquette that does not reprehend as "unbecoming a gentleman" smoking in drawing-rooms, boudoirs, dining-rooms, restaurants, where now men not only are allowed, and invited to smoke, but where highly respectable women have been known to join them.

When in Ladies' Society.
Gentlemen in this country do smoke, when at home, in the drawing-room and dining-room, there is no doubt about that; that is, when the women of the family do not object. Most women have a decided objection to bedroom smoking; and it is not a wise practice on any account to use up the freshness of bedroom air. But putting aside old-fashioned prejudices, and out-of-date "notions" as many sensible dislikes of women are called, a man should never smoke anywhere without first assuring himself that it is not disagreeable to the ladies in the room and in the house. A gentleman paying an afternoon visit should not smoke unless others begin, and even then it should be someone in authority, and not a younger brother, for instance, or a "cheeky" caller who leads him on. He should never smoke before the ladies have left the dining-room except in unusual instances; he should not smoke when anyone - with a real voice - is singing, for tobacco smoke is death to vocal success, and causes great discomfort to singers, whose throats, being highly trained, are proverbially sensitive.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Etiquette of Love, Courtship and Marriage III


It is generally admitted that the first affections are the strongest and purest, and if they meet with corresponding feelings and impressions, they are indelible, for neither time nor circumstances can efface them from the mind. How guarded therefore we should be in the bestowment of them. How carefully should we keep them under proper control. The happiest marriage are the result of first affections, if the parties are only guided by prudence and discretion. Nothing on earth is so pure and holy as "first love." When the youthful heart first yields to the tender impressions of unsophisticated love, it as nearly resembles the innocent 'condition of our first parents in paradise as any thing in this life can possibly approach to. 'What would not the loving object suffer for the object beloved?' Would persecution, or imprisonment, or death itself be regarded? No! Such are the first feelings of love in a  noble mind. How far removed from all low views and selfish calculations is a first attachment. It has an ideal existence of its own, free from the grosser parts of our nature - a fortuitous heaven. A first lvoe is the poetry of heaven, and radiates the mind with the atmosphere of light and beauty. Sometimes a passing cloud will darken for awhile the brightness of its azure, but it is swept away by the next balmy breeze, and instead of tarnishing the glory or diminishing the beauty of the picture, it leaves it more lovely than before.

Such are the effects of a first attachment upon the heart. How necessary to use care and caution lest they should be unworthily bestowed. The happiness of after life in a great measure depends upon a first love.

Source: T.E.G., The Etiquette of Love, Courtship, and Marriage (London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. ; Easingwold: Thomas Gill, 1847), 20-22.

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