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. Sara

    My MOG is throwing a bridal luncheon for me because this is what is done according to her in her traditions. I am a bit frustrated because 1) not all guests will be getting an invite to the wedding (as is their custom) 2) the luncheon resembles more of a wedding replacement 3) my MOH feels jilted by this as it falls within her responsibilities 4) this is an almost all female event where i will know a limited number of women. I have tried to change the title to Engagement Party and everything else under the sun. She won’t have it. What to do?

    • Jazzgirl205

      Just let her give the luncheon the way she wants to do it. Since luncheons do not usually involve gifts, MOH can give you one as well. When I got married, different people gave me luncheons. Don’t worry. It does concern me, however, that you are putting everyone else’s desires above your future MIL. This is her motivation: she is publicly welcoming you into her family. She will be introducing you to dear family friends who may become your dear friends in the future or may have played a role in you fiance’s life. You want to know these ladies.

      I really cannot understand why this would frustrate you. You should be flattered and filled with appreciation. Accept it for what it is.

    • Lilli

      Is it really just a welcome to the family lunch or a shower? Because if gifts are involved I would feel the same way as Sara. Also, it’s a power thing as much as people like to pretend it’s not – the FMIL knows that she is making her new family member very uncomfortable and doing what she wants anyways! That doesn’t scream “welcome to the family” to me!

      • Jazzgirl205

        If FMIL’s motives are nefarious, which I doubt, then it would really take the wind out of her sails if Sara approached the situation with happiness and appreciation. Then Sara would go about her other plans unchanged. It would be a win-win situation for Sara.
        Truth is, Sara is going to be part of MIL’s family for a very long time. Better to start off with graciousness than acrimony. If MIL really isn’t a lady then Sara could lead by example.

    • Elizabeth

      It is true that, technically, people who aren’t invited to the wedding shouldn’t be invited to pre-wedding festivities (especially showers). However, this sounds more like a welcome to the family luncheon, and if it is a regional tradition then the guests will likely not be offended by it. Since this is the MOG’s circle, I would imagine that any luncheon thrown by the MOH would have a fairly different guest list. Perhaps the MOH can offer her services/input to the MOG if she wants to collaborate on just one party? But I think the gracious thing to do is to go along with MOG unless this is a shower in disguise.

      • Sara

        We have already started to receive gifts for the luncheon. In all honesty, this luncheon feels more about future MIL then it does about me and my fiancee. She’s already told me she’ll be wearing ivory to the luncheon. I have given up all my requests and am now going with everything she wants. I am acting with decorum, respect and as much as a lady as I can. I get asked for input – but future MIL does not care one bit. Future MIL did call this a ‘Bridal Luncheon’ on the invites, but continues to call it a shower to her friends and family. I feel terrible – we are receiving gifts and these people will not be attending the wedding festivities. What makes matters worse is that I get the feeling that the luncheon will be extravagant – which will infuriate my parents – who are burdened with the majority cost of the wedding since future FIL and MIL do not believe it is their responsibility to contribute (I find this belief to be outdated and insulting..I will be contributing financially to the marriage). In all honesty, I feel future MIL has caused a rift with her lack of decorum during this planning process. Thoughts?

        • Alicia

          Honestly nobody but the bride and groom is responsible to pay for a wedding. On the other hand yes your MIL is running roughshod over your preferences. Her friends and family probably know this about your MIL. Relax be a gracious woman at this party and send thank you note promptly. If you want to graciously put the blame as it were on your MIL simply gush about how your MIL made such a deal and how awed you are that she went above and beyond anything you had seen before. Do this with a bemused smile and the guests will understand that this is not you but her and that you are just being the gracious tolerant bride.

        • Elizabeth

          I would pick your battles. However, it’s also good to keep in mind that she is setting the standard for how things will go after the wedding as well. Where’s your fiance in all of this? Does he support you, or encourage you to go along with his mother? This is also an indication of how he will act during the marriage as well.

          In the near term, I agree with Alicia. You have to show up and be gracious. The faux-pas has already happened. Be thankful she’s wearing ivory to the luncheon – I don’t think it looks good on anyone, and now you can wear a fabulous dress that flatters you in any color. If she tries to wear ivory to the wedding…hmmm, that might be a problem.

  2. Dawn

    Quick question: How do I politely ask a someone when she will be sending me the money that she owes me for an item I agreed to buy? She and I had agreed that she would pay me back and I have already sent the item to her. She said that she was going to be sending the money and it would have more certainly arrived by now. It has been a month since the items I purchased have arrived to her home. I suppose her check could have been lost in the mail. Thanks for your help.

    • Elizabeth

      You just ask. You can call or email, say that you haven’t seen the check yet and you were wondering when you could expect it.

  3. Jessica

    Question: How do I properly address an outer and inner envelope for a couple who is not married? Also, how do I address the outer and inner envelope for an invitee and their guest?

    I was previously told to do it this way, “Ms. Jane Doe and Guest” on the outer envelope and “Jane Doe and John Smith” on the inner envelop. Is this correct?


    • Winifred Rosenburg

      For the unmarried couple: Mr. John Doe & Ms. Jane Lane. For the invitee and guest, if you know who the guest would be and would not like to leave it up to the invitee (a wise choice in my opinion) you should write the invitee’s name alone on the outer envelope and both names as you would normally address them on the inner envelope. It would be better for you can send them separate invitations though. If you don’t have the name of the guest write “Ms. Lane and Guest” on the inner envelope.

  4. Danielle

    If I invite a date to a wedding that we would need to fly to, and pay for expenses including gift, hotel, car, etc. should I also pay for his flight? Would this be expected?

    • Elizabeth

      There’s no rule of etiquette for this, it’s between you and your date. Some people could easily afford this expense and some not. Your guest might be able to easily afford the expense or not. So depending on which of these categories you fall into, and how important it is for you to take a date, this will decide how the expenses are accounted for. Is the date a friend, and with whom you will make it a kind of little vacation? Is your date your significant other, who doesn’t really want to go, but will out of a sense of obligation? In the first situation, a friend would likely pay their own way, but you might have to foot the bill for an unwilling partner. Again, no hard and fast rules here.

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