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Etiquette

MoB Monday: Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk, “Washingtonian” lifestyle editor and author of “It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride,” answers questions from and about MoBs (or MoGs!).

By Leslie Milk
"Thanks for the gift. Um, you do realize you're not invited to the wedding, right?"

My mom wants my bridesmaids to invite people to the bridal shower whom we have no intention of inviting to the wedding. Is that allowed?

If you are having a small destination wedding, no problem. But if you’re planning to have a big wedding right in the same town, it’s tacky to invite people to a shower who won’t be receiving wedding invitations. Bridal showers are just gift grabs, and, as far as I’m concerned, the fewer invitees, the better.

I’ve heard that maid of honor wants to throw a raucous bachelorette party for me, but I was hoping we’d do something more low-key. Is there a tactful way for me to express this to her?

So you don’t want to put on a veil, go bar hopping, consume anatomically correct munchies, and behave like an escapee from Jersey Shore. You should feel close enough to your maid of honor, even if she’s your sister, to make your feelings known. Many bridal parties are choosing pampering over partying as a bonding experience before the big day.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail realweddings@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: They Eloped! Now What?

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—“Washingtonian” lifestyle editor and author of “It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride”—answers your questions

By Leslie Milk
"Hmm, maybe that whole eloping thing wasn't such a great idea..."

My daughter just eloped with her boyfriend of six months. Now she wants us to help her pay for a big party with all of her family and friends. Her father is furious and refuses to contribute. Is he right? What should we do?

There is no right or wrong about it. Your daughter made the choice to elope. Whether her decision was based on a romantic notion, her fear that her family would not accept her intended, or her desire to escape the fuss of a traditional wedding, she made a choice that excluded her father’s participation. He is under no obligation to pay for a post-elopement extravaganza. Maybe she can explain her decision and he’ll soften up.

Do you have an etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: Can She Ask For Cash?

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—“Washingtonian” lifestyle editor and author of “It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride”—answers your questions

By Leslie Milk
There's really no tactful way to ask for cash—so just be gracious about whatever gifts you receive.

My daughter wants to ask for cash instead of wedding presents. Is there a tactful way of doing this?

There are online registries where guests can contribute to a honeymoon fund, a mortgage fund, or a larger gift. You daughter can certainly register with one of these and inform guests who ask about where she is registered. There are also stores that will give cash for returned wedding gifts. But there is no tactful way to tell guests it’s the money, not the thought, that counts. She needs to remember that wedding guests are being invited to share her joy, not underwrite her future.

Do I have to invite my mother-in-law wedding dress shopping? I know she’d love to come, but I feel uncomfortable having her there.

Shopping for a wedding dress is an intimate experience, and your discomfort is understandable. Would you be okay with having her join you for your first fitting, once your dress is selected? That way she can still be part of things.

Do you have an etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: I Hate My Future Son-in-Law

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride—answers your questions

By Leslie Milk


I really dislike my daughter’s fiancé. Don’t I have an obligation to tell her?

Let’s define “dislike.” Are we talking, “He had his hand on my thigh during dinner and his hand on the family silver afterward?” or “I saw his face on America’s Most Wanted?” If so, you might share this information with the preface, “I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation . . .” But what is far more likely is that the groom-to-be doesn’t fit the picture you painted in your head of your daughter’s perfect mate. He’s not the boy next door—or even the boy from the country next door. His financial future isn’t as secure as you’d like—whose is, these days? Whatever the reasons for your misgivings, recognize them for what they are—yours. You don’t have an obligation to tell your daughter, you have an obligation to get past them or, at the very least, keep them to yourself.

Do you have wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: Do We Have To Invite…?

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride—answers your questions.

By Kim Forrest
"Um...who are you again?"

My dad is insisting on inviting many of his business associates to my wedding—including many people I don't even know. He is paying for the wedding, so do I have to let him invite them?
Can you diplomatically remind your dad that this is your wedding, not a payback for past social obligations? One bride I know imposed a good rule for her powerful father: "Please don't invite anyone I wouldn't recognize or who wouldn't recognize me by sight." If he insists, you may be stuck with the company of strangers. But as long as you do have your nearest and dearest around, don't let it ruin your day.

My future mother-in-law bought a dress that's totally inappropriate for our wedding—it's a sparkly beaded gown, and we're having a Sunday afternoon wedding at a vineyard (which she knew before buying the dress!). Should I say something to her, or just let her wear the gown?
The "red-hot mama" strikes again! If she knew in advance and decided to overdress anyway, nothing you can say will convince her this isn't her opportunity to shine—literally. Just let it go. You'll outshine her anyway, and will seem all that more gracious in the eyes of the groom.
 
Do you have wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we'll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: In-Law Issues

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of “It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride”—answers your questions.

By Leslie Milk

Do I have to invite my brother’s future in-laws to my wedding? My mom says yes, but I really don’t want to!

How big is the wedding? If it’s an intimate affair, you can get away with the fact that they’re not all in the family yet. But if you’re hosting hundreds, you better just invite them. Seat them with your parents and let your mom entertain them.

My future mother-in-law is planning an engagement party and just sent us the guest list. She’s inviting several couples we have no intention of inviting to the wedding. How should we handle this?

It’s her party, so you are under no obligation to follow her lead on invites. You should tell her that you fear your limits on wedding guests will not enable you to accommodate all of her friends. After that, it’s up to her.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: Family Feud

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride—answers your questions.

By Leslie Milk
Avoid family drama on your wedding day by being upfront and honest.

My mom and my uncle (her brother) haven’t spoken for years, but I’ve stayed in touch with him. I’d like to invite him to my wedding, but I know my mom will be furious. How should I handle this?

Love will find a way? If only. Certainly you can’t spring your uncle on your mom on the day of the wedding. Explain to her how you feel, and if she says she can’t bear to be in the same room with her brother, you have to respect her feelings. Should she be able to rise above a family feud on your wedding day? Unfortunately, weddings don’t miraculously erase bad feelings or guarantee noble behavior. You want the great drama of the day to be about you, not your battling family.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: No Kids Allowed?

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk— Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding, But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride—answers your questions.

By Leslie Milk
She may look like a perfect little angel, but behind that sweet face is a temper tantrum waiting to happen...

We don’t want to invite kids to our wedding, but my fiancé’s mother is insisting that we invite the young children of one of their close friends. We really don’t want to! What should we do?

It’s your wedding, and you can chose to make it an “adults only” affair. You can point out to your future mother-in-law that the venue, the food, and the schedule aren’t child-friendly—young kids dressed up in uncomfortable clothes and expected to sit quietly for extended periods of time with no chicken nuggets or cupcakes in sight have a tendency to get testy in a less-than-discreet manner. If you’re feeling generous, you could offer to pay for a baby sitter so the friends can attend sans offspring.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer.

Etiquette

MoB Monday: Bicoastal Receptions and Divorced-Parent Dilemmas

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk—Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride—answers your questions.

By Leslie Milk
A divorced mom and dad don't have to be best friends, but they can join forces to walk their daughter down the aisle.

My fiancé and I are from opposite sides of the country, and to accommodate wedding guests who couldn’t attend if we held the wedding and reception on just one coast, I’ve been considering holding two receptions. Would this be inappropriate? If I do opt for it, should I put both events on the invitation and let guests RSVP for just one?

Couples from different states, coasts, countries, or cultures often have two receptions to make things easier for guests. Typically guests are invited to one or the other (meaning separate invitations), with the exception of immediate family and very close friends. One absolute rule: Even if close friends and family go to both parties, they only have to give you one present. And yes, there are brides who thought they were entitled to two gifts.

I’m newly divorced, and my daughter is getting married. We’re Jewish, and usually the father and the mother of the bride walk her down the aisle—but things are so tense between my ex-husband and me that I can’t bear to walk down the aisle with him, even though my daughter really wants us to. What should I do?

You are walking your daughter down the aisle, not the lower-than-pond-scum cad you recently divorced. You don’t have to look at him, touch him, break bread with him, or toast his good health. But if your daughter wants the two of you on either side of her, you should make the effort. Besides, you don’t want to give him the satisfaction of thinking he matters enough to keep you from your daughter’s side.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer!

Etiquette

MOB Monday: Bouquet Brouhaha

Our resident wedding etiquette expert, Leslie Milk, Washingtonian lifestyle editor and author of It’s Her Wedding But I’ll Cry If I Want To: A Survival Guide for the Mother of the Bride, answers questions from and about MOBs (or MOGs!)

By Leslie Milk
Maybe this corsage wasn't such a good idea...

My daughter and I have been having a debate: Do mothers of the bride and groom typically carry a bouquet during a wedding ceremony? I think yes, my daughter says no.

In days of yore, the mother of the bride used to wear a dowdy dress, low heels, and a floral corsage. Most of us were thrilled to give up the corsage along with the rest of the outfit. Some mothers do carry a small nosegay or a single flower, but it tends to be awkward. You’re coming down the aisle on the arm of an usher or with your daughter. Which hand holds the flower? And what do you do with it while you are greeting your guests, let along balancing a celebratory drink during the cocktail hour? At least a corsage kept your hands free.

Let your daughter carry the bouquet, while you carry the pride in helping her pull off the wedding she wants.

Do you have a wedding etiquette question for Leslie? E-mail kforrest@washingtonian.com and we’ll get you the answer!

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