Hi all on the etiquette board,
I just wanted to share the sweetest thing and hope that it serves as a case for taking etiquette--and above all, just plain being considerate--to heart for those to-be-spouses when planning your weddings.
Before our thank you letters were even finished, we received a thank you note in the mail. It was for the "priviledge" of being at our wedding from two of our more mature guests whose children married years ago! They went in to great detail about all of the things which inspired them. These are artistic and very religious people. Our wedding wasn't particularly artistic and while it was heartfelt, communal, and maybe even spiritual, it was certainly not religious.
Obviously, we were touched through and through. We planned our wedding to be as hospitable as possible (and that included the obvious big ones: serving only the alcohol we could afford--no cash bar, gaps, carelessly sitting people with archenemies, inviting half of a couple only, tiered anything, etc.). We thought we did a decent job. People enthusiastically grinned and were genial (even the ones who don't normally get along). They had to get kicked out when the caterers were trying to break down the tables. They were so busy talking that the usual dancers were too distracted to dance. Our parents looked not just pleased, but proud. People gave us a few compliments in the heat of the moment. How much of that was real? Was it all as sincere as we wanted to believe?
Since then, we've continued to hear so many compliments and good will from people (many of whom direct the compliments to our parents, actually!) about what a fantastic time they had. And that letter pretty much sealed the deal in our minds. Hey, for the first major party we ever planned, financed, and threw--we did great!
I'm not writing just to give us a pat on the back, although, it feels pretty great after all the stress of planning!! We too had to make hard choices about the guest list; we wrangled over that for a year. We needed to often say "no" to ourselves and do a lot of research. I AM writing to say: take etiquette seriously. The ceremony is for you; the party is for them. Find a way to make the location and time as convenient for the masses as possible. Look happy--that shouldn't be hard! Avoid gaps. Have food--enough food--and tasty food goes a long way. Seat loved ones together, but also match up personalities. Invite that 2-weeks-to-go new boyfriend if you possibly can. Greet every single person who arrives (and yes--if you are determined, this is possible without a dreaded receiving line. But you *have* to be determined). Compliment them. Thank them. Host people properly and they will not only have a great time and make friends, they will actually take notice of the little details and decisions you slaved over for hours and which you thought were only for your benefit. Use your heart and your mind when making decisions. Throughly do your etiquette research and it will turn up those over-looked things. Make them feel appreciated and loved. In return, that love and appreciation comes back to you x100.
Best wishes, best of luck to you all!!
Then happy I, that love and am
Where I may not remove nor be removed.
--William Shakespeare (Sonnet 25)