Etiquette and noticing people

Hello friends! I am now 16 days away from marrying my best friend and I honestly can't believe how much planning a wedding has taught me. I never knew that dream weddings come with a higher emotional price tag than financial one or that it's possible to spend a half an hour staring at two different wrapping papers before deciding which one best communicates your appreciation for your bridesmaids. But what I was most surprised to learn was what a simple set of rules I learned as a child could truly mean to someone when used well.

When I entered 7th grade, I received a beautifully embossed letter in the mail inviting me to cotillion. My mother was very excited. I had no idea what it meant.

What it meant was that once a month during my 7th and 8th grade school years (you know...the years where I was especially graceful and eloquent) I would go to an evening class where I would learn how to be...graceful and eloquent...and also how to do the foxtrot. I would spend a few hours learning how to go through a receiving line, which fork to use when eating salad, and how to properly introduce one person to another. I would have homework each month where I would have to write proper thank you notes and practice making rsvp phone calls. I did all of this whilst wearing impossibly-to-keep-clean white gloves.

All of these lessons seemed important only if I were an upper class debutant preparing to be married off, which I was far from at age 13. I had counted the majority of these rules as outdated and unnecessary, only to be used to make the wealthy feel superior to the lower class individuals not invited to the club.

But as I began planning a wedding, many of these rules bubbled up to the forefront of my mind. In creating an environment that showcased mine and Jordan's love story, there were many decisions made that seem unconventional. Jordan and I chose the aspects of our wedding we felt mattered the most and discarded many "wedding traditions" we felt were unnecessary or not the right fit for the kind of wedding we are having. Our wedding will be charming, simple, and laid back. That meant sacrificing ushers, matching dresses, formal dancing, and toasts. Instead, we intend to honor each of our guests personally, thanking them for the powerful role they've each played in our story. We just want to love people.

Then I began to realize, that the rules of cotillion, when executed with the right heart, are similar to the "rules" of the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments are simply a way to love God and love people. The rules of cotillion are really a way to show love and respect to others. Welcoming people (everyone is greeted upon entering a gathering), thanking people (writing a letter of gratitude), and honoring the host (waiting for the host to begin eating before you begin). They all show that you notice those around you.

And noticing people is the best way to show them that they matter and are loved.

So while I don't care which fork you use and I don't care if your stationery has 3 holes and lines or is embossed, it's nice to create an environment where everyone is noticed. And I'm thankful for all the helpful noticing tips I received from cotillion.


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Posted in Thoughts From Melissa.