Miss SOS (Save Our Sanity)

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Planning my wedding is driving me crazy.

Never fear – Miss SOS is here. Miss SOS (Save Our Sanity) specializes in saving sanities especially for Brides, Grooms, mothers and mothers-in-law. Plus, Miss SOS is a noted expert on etiquette and can sort out a vast array of knotty and uncomfortable issues from family dynamics to “I can’t believe I got this gift.” And, to see what other topics Miss SOS has addressed, check out the Miss SOS Archives!

Miss SOS is also available to speak at your company or business on “Manners Around the Water Cooler”. Business etiquette is paramount in order to achieve success. In a world where our coworkers and clients are as likely to come from the other side of the globe as the other side of town, changes both subtle and radical are necessary in our manners. Miss SOS’ fun interactive presentation provides advice and guidelines relevant to our business lives today including office decorum, business calls and introductions, entertaining and networking, cyberspace courtesies, and conducting business out of your home.

To learn more, contact Miss SOS at hazel@hazellbowman.com.

Dear Miss SOS:

Our budget is limited and so at the wedding reception we plan on serving champagne for the toast to the wedding party only. Is this OK?

Please, you’re making Miss SOS hair curl. If one cannot afford something special for one’s guests, one does not consume that very thing in front of them. Nor does one invite certain people and then treat them like they are second-class citizens. If you can’t afford champagne, serve a sparkling non-alcoholic beverage for the toast.

Dear Miss SOS:

At a wedding reception I attended recently, I felt uncomfortable as I watched the Bride sit on the Best Man’s lap giving him a “lap-dance” while the Groom removed her garter with his teeth. Is this now considered appropriate?

The only thing appropriate was your feeling uncomfortable witnessing this unsuitable display of poor behavior. Sadly, it has been Miss SOS experience that the people involved knew it wasn’t correct and didn’t care.

Dear Miss SOS:

I am a business woman in my late twenties, financially and professionally independent, getting married for the first time. So why is my father asked “Who gives this woman to this man?”

Miss SOS understands your sentiment. Many Brides find certain words and phrasings of the wedding ceremony to be archaic in today’s time and culture (the most obvious is if the vows include the word “obey”.) The custom of the Bride’s father walking her down the aisle originated in Medieval Europe because the Bride was seen as property given over to her new master. That is also why a Bride took her husband’s name. Today, a father escorts his daughter down the aisle as gesture of parental support.

Miss SOS does not intrude in the teachings or practices of any church, temple, or synagogue, deferring to the priest, minister, or rabbi in such matters. However, if there is no objection by the religious officiant, suggest a simple re-wording to “Who supports the union of this woman to this man in marriage?” The response would be the same (“I do; her mother and I do; her family and friends gathered here today do”) and is more in keeping to your point of view.

Dear Miss SOS:

My parents died quite some time ago and I was raised by my grandmother. Is it OK for her to walk me down the aisle?

Miss SOS cannot think of anything more lovely than to have your grandmother escort you.

Dear Miss SOS:

What is the difference between a Bridesmaid and a Junior Bridesmaid? Does it have to do with their friendship or family relationship to the Bride? I need to know soon as I want to appoint different people in the wedding party. 

Appoint different people? Miss SOS is not sure she understands your meaning and prefers to keep it that way. “People” – consisting of loved family members or close friends – participating in the wedding party are not appointed; they are graciously asked if they would provide you the honor in serving as your Maid of Honor/Bridesmaids/Groomsmen/etc.

Junior Bridesmaids are young girls, generally between the ages of eight and fourteen, who are too old (or big) to be flower girls and too young to be regular Bridesmaids. They attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (accompanied by their parents) but are not necessarily included in other pre-wedding festivities (like a bridal shower) although their mothers are invited

Dear Miss SOS:

I have asked my best friend to attend me at the altar. She’s divorced. Is she to be called my Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor?

Miss SOS is trying to find a delicate way to phrase this but a lady can only be a maiden once. The correct title for your best friend’s station is Matron of Honor.

Dear Miss SOS:

Why do brides treat guests like they’re four-year olds by assigning tables that they are to sit at during the reception? I was seated at an event where I didn’t know anyone and would have preferred sitting at a table of my choosing.

The reason Brides treat guests like children is because guests become very childlike at wedding receptions. Miss SOS has actually seen guests rush into a ballroom, tip chairs onto table edges to save seats, argue over who is to sit where while feeling no responsibility towards any wallflowers at the party, rearrange place settings so there’s 11 at the table rather than 10, and so on.

Seating arrangements are tricky at best. Family dynamics must be taken into account in addition to any work colleagues and friends that may be attending. The Bride paid you a high compliment knowing that she could trust seating you at a table of strangers, allowing you to make the acquaintance of family or friends you had not yet had the pleasure to meet.

PrescottWeddings.com FREE e-zine series “Making It Happen” is one of the best tools Miss SOS can recommend. It helps you plan your timeline, provides valuable hints on how to cut the cost and not the dream, lets you know what questions you should be asking, and gives other great information. Subscribe online here. 

Have a question? Write Miss SOS at hazel@hazellbowman.com