Socially Yours: Seven Surprisingly Strict Wedding Etiquette Rules From Emily Post

Feb 15, 2022 at 04:02 pm by RMGadmin

By Jess Catcher, Courtesy of

Emily Post was renowned for her advice for behaving properly in society, especially when it came to the sometimes tricky realm of wedding etiquette. Most of us know the basics when it comes to the usual rules and traditions couples follow on their big day, but you might be surprised by just how strict Emily was when it came to her expectations for perfectly planned nuptials. 

Couples nowadays tend to buck pretty much all of these seemingly outdated rules — though they were as good as law back when Emily wrote them in 1922 in Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home. Take a look at the many surprisingly restrictive wedding rules she was famous for dishing out.  You might even learn just how many of them you or your loved ones have broken on your own wedding days.  

1. You Should Not Omit Inviting Friends Just Because They’re Poor: 

Obviously, most modern couples aren’t so gift-oriented that they would stoop to such tactics, but apparently it was a big enough issue back in the day for Emily to issue this “word of warning.”

2. The Groom’s Family Should Never Pay A Single Cent For the Reception: 

Couples today have no qualm sharing the financial load of the wedding day between them (though perhaps with some help from both sides of the family), but Emily was steadfastly against the idea. In fact, she lists this as the “one unalterable rule,” saying further that “never under any circumstances should a wedding reception be given at the house of the groom’s family.” 

3. The Bride Should Use A Stand-In at Rehearsal: 

Although Emily explains that the bride is in charge of the whole ordeal, she also claims that the future missus should never actually take part in it herself. Instead, she should use a “pseudo-bride” to go through the motions in her place. 

4. The Best Man Should Have the Busiest Job:  

She claims the best man’s role is the most difficult on the day-of, describing them as a “cross between trained nurse, valet, general manager and keeper.” According to her, this means that his job entails keeping his “patient” (the groom) from getting too nervous by “jolly[ing] him along as best he can” while simultaneously delivering the bride and groom’s luggage to wherever they will be spending their first night as husband and wife. 

5. Bridesmaids Are to Match Each Other Precisely:  

Although the color between each of the ladies can vary, Emily’s rules state that the texture and model must be exact replicas of the same design. She also says that the bride makes the selection of dress “without considering or even consulting them as to their taste or preference.” 

6. The Bride Should Arrive Late for The Ceremony:

 For the “perfectly managed wedding,” Emily claims a bride should arrive one minute after the hour in order to give the latecomers a chance to find their place before her march begins.

7. Widows Should Not Have Bridesmaids When Remarrying:  

They’re less necessary since, according to Emily, she won’t be bothered to wear a dress with a long train — and it of course most certainly won’t be white, or feature orange blossoms on it, as those are emblems of virginity. Instead, they should don a “traveling dress” or other more casual design. She should also keep the ceremony small since her bare procession will do little to impress any guests — that is, unless “she is beautiful enough to compensate for all that is missing.”

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