Monday, June 1, 2009

Wedding Planning Guide: Engagement (Part III)

Q. I will be getting married after graduation. My fiance and I attend different colleges. Must I refuse all offers to socialize this semester?
A. There is absolutely no need for you to sit home alone, but you should not have "twosome" dates, see the same person frequently or let an occasional meeting with one person lead to others of a more intimate nature.

Q. What should I call my fiance(e)'s parents?
A. The question of names is a truly sensitive one for many people, and thoughtfulness must be observed on both sides. If you don't know your fiance(e)'s parents well, you should continue to refer to them formally— Mr. and Mrs. Anderson— unless they specifically request you to use their first names or nicknames. If they do not bring up the subject and you feel uncomfortable, the best solution is an open discussion. If it seems too difficult a subject to bring up and a solution does not happen naturally, the safest compromise, during your engagement, is simply shortening "Mr. and Mrs. Anderson" to "Mr. and Mrs. A-"

Q. What is a trousseau?
A. According to the derivation of the word, a trousseau was the "little trousse" or "bundle" that the bride carried with her to the house of her husband. There are no rules today about how much clothing you should have in your personal trousseau. It depends entirely on your financial situation and the life that you and your fiance will be leading. If possible, you should plan to begin your marriage with a wardrobe sufficient to last you for one season, and preferably for one year, including the clothes that are currently in your wardrobe. The three new articles that every bride should have if she can possibly afford them are her wedding dress, her going-away clothes and a nightgown and negligee for her honeymoon.

Q. What should the basic household trousseau consist of?
A. As with a personal trousseau, a household trousseau depends entirely upon your financial situation and the life you will be leading once married. In general,-you will be very well equipped if you begin your marriage with the items in the following list.

Bed Linen (amounts are for each bed)
4 sheets for master bed (2 fitted lower sheets) 4 sheets for each guest bed (2 fitted lower sheets)
2 pillowcases (for each single bed; 4 for double or queen-sized bed)
1 blanket cover (optional)
2 quilted mattress pads 1 lightweight blanket 1 electric blanket or 2
and 1 comforter 1 bedspread

Bath Linen (quantities are for each bathroom) 4 large bath towels 4 matching hand towels 4 washcloths 4 guest towels 2 bath mats 1 shower curtain

6 sturdy dish towels 4 dishcloths or 2 sponges 4 potholders

Table Linen
1 damask, linen or lace tablecloth for formal entertaining
8 to 12 dinner napkins to match
2 or 3 yard-and-a-half square cotton or linen tablecloths for bridge or small tables (matching napkins optional)
1 or 2 sets of linen placemats with matching napkins (optional) 12 linen or cotton (preferably no-iron) napkins in neutral or several colors to go with odd placemats'or tablecloths you may be given
1 set (4 or 6) of everyday placemats (preferably plastic or easy-care).
1 set (6 or 8) of more elaborate placemats for use at informal parties
Large, paper dinner napkins
Cocktail napkins, paper or cloth

Q. How should linens be marked?
A. Ashley Elizabeth Hopewell, who will marry George Thomas Simpson, could have linen embroidered with her married initials or with her future husband's last initial.

When a bride chooses to keep her own name after marriage, the two last initials are used with a decorative device between. Naturally, linen that is monogrammed before an engagement is marked with the bride's maiden initials.

Q. Where are square linens marked? Rectangular ones?
A. Square tablecloths are marked in one corner midway between center and corner so that the monogram shows on the table.
Rectangular tablecloths are marked at the center or each long side midway between the table edge and the center of the cloth.

Very large damask napkins are marked in the center of one side, smaller ones in the corner-usually diagonally, but sometimes straight. To determine the best place to monogram napkins, fold one exactly as it will be folded for use and then make a light pencil outline in the center of the folded napkin.

Sheets are always marked with_the base of the letters toward the hem so that when the top is folded down, the letters can be read by a person standing at the front of the bed.

Pillowcases are marked approximately two inches above the hem.
Towels are marked so that the monogram is centered when the towels are folded in thirds and hung on the rack.

Q. What are the basic requirements for everyday dishes?
A. Usually, a complete set of 4 or 6 place settings of inexpensive china, stoneware, pottery or unbreakable plastic ware serves nicely as everyday dishes. It generally includes:

Dinner plates
Dessert plates (which do double duty as salad plates)
Cereal dishes (used also for soup, puddings, fruit, etc.)

Mugs or cups
Saucers if cups are chosen
Cream pitcher and sugar bowl
Optional: 2 platters and 2 vegetable dishes

Q. What does a typical place setting consist of?
A. Dishes for entertaining include:
  • Soup cup (two-handled, for both clear and cream soups)
  • Dinner plate
  • Salad plate (may double as a dessert plate)
  • Bread and butter plate
  • Cup
  • Saucer
  • Optional: cream soup plates, demitasse cups
Additional options are not a part of the individual place setting but do complete a set of china:
Cream pitcher and sugar bowl
Platters and vegetable dishes

Gravy boat
Sauce bowls for hollandaise, mayonnaise, etc.

Q. How should flatware be monogrammed?
A. Either a single letter—the initial of the groom's last name—or a triangle of letters is used for monogramming flatware. If the triangle of block letters is used, there are three variations that may be considered:

The last-name initial may go below with the first-name initials of the bride and groom above. When Samantha Adams Burns marries Henry Wilson Carter:
The flatware may be engraved with the bride's married initials:
Or with the last-name initial above and their two first-name initials below:
If a man is a "Junior," the "Jr." is not used when the initials form a design, as on flat silver.

Any initialing should be simple in style. Elongated Roman goes well on modern silver, and Old English is best on the more ornamented styles. Monograms have always been placed so that the top of the letter is toward the end of the handle. It appears upside down as seen by the diner at that place. Although this is traditional, it is acceptable to reverse the direction so that the initials are legible to the user, if you prefer.

Q. What exactly is a bridal registry and how should I use it?
A. This is a service provided by many stores as a help to you and to your friends and relatives who wish to send a gift. You and your groom visit the stores in your area and select items you would like to have, including your china, silver and glassware patterns. The store opens a file just for you, listing the items you have chosen. When friends shop in a store at which you have registered, the personnel assist them by showing them the things you have chosen. If a purchase is made from among the items you have indicated, that item is checked off so another friend will not duplicate the gift. As a courtesy to friends of varying means, select items in a range of prices.

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