1. R.

    I have a dilemma. The basics are that a distant friend invited herself to my upcoming wedding, however my fiance just told me that he does not want her there.

    The long version: I was close friends with this particular woman when I first met my current fiance. They were both similarly very protective of me. On one occasion, during the first few weeks he and I began dating (over 2 years ago), I got very sick and my girl friend started a yelling match with him. He was taking care of me when she thought that she should be. It was a bizarre and uncomfortable situation, and they have really disliked each other ever since. I continued dating him and she decided to essentially end our friendship. She ignored my calls and attempts to reconnect and fix the situation for over a year. My fiance and I have since moved out of state.

    In the past year and after he proposed to me, she has apologized to me via texts and said she misses me. I recently received a call from this friend (the first call in about 2-3 years), and her first words to me were that she had to get off her chest that she was completely upset that I had not chosen her to be a bridesmaid in my wedding this coming summer. I was quite shocked that she would feel that way and told her simply the truth, that I had only selected 3 very close friend whom I’d grown up with to be my bridesmaids. She barked back “Well I am at least invited to the wedding right?!” I was really unprepared for the question, and am admittedly not great at dealing with conflict, so I stammered out “Yes, if you want to be.” (Of course, now that I think back, I can think of handfuls of much better responses) She asked the wedding date so she could take time off from work.

    When I told fiance of the strange call I received, he told me that he wouldn’t feel at all comfortable with her being there and among other things, he feared she would try to start more drama on our wedding day. I am not too keen on her coming either, and above all, I want to respect his wishes. How on earth do I remedy this?

    • Scarlett

      R – Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! You should call or e-mail this friend a.s.a.p. and tell her the truth, that she caught you totally off guard and that after having thought about it, you can’t invite her to the wedding after all (even though technically you already have). As you said, she really invited herself – but you didn’t say no when you should have. I am not a fan of dis-inviting someone, but this is your and your fiance’s wedding day, so you are entitled to decide who comes and who doesn’t, especially considering the circumstances under which your friendship ended. The fact that she called and put you on the spot about not being chosen as a bridesmaid was rude on her part to begin with. Be firm, and good luck! – Scarlett

    • Elizabeth

      I wouldn’t call her back, I’d probably write an email. She sounds a bit of a bully, and it sounds as though you’re easily cowed by her. Rather than put yourself into an awkward situation, just write out a clear and firm email (all of the suggestions on what to say have been perfect). It seems to me that this is not a person you really want in your life, and she had a lot of gall to call you after not speaking for years to complain about not being chosen as a bridesmaid! I would have said, “well, I didn’t pick you because we’re not actually friends anymore, since you were super inappropriate to Fiance.” You don’t own this woman anything. Any attempt to soften the message on your part will be read as a point of weakness and attack by her. Just say, “I know we talked about the wedding a couple of weeks ago, but upon reconsideration, Fiance and I no longer feel comfortable having you at the wedding because of our history. We wish you well.”

      • Winifred Rosenburg

        I agree that a phone call risks getting bullied all over again. However, I think maybe a mailed letter would be better than an email. For one thing, it has a more personal touch. For another thing, this person sounds like the type to hit reply and send a hostile email back without really thinking about it. The less convenient nature of snail mail will make that a little harder and may save R some grief. I would also add that if this person calls, do not answer!

        • Alicia

          But there is more immideate need to deal with it then snail mail provides. She did say yes and give a date and thus she owes the ex friend a prompt clarification of no. She does not want to woman to take vacation time or make plans based upon the yes which she did say.
          Write it out. Have FI with you when you call her. Know exactly that you will need a polite spine for this call but you need to make the call not wait the 4 or so days for a letter to arrive and then have her calling you at a time when you do not expect it.

    • Jerry

      I agree with all of the wonderful advice so far that this situation needs to be dealt with. I write separately to suggest that your fiance could make the call for you as it sounds like he may be more comfortable with conflict. Alternatively, you can blame it on your fiance — something like “Hey friend. I discussed your coming to the wedding with fiance, and he is dead set against it given the you treated him and the way he feels you treated me. That’s not to say that we can’t look to become friends after the wedding; but for this event the history is too great to overcome for you to attend.” If she blows up, you can use the following line (delivered with a very calm and icy voice): “I don’t allow anyone to take that tone with me.” Repeat as necessary.

      Best wishes.

  2. Alicia

    Well saying yes was a mistake. Now normally you should never uninvite someone but you really only half invited her as she forced you and then you have not sent her the info regarding the wedding and time and place. So what you need to do is write out what you are saying in advance. Then call her up calmly explain that you said yes when cornered to the question but that you really do not intend to invite her to your wedding because due to your small wedding and the current status of your friendship you two are not close enough. Additionally due to the lack of support she has shown for your relationship to your husband to be you feel she would be uncomfortable at the wedding as would you. Then if you want to get the friendship back suggest getting together for coffee. If not just say goodbye.
    No saying yes to inviting again or you really should invite her. Be firm , clear, and kind, and keep your temper and you will be fine. But do this sooner rather then later as you do not want her to take vacation or make plans around your wedding to which she is not invited. Then make sure not to tell her time or location.

    • Zakafury

      Excellent advice.

      I’ll note that the proper response to being rudely uninvited to something is to consider becoming more distant.

      Yes, it is a little rude to rescind your invitation, but given the circumstances it’s necessary. The consequences of this might be an end to this friendship, which doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. In fact, I would be looking to ways to get rid of this overbearing and impolite former friend.

      “I have to get something off my chest,” should have been followed by “I never should have treated you and Fiance like that.” I would’ve hung up upon hearing a complaint about my wedding party.

  3. Jessica

    On enforcing a dress code and other matters…

    Every year I throw a Christmas party. Every year all of the intended guests (the ones who bother to express an opinion, that is) say that they think it would be fun if the event was dressy, an opinion that I share. Every year I state cocktail attire on the invitation. Every year someone (not a particular someone, at least not to my knowledge) mentions to another guest that they do not plan on dressing up because it would be too much trouble. Then that other guest tells another guest that so-and-so is just wearing jeans and that they aren’t sure that they want to dress up anymore because they don’t want to be over dressed and so on an so forth. Every year, most people show up wearing jeans, with a handful of people springing for business casual, and the 2 or 3 people who actually payed attention to the dress code end up feeling awkward and overdressed.

    I have been throwing this party every year since I was in high school and am now in my mid twenties. I have been inviting the same people from high school and some additional friends as time has gone on. I keep on trying to make the party more grown up and sophisticated and every year my efforts end up thwarted. I sort of feel like if you hate the idea of dressing up for a party that much, you should maybe just skip the party, rather than ignoring the dress code and encouraging others to do the same, but I have no idea who the source of dissent is so I can’t just not invite them. As I said before, in pre party discussions *everyone* is really enthusiastic about dressing up, but I guess the enthusiasm never extends all the way to the actual event.

    I do more than just changing the dress code to get the party to grow up. The event has gone from pizza, pop, and a movie to a candle lit evening with elegant finger foods, champagne punch and a jazz soundtrack, changes that have been well received, but the juvenile uniform of jeans and hooded sweatshirts just won’t go away.

    Any suggestions?

    • Alicia

      Sounds like a blast!! I would on the invite call it Formal Christmas Party. With an attire note. Then when I saw friends that were planning on attending out and about in the time leading up I would chat them up about how much you are looking forward to the party and seeing them there and had they picked out their dress yet because you heard Alicia was planning on wearing that wonderful Cobalt blue silk dress she bought last winter with her cute silver heels. As soon as someone tells you a true attire choice then start telling people how they are wearing such and such fancy lovely outfit and you will be dressed up ect. Thus the chatted attire choice changes from everyone expecting jeans to everyone chatting about what lovely dresses they are wearing and then the guys will get into suits to match their gals or to impress the gals. To the guys mention how wonderful women think men look in suits and how much attention from ladies they will all get dressed up at your party.
      Then when you post pictures focus on pictures of the nicer dressed people.

    • I agree with Pam, but want to add that I feel for you. I just love dressing up for parties, and can’t imagine drinking champagne in a sweatshirt. But, these are your friends, and that’s why you’re inviting them. If enough people dress up, then the “hoodie” folks may start to feel underdressed, rather than causing a few dressy people to feel overdressed.

    • Elizabeth

      I like the idea of naming the party so the formality is part of the concept. You could do something like have a Mad Men-themed party, or a Great Gatsby-themed party, so that the dressing up is part of the whole deal. Good luck!

  4. Pam

    I understand that you would wish for people to dress up for your party, since the atmosphere has gotten more sophisticated. Be careful not to make your friends feel like your party is not much fun because dress codes keep being discussed. Is it more important to you for your friends to be together or for them to be just part of the decor? I would suggest just continuing to set the tone in what you and the “dressy” friends wear and hope that your friends will eventually follow suit.

  5. Scarlet

    I will be attending an evening Christmas party at a country club this weekend.
    I am wearing a black dress just below knee length. Is it proper to wear black patent leather peep toe heels without stockings/nylons?
    Would one wear nylons/stockings with a peep toe shoe? Is it appropriate to go bare legged to an evening Christmas party?
    Thank you for your assistance.

    • The Queen of England would prefer you wear close-toed shoes with pantyhose.

      The rest of us don’t care. Personally, I’ve always thought sandals and peep-toes look dreadful with hose. You see the “webbed toes,” the seam in some cases… it’s just not aesthetically appealing. So if you’re showing off your toes, go without stockings. If you decide to go for close-toed shoes, wear or don’t wear them (I usually do). I’m sure you’ll look lovely either way. As to whether or not you should wear sandals/peeps or not, what is the weather like? Where I am, it was nearly 70 degrees today. Where I used to live, it was far colder. What will be comfortable for you?

    • aw

      No pantyhose EVER! This trend is dead and dates the person wearing them considerably. Non-flesh colored tights are a different story in a nice grey or black, etc. With a dark tight, peep toe shoes actually tend to look kind of cute!

        • I must disagree — nylons/pantyhose/stockings — whatever you wish to call them, are not dead, and depending on your line of work, it is inappropriate to go without them. The formality of the event and who is going to be present, as much as what you are wearing will dictate what is appropriate. Nylons add a finishing polish to an outfit, especially a “dressier” dress. In warm climates, where legs are tan and have a healthy look to them, going without may be fine. However, I think it always looks silly to see winter white legs under a dress (especially a black dress) in a cold climate. Goose bumps are not attractive , and the paleness of the skin only highlights whatever bruises, spider veins and other flaws that may be present.

          I agree with Laura about sandals and nylons — not an attractive look. But neither do I care for the look of dark tights and peep toes; they are too opposite in nature (one dark, thick and “heavy” in appearance, the other more delicate in nature.) There are nylon stockings available that are meant to be worn with peep toes, so you have the polished look of nylons on your legs but your toes are left bare at the peep. (Nordstrom has carried them in the spring/summer, or Google “open toe stockings”. Otherwise, I would suggest you play it safe and go with the pumps or sling backs. As the party is at a country club, there will be a variety of guests — some older, some more formal in their expectations of dress, etc. So yes, go with the pantyhose.

    • Jody

      What’s your personal comfort level with pantyhose or tights? I’m much more comfortable wearing them than going bare-legged, so I always wear them. I can’t say what’s “proper”; I did grow up in Chicago so I can say that you’ll likely be very cold if you don’t have something on your legs. If you don’t usually wear pantyhose, I suggest you wear something in a nude/neutral shade for your skin tone. If you do wear peep-toe shoes, wear the hose without reinforced toes, as it’s easier to hide the seam in those hose.

    • Alicia

      Chicago fall winter is cold and this weekend is supposed to be rainy and upper 40’s. Peep toes are very impractical in rain and snow as you will for sure get a smidge of water in your shoes and have literal cold feet all night. This is what cute closed toes heels are for. Wear hose with a closed toe pair of heels. Your legs will look nicer, be warmer, and your feet will not be cold and damp all night. You will feel better and be better able to dance and chat the night away.
      Peep toes are nice but are more summer and spring dry weather attire in that they require a good pedicure nicely sun kissed legs and warm enough temperatures to skip hose as well as dry enough to not get your feet wet or snowy.

  6. aw

    I get that but that’s also in England, where fashion is around 10-15 years behind. (I’m from there). I just can’t imagine Heidi Klum or the like wearing pantyhose.

    • Scarlet

      The party is in Chicago (USA). The weather will be cold. Thank you for your replies regarding pantyhose/or not. If I wear the peep toe shoe I probably would not wear pantyhose, however, is it appropriate to go bare leg? Or would you play it safe and wear pumps or sling backs with pantyhose?

      • Lady Antipode

        I’m a big fan of comfort AND style, so I say wear pantyhose if it’s going to be cold. Although you can likely go bare legged, if you don’t mind being a bit cold.

        It is possible to find pantyhose for peep-toe shoes, like these http://www.chickadvisor.com/article/brilliant-new-product-secret-summer-cool-toeless-pantyhose/

        Another possible option is ‘sandal-toe’ that don’t have the reinforced toe. If you do this, don’t paint your toenails! That just draws extra attention to the pantyhose, whereas otherwise most people won’t notice.

        If you can’t find something like that, I’d suggest that unfortunately you may have to rethink your shoe choice. But that’s just me – go with your own preference.

      • Scarlett

        Scarlet – I am in the camp for wearing pantyhose, whether you go with a peep-toe or not. It is December in Chicago – it will be chilly at best. As others have said, there are hose made specially for open-toed shoes, and not all of them will make you look “pasty.” (Just FYI – JC Penney carries them, too. We don’t have a Nordstrom in my city.) If you can’t or don’t have time to find them, just wear the sheerest sandalfoot you can find and you can hide the seam. And I agree with not painting toenails if you do that. Try the dress on both with and without the pantyhose, and different shoes. Then decide what looks best. Whatever you wear, be comfortable and have fun! – Scarlett

    • Jody

      aw, I have to disagree with you. Bare-legged is not always appropriate nowadays. It does depend on the individual, but sometimes it looks quite sloppy in a more formal situation.

    • Zakafury

      I’m with aw, bare legged is most always appropriate nowadays.

      I don’t understand the desire to wear open toe shoes when it is too cold to want to go with bare legs.

      Anyhow, this is all a style concern. Your clothes are about what makes you feel like you’re presenting as the person you want to be.

      If you feel awesome in reinforced-toe nude nylons and peep-toe sandals, then everyone else will think you look awesome. Own it.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I think its important not to confuse appropriateness with acceptableness. Tony Bennett recently gave an interview where he discussed the trend of wearing jeans and khakis to the opera, and other places where, decades ago, men wore nothing less than a tuxedo. It may be acceptable, but that doesn’t make it appropriate. Going bare-legged is acceptable, as workplaces and the like have become more causal, but that does not mean it is appropriate. Hose and closed-toed shoes is still the gold standard for women when dressing to impress. So to Scarlett, who is going to an evening Christmas party at a country club, I would suggest no less, Chicago or not. The bottom line is that, by going bare-legged, you run a far greater chance of feeling out of place versus wearing hose, where you have almost zero chance of being embarrassed.

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