Monday, October 6, 2014

Wedding Etiquette: Q & A

The Best Advice On Handling Your Trickiest Dilemmas.

My cousin’s wedding is taking over my life! As a bridesmaid I have been invited to two engagement parties, three showers, a spa weekend and a bachelorette party. I love her, but is it OK to say “no” to a few events?
You can certainly forgo some of these many parties. Be honest and up-front but non-confrontational with your cousin. Consider saying something like, “Jane, I’m so thrilled to be part of your wedding. I need to let you know, though, that there are a few celebrations I won’t be able to make. I hope you understand.” Then give her the chance to respond. Reassure her that you will be there for her throughout the wedding weekend and for some parties. Do attend one or two pre-wedding celebrations (the bridal shower or bachelorette party perhaps); they’re opportunities to spend time with the rest of the wedding party in a more relaxed setting. Also, there’s no need to bring a gift to every event.

My groom’s college roommate passed away last year, and we would like to remember him in our wedding ceremony. My mother thinks this will put the emphasis on mourning rather than on celebration. Is there an appropriate way to commemorate him?
Your mother’s concern is understandable, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fitting  way to memorialize your fiancĂ©’s friend. The important thing is not to upset people during such a joyful occasion—especially his parents if they attend. Something prominent, such as a large photograph displayed at the reception would likely be too painful a reminder. But you might make a short toast at the rehearsal dinner, particularly if the friend would have been one of the attendants and thus there with you. You could include in the program a brief remembrance of the role this man played in your soon-to-be husband’s life. Or you could light a candle before the ceremony and explain that this symbolic gesture is meant to honor him.

Our families have very different traditions. How can we make everyone feel like they are being represented?
Many couples mix it up, personalizing their ceremony and reception with elements that represent distinct traditions. If these are religious in nature, talk to your officiant to ensure that the ceremony site allows interfaith marriages to be performed. You can use your program to explain any rituals that your guests might be unfamiliar with. For example, one couple built their wedding around their families' British and Swedish customs. Their interfaith ceremony incorporated rites from both the Episcopalian and Lutheran, while the reception had food and music from both cultures.

By Patricia Canole
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