Dear Ann: Please tell me if I did something wrong, and if so, how to fix it. Here's the story:
I was married last year. My father and his wife made it clear that they would not pay for my wedding, although Dad did buy my bridal gown. I appreciated the gift, and even though he was not helping with the cost of the wedding, I asked him to give me away, along with my stepfather who raised me. At that point, I thought everything was fine.
I consulted several etiquette books which said the parents' names are on the invitation only if they are hosting the event. Since my mother and stepfather were paying for the wedding, I put their names on the invitation, but not my father's name. My fiance's parents' names were not on the invitation, either. My father was furious about this, and he has not spoken a word to me since. He refused to walk me down the aisle, sat in the back of the church and left immediately after the ceremony.
My stepsister was recently married, and Dad paid for her entire wedding. How could he do this for her and not offer to help me pay for mine? I did not mean to hurt his feelings, but obviously, he didn't care if he hurt mine. I thought it was proper not to put his name on the invitation. Is there anything I can do now? Tears in Mississippi
Dear Tears in Ol' Miss: Yes. You can quit crying and stop trying to please Papa. You did the right thing, and your father behaved badly when he refused to walk you down the aisle. Since you have a stepfather who raised you, that is all the "fathering" you need. Hopefully, when the dust settles, things will improve.
Apparently, you are not the only one with wedding trouble. Here's more:
Dear Ann: I am getting married next year, and already I have a problem. My fiancee and I are paying for the wedding ourselves. We can afford to have 150 people at the reception, no more. We told her parents and mine that they could each invite 50 people, and we were going to use the remaining 50 places for our friends and co-workers.
Well, Ann, both sides of the family used up their allotment and have asked for some of ours. We refused. Now both sets of parents are angry with us. Should we give up our available spaces so our families can invite more people or should we stick to our guns? Frustrated Groom in Delaware
Dear Frustrated in Delaware: Since you and your bride are paying for the wedding, you are under no obligation to give either set of parents the space you've earmarked for your friends. Tell them, "Sorry, but there are so many people we must include. If any of our invitees cannot make it, we'll let you know immediately, and you can pick up the slack."
Dear Ann: My sister is expecting, and I'll be giving a baby shower for her soon. Her in-laws live across the country, and we know they will not be able to attend the shower. I would like to send them an invitation anyway because I believe it is the courteous thing to do.
My sister says an invitation will make them feel obligated to send a gift. I say if we don't invite them to the shower, they will be insulted. How can I extend this invitation without looking like we are asking for a gift? Want to be Polite in Virginia
Dear Va.: Send the invitation, and write on it, "The best present you can give us is your presence when the baby arrives."