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If For Some Reason You Wanted A High WASP Wedding…

If for some reason you would like to have a High WASP wedding, I’ve got a few pointers. I do understand that a High WASP wedding has no particular virtue. I would not begin to tell anyone they should follow my advice. In other words, while I am sure that what I am saying is correct, it just doesn’t necessarily matter.

What you would not be likely to find at a High WASP wedding is one of these.

Well why not you might ask? Didn’t we just discuss the joys of gaudy and over the top jewelry? Yes. But those were real diamonds. And quite frankly using enough real diamonds to hang strands from 42 crystal trees as table toppers would oust us forever from the realm of good taste. No matter what you did it would be showing off. And therefore mean to your guests and therefore not done.

The only way you might find crystal trees at a High WASP wedding is if we were going all the way to camp, Star Trek meets Winter Wonderland, completely tongue in cheek. And if we take crystal trees over the top of Tongue in Cheek Mountain it might be too hard to avoid Ugly Lake on the way up.


At a High WASP wedding flowers like these below are always OK. They are white. They are low, so you can talk to each other, (we prize civility), and they adhere to the Western design principle of the Golden Ratio. Can’t you just feel that “(a+b/a) = (a/b)” vibe?

But let’s say you want to push the edge just a wee bit. In that case, honor the fierceness of flowers. Please do not force them to masquerade, to act as though they all open at once and never die. Gardening is an honorary sport for High WASPs. We are OK with the idea that flowers droop, they lose their petals, they grow sometimes in fields with weeds.

If you want to push the edge just a wee bit further, no problem. Clearly you are someone with more style than I. In that case, follow your aesthetic and to hell with High WASPism. If you hadn’t already said that to begin with. High WASP aesthetics are a way to make sure you don’t do something wrong. Not a way to make sure you do it right. The world is too wide, wild, and mysterious for that particular project.

14 Responses

  1. Ah, the tent on the grounds. We had those at a couple of weddings, aspirational high WASPs that we were.

    I’m sure we did it wrong, but I do remember floral centerpieces as decoration, and that’s about it.

    “High WASP” also works for “wedding on a budget.”

  2. Love that tent by the water. Can’t stand the droopy sparkly tree creations.

  3. This just inspired me to read every post tagged with “high WASP.” I love your take on WASP aesthetics! My family is more low-to-middle WASP (my grandmother was a high WASP who ran away with an unemployed WWII vet she met in Boston — they just celebrated their 60th anniversary!), but my fiance’s family is definitely high WASP. Funny, loving, warm and accepting high WASP, but I do feel like I’ve gained some insight here :-)

  4. I do so like the idea that “High WASP aesthetics are a way to make sure you don’t do something wrong” I concur.

  5. Just came across your blog. What a natural sociologist you are! I love it. I also love thinking about how tastes correlate to social groups. I would say to social class, but class is a far more contestable category these days. Look forward to reading more.

    ps. And yes, there is the Australian version of this. My friend’s wedding was recently touted as best wedding because it was so “understated” and “tasteful”, but the location, food and flourishes were, of course, completely contrived.

  6. oh my gosh. i just had flowers delivered .i haven’t seen my boyfriend in about a month and apparently him sending flowers makes that okay.

    anyway. he sent carnations and gerberas. so i’m going to lean into them whilst looking at your last two posted pictures, and then maybe- maybe- things will be a bit more alright then.

  7. It is complicated. Like I said, please feel free to completely ignore it. I think it’s even more complicated to think about what conditions sending flowers makes OK or not…

    I would love to see the Australian version of all this.

  8. As I look at these long tables, tented, the important thing is to feed every invitee that has accepted the invitation.

  9. Food is critical. It would be terribly rude not to feed people, I agree. And, Bride in Exile, I might be biased, but I believe my High WASP family is warm and loving and accepting. On the occasions that we aren’t it’s because we are in bad moods and can’t help ourselves…

  10. LPC, re-reading my comment, I realized how it must have come across! What I was trying to say, in a rather muddled way, was that my fiance’s family has been nothing but wonderful, but that little differences pop up from time to time, and reading your posts on High WASPism helped give me some insight into the way their family does things.

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