Engagement Presents & Proper Manners

Have you ever wondered if engagement presents are customary and acceptable?Well, the giving of engagement presents by anyone other than Mark to Caroline is not customary and should not be encouraged. It is entirely a matter of personal inclination but certainly the parents and immediate families of Caroline and Mark are usually the only ones to give Caroline such presents (other than her fiance). If they are given, it should be only at a small, informal engagement announcement party where only the immediate families and close relatives are present.

And if Caroline and Mark exchange engagement presents, what is appropriate?

Since the engagement present from Mark is, traditionally, the engagement ring, any other present he gives Caroline, as well as any she gives him, should be selected for sentimental, keepsake reasons, and their choice governed by the most conventional good taste. Simple jewellery, precious or costume, furs (but never a fur coat), hand bags, luggage cases, books, are all appropriate for Caroline, and she could give Mark, with equal propriety, a cigarette case, ring, etc. But anything remotely classified as wearing apparel, intimate or utilitarian, automobiles, furniture, etc., are unreservedly taboo. If engagement gifts are made at all, they should be not too elaborate and not too intimate.

How should engagement presents be acknowledged? Caroline must send thank-you notes (hand-written on personal writing paper) to everyone from whom she receives a present (except Mark!). These notes should be mailed right after the present is received, and should be sent even though she has thanked the giver verbally.

Have you ever wondered how to use the terms Fiance or Fiancee. When Caroline and Mark have occasion to speak of the other what form do they use? In speaking of each other to friends or relatives, use the first name: “Caroline,” “Mark;” to strangers say “my fiancee,” “my fiance.”

Now what about Long Engagements? In the case of a long engagement, when Caroline and Mark must be separated, is it permissible for each to attend social events? Yes, provided they conduct themselves carefully, with strict observance of conventions.

Are there any rules about Manners for Engaged Couples?

Is there any relaxing of conventions for engaged couples? An engaged couple observes the same rules of propriety that are socially acceptable for any single man or woman. They do not stay overnight together under one roof unless some older person is also in the house. They may travel unchaperoned on the same plane, or train, or aboard the same ship, even though the trip is overnight: with separate berths. They would not be likely to travel in an automobile alone on an overnight trip. Good judgment and good taste will guide them correctly.

Engaged couples should watch their manners in public and reserve any demonstration of affection for each other for private moments.

And what about a broken engagement? How should you deal with that? What is the correct procedure when an engagement is broken? If an announcement has already appeared in the newspapers, a second notice should be sent announcing that the engagement has been broken.

Legally, the engagement ring belongs to the bride. Most people agree that a bride shows better taste to return it and any presents given her by the groom, if the engagement is called off. Should he ask her to keep the ring, she naturally wears it on her right hand from then on or possibly has the setting changed. In the event of a fiancees death, an heirloom engagement ring, or any other heirloom should be returned to his mother (or family) unless the girl is specifically asked to keep it. An engagement ring not an heirloom, or other presents from her fiance, need not be returned.
Note: A girl should realize that engagement means “intention to marry” on the part of two people and that when one or the other of the two discovers that he or she can no longer go ahead with this “intention” with a whole heart, there is no disgrace involved. It is much better to break an engagement than to proceed with doubt. A broken engagement is easier to heal than a divorce later.

What about if the Father’s Approval Is refused. What is the procedure if Caroline’s father disapproves of the marriage?

First, Caroline must decide whether she will disregard his wishes and marry anyway. If she decides to marry, the wedding will have to be informal, sponsored by another relative, or by herself. Although quiet, her wedding may still be beautiful, a memory to cherish through her years of married life.

Note: While in an earlier day a father, upon refusing consent to the marriage, might forbid the mother and other members of the immediate family to attend the wedding if his daughter disregarded his “commands,” now the disapproving parents usually attend the wedding, at least.

Comments are closed.