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white tie and tails in the morning? EGAD!

Dear Mr Postmanners:

My partner and I have been living together for five years, and last week, he proposed to me! I was so thrilled! We would like to have a nice, simple garden wedding. What we would like to know is, what exactly constitutes a small wedding? How many and what types of invitations should we send out? How many people can we get away with not inviting? What sorts of preparations do we need to make?

Also, we would both like to wear white tie and tails for our wedding, which we hope will take place around eleven in the morning. Is this allowable?

We very much look forward to hearing your advice.

Sincerely, Committed in Cuyahoga County.


Dear Committed

One has not had such a difficult question to answer in at least a day or two.

First, a small wedding is one of those highly variable events. One has seen small weddings with as many as three hundred people. One has also seen weddings where only the parents of the participants, as well as the best man and woman of honor were present. Reasonably speaking (and weddings are seldom reasonable), anything smaller than 150 people is a "small" wedding.

Invitations should always be issued upon white cards, with engraved printing. ENGRAVED, do you hear? None of this "embossed" nonsense. One has had to speak quite sternly to one's friends when one has received embossed invitations; after all, one's friends should know better than to send embossed invitations to ONE, given One's profession. And One advises you to acquire several invitations more than you think you will need, as it is almost inevitable, once the guest list goes over two, that you will later remember people that you originally left off the list, and to whom you simply MUST send invitations.

As for the white tie and tails .... well .... One supposes that it is your wedding, after all. But you would not catch One in White tie and tails ... well, ever, if one could avoid it. Certainly not at a daylight gathering, in any event. As you say you have been living together for some years, One hopes that at least you can find off-white, for obvious reasons. (Properly speaking, for a wedding at that hour, you should wear morning coat and pinstriped pants. But One understands that you have dreams, that you have envisioned your wedding a certain way ... One had envisioned a happy life with one's first love, after all. Not that One is not happy in one's current life, of course, with one's social secretary and one's occasional dalliances, solitary and otherwise .... Not that one dallies solitarily, of course. Not at weddings, in any event.)

Yours sincerely,

Mr PostManners

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