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.

Picking Favorites: Is it Ok to Only Invite Specific Coworkers to Your Wedding?

Q: I am getting married and want to know if it is okay to invite some of my colleagues but not others? I am a school counselor and work in a school with over 100 employees. As you can see, if only half came and brought a spouse/guest, I would have 100 guests from work. The chosen venues is limited to 250 people and my fiance and I have large families. It is not my intention to exclude anyone but inviting everyone is nearly impossible.

A: The best way to compile your list of work friends is to begin with only those where your friendship extends outside of school. This may just be a handful, or even only one or two, but that is fine and no one’s feelings would be hurt not to be included. If there are a few others who you consider close friends even though you don’t socialize outside of the school environment, you might add them if you have space. You have no obligation to invite your entire group of work colleagues, even if they have a celebration or shower for you in school. This is their way of celebrating your marriage with no expectation of also being invited to your wedding. Best wishes!

Drinks without Dinner: Is it bad to Host an Evening Wedding Without a Sit-down Meal?

Q: Is it wrong to have a 6:00 pm wedding and not serve a sit down dinner?

A: Well, people would expect a meal, so if you are not serving one, you need to make it clear. One way to do this is to write:

“Cocktail Reception Immediately Following”

and keep your reception hours short, because people will be hungry and will want to leave and have dinner elsewhere if you are not serving it.

Dancing Do’s and Dont’s: Correct Dance Order at Wedding Receptions

Q: What is correct dance order for receptions -groom and bride- then who dances with whom?

A: In many traditions, the bride and groom dance the first dance. For the second musical number, traditionally the father of the groom dances with the bride, and then the bride’s father cuts in. The groom dances with his new mother-in-law and then his mother. Then the groom’s father might dance with the bride’s mother and the bride’s father with the groom’s mother, while the groom dances with the maid of honor and the bride with the best man. At this point other guests usually join them on the dance floor.

When family relationships are complicated, everyone can join the couple after their first dance. The newlyweds should then make a point to dance with all parents and stepparents at some time during the reception.