Monday, February 8, 2010

Wedding Etiquette Circa 1974

A friend recently showed me a book she was (jokingly) gifted with after getting engaged this past fall.  It is serious and well-intentioned yet so unintentionally hilarious.

Carolyn Gibson's Complete Guide to Wedding Etiquette, published in 1974 (which is about exactly where it should stay.)

 It was pretty evident from the illustrations which era this book was published...

1974 Bridal fashion

A few choice excerpts (including my own commentary):

"It is best not to select a bridesmaid or Matron of honor who is noticeable pregnant, as some unavoidable attention is always focused on her..."

I saw a pregnant bridesmaid at a wedding this fall and she was radiantly gorgeous. Stupid rule and thankfully is rarely adhered to anymore. Celebrate those bumps, mamas!

"Small boys wear simple white Eton suits with short pants and white knee socks and white or black socks. Long pants or funny replicas of adult outfits are not appropriate."

Ha! Who knew it was innapprope to have your ring bearer wear long pants!

"If there is a bachelor party, it should be scheduled for two or three days before the wedding. It may be given by the groom, his parents, by the best man or or by the groomsmen."

Hmmmmm, apparently the author has never seen a little movie called "The Hangover."

Note the awesome 70's hairdos and the cheesy illustrations of the "required on every registry" items:

As hysterical as this book was, it also got me to thinking about how straightforward the rules seem in this book.  The author almost never offers an alternative to what is "done".  No wonder our grandmothers' expect one thing, our mothers' expect another and you just want to do what you want to do, gosh darnit!

The rules were strict back then, it seems.  I guess we really shouldn't be surprised when our grandmother's and mother's gasp, taken aback, at some of our "modern" wedding ideas (the mustache trend is a prime example of this!)  Ah, well, can ya blame 'em? I mean, look at all the rules they had to deal with.  It's not easy to realize the times have changed but all I can say is thank goodness they did!

Anyone else read or seen this book or something similar from the time period? How traditionally are you following etiquette rules?


  1. no...but i think the vintage illustrations are kinda cute!

    just wait until our daughters make fun of our "rules" and "customs!" you know it is bound to matter how rad and "timeless" we think our wedding vision is - it'll be dated and somewhat funny to our children :-)

  2. Your comment about the bachelor party is so true!

  3. Fantastic find! Loving that groom's hair style (not). Tons of visitors to my site tell me about people who still tell them what they can and can't do for their wedding ... just because they're pregnant ... like somehow they are second class citizens. Thought that attitude went out with the ark, but oh no! It's still alive and kicking in some quarters!
    Thanks for making me smile ...

  4. Flippin' hilarious! I cannot even believe those type of 'rules.' Actually, our tuxedo shop told us that the ring bearers are supposed to wear the same thing as the groom (mini versions of him). Funny how things change over time. And ladies are always ending up pregnant in weddings nowadays.

    I am a huge anti-traditional etiquette person. I say etiquette shmetiquette! The only one tru thing that I stick to for etiquette guidelines is not including your registry information in your wedding invitations. I believe it should be saved for shower invites or offered via wedding web sites, e-mails or when guests call a family or WP member to ask where the couple is registered. I just think it comes across as begging for gifts when you put it in your invites. But that's just me :)

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