"I can't choose between my two best friends. Can I have two maids of honor?"
"My fiancé and I are considering a destination wedding. Are we obligated to cover our attendants' travel expenses?"
"Do we have to invite our guests' children to our wedding?"
"I'm still close to my ex-husband's parents. Would it be okay to invite them to my wedding?"
"How do my partner and I go about planning our commitment ceremony?"
"My parents are divorced and each has remarried. Where do they sit in church?"
"Do I have to wear white?"
Do I Have to Wear White? draws on the Posts' extensive database of wedding questions received through their Web site, as well as popular topics addressed in their columns. For busy engaged couples and their families, attendants, and guests, this book provides at-a-glance answers to everything from essential bridal basics to the knotty logistical questions that spring up around this joyous—yet often complex—event.
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About the Author
Anna Post is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and a co-author of Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition. She is also the co-author of Great Get-Togethers and Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette, 6th Edition, and the author of Do I Have to Wear White? Anna conducts business etiquette seminars across the country.
Read an Excerpt
Do I Have To Wear White?
Emily Post Answers America's Top Wedding Questions
How do we tell our parents we're engaged?
It's traditional to tell the bride's parents first. You may each tell your parents separately, or you can go together. Whether the groom formally asks the bride's father for her hand or not, it's a sign of respect for the groom or the -couple to discuss their plans with the bride's parents. If your parents don't know your fiancé, it's your responsibility to arrange the meeting. If families live far away, the news may be shared by phone and a visit planned as soon as possible, because there is nothing better than getting together in person.
What if our parents are divorced?
This is a time to be sensitive and sensible, and set the tone for how you'll handle divorced or separated parents throughout the engagement and wedding. The news should be conveyed to each parent in person, if possible, and by the most direct and convenient means. There's no rule, but most -people choose to tell the parent they are closest to first. Even if you're estranged from one parent, he or she shouldn't hear your news from outsiders.
Is it still the rule that you don't say "congratulations" to the bride?
No, it's fine to congratulate the bride and the groom. Years ago, the standard was to offer the bride your "best wishes" for her happiness. It was considered in poor taste to say congratulations to a bride, as it conveyed a sense of "you finally got one!" Today, "congratulations" is the usual way to respond to the happy news.
My boyfriend andI have decided to marry. He has a daughter from a previous marriage. Should we tell her or our parents first?
Since your fiancé has a daughter, she should be the first to hear the news, even before you tell your parents. Your fiancé should tell his daughter alone, without you, her future stepmom, present. In fact, children of any age should be told about the engagement by the remarrying parent. They may need time to adjust to the idea. It's also a good idea for your fiancé to tell his ex-spouse right away, so that she can help smooth the way for their daughter's adjustment and involvement.
Should I tell my ex that I'm engaged?
If your ex is a former spouse, and you share children, then yes, you should definitely tell him. Because of the inevitable changes taking place at home, your children will need both their parents for extra support. If you don't share children, your decision to tell him or not would depend upon how amicable the two of you have remained. If you are on friendly terms, then it's courteous to let him know.
If your ex is a former love, you have a few other issues to consider. First and foremost, be absolutely certain that your fiancé is aware and in support of your contact with your ex. It's important to respect his feelings on the matter. If the two of you keep in touch and share news occasionally, then sure, it makes sense that you would let him know your happy news.
Now that we're engaged, may I call my fiancée's parents by their first names instead of Mr. and Mrs. Singh?
It's better not to make that leap unless invited. Continue to address them as Mr. and Mrs. until they suggest otherwise. Most married -couples refer to their in-laws by their first names. After you're married, if they still haven't suggested a less formal address, then it's fine to ask them what they'd like you to call them.
My fiancé's parents want me to call them Mom and Dad. I'm not really comfortable with that, but I don't want to offend them either. What should I do?
This definitely calls for some tact and sensitivity. First, have a chat with your fiancé and see if he has any insight regarding his parents' request. Then, have a little conversation with one or both of them and explain: "Mrs. Jones, I'm so honored that you would like me to call you 'Mom' and I appreciate this special way of welcoming me to your family. However, I'm uncomfortable calling anyone other than my mom, 'Mom.' Would it be all right if I called you 'Marge'?"
When do we tell other -people that we're engaged?
Once parents and children have been told the news, then share your engagement plans with other relatives and friends: in person, by phone, by writing notes, or by sending e-mails. Just remember to be sensitive in the timing: You don't want your grandmother hearing the news secondhand from her hairdresser. Include grandparents, siblings, favorite aunts and uncles, godparents, and close friends as special -people "in the know" before the rest of the world finds out.
My partner and I wish to have a commitment ceremony. Is there any etiquette involved in telling others of our decision?
Ceremonies celebrating the partnerships of gay and lesbian -couples are planned in much the same way as heterosexual weddings. The current lack of legal status in many states affects some aspects of the engagement and ceremony: There is no marriage license, mandated health testing, or a marriage certificate signed by a licensed officiant and witnesses. But this in no way limits the joy of the -couple or of friends and family who share their happiness.
There isn't any set formula for sharing the news—each situation is personal—so let your knowledge of the -people involved guide you. Reactions may range from delight to outright rejection. Even friends and families who approve of the relationship may express concern about the public nature of a ceremony. Be patient and give those who have a negative reaction time to digest the news.
As with any engagement, a partner's children should be told before the -couple's parents. Still, some gay and lesbian -couples prefer to tell their supportive friends even before parents or children. Receiving their positive, joyful reaction can be a morale booster prior to potentially difficult family discussions.
Not all negative reactions are based on prejudice. As with concerns regarding a heterosexual engagement, your friend or relative may have the traditional doubts about your choice of partner and future together: Is he right for you? Will you be financially stable? Do you have to move far away? Take the time to listen carefully.Do I Have To Wear White?
Emily Post Answers America's Top Wedding Questions. Copyright © by Anna Post. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.