Invitation Separation: What to do About Inviting a Guest Who Could Cause a Problem

Q: I am the maid of honor at my little sister’s wedding – a very low-key, low budget affair. Our Mom & Dad are paying for “some” of her wedding and have added people to her list that are family friends. While I understand, this is customary, they also want to invite a peer who is not friends with anyone and – actually – is disliked by some in the wedding party. Is it correct that anyone that my parents invite should be ok with the bride and groom?

A: The basic guideline is that invitations are divided into thirds – one-third for the bride’s parents, one-third for the groom’s parents, and one-third for the bride and groom. If one “group” doesn’t need all its invitations, they get divided between the other two groups.  It is presumed that those invited are people who are meaningful in the lives of those on whose list they appear. If there is a conflict, however, there is nothing wrong with, as in this case, your sister talking to your parents about the perceived problem with the person on their list who is troublesome to others. Hopefully, clear communication can help them reach accord. Particularly if this person presents a problem for your sister, your parents should take her concerns seriously.

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.