Open Thread

by epi on April 13, 2012

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam April 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I am a bridesmaid this summer for my boyfriend’s sister. This was a postponed wedding that is now back on, 3 years later. While I am trying to lose a few pounds to get into the original dress, I am also wondering about a couple of others things. The bride is having 3 showers in 3 different states. I am invited to 2 of them(I am not invited to the one being thrown out of state by the groom’s family.)I regard the one thrown near her hometown as the “main” shower. However, I am also attending the one thrown about 2 hours away by other members of the bride’s family. Do I need to bring a gift to this one as well? I am not part of throwing a shower b/c I never heard from the maid of honor and the bride’s Mom is throwing the hometown one (I have offered my assistance). Also, do I have to participate in the bouquet toss? My boyfriend and I have been together for many years and I really dread participating in the bouquet toss. I haven’t participated in one since I was 6 years old. I saw this listed as a bridesmaid responsibility by Emily Post and was a bit puzzled by it.

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polite punk April 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I don’t have a specific answer for you, but I really wish brides would do away with the bouquet toss all together. None of my friends enjoy it and it becomes more and more uncomfortable as years go by, especially when you have friends who either don’t wish to get married or legally can’t get married.

I know a wedding is a celebration for the bride and groom and it is their special day. However, I also think that they have a responsibility to ensure that their guests are comfortable…and in my experience, having a bouquet toss conflicts with that.

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Just Laura April 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I really agree, polite punk. When I was young, I saw girls literally fight over the bouquet, and when I turned 29 and was still unmarried, it felt awkward always being the oldest person (I tried to decline going up, but inevitably got pulled into it).

My bouquet was Swarovski crystals. Had I tossed it, I might have killed someone.

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Pam April 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Thanks for your responses! I am going to avoid the bouquet toss….I wouldn’t be up there if I was a married bridesmaid, so I’m not going up there. I don’t normally ever disagree with this site’s advice, but participating in the bouquet toss does not translate to “bridesmaid duty” to me. The more I think about it, participating in showers, helping at showers, buying a dress & shoes, paying for travel and accomodations, buying shower and wedding gifts, being in photos, paying for hair and make up and helping the bride with whatever she needs on the wedding day is the requirements…not standing there while the bride throws her bouquet…which I would never reach for anyway!

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Chocobo April 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Having so many showers is really rather odd, but even so a shower’s purpose is gift-giving and so I think you should probably take a little something should you choose to attend the second shower. You could mitigate the expense by either splitting your originally planned gift into two or by getting a inexpensive token for the second shower, such as a candle, some wine, or even a heart-felt letter or card (free!).

The bouquet toss is easier: no, you don’t really have to participate. When they announce it you could just stay seated. BUT since this is your beau’s family and you are playing visible role in the wedding, they might interpret your reluctance to participate as disinterest in joining the family yourself — or worse, a reflection of your feelings about their son. So perhaps a wiser but still dignified way to participate in the ritual and avoiding arched eyebrows is to stand in the back, smiling broadly, and then accidentally forgetting to put up your arms for the catch.

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Alicia April 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm

You only need give one shower gift regardless of number of showers attending. (you may want to divide your gift if possible and give in parts- for example if giving silverware give forks at one and spoons at another)
If they do the toss as a bidesmaid if single you really need to seem enthusiastic( try the deflect to kid method) But as bridesmaids you need to be game for the silly tradition and not hide in the bathroom. But you can suggest in advance it can be a lovely gesture to say give it to her mom or grandma.

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Kristen April 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I am Facebook friends with a teenage member of my husband’s extended family. She has always been pleasant and well-behaved at my house for family gatherings and I am friendly with her parents. She is also friendly with my own children. Recently, her FB updates have become extremely politically charged on highly sensitive issues. In addition they have included graphic pictures that disturb me personally. I know that her parents hold these same political beliefs. How do I appropriately defriend her without causing WWIII within the family? I firmly believe that she is entitled to her opinions (and I am not seeking to alter or debate them), but I also believe that I am entitled to be free from being bombarded by them. Thank you for your consideration!

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Just Laura April 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Facebook has a “hide newsfeed” feature. The person won’t know his/her newsfeed is hidden from you, and you will not have to defriend a person, nor be bombarded by material you find offensive.

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Kristen April 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Wow! I didn’t realize that unsubscribing from her was different from defriending her. I guess I really do learn something new every day! Thank you so much for the tip. This definitely allows me to keep the peace!!

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Just Laura April 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm

You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by!

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M April 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Question:

I’m trying to word our wedding invitations… I think it should be traditional wording which has my parents names, mine, my fiance’s and then his parents names (in that order). His parents are paying only for their guests at the reception because they invited more than expected (but a number we compromised on).

Is this still the correct way to word the invitation? It’s not like our parents are splitting the wedding costs evenly, so I don’t think both sets of parent’s names should be first on the invite… thoughts?

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Jerry April 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Answer: The “correct” way is whatever way you — future husband and future wife — decide.

Marriage is supposed to be a public affirmation of the love you and your fiance share. It is also about a joining of the families. Why not allow your fiance’s family the same honor you afford your own family? It’s such a small concession to make that will (probably) build good will. Remember, your families are going to have to deal with each other until “death do [you and your husband] part.” Show love and honor to each other: it will serve you well in your marriage.

You mentioned “splitting the wedding costs evenly.” Do you really want to start keeping score this early in the marriage? If your husband’s parents decide to help with a down payment on real property, does this mean that you’ll give your husband’s parents more honor when both sets of parents visit? What if your husband’s parents help with your children’s tuition? Does this mean they suddenly get more honor?

One other possibility: your parents are forcing this issue. Standing up to your parents is tough. But at this stage of life you have all of the leverage. Consider explaining to your parents that you need to live with your husband’s family and that you intend to show them honor. Consider also explaining that you intend to marry [fiance], that your loyalties are to him, and that you’re not going to engage in a course of action that leads to unnecessary conflict this early in the marriage. (If your loyalties are not to your future husband, reconsider whether you should get married at all.) Finally, if your parents really get upset, your trump card is access to grandchildren.

God luck.

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Winifred Rosenburg April 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

The invitation wording has absolutely nothing to do with who is paying. It has to do with who is hosting, which is traditionally the bride’s parents. (Hosting and paying are unrelated.) Because you want to be traditional, you should go with the wording you suggested.

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