Best Wishes Dilemma

I found myself discussing wedding etiquette with some much younger colleagues at work the other day. I thought I was oh so clever for signing out of my comments for the day with “best wishes” and asked my coworkers if they knew why I did. I got blank stares of total confusion from each of them.

When I was younger and started going to weddings, it was considered rude to “congratulate” the bride. You could congratulate the groom, but you always gave the bride “best wishes”. By doing this you avoided making the bride feel as though she finally snagged a husband. It was not, apparently, inappropriate to congratulate the groom on the theory that he had in fact snagged the prize of a beautiful and sweet woman.

I heard this rule from a variety of people, from my Mom to my friends to everyone in between. The young people I work with, however, seem to see nothing wrong with saying congratulations to both the bride and groom.

I wonder what Emily Post would say?

Best wishes, Barbara