Brides To Blush At

Brides To Blush At

Brides To Blush At

Advice on manners and morals.
June 25 1999 3:00 AM

Brides To Blush At

Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com.

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Dear Prudence,

Just a quick comment on the poor advice you gave to a woman inquiring about a gift for a second marriage. I married someone who was briefly married before. However, I was a first-time bride. It is my contention that if you accept an invitation to attend an expensive black-tie affair that you should bring a gift of at least the value of your meal. I was outraged and shocked that anyone would give a gift of less than that. If they did not attend, a similar, albeit somewhat less expensive gift would have been acceptable. I think it is incredibly poor taste, rude, and offensive for anyone to bring a "token" gift--especially if one party has never been married. Shame on you for promoting bad manners.

--RS

Dear R$,

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Prudie is guessing you subscribe to Soldier of Fortune magazine, because you are certainly a mercenary. Prudie also suspects that your husband's prior bride may have snagged some fabulous presents, thereby irritating you because you feel--correctly--that people will not spring for two terrific presents within a short period of time. What is actually in incredibly poor taste is to mentally make a quid pro quo--the quid being the meal, the quo being the gift. Presents, my dear, have to do with one's finances and one's feelings--not the cost of a meal. And how, exactly, by your lights, are guests supposed to know the cost of the meal? Do you, by any chance, suggest having it engraved under the répondez, s'il vous plaît?

--Prudie, alarmedly

Dear Prudence,

My co-worker recently announced her wedding and mentioned that everyone should be receiving their invitations soon. I decided to give her an elaborate wedding shower and to include all the women (and their spouses) who work with us. I coordinated this event from A to Z. Everyone chipped in $30 per couple for a travel certificate to be used for their honeymoon. About 60 people attended and the event went off without a hitch. My friend was extremely grateful. My question is: Am I still responsible for buying a wedding gift? I wasn't sure if it would be in poor taste for me to consider my efforts and contribution to the shower enough.

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--Sincerely,

Unsure

Dear Un,

Ah yes, we are still in June, the month for brides. Your query involves some interesting concepts. We must assume that the woman for whom you organized the shower was a close friend ... otherwise, why else go to all that trouble? Given that your efforts involved a lot of time (and perhaps paying for the party) and afforded the couple a wonderful celebratory evening, along with $900 to apply to their honeymoon expenses, Prudie feels you have given them a grand wedding gift. Why don't you write a note telling the bridal couple that you had such fun arranging their party and that you and all the guests at the shower will have fond thoughts of them while they are away honeymooning. That way they will know that was the gift you wanted to give them.

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--Prudie, sentimentally

Dear Prudie,

In reference to the letter from "Bride's Mom" who was worried about children catching the bouquet: I was married last summer and gave all the children under 12 a chance to catch a small stuffed animal before I threw the bouquet to the older girls. This worked out really well, and I highly recommend it to anyone! That way, my maid of honor could catch the bouquet without my 6-year-old cousin tripping her.

--CC

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Dear C,

Sweet. Smart. And what fun if a youngster misunderstands the custom just a little and imagines she will grow up to marry Winnie the Pooh.

--Prudie, delightedly

Dear Prudence,

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I am alienated from all my brothers and sisters (except one) for good reason. We do not communicate. No problem there. But now their children--my nieces and nephews--are beginning to make overtures to me ... e-mails, letters, invitations to graduations, requests to visit, to write recommendation letters, etc. This even though I have tried to keep my addresses and phone numbers secret.Am I being unreasonable to extend my desire to remain incommunicado to the next generation? Don't advise me to make up with my siblings. I am quite happy to be "divorced" from them.

Thanks.

--Pat

Dear Pat,

Are you very rich, or famous? Mention of your "addresses and phone numbers," along with all these young people lurching in your direction would suggest there is an attraction beyond the obvious. You sound a bit misanthropic, to be honest, but assuming you have supportable reasons for ringing off from many in your family, Prudie sees no reason to cut off the next generation. It is a possibility that the discarded siblings have put their children up to warming up the situation, but that seems slight. If you have no interest in children, or these particular children, decline the entreaties ... but as gently as you can.

--Prudie, delicately