Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR READERS: I have stepped away from my daily column for two weeks to finish writing my next book, which is due to be published next fall. I hope you’ll enjoy these topical “best of” questions and answers while I’m away. Today’s questions deal with weddings, and the complications that arise from wedding invitations, outfits, and ceremonies.
DEAR AMY: I just received an invitation from my best friend to her wedding in three weeks. I am upset by this. She is someone I talk to almost every day and see at least three to four times a week. She has been engaged for almost a year and never told me! What I don’t understand is how she could keep something like this from me. I wanted to be a part of her special day or at least help with the food or the dress — anything besides just getting a little invitation. Her reason for not telling me about the wedding is because she says I am too bossy, which I do not deny. However, she could have at least told me and kindly declined any offers from me. I have no intentions of going to her wedding, and I am considering ending this friendship.
Hurt in Georgia
DEAR HURT: Maybe you aren’t the sort of person who takes no for an answer, no matter how kindly phrased it is. I can understand how hurt you are, but I hope this incident causes you to examine what it is about you that would cause your closest friend to labor so hard to keep you away from being overly involved in her wedding. You judging her wedding invite to you as “a little invitation” is a clue to how you tend to keep score. Surely this invitation doesn’t seem so “little” to her. Perhaps she is selfish and inconsiderate. Perhaps this is your wake-up call.
This might be the first day of the rest of your friendship. Talk it out, then make your decision. (January 2006)
DEAR AMY: My wife’s niece is getting married soon. She has been living with her boyfriend for more than a year. She spent $400 to buy a white wedding gown. My question is: Is this morally right? I thought that a bride wearing white meant that she was a virgin! Is this a fad or do lots of people do this? Isn’t she breaking the sacred vows of marriage by getting married in white? I told my wife that this is a farce. Who is right?
Perplexed in Denver
DEAR PERPLEXED: Brides the world over seem to want to be married in white dresses, virgins or not, and it has become an accepted practice.
However, I gather that you don’t definitively know that your wife’s niece is not a virgin, and polite people don’t speculate about such things, no matter the cohabitation arrangement. Polite people give brides the benefit of the doubt. (Curiously, you don’t seem to have similar concerns about the morality or virginity of the prospective groom.)
Your wife’s niece is not breaking the sacred vows of marriage by getting married in white, in part because the marriage vows don’t have anything to do with the bride’s (or groom’s) outfit at the wedding, and also because one needs to be married to break marriage vows. There will be plenty of time for that later, but you need to let the couple at least leave the church before worrying about the sanctity of their union.
You seem to feel very strongly about this, and if you truly feel that this wedding is a farce, then it might be best if you stayed home that day. (December 2006)
DEAR AMY: I was invited to a 50th wedding anniversary celebration. On the invitation was written, “no gifts, please.” Some said it means no material presents but that money or a check is acceptable. Isn’t money a gift? I have also received several young couples’ wedding invitations with the notation, “money tree.” I want to honor their request but am confused as to what they really mean. What’s proper?
DEAR CONFUSED: “No gifts” means no gifts. A card filled with best wishes will do.
A money tree is a contraption, usually placed on a table at a wedding reception, which guests cover with cards containing checks or money. In that case, money is very much expected and should be considered as your gift to the couple. (June 2006)