Plymouth Country Club | Blog

Congratulations vs Best Wishes:  do you know the difference?

Posted by Meg Maher on Dec 8, 2017 9:15:00 PM
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"Best Wishes!" she said to me.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was walking in a local mall with my mother and we ran into a long time family friend.  My mother updated her on the news that I was recently engaged, and whilst oggling at the ring, she exclaimed "Best Wishes!".  I had never heard this before and when our brief encounter ended, my mother explained to me that she was correct in saying that as opposed to "Congratulations".


The Oxford dictionary defines 'best wishes' as an expression of hope for someon'e future happiness or welfare...the definition of 'congratulations' in the same dictionary as expressing praise for an acheivement.  I learned that day that saying "Best Wishes" instead of "Congratulations" to a bride was an old tradition, but didn't realize HOW old it really was.  The Huffington Post sites this tradition dating back to the Victorian era.  Saying "congratulations" to a bride-to-be would infer a victory, as if she had conquered something impossible:  landing a husband!

“Saying congratulations to a bride implies that she has won something – her groom.

The groom is to be congratulated for getting the lady to accept his marriage proposal.

To avoid controversy, many people just extend their best wishes to the bride and the groom!”

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Most people these days say etiquitte is something of the past, but I heartily disagree.  Proper etiquette links us to our past with traditions and meaning.  Surprise your friends by knowing the proper expression at their new status as fiance and tell them the meaning behind it...I promise it is a conversation starter as well as an education.  For more on etiquette, check out this blog post about leaving a party early.

If you are soon to be engaged or, even better, have already had that wonderful change of status to a FIANCE...check out Plymouth Country Club for all of the upcoming celebrations you will be having!

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Topics: Wedding, Etiquette, best wishes instead of congratulations, engagement, best wishes

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