Thank Who: What to Do when a Gift has No Card

Q: I recently got married and at my wedding reception, I received a gift that the card had fallen off of. Is it appropriate to send out an e-mail (after eliminating obvious names) and try to figure it out that way, or is it just better to just forget about it?

A: When you aren’t sure who a gift is from, or when you aren’t sure if a gift was misplaced, it is a great idea to write a thank-you note anyway. You thank the person for helping you celebrate your wedding day and tell him or her how much it meant to you that he or she was there with you.  This way, the person who did give a gift feels much more comfortable calling or writing to make sure you received the gift. At that time, you can explain the situation, offer sincere thanks, and then write another note of thanks for the gift. If you don’t write, they just think you have no manners and are hurt that you never wrote to say thank you for the gift, and they then aren’t inclined to call. Writing helps clear up any mysteries, while not writing gives a wrong impression.

Roll Call: The Proper Recessional Line Up

Q: What is the proper recessional line up for a catholic ceremony?

A: The traditional order for a recessional for a Christian wedding is the bride and groom, the flower girl and ring bearer, the maid of honor and best man, followed by the other attendants.  The bridesmaids may recess either singly or side by side, depending on their number.  They may walk together as they entered, groomsmen with one another and bridesmaids together, or a bridesmaid may walk with an usher.

Engagement Etiquette: Can I Use Engagement Gifts before the Wedding?

Q: I am recently engaged and have started to receive engagement gifts. I have been immediately sending out thank you notes, but my mother insists that we cannot use the gifts until we are married. We would like to know what the proper etiquette is for gift use. My empire red Kitchen Aid mixer is calling my name!

A: It would be best to wait until after the wedding.  The reasoning is in case the engagement is called off, however unlikely, it would be inappropriate to return used gifts.

Dress Debate: What Should the Grandmother of the Bride Wear?

Q: If the Bride is wearing a long gown and her Grandmother is in the wedding party, does the grandmother have to wear a long gown?

A: Not necessarily.  If the other members of the wedding party are wearing long gowns, it would be appropriate for her to wear one.  If the others are wearing short dresses, it would be appropriate for her to wear a similar length dress.

Empty Handed: Proposing Without a Ring

Q: I have a question regarding the etiquette of proposing to my girlfriend: Is is acceptable to propose without an engagement ring, but with a smaller ring instead? My girlfriend is somewhat particular about her tastes, and I want her to be involved in picking out an engagement ring. But, to me, it seems that asking her to be part of the process ruins the surprise of the proposal. Instead, I’d like to propose with another, smaller ring (a nice, small 18 point diamond ring, that she likes as a ‘right-handring’). So, what is proper etiquette in this case? Propose with the small ring or not?

A: It is fine to propose without an engagement ring, and then select one together. You can always present her with a “symbolic” ring, but it needn’t be another diamond ring – it could even be a cracker jack ring – if you would like to have something to slip on her finger when you propose.