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Didi’s Manners & Etiquette: Modern Wedding & Funeral Etiquette

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Weddings become complicated when there aren't enough seats in the chapel, and when the wedding shower is for two brides, do you give each a present? What's the etiquette of children at funerals? What about mothers' expectations for daughters? 

Wedding Shower for Two Women

This is my first time being invited to a wedding shower for two women friends who are getting married in June and I would like to know the etiquette. Do I bring them both a present? What should I bring them?  

~Charlotte, Portland, Oregon

You would respond just as you would when attending a wedding shower for a man and a woman who were being honored — by bringing one present to the celebration. If you were going to a Jack and Jill wedding shower, you would only bring one gift for them both. Find out where your friends, the wedding couple, are registered and choose something you know they want and need. 


Children's Attendance at Funerals

My son recently passed away during an operation unexpectedly. His entire school went to the funeral. How do I thank them?  

~Sad in West Virginia

Attending a classmate’s funeral helps his friends and classmates to cope with their loss. Children’s attendance at funerals educates them to recognize the importance of being part of a community.

Children should be included in all aspects of family rituals and their school is an extension of their family. It is not necessary for you to thank your son’s schoolmates, but you can certainly do so in several ways.

"The family of John Wilson deeply appreciates your sympathy and is grateful for your thoughtfulness."

You definitely could have an acknowledgement posted on the school bulletin board using the wording shown above, but inserting your son’s name.

Additionally, you could raise funds to provide the school with something it needs, such as a bicycle rack, the replacement of a tree on the property, a new basket ball hoop, books for the library in which you could place a bookplate (see bookplateink.com) in each of the books that would say:  In memory of John Wilson (inserting your son’s name). 

Having children’s attendance at funerals teaches them that a funeral plays an important role in their mourning and helps them see death as a fact of life. 


Mothers' Expectations of Daughters

I want to know if sending a book about strong women during the Civil War would be an appropriate book to send to my daughters. (One of whom has a toddler. My other daughter, unfortunately, had a recent miscarriage.) In doing so, I wanted to say to them that they will make great, strong, mothers, but I didn’t want to make my second daughter feel sad, or anxious. The doctor says she will undoubtedly have another opportunity to have a healthy baby and not to worry. The book is really wonderful and talks about how strong women are and can be. My daughters are thirty-somethings. Thank you.  

~Victoria, Piedmont, NC

Before sending the book why not ask each daughter if she would like to read it? Then ask what they would read it on? For instance, digitally (on a Nook, Kindle, or tablet) or would they be more apt to read a hardcover (or paperback) book?

If they read only digital books and you send a hardcover book, you may be disappointed if your daughters don’t read it. People can be fussy about how they read a book —  digitally or the old-fashioned way.  We should communicate with our daughters on their wave length for more effective results.

Sending your daughters — out of the blue — a book with a particular message could come off as tedious preaching. Asking first may lower your expectations, but at least you’ll be less disappointed when you find out they didn’t read it.

Mothers' expectations of daughters should be realistic and you certainly do not want to make this a competition.

Most mothers have the best intentions, so why not take a random-reach-out approach in the form of a call to make a lunch date first to pave the way.

Over lunch or a walk in the park, ask your daughter if she would like to read the Civil War book about interesting women. Engage her in some of the stories by telling her about characters you discovered and why you admire them.

At a later date -- say, while preparing the Thanksgiving turkey -- she may bring up some of the characters and their stories. 


What Do You Do When There Aren't Enough Seats in the Chapel

Can you help us with the invitation wording for a reception only sample, please? We’re inviting 150 guests to our daughter’s August wedding reception, but the small chapel where the ceremony is taking place cannot seat everyone. So, we’ve had to whittle down separate lists of those being invited to the ceremony and those being invited to the reception only. How do we invite half of the guests to both the ceremony and the reception and the other half of the guests only to the reception?

~Mother of the Bride, Shelter Island, NY

Here are samples of a wedding reception invitations, which is sent to everybody on the wedding guest list, along with the accompanying reply card and self-addressed return envelope. As well as a ceremony card to be presented at the church or synagogue, that is included for guests who are also being invited to the ceremony:

The Ceremony Card – These lines are centered on a small card, with your own information, and enclosed with the larger wedding reception invitation, but is sent only to a guest who is being invited to the ceremony:


Saturday, the first of August at half after five o’clock
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 324 East Main Road

The wedding reception invitation:

Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Douglas Wilson request the honor of your presence at the marriage reception of their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth and Mr. George Henry Sherman
Saturday the first of August at seven o’clock
Clambake Club, 375 Ocean Drive

Reply card enclosed

The reply card is worded to be mailed back two weeks to ten days before the wedding date:

Kindly reply by the sixteenth of July

M __________________________

Accept ________ Regret_________


Do you have a dilemma about love, family and life in general for Didi? Go ahead and "Ask Didi."  If your Question is used, we can withhold your name and/or location.


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