Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Second wedding or vowel renewal?


Hi there, we eloped overseas to get married and it was horrid! Firstly the celebrant mucked us around, then the reception venue fell through because the resteraunt had changed hands and they had no record of us and lastly my family and friends couldn't make the trip because of last minute financial problems which only left his immediate family whom I don't really get along with :( So I've decided I would like to have another wedding or vowel renewal not sure which ones appropriate with all the trimmings and guest. My mother in law said I should wait 3 years  because that's when your suppose to renewal your vowels? Is this right and what's the dos and donts?


Dear Jazz:

I am so sorry to hear about the disappointment associated with your wedding. You label that experience "an elopement", a concept that usually means a couple has chosen to avoid the pomp and circumstance, family dynamics and expense of a formal wedding.  The fact that few people could attend should not have been a surprise to you. The other mishaps were, of course, out of your control and extremely unfortunate. But life throws us curve balls, and how we deal with them is a testament to our character.

In order to include more family members and friends and to have a more memorable celebration of your marriage, I recommend that you give a party on the occasion of your first anniversary. Don't call the event a "second wedding" or a "renewal of vows" (I agree with your mother-in-law that it is too soon for that), but merely a party to celebrate your marriage or anniversary.  You and your husband must pay for this party yourselves; you cannot expect a financial do-over from your families. The party can be formal, and you may wear your wedding dress, if you wish. Have a tiered cake and take lots of photographs. Do not register for gifts nor mention gifts on the party invitation, or it will appear as if you are prospecting for presents.  Merely explain to all that you want to share your happiness with your near and dear. If guests feel inclined to bring a gift, so be it.

Wishing you every happiness in your marriage.

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Nancy Mitchell


Social etiquette; Business etiquette; Entertaining etiquette; Wedding etiquette; Protocol, domestic (US) and international; Flag etiquette; Dining etiquette; Restaurant etiquette; Spa etiquette; Travel etiquette


Nancy R. Mitchell is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol consultant and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in the field. She owns the firm The Etiquette Advocate and is an owner and founding partner of the firm Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses in the School of Business and the Career Center, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was director of special events and protocol at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other distinguished visitors, galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, Mitchell served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, embassies, academia and corporations.

Protocol and Diplomacy - International Protocol Association

Mitchell is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by CNN, ABC Nightline, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the Associated Press and Washingtonian magazine, has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News and National Public Radio, and is an etiquette columnist for, etiquette consultant to Alexandria Woman and to Engaged! magazine, and technical editor of Wedding Etiquette for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

B.S., University of Utah, 1969

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