Open Thread

by epi on August 26, 2013

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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.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

jean August 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

Wedding Etiquette: Iam attending my niece’s wedding in 3 weeks. I happened to mention to my brother that I was wearing a purple dress. He immediately asked me NOT to wear it as his wife, mothe of the bride, was wearing purple (a gown) and her friends were making sure that they did not wear that color. I told him I had purchased jewelry & shoes already and could not return anything as they were purchased months ago. Also I dont have another cocktail dress to wera nor do I have the time to search for one. I was told that I was being stubborn and would have to deal with the ramifications of not complying with their request. I am shocked and offended

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Just Laura August 27, 2013 at 10:43 am

Okay, I’ve always understood the “don’t wear white/black/red to weddings in America.” But don’t wear purple? How could you have known? What would everyone have done if you hadn’t mentioned this to your brother, and simply shown up at the wedding?
I can’t imagine you are the only woman who will arrive in violet, nor will your particular shade match theirs. If it makes you feel better, find a matching scarf with other colors in it, and show up with a beautiful smile on your face. You’ve done nothing wrong.

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Elizabeth August 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Brother and his wife are rude in trying to control what guests will wear. It’s very “alpha female” to want to be the only person wearing a certain color, as if she considers herself to also play a prominent role in the event and wants that to be visually apparent as well. The point of the wedding is the marriage of the bride and groom, not the swanning of the bride’s mother. Honestly, their perspective on it is just sad…I would have asked what the “ramifications” were going to be, a tantrum?

This reminds me of another story…I once had a friend who wouldn’t let me try on one of her perfumes because SHE was wearing it that day…apparently her specialness had to occur in every detail, including how she smelled!

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Becky August 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm

How did these “friends” become aware of the dress color and MOBs preference for color exclusivity? If that is/was the preference, is it not on the MOB to share that info, particularly with family and close friends, well in advance? As part of the family of the wedding couple, I have generally asked the bride or groom if there was any concern for color choices and potential conflicts particularly with the mothers/grandmothers.

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Jazzgirl205 August 29, 2013 at 11:20 am

Oddly enough, when my sister’s step-daughter was getting married, it came to light that my sister, the MOB, and the MOG all purchased the exact same dress for the wedding! They were all good friends and thought it was hilarious. All three took back the dress and bought different ones.

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Elizabeth August 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

Wow, that must have been some dress!

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bettyb August 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm

You are well within your rights to wear your dress! Noone pre-warned you! Just ask your brother to explain to his wife the situation!

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Mary August 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

My parents and in-laws are very generous with gifts at Christmas, but often they buy gifts we don’t need and never use (like DVDs when we don’t have a DVD player). With a second baby on the way, and with space and money being tight, is it ok to send them a list of things we need?

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Winifred Rosenburg August 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Only if they ask for ideas. Otherwise I suggest donating whatever they give you and getting a nice tax deduction.

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Elizabeth August 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

My mom is very in to holiday shopping, and if she brought it up to me (that she had been shopping, or was planning to go shopping) we have the kind of relationship where I could say, “Ooh, you know if you need an idea, the baby would love to have a new X, or husband would die if you got him Z.” That would be seen as a helpful suggestion, since it is so hard to pick out good gifts. But if you have a different kind of relationship, you can always ask for gift receipts after the fact or just point out the fact that you don’t even have a DVD player. “Thanks so much for that DVD, mom, we really enjoyed that movie at the theater. However, we don’t have a DVD player right now – would you mind giving me the gift receipt so I can exchange it for Y?” No one wants their gifts to go to waste (I think!).

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Winifred Rosenburg August 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I disagree. Flat-out saying you want to exchange tells the person that he or she picked a bad gift, which many people in fact don’t want to know. Also, when you exchange something with a gift receipt you find out exactly how much was spent, which they might not want you to know. If they don’t include the gift receipt with the gift or offer to give it to you (I have an aunt who always says “I have the receipt if you need it!”) you shouldn’t assume they’re comfortable giving it to you. Sometimes you have to appreciate the thought and give it to someone or a charity that might be able to use it.

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Elizabeth August 28, 2013 at 8:38 am

Well, if the OP would prefer not to ask about gift receipts, I wonder if simply and gently stating that they appreciate the gift but unfortunately can’t use it would prompt the giver to offer the receipt? I’m not sure what’s rude about saying, “Oh thanks, we loved Xmen when it was at the theaters, you have great taste! but unfortunately we don’t own a DVD players…” I mean, I probably wouldn’t say it to an acquaintance or boss, but these are the OP’s parents!

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Nina August 28, 2013 at 11:07 am

I agree with Winnifred that one should not ask for gift receipts if you simply don’t like the gift–if you think it’s strange or unhelpful or whatever. But if the gift was purchased in error–a DVD when you have no way to play it, or a size 6 sweater when one is a size 12–I think it’s polite to mention that you will not be able to use it. They bought the gift for you and presumably would be sad to think you never got any joy from it. At that point, a giver will likely offer a gift receipt or offer to return it. A few times, like when someone bought me a book I already had, she simply kept the gift for herself and got me something else at a later date. I guess if they don’t offer a solution when you state the problem, there’s nothing more you can do–at least you were honest. And you can always thank them profusely for the thought.

bettyb August 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

If you recommend a hotel to a close friend or relative and they go there then totally run it down to a third party using phrases such as it is “dirty” and “disgusting” but say absolutely nothing to you, would you be offended? They also do not ask the third party to hide it from you. Hope that makes sense!

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Winifred Rosenburg August 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Because it’s not your hotel, I don’t think I would feel offended. (FYI, etiquette does not dictate feelings so it’s never wrong to feel anything but is sometimes wrong to act on those feelings.) It’s possible the hotel changed owners since you were last there. Regardless, it sounds like an insult to the hotel not to you.

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Elizabeth August 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

Instead of being offended, I would be embarrassed that I had recommended a bad hotel to a close friend. I might even apologize to him/her for doing so.

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Becky August 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

I would call close Friend/Relative immediately and say that you had heard they had a bad experience and apologize that as Winifred suggests along the lines of .. you were not aware that they had gone downhill since your last experience with the hotel. You may want to add that you are so glad that so and so let you know about the experience and the current conditions of the hotel so you won’t recommend it to anyone else. They may not have wanted to hurt your feelings by complaining about your recommendation….some people react badly as if their standards of quality are in question.

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