etiquette: good manners, common sense – or a nuisance?
There’s a school of thought that says that in certain circumstances – weddings being one of them – a set of rules define acceptable social behaviour. Call it tradition, convention or ettiquette, some people (especially older generations) believe it’s compulsory, while others find it out of date, tiresome, and sometimes even downright rude – the very thing, of course, that it’s intended not to be. The tradition of displaying wedding gifts, for instance, would now more often than not seem a little tactless, even though it was once considered the height of good manners.
Nonetheless, some of the smartest advocates of etiquette tell us it’s simply there to help. It can give a practical structure to the day, be a guide in a dilemma, help ensure that people know what to expect, and feel thought-of and valued at a time when, in truth, there’s just too much to think about. Looked at the other way, it can serve as a reliable reference point, freeing you up to focus on something new, unique, personal or exciting. So see tradition and etiquette as your friends, but not ones you have to stick to like glue; and keep them to hand, without letting them get in the way. ‘It’s another word for good manners,’ says Bob Grosse, Secretary of the Guild of Professional Toastmasters. ‘It’s not there to spoil anyone’s day.’ The trick is to approach etiquette intelligently, think it through – then sometimes even dump it.