DEAR READERS: Your questions never take a holiday, but occasionally I must. This week’s “best of” columns come from deep within the Ask Amy vault. Like a soft-serve twisty cone, they are sometimes even more enjoyable as a second helping.
DEAR AMY: My sister-in-law and her daughter are making plans for the daughter’s wedding. During a recent family reunion they said that they did not want any small children at the ceremony and were going to make arrangements for a qualified sitter to be available at the church to watch the children during the ceremony. All are welcome at the reception.
This offended my daughter, who has a 4-month-old baby. She feels her parenting skills are being attacked in that she would sit in the back of the church and remove herself and the child if she became noisy. She also feels that because she and her child are family that makes this request very rude. She stated that she would not leave her child with a stranger (the child will be 16 months old by then), and if her child were not included, she would not attend.
I have tried to talk to my daughter to say that this is a reasonable request by the bride and she should not feel that request is rude. I feel she should respect the wishes of the bride and go, leaving her child in the care of the sitter for the 30-minute duration of the ceremony.
My daughter still disagrees with this request.
Please give us your advice on this. — Grandmother in the Middle
DEAR GRANDMOTHER: Well, I’ve heard of “Bridezillas” but your daughter sounds like a “Frankenguest.”
I don’t know what your daughter’s own wedding was like, but if she’d care to view a videotape or two of what weddings can be like where toddlers are present, I’m sure I could arrange it. A 16-month-old should not be expected to necessarily hold it together during a church ceremony, and I think it is considerate of the marrying couple to recognize this and be willing to arrange for a sitter for the youngest guests.
Your daughter has several months of motherhood before this event to realize that sometimes the best thing for baby and family is to be happily engaged separately for a short time. If she is offended by this, it doesn’t sound as if she would be able to be a good and gracious guest, and maybe it would be better for everyone if she stayed home. (August 2004)
DEAR AMY: I was proposed to last night. I’m 47 and my husband-to-be is 58. We have lived together for the last five years. We have everything we need and more. I am wondering if it would be proper to register at a travel agency for our wedding? We will go to Australia and Fiji for our honeymoon. — Bewildered Bride
DEAR BRIDE: First of all, congratulations!
I know that many couples are choosing less conventional ways of accepting gifts from friends and family, and I think this is a great idea. Many travel agencies will set up special funds for your wedding trip; you can notify your wedding guests that in lieu of material gifts, they could contribute to your honeymoon through this fund, if they’d like.
I had a friend who did this several years ago, and she and her husband did a great job of emailing their friends from many exotic locations on their trip of a lifetime, expressing their gratitude. That helped ease my profound jealousy. Somewhat. (January 2005)
DEAR AMY: I was recently invited to a wedding but was not invited to the reception. Needless to say, I was very offended and did not attend the wedding, nor did I buy a gift for the happy couple.
Did I overreact or is this just plain stupidity on the blushing bride’s part? — Gretchen
DEAR GRETCHEN: You are overreacting. The wedding and reception are separate events that are linked in some traditions but not all. Importantly, you have been invited to witness the most important and memorable part of the celebration: the wedding ceremony itself.
This is an honor, and you should be gracious, even if you intend to decline. (August 2003)