Partial Presence: Is it Rude to Attend Only Part of a Wedding?

Q: We have been invited to a black tie wedding that is several hours away. The church is at least an hour’s drive from the reception and is scheduled to begin four hours after the wedding service. We were planning on staying at a hotel near the reception location, but conflicts with our children’s activities the following day requires that we return immediately after the reception. Would it be considered rude if we did not attend the wedding service and went directly to the reception?’

A: A wedding is all about the ceremony, not the reception. However, when brides and grooms plan a wedding with such a long gap between the ceremony and reception it is expected that there will be guests who can’t spare the time to attend both. Therefore, it is not rude. It is unfortunate, but there is plenty of precedent and quite simply, it happens that this expanse of time makes it difficult if not impossible for all guests to attend both. You have to work out your attendance according to the pressing demands of your own lives

Second Time Around: Should the Circumstances of My First Wedding Affect My Second?

Q: I am getting married for the second time. My first wedding did not involve a ceremony, and I didn’t have attendants, wedding dress, veil, reception etc. I am marrying someone who hasn’t been married before, and my Aunt is stating that I shouldn’t have a veil, or anything that resembles a traditional wedding dress etc. She gave me an etiquette book that Amy Vanderbilt wrote dated 1995. Has etiquette changed? Is it permissible to have an actual wedding considering the circumstances of my first?

A: Absolutely. You may have as formal or informal a wedding as you like, including wearing a wedding gown and a headpiece. The only difference is that you probably would not wear a face veil, unless your religion requires it, and you would not have a train other than a fairly short one. It also is tradition that a second-time (or more) bride does not carry orange blossoms, although that is rarely an issue.  Lots has changed since 1995 – look for Emily Post’s Weddings for the most current information, and have every confidence that you may have the wedding you like with no breach of etiquette at all. You just may want to find appropriate chapters to share with your aunt so that she is not concerned.

Ring Removal: When After Filing for Divorce Should you take off your Ring?

Q: I have filed for divorce and need to know if I should wait until the divorce is final before I take off my wedding band.’

A: No, you can remove it right now if you want to. A wedding band is not a permanent affixation to your finger. It is a symbol of your marriage, and if your marriage is ending, then you needn’t wear the symbol any longer.

Ceremony Courtsey: Can I Wear White to a Wedding?

Q: I was raised believing that it is disrespectful to the bride to wear white to her wedding. From the point of proper etiquette, does this still hold true?

A: White and ivory generally are reserved for the bride. If guests wear white, it usually is as an accent color, or white worn with color.

Sentimental Shipment: What Do I Do when a Gift Arrives Broken?

Q: My husband and I received a lovely wedding gift from friends of my parents who live in another country. Unfortunately, it was ceramic and broke during shipping. We would be happy to replace it ourselves, but we don’t know where it was purchased. We would really like to enjoy this gift, as it is one of very few things I have from the country where I was born, but it is beyond repair. Is it polite to ask the givers where they obtained the gift? Do I ask them this in the thank-you note, or should I write a separate note? Do I say it’s lovely and I want another one like it for someone else and never mention that it broke? What is the polite way to handle this situation? We want to avoid shaking down the givers for a replacement.

A: Hopefully, they insured the package.  If not, it still would be better to be honest.  Tell them that it was broken during shipping and that you don’t expect them to send a replacement but you would like to replace it since it is, as you said, one of the very few things from the country where you were born.  This way it allows your parents’ friends to send a replacement or just tell you where they bought it.