Miss Manners Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding, by Judith Martin & Jacobina Martin
Miss Manners would definitely not approve of the most recent wedding invitation I received. Let me count the ways. It was addressed to me "and guest". It's a rather over-the-top tri-fold shiny invite with a photograph of the happy couple, all tied up with a ribbon. The enclosure, in addition to providing a map of the location and information on hotels (good), listed two registry websites, one of which was to donate to the honeymoon, and the URL to the couple's wedding website (bad).
From general principles ("value dignity above self-glorification", "choose guests through bonds of family and friendship and try to arrange matters so these people will enjoy themselves", "do not live beyond your means and do not expect to be reimbursed by the guests") to specifics of the wording of invitations in a variety of situations and on to troubleshooting, Miss Manners and her equally mannerly daughter have provided an essential guide to creating a wedding that will be enjoyed, and remembered fondly, by all. Not only that, but these principles have been tested, and not found wanting, first by Miss Manners at her own wedding, ten years ago at her son's, and most recently at that of her daughter and co-author.
The style of the book will be familiar to admirers of Miss Manners' column and previous books, combining narrative with responses to letters she has received. Much of the advice she gives is nothing she has not addressed before, but her usual witty style keeps it fresh, and it all bears repeating. It is, unfortunately, obvious that it is still needed. It is hard to decide which money grab mentioned was more astonishing, the bride who wanted people to pay for the costs of her adopting a child or the one who included her bank deposit slip in the invitation!
The minute you hear that someone you know is engaged, give her this book (note, however, that "engagement presents" are not obligatory!) and hope it is not too late for her to heed Miss Manners' words: "Behaving well has its own rewards."