The Day That Commitment Ceremonies Made It Into The Etiquette Books!

peggy-post.jpgMy mom has always been a connoisseur of etiquette tips and even has some old vintage Emily Post etiquette reference books. She even gave me an Emily Post etiquette book (I don’t think it was a hint!), which was published in the 50s. Some of the social context described is laughably outdated and the cover is awfully tattered, but it still makes for a great read.
So imagine my fun when I met Peggy Post (granddaughter-in-law of Emily Post), and current custodian of Emily’s etiquette craft, at the Association of Bridal Consultant’s Conference a few weeks ago. I was amazed to learn what a dynamic art etiquette is, as I had mistakenly assumed that etiquette hawks lived in the days of my old tattered edition of “Etiquette.”
We were fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of her upcoming book, Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, which will be released in January. I figured I’d be doing the usual mental math to translate heterosexual wedding traditions into gay wedding tips for my clients, but found instead that I need not make the effort. Peggy had done it for us!
Here’s what she has to say about Commitment Ceremonies in her new book:
Ceremonies celebrating the partnerships of gay and lesbian couples are planned much the same way as heterosexual weddings. The current, nearly universal lack of legal status affects some aspects of the engagement and ceremony — notably the absence of a marriage license, mandated health testing, and a marriage certificate signed by a licensed officiant and witnesses — but in no way limits the joy of the couple and those who share their happiness.
There isn’t any one-size-fits-all formula for telling family and friends about an engagement and impending union ceremony. Each situation is personal, and couples have to be guided by their knowledge of the people involved. Reactions can range from unfettered delight, to concern about the public nature of a ceremony (even when families apporve of the relationship), to rejection and outright hostility. But patience is a virtue to be cultivated; a negative initial reaction may be transformed when family and friends have time to consider their true feelings. There may be people who never accept the union, but couples should try to give their loved ones the opportunity to come around.

Wow, Peggy! I couldn’t have said this any better myself.

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