Open Thread

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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.


  1. Jennifer

    I wanted to know if it’s appropriate to sign my husband’s name to gifts and cards we give if he has passed away. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but to me I still feel like every card or gift is from my husband, son and I, and it will always be that way for me. He passed away very unexpectedly 5 months ago at the age of 42. For my sons and I he is always with us and a part of every decision I make no matter how big or small. I feel as though he should get the credit for the thought put into the card and or gift since he truly has a part in choosing it. Is this ok to do?

    • Alicia

      As he clearly did not help give the gift as he is no longer here it is not good to sign his name to gifts and cards. People will likely find it creepy or you senile for signing as if he were alive. Instead mention him in the text of the card.

    • Elizabeth

      Jennifer, I am sorry for your loss and I understand why you would want to sign his name. Unfortunately, only the living can express sentiments, give gifts and send cards. This has the very real possibility of confusing the recipients of the cards and gifts, making them wonder if he is still alive, or it might come across as a passive-aggressive rebuke to them for not being more supportive to you or not mentioning him enough. You should not sign his name for him, and as Alicia suggested perhaps only mention him in the text of your card. Again, you have my sincere condolences.

  2. Lee

    My Stepdaughter Is having her mother and father walk her down the aisle. (Divorced for 16 years). Groom is lo having his parents walk him down aisle. How does stepmother, of 12 yrs, go in processional? It was suggested boyfriend of mother of bride walk down after groom & parents, then stepmother walks down aisle unescorted…..won’t that be weird, for a formal occasion? Would it be ok ,proper, if father of bride, my husband, escorted me down aisle and then go back ,either by center or side aisle, to escort bride down aisle with his ex wife, bride’s mother?

    • Elizabeth

      Since the bridal procession usually is made up of the bridal party only, it would make sense for you to simply be at your seat when the procession begins rather than being escorted down the aisle as a part of it. I understand that this seems like I”m suggesting you shouldn’t have “the honor,” but where does it end? Does grandma get walked down the aisle? Favorite aunts? Usually the groom’s parents traditionally do not walk him down the aisle, and would also simply be in their seats when the wedding begins. It would be weird for your husband to do two trips, although I”m sure it’s been done.

  3. Lee

    Who should walk the stepmother down the aisle? The stepdaughter wants her to be part of the wedding party in the procession. That is very sweet. The groom will be escorted by his parents. The stepmother is expected to proceed down aisle unescorted by anyone…just self. Wouldn’t that be considered Improper etiquette for a formal affair – to proceed down aisle unescorted? Thanks

    • Elizabeth

      Oftentimes brides walk down the aisle unescorted themselves, so no there is nothing necessarily “improper” about Stepmom walking herself down the aisle. It is sweet that Stepdaughter wants to include Stepmom. If father of the bride doesn’t want to make two trips, either Stepmom has to be escorted by someone else or walk by herself. Is there anyone else who can do it? There is no set rule in terms of etiquette. An usher? A favorite uncle? It probably would be simplest and make the most sense to walk down unescorted.

  4. Delphi

    As we live interstate, I purchase an airfare for one of my elderly parents each year. We have a great time and our teenage sons love the visits. Last year we attended a family members’ funeral in my home town. At the church my family greeted us. Later we attended the crematorium. We noticed that my family were aloof, I thought that was from sadness, they did not extend or want to speak or include us in conversation, thus it was not only sad but very uncomfortable. We spoke to everyone and hugged them when we left. Before leaving we spent an evening with my parents then returned to our hotel and flight home the next morning. Later we found we had not been included in the wake with the rest of my siblings, nieces nephews etc. I haven’t enjoyed the best relationship with my siblings but we try always to be polite and caring. I believe they were upset because we did not visit prior to this person’s passing away and other residual issues from the past. His illness was such short notice, it would have been difficult for my wife and financially to attend interstate twice. We did send cards and messages of our love and wishes to that person before their passing. Now my mother is about to visit and already she has mentioned that she has invited family members, who ignore us, to our home as they will be in the area. I am still a little hurt. Also I feel that as these family members see my parents anytime they want, it would be nice if we could have 3 days once a year with my mother. What is the right thing to do. Allow them to start using our home as a bed and breakfast, then they will go back to ignoring us again. My family can be rather dominating. Thank you for your advice.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You can tell your mother “I was looking forward to spending time with just you. How about we spend time with the rest of the family another time when I have prepared my home for that many people.” Then stick to your guns. It’s your home. You don’t need to have anyone you don’t want to have in it.

      • Delphi

        Thank you for your email and exactly my thoughts. I thought I was being a little mean but I am glad that my thoughts on this is shared.

  5. loriann nash

    My son married two weeks ago, the ceremony was at the venue, therefore there was no wedding rehersal at a church. My husband and I were told to sit in the front row. My husband asked if we were to walk down the aisle and we were told no. Has anybody ever delt with such a hurtful thing. The mother of the bride walked down the aisle all smiles and of course she will have the photos to show. We do not. We were never a consideration, almost like we were invisible. I am having a difficult time handling this and need some advise. I want to speak with my son but am so fearful that this may cause a wedge in our relationship. We are very hurt. We went above an beyond for this occassion and can not believe the mother of the bride who was in control of these arrangements would leave us out. Please, again advise us on how to go forward.

    Thank you.

    • Elizabeth

      I can understand why you were hurt, but I’m not sure what is to be gained by complaining now. You might have been able to change things by speaking up when you were told you would not be in the procession, but you did not take the chance and now there’s nothing anyone can do to change anything. Not all weddings include the parents in the procession, and the slight you feel may very well have been unintended. I would try to focus on the positive – your son is now married and hopefully you enjoyed the reception despite this. And surely there will be other photos of you even if not walking down the aisle.

  6. David

    As there was no rehearsal, and your husband asked immediately before the ceremony, you probably assumed no parents would be walking the aisle. I can imagine your shock when the bride’s mother did and I sympathize. Who, exactly, told you “No”?
    I would not confront your son on this, but the person who told you not to walk the aisle. This is obviously pressing on you and I think an enquiry is valid. It need not become a drama, but asking that particular individual why you were not included is certainly understandable. You shouldn’t be perceived as a push-over by the in-laws, from the start.

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