“True Christian politeness will always be the result of an unselfish regard for the feelings of others, and though you may err in the ceremonious points of etiquette, you will never be impolite.”

“If you wish to be a well-bred lady, you must carry your good manners everywhere with you. It is not a thing that can be laid aside. True politeness is uniform disinterestedness trifles, accompanied by the calm self-possession which belongs to a noble simplicity of purpose; and this must be the effect of a Christian spirit running through all you do, or say, or think; and, unless you cultivate it and exercise it, upon all occasions and towards all persons, it will never be a part of yourself.”

The Ladies Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness

Author: Florence Hartley Published: 1860


Chapter I.


Chapter II.


Chapter III.


Chapter IV.

How to Behave at a Hotel

Chapter V.

EVENING Parties--etiquette for the Hostess

Chapter VI.

EVENING Parties--etiquette for the Guest

Chapter VII.

Visiting--etiquette for the Hostess

Chapter VIII.

Visiting--etiquette for the Guest

Chapter IX.

MORNING RECEPTIONS OR Calls--etiquette for the Hostess

Chapter X.

MORNING RECEPTIONS OR Calls--etiquette for the Caller

Chapter XI.

DINNER Company--etiquette for the Hostess

Chapter XII.

DINNER Company--etiquette for the Guest

Chapter XIII.

Table Etiquette

Chapter XIV.

Conduct in the Street

Chapter XV.

Letter Writing

Chapter XVI.

Polite Deportment and Good Habits

Chapter XVII.

Conduct in Church

Chapter XVIII.

BALL ROOM Etiquette--for the Hostess

Chapter XIX.

BALL ROOM Etiquette--for the Guest

Chapter XX.

Places of Amusement

Chapter XXI.


Chapter XXII.


Chapter XXIII.

On a Young Lady's Conduct When Contemplating Marriage

Chapter XXIV.

Bridal Etiquette

Chapter XXV.

Hints on Health

Chapter XXVI.



For the Complexion



In preparing a bridal outfit, it is best to furnish the wardrobe for at least two years, in under-clothes, and one year in dresses, though the bonnet and cloak, suitable for the coming season, are all that are necessary, as the fashions in these articles change so rapidly. If you are going to travel, have a neat dress and cloak of some plain color, and a close bonnet and veil. Avoid, as intensely vulgar, any display of your position as a bride, whilst traveling.

Take, first, the weddings at church. In this case none are invited to the ceremony excepting the family, and the reception is at the house of the bride's mother, or nearest relative, either on the wedding-day or upon her return from the bridal tour.

In sending out the invitations, let the card of the bridegroom and that of the bride be tied together with a white ribbon, and folded in the note paper upon which is printed the name of the bride's mother, with the date of the reception-day, thus:--

MRS. JOHN SAUNDERS. At home, Thursday, Oct. 16th, from 11 till 2.

No. 218, ---- st.

of course the hours and dates vary, but the form is the same.

If there is no bridal reception upon the wedding day, the cards are worded:--

MR. AND MRS. JAMES SMITH. At home, Wednesdays, On, and after, June 6th.

No. 17, ---- st.

Tie the card with the bride's maiden name upon it to this one.

Enclose the invitation in a white envelope, and tie it with white satin ribbon. If you send cake, have it put in a white box, and place the note outside the cover, tying it fast with white satin ribbon.

The bride's dress must be of white entirely. If she is married in the morning, a plain white silk, white mantle, and white bonnet, full trimmed with orange flowers, with a plain veil, is the most suitable dress, and she may wear a richer one at her reception, when she returns from her bridal tour.

As soon as the carriages come, let the bridesmaids, and relatives set off first.--Last, the bride with her parents. The bride, her parents, and the bridesmaids go immediately to the vestry, where they meet the bridegroom, and the groomsmen. The father of the bride gives her his arm and escorts her to the altar, the bridegroom walking on the other side. Then follow the bridesmaids and groomsmen in couples.

When they reach the altar the bridegroom removes his right hand glove, but the bride keeps hers on until the clergyman takes the ring. The first bridesmaid then removes the left hand glove, and it is not resumed. The bridesmaids should wear white dresses, white mantles, and bonnets, but not veils or orange flowers.

The bride and groom leave the church first, after the ceremony is over, and take the carriage with the parents of the bride, and the others follow in the order in which they came.

If there is a breakfast or morning reception, the bride will not change her dress until she retires to put on her traveling attire. If the wedding takes place in the evening at church, to be followed by a full dress reception at home, the bride should wear a white lace dress over satin, or any other material to suit her own taste, a veil, falling from her head to her feet, fastened to the hair by a coiffure of orange flowers; white kid gloves, and white satin slippers. A bouquet, if carried, should contain only white flowers.

The bridesmaids may wear white, or some thin, light-colored material over white, a head-dress of flowers, and carry bouquets of mixed flowers.

When the wedding takes place at home, let the company assemble in the front drawing-room, and close the doors between that and the back room. In the back room, let the bride, bridegroom, bridesmaids, and groomsmen, the parents of the bride, and the clergyman, assemble. The clergyman should stand in the centre of the room, the bride and groom before him, the bridesmaids ranged beside the bride, the groomsmen beside the bridegroom. Then open the doors and let the ceremony begin. This arrangement saves that awkwardness attendant upon entering the room and taking the position before a large company.

After the ceremony is over, the parents of the bride speak to her first; then her near relatives, and not until then the other members of the company.

It is not usual now to have dancing, or even music, at a wedding, and the hour is named upon the cards, at which the guests are expected to retire.

A very pretty effect is produced in the wedding group, if the bride wears pure white, and the bridesmaids white, with flowers and trimmings of a different color. Thus, one in white, with a head-dress and trimming of green leaves; another, white, with blue ribbons and forget-me-nots; another, white, with pink roses and ribbons.

If the wedding is in the morning, the bride and family may wear full dress; in that case the shutters should be closed and the rooms lighted as in the evenings.

Let the supper be laid early, and ready when the ceremony is over, that the guests may pass into the dining-room, if they wish, as soon as they have spoken to the bride. If a morning wedding, let the table be set as for an evening wedding.

If the bride gives a reception at her own house, after her return from her bridal tour, she should not wear her wedding-dress. If in the evening, a supper should be set. If a morning reception, let her wear a handsome light silk, collar and sleeves of lace. Wine and cake are sufficient to hand to each guest at a morning reception. At an evening reception let the bride wear full dress, but not her wedding-dress.

At parties given to a newly married couple, the bridesmaids and groomsmen are always invited, and the whole party are expected to wear the same dresses as at the wedding.

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