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This is too much, I want a small wedding

Dear Marguerite:

First and foremost, I thoroughly enjoy your weekly article and look forward to it every Sunday. I recently got engaged, and I am having a difficult time enjoying it, in that, our families want a lavish event while my betrothed and I would like a very small intimate affair - i.e. the groom, myself, my parents, his mother and two witnesses, along with the officiating minister. We also decided to have a reception about a month after the ceremony for the rest of our relatives. This isn't sitting too well with our families.

Currently my fiancée and I are constructing a home and all, if not most of our finances are going towards that project. The stress of constructing a home, working and now this wedding is taking a physical toll on my health! My fiancée is trying his best, but there is so much he can take and do!!! I do feel to just pull my hair out.

How can I convince our immediate families to acknowledge and accept our wishes and how do we convey our request to the other members of our extended families? Help me please!

Thanking you in advance,

"Stressed out bride-to-be"

Dear "Stressed out bride-to-be":

Stressed people often feel like pulling their hair out! Please do not do that and I hope that again, I am not too late in trying to calm you down.

Often parents like to live vicariously through their children, perhaps both or either set of parents never had the chance to have a lavish wedding and want that for you both. Then again, they just may want to throw a spectacular event to show their relatives and friends, that they too can match that last lavish event which they attended. (I hope that is not the case).

Just be firm and tell them what you want, do it together with your fiancée. Building you own home together is just so important and it means that you have your priorities right. Tell both sets of parents that you are grateful for their love and what they want to do for you, but you BOTH have decided this is how you wish your wedding to be and that the late reception you wish to have is not new, this is an idea that has happened many times before.

Hey, stand strong and perhaps you can subtly tell them how much it would mean to you both if instead of the lavish wedding they could consider helping in some aspect of your new home. Perhaps helping with the garden? Remember be calm and firm.

Dear Marguerite:

Help again, because you have answered questions from me before in your column. Today, I have three questions for you.

1. Do you not think that wives should be invited to their husbands' office Christmas parties?

2. Why do companies send most invitations addressed to the man only on the envelope but have both Mr and Mrs inside?

3. What on earth does formal mean?

"Annoyed"

Dear "Annoyed":

Well, it's that time of the year again. Today is the 25th November so in one month it will be Christmas Day (hurray, hurray for some, groan, groan from others because how come Christmas seems to arrive faster and faster each year?). And yes, you did look and sound annoyed when we met for the first time at a Mall! Great meeting you, and thank you for being one of my readers.

Now to your questions, two of which I will answer today:

1. It would be most expensive for the company or organisation, if partners of either the man or the woman were invited to office parties. What I do feel, however, is that Christmas office parties should be held only in the daytime and that means usually during office hours. It is unacceptable to have functions during the "private" times and hours when families are supposed to be together. So companies etc., please FORGET after 6 p.m. functions, unless partners are also invited. And on that note, perhaps companies could consider that once every three or so years they do invite partners (though hmm, one realises that unfortunately the partners may be different).

2. It is really thoughtless and LAZY for companies not to really research the status of the man to whom the invitation is being addressed. First of all, if the invitation reads Mr and Mrs, why ON EARTH is the envelope only addressed to the Mr? This is bad manners, I repeat bad manners.

Now, if they, those mysterious people who do the addressing of envelopes (and I am so sorry I question their expertise and knowledge), are unsure of the marital status of the gentleman, then why not call the office and speak to the admin assistant (or whomsoever), and politely ask to whom should the invitation be addressed. Is it "Mr and Mrs Straightforward? But the term AND GUEST should be rigorously avoided. It is really insulting for the wife if it is (more or less), known that Mr Straightforward has a wife and she has now been demoted to a "guest" and vice versa. One hopes that the person answering these polite questions is not someone who may have an agenda of their own and is not surreptitiously trying to undermine the stay at home wife/partner.

Next week the confusion (to some only), about the words "Dress Code" "Formal". (Do these '"mysterious people" referred to above really understand these terms?). And in fact - to whom exactly - is the dress code being addressed?

Let us know your thoughts
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