Open Thread

by epi on July 24, 2013

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.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Nessy July 25, 2013 at 12:12 am

We may have a family wedding coming up later in the year (husband’s cousin). I am a sewer and would like to make a dress to wear (and want to get started early – I also have another engagement that I plan to wear something nice to). I have a fabric already. It is a very heavily patterned fabric (gray, black, red and yellow spots on a funky gray plaid) but the back ground colour is white. Would this be inappropriate to wear to a wedding? I would say the print overwhelms the white – but I was always told you shouldn’t wear white to weddings. Any thoughts?

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Nessy July 25, 2013 at 12:14 am

We may have a family wedding coming up later in the year (husband’s cousin). I am a sewer and would like to make a dress to wear (and want to get started early – I also have another engagement that I plan to wear something nice to). I have a fabric already. It is a very heavily patterned fabric (gray, black, red and yellow spots on a funky gray plaid – I am sure it looks better than my description may suggest!) but the back ground colour is white. Would this be inappropriate to wear to a wedding? I would say the print overwhelms the white – but I was always told you shouldn’t wear white to weddings. Any thoughts?

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Alicia July 25, 2013 at 5:44 am

White as the exclusive color is bad white as an accent color is fine. Basically look at the dress and ask yourself is there any way one could consider it bridal. If not you are fine.

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Just Laura July 25, 2013 at 9:06 am

I agree with Alicia. The “no white to a wedding” suggestion is so a women doesn’t show up in an all-white frock. Black and white can be fun, and white ground with print is a festive look.

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Nessy July 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Thanks for your input Alicia and Laura – I will go ahead full steam! Sorry my question appears twice – computer glitch on my part I think.

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Rosy July 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

Can anyone please advise on the etiquette regarding whether to return engagement gifts from an engagement party? We received the gifts about 1.5 years ago, but shortly afterward, we had to call off the wedding. We’ve stayed together, but it looks unlikely that we will marry or stay together in the near future. Should I return the engagement gifts and if so, what is the best way to do so (i.e. the explanation, gratitude, and apologies in the accompanying note)?

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Just Laura July 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

Is there a reason these weren’t returned 1.5 years ago? So much time has elapsed that sending them back to the givers may be a little awkward.

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Rosy July 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

We were optimistic we could work through it at the time, but one month stretched to, well, eighteen months, and here we are. I’d like to do what is appropriate even in the midst of the awkwardness.

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Elizabeth July 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

It’s doubtful that any physical gifts could be returned to the store where they were purchased, and I’m sure any monetary gifts have been long spent. As long as you thanked those people for the gifts I think you are in the clear. Presumably the people who were invited to your engagement party are close family and friends, so if they don’t already know what’s going on, you may want to notify them that the engagement has fallen apart and you are officially no longer together. But at this point I don’t think anybody is looking for their gift to be returned.

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Cyra July 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I agree with Elizabeth that returning them at this point seems unnecessary. The gifts were a celebration of your engagement, which did indeed happen. If you have received any wedding gifts, those should be returned since you’re not having a wedding. But people who get divorced don’t return wedding gifts, and those who break engagements needn’t return engagement gifts. Just keep in mind that people who have already given you an engagement gift are unlikely to do so again.

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Eileen July 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm

I have a daughter-in-law who is going to be having a baby soon. The baby shower is coming up soon and is going to be hosted by my daughter-in-law’s sister and mother. I had been wondering why nobody had contacted me about helping with the plans but came to the conclusion that if they did not contact me that they did not need or want my help-that perhaps they would consider me an intrusion so I butted out. It has come to my attention, and has caused quite a rift, that my daughter-in-law’s family has had the planning in the works for months and were all criticizing me amongst themselves because I was not offering my assistance. This has really cause a lot of hurt feelings-now I feel like I was excluded from all the plans that had been going on and they are angry because I never contacted them about helping them. I am just wondering what is protocol with this issue. I was of the opinion that if someone was hosting a gathering of this sort that if assistance was needed they would make the contact-and if not then the understanding is that no assistance was needed. What would be the correct way to do things in this circumstamce?

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Winifred Rosenburg July 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

I do not think it would have been rude to offer to help, which is not to say that you were required to. In fact strictly speaking showers thrown by family members are not allowed, but hardly anyone follows that rule anymore. The hosts should not have assumed you knew they wanted your help. They also should not have assumed they had a right to your help as they declared themselves the hosts and are responsible for everything that a host is responsible and you are not. They definitely shouldn’t have criticized you behind your back. If you like, you can explain to them that you understand they are upset and you assumed they wouldn’t want you interfering. You can also send that message through your son or daughter-in- law depending on family dynamics. You are not required to say anything, however, as you have not done anything wrong.

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