DEAR AMY: My 26-year-old niece is getting married. Her wedding theme is “Royal Wedding.” She has therefore requested that family members of the bride and groom (mothers, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents) dress in “royal” fashion matching her wedding colors: Men in navy suits, women and girls in navy blue or gold gowns. Keep in mind, other than the parents of the bride and groom, none of us is in the wedding party. My son has a beautiful suit he can wear, although it’s not navy blue. My daughter also has a beautiful navy blue dress she wore to her prom that she could wear, but it’s not a gown. My son is starting college this month and my daughter next year. I estimate conservatively this wedding will cost my family $600 (not including bridal shower and wedding gifts). I truly feel like my niece is being selfish and self-centered to request people outside of the immediate wedding party dress to her liking to fulfill her fairy tale royal wedding theme. Is there a way I can respectfully decline to allow her to dress me (as I am not in the wedding party), or do you think I should cut my losses and go with the fairy tale royal wedding theme?
Royally Challenged Aunt
DEAR AUNT: “Cutting your losses” would not entail buying new outfits for your family to satisfy this wardrobe demand — no, this would only add to your losses.
It is completely acceptable for marrying couples to provide basic guidelines regarding the formality of a wedding, i.e. “formal attire,” or “casual/cocktail attire.”
It is rude for marrying couples to basically demand that guests adhere to a specific color palette or theme. After all, at some point, even at a “royal” wedding, guests should be treated as guests, and not props (and of course, it goes without saying that actual royals would probably never be so demanding of their guests).
You should wear whatever wedding-appropriate outfits you have on hand. Tell the bride in advance. If the bride excludes you from photographs, gracefully step aside.
DEAR AMY: I am a junior in high school. I’m terrified that I won’t make the right college choice. A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. I thought it was practical. I did a lot of research on colleges. However, I realized this summer that I wanted to pick a career path because it was something I’m passionate about. I have now decided on photography. Recently, I started redoing all my college research. I didn’t like the photography program at the college I had decided on, and I wanted to expand my horizons. I have been looking at colleges out of state, but my parents don’t like the idea. I would really love to go to the University of Missouri, but my stepdad doesn’t want me to go far away. He likes the idea of staying close and inexpensive. I’m afraid to tell my mother that I’d like to go farther away for college because they both keep dropping hints that they’d like me to go to a school about an hour away. They keep telling me my dream isn’t realistic enough. How do I decide on a career path that will impact the rest of my life? Do I assume that my parents are right and aim for the local college? Or should I push hard for what I want?
DEAR A: Your parents are (presumably) paying for college, and they will have a say in which college you attend.
At this stage in your life, you should be very brave and bold and push hard for what you want. Visit colleges with your folks, research financial aid and scholarship options and make your best case.
Your folks might feel better about your photography major if you agree to minor in a subject they consider more practical. Communications and marketing (both great programs at Missouri) might be good choices. Discuss this with them.
Most of all, understand that your job is to explore, learn and grow. You might choose one school and/or major, and then choose to transfer later on.
DEAR AMY: I disagree with your advice to “Torn,” who didn’t seem comfortable with her live-in boyfriend having a relationship with his stepson from his previous marriage. I agree with Torn that “the past should stay in the past.”
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: The child’s interest and welfare should outweigh the parent’s reaction to an awkward relationship.