Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wedding Guest Etiquette

We all know that Brides want to follow Wedding Etiquette, but did you know that there is etiquette to followed when you are a guest at a wedding?


I love this recent article in Southern Living Weddings "The Complete Guide to Being a Perfectly Southern Wedding Guest."

Before the Wedding
RSVP as soon as possible
Once you have your invitation in hand, make note of the RSVP date, and send your response as far in advance as you can. Better yet, if you already know you're attending, turn around and drop the RSVP card in the mail immediately!  If you don't R.s.v.p., people will remember!
Respect the guest list 
If you're single and the bride and groom would like you to bring a guest, your invitation will say "and guest," or they will call you ahead of time to see whom you'd like to bring and address the invitation accordingly. Children are invited if the invitation lists their names or says "and family." For heaven's sake, don't call the couple and ask to bring people they didn't invite—that's uncomfortable for everyone.  I had to remind my single brother of this rule recently...he was about to commit a wedding guest etiquette faux pas by bringing a date!
Utilize the resources the couple provides 
Read the couple's wedding website thoroughly before asking questions about travel or schedules. If you really can't find information you need, try contacting the mother of the bride or a member of the bridal party before asking the bride or groom directly, especially in the weeks and days leading up to the wedding.  Try not to bother the Bride...she's aready in a big tizzy.
At the ceremony
Be mindful of the dress code
This will often be specified on the wedding website, but if not, make an educated guess using the invitation, venue, and time of day as guides. A sundress and wedges are probably fine for an afternoon barn wedding, but an evening ballroom wedding requires at least a cocktail dress. When in doubt, dress up. Many guests look forward to weddings as opportunities to look their very best, and we love this tradition! Additionally, pay special attention to the attire guidelines for ceremonies held in houses of worship.  Make sure you know the difference between White Tie and Black Tie...White Tie--for the men, black dress tailcoat with matching slacks, white wing-collard shirt with cuff links, white vest, and black patent shoes with black socks.  For the the ladies--a floor-length gown.  Black Tie--for the men, black tuxedo jacket and matching slacks, formal white shirt with cuff links, black bow tie, black cummerbund, and black patent shoes with black socks. For the ladies--floor-length gown or dressy cocktail dress.
Don't wear white
Unless the bride and groom expressly ask you to wear white, don't do it. Some people consider this rule out of date, because no one will mistake a guest for the bride, but even if you know the bride won't mind, it's very likely that other guests will find your choice of attire rude or disrespectful. With all of the beautiful and colorful options available today, leave the white sundress at home for this one.  I am old-fashioned and still follow this rule and I don't wear red or black to a wedding either...that's just me!
Arrive at least 15 minutes (and up to a half hour) before the ceremony 
Give yourself time to park your car, pick up your program, and take your seat without even a chance of running into the bride before her walk down the aisle! Weddings are one occasion where there is no such thing as fashionably late. If you do arrive after the specified time despite your best efforts, an usher may be able to direct you inside at an appropriate time. If not, wait for a "louder" part of the ceremony, such as a hymn, before quietly seating yourself in the back.  Yes please be on time!
Put your camera and cell phone away (on silent)
Many couples now specifically request "unplugged" ceremonies, but even if they don't, resist the urge to snap pictures at the ceremony. Not only can a clicking camera be distracting to other guests, but it can also make the professional photographer's job difficult.  Respect the wishes of the Bride and Groom.
At the Reception
Don't attend the reception if you didn't go to the ceremony
The ceremony is the most important part of the wedding, and the reception is a celebration of that—not just a party. If you don't want to attend both, it may be best to stay at home.  Enough said.
Sit in the appropriate seat 
If the bride and groom have specified table numbers and seating assignments, sit where they ask you to. They have probably spent several hours laboring over whom to place where, and who knows what connections you'll make with your fellow guests!  This is a pet peeve of mine.  Never rearrange a placecard or ask the host if you can switch seats with someone...it's so tacky!
Be mindful of social media 
While couples almost universally prefer to have their ceremonies be social media free, there's not a one-size-fits-all guide for the reception. Some couples make it clear (often with a hashtag sign) that they welcome guests sharing photos, posts, or tweets, while others would prefer not to have their photos splashed over every newsfeed. Follow the couple's lead, or let your best judgment of their personalities guide your sharing.  Don't be tweeting or instagramming their photos before they do!  
Have fun!
Enjoy the meal, get on the dance floor, sign the guest book, attempt to catch the bouquet, and wish the bride and groom well. They've worked hard to make their reception a wonderful evening for you as well as them, and they'll be thrilled to see you having a good time.  Lord have mercy, don't make a scene!
After the Wedding
Send a thank-you note 
While your duties as a guest largely conclude when you head home from the reception (after the cake is cut, of course!), there's one surefire way to earn yourself a spot in the hall of fame: Send a thank-you note. A handwritten message to the bride and groom and/or to their parents, if they're hosting, can mean so much after a year or more of intense planning.  It is always appropriate to send a thank-you note!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kim of Queens Returns



With my disappointment in the Miss America finals {no, none of my favorites won} still on my mind, I'm jumping right back into pageantry on TV.  Kim of Queens returns tonight on Lifetime network at 10pm EST.  Kim Gravel, Miss Georgia 1991, knows what she's talking about as she mentors and trains young girls to compete in pageants.  This season she will continue to work with country girl Addison as well as some new clients!  The show will deal with real life issues of autism, anorexia, obesity, and homelessness.
Kim will be joined again by her beautiful Mama Jo...a former beauty queen herself!


and her adorable, spunky sister Allisyn!


I love watching this show and the transformation that takes place in the young girls Kim mentors.  I'll be tweeting over at SocialGraces101.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

At Home in Georgia

Some of you have asked for photos of the new home in Georgia.  Well, it's my same old stuff in another place.  I did leave the flamingos behind in Florida and now we're back to black on the porch...at The Roost!



Since yesterday was the start of hunting season, I set a hunt-theme tablescape for supper.  It's the same dining room set, with a Ballard's chandelier and shades.



The hunt theme plates are by C. E. Corey and I found them at Kevin's.


I decided against using my deer head as a centerpiece and went with antlers.  


Of course, I wore my monogrammed camo pony cap and carried my monogrammed antler tumbler to the gym earlier in the day.



I hope y'all have a wonderful Sunday.  I'm fixing dinner for the family and then hitting the sofa to watch the Miss America pre show and finals!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Miss America 2015 - The Contestants

Miss America 2015 will be crowned this Sunday evening in a televised event on ABC, live from Atlantic City.  The hosts are Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and Lara Spencer, co-anchor for Good Morning America.

Here are the contestants vying for the coveted crown:


Who is my favorite to take the crown?  She's Maggie Bridges, Miss Georgia!  This girl is stunning and talented.  The 21-year old is majoring in Business Administration at Georgia Tech, has plans to go to pharmacy school, and one day hopes to open her own pharmacy.

Miss Georgia has not won the title of Miss America since 1953...I think Maggie has a fabulous chance of bringing the crown back to Georgia!



Maggie is featured on the cover of South magazine's August/September issue...truly a cover girl!




The Miss America parade, now called the "Show Us Your Shoes' Parade" will take place on Saturday in Atlantic City and is a traditional favorite for spectators.  Maggie got a bit of help from her fellow students at Georgia Tech with the design of her shoes...they will be the world's first partially printed 3D shoes ever worn by a contestant in the parade.  The shoes are based on the Georgia Tech mascot, 'Rambling Wreck'.


All my other favorites are Southern girls!  

Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell



Miss Arkansas, Ashton Jo Campbell




Miss Kentucky, Ramsey Carpenter



Miss Mississippi, Jasmine Murray



Miss Tennessee, Hayley Lewis


I love this Miss America Scoring Sheet and will be using it on Sunday!



I cannot wait to sit down with my popcorn and watch the pageant.  Good luck to all the girls competing!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Miss America...The Gown, The Swimsuit, The Talent

Yes, I'm super excited to the see the girls competing for the Miss America crown on Sunday evening!  Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014 is a tough act to follow!  Her gown, her swimsuit, her talent...all so very unique and beautiful.

Last September Nina rocked this canary yellow chiffon gown with the capped sleeves and plunging neckline (with a modesty net).  I call them "evening gowns," but the Miss America Organization now calls it "evening wear."  And yes, there is a difference between an "evening gown walk" and a "swimsuit walk."

Anyhow, the evening gown counts for 20% of the scoring.

Tony Bowls is the official Miss America evening gown designer.  Each contestant was gifted a Tony Bowls gown which they will wear on Sunday evening during the evening gown competition.
Photo: We welcome Tony Bowls as a new sponsor and the Official Evening Gown Designer for the Miss America Organization. Tony Bowls/Mon Cheri have gifted and designed each contestant a custom evening gown that they will wear during Sunday night’s 2015 Miss America Competition live on ABC!


Who can forget how fabulous she looked in the zebra print bikini?  Lord have mercy, she looked gorgeous!  Starting in 1977, the Miss America Organization broke from the tradition of one-piece bathing suits and allowed the girls to wear two piece suits.  The bottoms could not be more than one inch below the navel and had to be "full/moderate" bottoms and the tops "full coverage" with straps at least 1/2" wide.  I'm sure her bikini bottom is more than one inch lower than her navel.

The swimsuit competition counts for 20% of the scoring.



Catalina is the official sponsor of Miss America swimsuits this year.  You can find the Miss America swimsuits at Walmart!


What a talent!  Talk about standing out. Nina did an outstanding Bollywood dance routine...and looked cute doing it!

Talent counts for 30% of the scoring.


I'm looking forward to Sunday night y'all!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Miss America Trivia


The preliminary competitions have begun in Atlantic City on the final road to crowning a new Miss America.  The Miss America pageant is a tradition I look forward to each year.  Some people have "watch parties" but I prefer to watch the pageant alone...'cause I'm commentating more than the hosts...

The Miss America pageant started in 1921, a talent competition was added in 1935, and scholarship money given in 1945.  Vocal talent has proven to be the number one talent to win the crown...can't wait to see the talent the girls bring this year.

The crown, sash, and the sceptor (a miniature of the crown) are all keys to unlocking doors for the future. Miss Americas use their scholarship money to earn law degrees, etc. and the Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarships for women in the world!

The winner also receives this fabulous brooch!  Wouldn't you love to wear this Miss America pin (brooch)?  (shown here worn by Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler).


Lee Meriweather was the first Miss America to be crowned on television in 1955 and this year she will be one the distinguished judges.  I have always loved Lee Meriweather, especially on Barnaby Jones!

So I'm watching the preliminaries to see the standout girls and choosing my favorites, meanwhile...these are
 some of the contestants in the news...


~Caitlin Brunell, Miss Alabama, is the daughter of former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell and she was Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2008.  She is one of the contestants favored to take home the crown.

~Teresa Davis, Miss District of Columbia, was born in South Korea.

~Victoria Cowen, Miss Florida, was 1st runner up in the Miss Florida pageant and assumed the title one week later due to a miscount.  She won the swimsuit preliminary last night...wearing a hot pink bikini and looking fabulous!

~Sierra Sandison, Miss Idaho, is a Type 1 diabetic and made news when she wore an insulin pump attached to her bikini bottom during the swimsuit competition of the Miss Idaho pageant.

~Ramsey Carpenter, Miss Kentucky, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012.

~KT Maviglia, Miss Michigan, was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss at age 9.


While Southern girls historically do well in pageants, California, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Michigan have won the Miss America title 6 times!

Which states have never taken home the crown?  New Mexico, Alaska, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Maryland, Maine, and Montana.

I'll be back tomorrow to talk about "The Gown, The Swimsuit, and the Talent."