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. Mother of the groom

    Hi, I have a question.

    The Bride and Groom wants a small outdoor wedding. My husband pastors a church with about 300 in our church family. I feel they have watched my son grow up and should be invited, but that poses a huge problem for the finances. How should we handle this? Any alternative ideas?

    • Alicia

      You should allow the bride and groom to have the final say and have the small wedding they want. It is their wedding day not yours and not your parishes.
      With your son and daughter in law in attendance,a short announcement, made by your husband, post mass the week after they return that in honor of your sons marriage to wonderful daughter in law that you all will be hosting a coffee and donuts social immediately following for all who wish to attend in the parish hall would be a great compromise. That way you can invite everyone to meet sons bride at an inexpensive gathering ( coffee and donuts for a crowd are cheap) and include those who would wish to extend their good wishes but allowing the wedding to remain those that your son and daughter in law are close to. IF groom and bride do not even want to do this small gathering that is their right and you should go along but they should be willing to compromise in this manner.

      • Elizabeth

        I couldn’t agree more.

        For some religions, the wedding ceremony takes place during a regularly scheduled worship session. Alicia’s suggestion would work beautifully in that case. You host the fellowship afterwards, the whole congregation can attend, and the wedding reception begins a few hours later.

        For other religions, though, the wedding ceremony is not done at a mass, and is separate. I’m Jewish, and we have a tradition called the Aufruf, in which the groom is called up to the Torah, which is an honor. At a certain point, the bride and groom are pelted with candies. We did this, and we too hosted the fellowship after the service. Perhaps the bride and groom can host the fellowship during the week that their ceremony is taking place, or something like that, if the whole congregation cannot be invited to the wedding itself.

      • red

        My cousin married a few years ago, and she was the pastor at her church. The entire congregation was invited via a very informal notice in the church bulletin. Family and closer friends were invited with a formal invitation. Immediately following the ceremony was a reception in the garden with cake and punch for all attendees. A formal dinner was held for family and closer friends. It was a beautiful day, and everyone felt included.

    • Jody

      I agree with others that the bride and groom should have the final say.

      I can’t tell from the original question, but is the wedding taking place in another town? If so, the “after the ceremony fellowship” suggestion is excellent. Whenever the bride and groom come to your (the groom’s) home church after the wedding would be a perfect time to host a fellowship gathering. As Alicia mentions, coffee/lemonade and donuts/cake are usually inexpensive refreshments when hosting a larger group. My former congregation usually had fellowship hours after church services; often the congregation members would host them (rather than the church) and say something like “today’s coffee hour is hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Smith in honor of their newly married son Joe and his wife Jane.”

  2. David

    I’m glad your back, Alicia. Just role with the punches on social media. Negativity is pandemic these days.

  3. BB

    Hello everyone,

    My husband and I have just moved to a low-rise, high-end apartment building on the Upper East Side of NYC. On our floor there are two apartments (out of a total of four) with young children – one of which (we don’t know which yet) makes a lot of noise while they are leaving for school in the mornings. The kids yell, their parents shout from inside their apartments reminding them to take their lunch-boxes etc. and for the 10 minutes they are loudly sorting themselves out every morning, it is very disruptive. I think mostly I’m annoyed at the lack of consideration for others on the floor early in the mornings.

    When they return from school in the evenings the kids leave their scooters (and sometimes schoolbags) in the common area for hours if not overnight, even though this is not allowed by the building. It makes the space (that we pay a pretty penny for) look squalid.

    Without sounding curmudgeonly (which I realize I do right now) how can we send a polite note to the neighbors requesting some consideration for others on the floor. We are very obviously the new couple the building and while no one is necessarily friendly to their neighbors, this side of town, we don’t want to get off on the wrong foot straight out the gate.

    Many thanks in advance for your advice.

    • Alicia

      I’d stop and say hi first to the parents and ask after how many kids then have saying something like “how many kids do you and your wife have? I hear kids every morning getting ready to leave for school. It sometimes sounds like you have your own elementary school” Often people forget how much sounds carry in apartment complex.

  4. David

    I’d ask the management office if the two apartments with children could be reminded of their contractual agreement regarding items left in the common areas and excessive noise, then describe the situation. Then ask if it would be better to approach the neighbors yourselves (they’ll of course say no). Thank management and say you may have to approach them yourself if the situation isn’t remedied asap. You might add that you hope you haven’t made the wrong decision in choosing their building. I’ve been in this situation and I found that the best approach. You’re not obligated to remind others of their agreements/common courtesies.

    • BB

      Thank you both for your thoughts on the issue. David, I think we will go with your suggestion – it fits best with the culture here and the hopefully will get the job done. Thank you!

      • David

        You’re welcome, BB. I’d also do it in writing (email) for your records. I wouldn’t approach the neighbors, even having said I may have to. However, if the situation isn’t remedied quickly, I’d again email management and tell them you plan to do just that the next day, hoping it won’t turn confrontational. I assure you you’ll get action. Where I live, three letters of complaint result in the offending resident’s eviction. You, no doubt, don’t wish to pay for this quality of life that you could find much cheaper in an outer-borough. Best to you both.

  5. Linda Armstrong

    My daughter is getting married. She is having a shower next week. She attended a bridal shower recently in which the bride gave the hosts a present. Is this a new tradition? I never heard of that before.

    • Alicia

      A hostess gift for someone who hosts a party in your honor is typical. It does not need to be large but thoughtfulness counts.

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