Open Thread

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  1. tyler

    I am ushing at a traditional formal wedding. The only living grandmother’s husband has just taken will and will not be able to walk her up the aisle, at her time. She is the patriarch of the local family, and I am from out of town and barely know her, and am 2 or 3 generations younger than the ailing husband or than her own son. So I feel uncomfortable that the church staff asked me to ush her to her place in the stead of her nonattending husband. That seems like a really serious breach to me. It seems obvious to me that her closest and ranking relative, her own oldest son, ought to be asked in the stead of her husband to be escorting her to her seat, and not I, a comparative stranger unrelated to her. Obviously I’m willing. But I would think this would be a totally gratuitous slap at her closest living relative.

    • Elizabeth

      It could be that her relatives are married and must accompany their own wives down the aisle. It is also possible that when the family gathers for the rehearsal dinner, plans may change. For now, you should graciously accept the request – no one will be offended. Rather, you are doing this lady a service filling in for a loved-one who cannot be there. It is not a breach, but honestly one of practicality.

      • t.c.

        Thanks for your thoughts, Elizableth. A bit surprised you were willing to be so definitive when you founded your answer on guesswork. The son ISN’T married, and it turns out he IS horribly hurt that he is not escorting his mother. They’re both about to lose a father. and want to honor him, and I don’t want to come between that. I think my prior instinct WAS the act of gractiousness. Now you know those 2 further facts, I invite your further reflection. Wedding has been moved to Frdday because of this. You are insisting I stay in, even though it will cause definite needless hurt? I don’t get that as being etiquette? Do please provide an answer that shows you’ve heard and care, Elizabeth. The goal is minimized hurt feelings all round

        • Elizabeth

          Hey, I’m just one person’s opinion! Take it or leave it!

          But given this additional information, I don’t understand who is asking you and why it’s such a big deal. If there is indeed someone else (the son) who the family would prefer escort the grandmother, then what does the church staff have to say about it? They are not “in charge” of these things – the bride and groom are. It’s their wedding. (Does the bride and groom want you to do it because you’ll be in a tux, and the son won’t?? I’m just trying to make sense of who wants what in this scenario.) If the staff contacts you again (or if you have to get back with them), just say that the family would prefer the son do it, and that’s that. Who’s feelings might be hurt if you take that route?

          To be honest, etiquette doesn’t have much to say about who escorts who – this is a special case and it is up to the bride and groom, in consultation with their families to decide. The church really has no business insisting in this case.

          • Alicia

            Truthfully likely there is no need of escort. As an usher you should be happy to usher anyone who the bride and groom ask you to. If they ask brother fine but if they ask you just do it. Let the choice and the decision be theirs. In my family which is rather formal in case of ushers the head usher will escort the most prominent widow or lady attending on her own ( ie grandma in this case)and then down the line. Do not get into the drama of it. Relax and escort who you get asked to escort and be willing to step away if asked not to escort someone either as they wish to go by themselevs or with another escort. You are making too much a deal of this.

  2. Cheryl

    I have invited a friend for lunch her birthday. I am a vegan and 1st asked her availability for a birthday lunch. She immediately picked the restaurant even though it is my treat and I had somewhere else in mind. I suggested another restaurant that is vegan friendly. My question is who picks the restaurant for a birthday dinner, the person that pays and does the inviting or the birthday girl.

    • Gertrude

      From my understanding, it is the birthday girl who picks the place for lunch. The occasion is hers, and so she picks the place. I see no reason why you two cannot compromise, with the knowledge that you eat vegan though.

    • Nessy

      It is a nice thought to invite someone out for a special event. If you are doing it as a “treat” for her (like a gift) it may be nice for her to decide. If you had somewhere in mind tell her “I was thinking of this place. It may have better menu options for me”. See what she says and if she is pushing for her pick you may have to go with that. I am a vegetarian myself – I am sure there will be something you could have (salad, even fries- or “chips” as we call them). Next time don’t give her an option “I would love to take you to Veggie Hut”. If she is difficult – maybe skip the invite for dinner next time and go out for a coffee (soya milk for you something else for her!). Hope it works out for you!

    • Elizabeth

      If it’s a birthday dinner with my family, I would definitely insist on choosing the place (and hey, we’re family!), but with friends I would never presume to choose the place because: 1)they’re paying, so they certainly have some say. 2) I don’t know what price point they were thinking. and 3) I would want the place to appeal to both of us.

      In the future, I suppose the way to avoid such a situation would be to say, “Hey friend, what are you doing next Tuesday? I would love to take you to X restaurant for your birthday!”

      However, if the place she suggested really does not work for you, you simply go back to her and say, I know you wanted to go to X place, but given my dietary restrictions it would be really difficult for me to find something to eat. How about A or B instead?

      If you think about it, a meal out is your gift to your friend. When do we let people pick the gifts we’re going to give them?

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