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Trip to altar still guided by do's, don'ts

Second of two etiquette stories

September 7, 2019 Weddings

Lizzie Post is the great-great-granddaughter of the original etiquette arbiter Emily Post. Lizzie Post applies her great-great-grandmother's principles of being considerate, respectful and honest in trying to clear some of the confusion surrounding 21st century wedding etiquette.

Continuing her guidance in the path to the altar is Lizzie Post, co-president of the Emily Post Institute and co-host the Awesome Etiquette podcast.

Spanning five generations, this family business maintains and evolves the standards of etiquette that Emily Post, the original etiquette arbiter, established with her seminal book “Etiquette” in 1922.

According to Lizzie Post, Emily Post's great-great-granddaughter, though times have changed, the principles of good manners remain constant. Being considerate, respectful and honest is more important than knowing which fork to use.

Speaking to the Eagle from the institute's Vermont headquarters, Post tried to clear some of the confusion around wedding etiquette.

QUESTION: Do we have to send paper invitations to be taken seriously.

POST: “Paper invitations are absolutely still the way to invite people. Emailed invites are still considered unacceptable.”

QUESTION: Do we still have to have a wedding registry?

POST: “Absolutely, with a range of prices. They make life easier for guests for sure.”

QUESTION: Can we include information about our registry on our invitations?

POST: “No, never. The only thing on an invitation is who, what, when, where and why. Never put gift information on an invitation. It takes the focus from the invitation and instead sends the message 'Here's what we are hoping you give us.'”

QUESTION: Do we need a wedding website?

POST: “It can be incredibly helpful. It is a place to list your registry, put hotel information and share anything else you find pertinent.”

QUESTION: Are guests required to bring a gift?

POST: “Yes, they don't have to bring it, but they can send it before or after the wedding. Check with the couple to see what is most convenient.

“Required is a strong word there, grasshopper. It's recommended that guests bring a wedding gift, but I'm pretty sure you'd rather have them there than have a toaster. Also, the idea that gifts need to cover the cost of the meal is false. Make sure you have $10 and $20 items on your registry for the broke (but loving) folks.”

QUESTION: Can you wear white or black to a wedding?

POST: “These days you can wear black to a wedding, so feel free to find the perfect little black dress. However, if the bride (or brides) is wearing white, you shouldn't wear white. (And frankly, if she's wearing red, you probably shouldn't wear red. Or blue …) In short: give the couple their moment.”

QUESTION: Will people really leave after the couple cut the cake?

POST: “Yes they will. It signals to folks they have stayed for all the traditions.”

QUESTION: Do we have to send thank you notes?

POST: “The short answer is: yes, within three months and never printed always handwritten. “If someone brought a gift to your wedding, they need to be thanked. If that someone is under 30 and casual in nature, thank them however you see fit. Text? Snapchat? Instagram tag? If that's how the two of you comfortably communicate, it's fine to express your gratitude that way. However, if your gift-giver is over 30, you probably need to send a card on paper with an actual stamp.”

Eric Freehling

Eric Freehling

Eric was born in Butler and grew up in Winfield Township. He graduated from Knoch High School and later Indiana University of Pa. with a degree in Journalism. After working as a reporter and editor with the Kittanning Leader-Times, he moved to Bloomington, Illinois, where he worked at The Pantagraph newspaper as a copy editor, page designer, reporter and business editor. Freehling later worked at the Houston Chronicle as senior copy editor and the Chicago Tribune as a copy editor on the business desk. He moved back to Pennsylvania in 2010 and joined the Butler Eagle as Community Editor in January 2011.