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Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding Hardcover – January 11, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding
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  • Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette, 6e
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  • A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

How to insert humor into the often deadly dull prose that details wedding niceties? Ask Miss Manners’ daughter to coauthor the collection of advice; Chicago improvisational teacher Jacobina, along with her mom-author (Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, 1979) Judith, writes a disarmingly dry yet wonderfully funny account of the dos and don’ts for getting married. Every conceivable subject gets its space, including the absolutely right (and wrong) proposal, avoiding the “bridezilla” factor, coping with invitations, chief responsibilities of the parties in the wedding, and the three terrible ideas: weddings as (choose one) “my day,” fund-raiser, or show biz. A question-and-answer format usually follows each major block of content; it’s here where the authors let loose their humor. An amuse-bouche that, despite its humor, provides more than a dollop of great common sense. --Barbara Jacobs

About the Author

Jacobina Martin teaches improvisational comedy at Chicago’s Second City and just married Ronald Kroll.

Judith Martin, born a perfect lady in an imperfect society, is the author of the “Miss Manners” columns and best-selling books, two novels, and a travel book on Venice. She and her husband live in Washington, DC.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 15596th edition (January 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393069141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393069143
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a review of "Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding," and also a comparison of this book to "Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette" by Peggy Post.

First and foremost, it seems obvious, but don't buy this book if you don't like Miss Manners' style of writing. Many newspapers run a Miss Manners column, you can use the "Look inside this book" Amazon feature, or you can Google for "advice by Miss Manners" for some sample columns. People tend to either love or hate Miss Manners - I personally find her very arch and witty, but I have friends who feel her dry tone and third-person self-references to be intolerably snooty.

Much of this book is a reprisal of "Miss Manners on Painfully Proper Weddings," so if you have that book already I'm not sure you need to buy this one as well. The only particular advice I can remember that has been updated for modern times is that Miss Manners tolerates the discreet inclusion of registry information on a wedding website. Other than that, the advice is much the same.

In comparison to Emily Post's "Wedding Etiquette", "Wedding Etiquette" is more of a general guide for wedding planning, with some etiquette advice thrown in, whereas Miss Manners' book is mostly about etiquette, with little advice on wedding planning. Whether this is good or bad for you depends on whether you are already getting that planning advice from elsewhere. For example, Post's "Wedding Etiquette" has a very long section on different ways to word the invitation (depending on who is hosting, etc), whereas "Surprisingly Dignified Wedding" has a much shorter section for this.
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Format: Hardcover
Many people seem to view Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, as a snobbish, overly fork-preoccupied type intent on making people follow unnecessary and picky rules. This is utterly wrong. Judith Martin has made it abundantly clear throughout her etiquette career that she finds forks uninteresting (if there are several next to your plate, start with the outside one), and believes that the point of etiquette is to "make people happy, or at least to prevent them from shoving each other." She is also--as is particularly evident to anyone who has seen her speak--very funny.

Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding is an updated version of an earlier book on weddings, with her recently-married daughter Jacobina Martin added as co-author. It's an invaluable guide to what is truly important at a wedding, what is not important, and what is actually rude. Hair-raising stories abound from all sides: hosts who ignore their guests, ask them to pay for their own food (or simply to deposit money into the couple's bank account), and who treat the wedding as a kind of show business production; clerics who joke throughout the ceremony; guests who refuse to reply to invitations, demand to be allowed to bring friends, or accept the invitation and then fail to show up.

In a world of rapidly declining manners and rapidly increasing friction, Judith Martin draws a roadmap for people who want to live together without offense, and sets a standard for a society in which people are genuinely civil to each other.
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Format: Hardcover
I own Judith Martin's larger book, Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior and was delighted to get a chance to read her Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding, though the time for it to be any use to me is past, as my sister's marriage occurred last month.

Readers unfamiliar with Judith Martin's shtick seem perpetually unaware that someone who styles herself "Miss Manners" is in on the joke. Like the larger volume, the bulk of the wedding book teaches etiquette through primly sarcastic response to reader questions, not exposition. Questions from Gentle Readers consume a larger portion of the book than the full etiquette guide. There are very few instructions on what to do or explanation of traditions. If you are curious about wedding customs or what should be done at weddings, don't expect to find that information here! Miss Manners assumes you already know the broad outline of how weddings are conducted, and the book focuses on what is rude. I haven not read Miss Manners On Weddings, so I have no basis for comparison with that.

One could sum of the bulk of this book in three words: "get over yourself". More specifically if you already knew the following, you need not purchase the book:

-Thank you cards are mandatory and should be written immediately.
-The wedding couple should not be concerned about their guests spend their money if they are moved to do so.
-The venue and food at the reception should be determined by figuring out the wedding budget then dividing that by the number of people you wish to share the day with. Cutting the guest list to afford a nicer venue or dinner is not appropriate- the food should be scaled down accordingly. Serve punch and cake alone if necessary.
-Cash bars are rude.
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