Monday, December 5, 2022
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Miss Manners: How do you say no to being in a wedding party?

dear miss manners: My wife has befriended my friend’s fiancee for the past two years, but when she asked my wife to come to her wedding party, the request was a bit of a surprise. My wife said she did, and she has since repented.

We knew the wedding would involve travel, but the list of responsibilities just keeps growing. It now includes multiple wedding dress fittings, a bridesmaid dress fitting, a bachelorette party, and a bachelorette weekend in New York City, not to mention the wedding itself, also in New York. So she’s paying for two $700+ plane tickets, plus all the other gifts, dresses, travel expenses, etc.

Behind all of this are dozens of planning emails that require sensitive input and commitment, adding more stress to my wife’s normal daily work responsibilities and social schedule.

Having been through my own “this is too much” groomsman experience, which required a lot more time and money than I expected, we kept things simple for our own wedding. We didn’t have a wedding party, no pre-wedding shower or gift registry, wanting to save our friends and family some time and money.

At this point, we understand that she is engaged and we are trying to keep a positive mindset about everything. But looking back, if she had the opportunity to say “thanks, but no thanks,” she would have.

Is that possible to do without ruining the relationship? If so, how would you frame your answer?

“Thank you feel very honored. But please tell me what this would imply. Followed, if necessary, by “I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle all that. But I will be your most enthusiastic guest.”

Miss Manners urges all potential bridesmaids and groomsmen to have this conversation before they get engaged. She has heard of too many people who have blindly entered a situation where they lose control of their own time and money.

It shouldn’t be like that, of course. Since the people participating in a wedding party are presumably closely related to the bridal couple, they should be treated as friends, not hired servants. That means their convenience must be considered and their agreement must be obtained for any commitment beyond standing at the altar.

Many couples have come to think that they are only in charge of making the arrangements, essentially dictating which side parties will be thrown in their own honor. Miss Manners is glad to know that you and your wife are not among them.

dear miss manners: Is it improper to cut food with the edge of a fork?

for obscure reasonsit is actually considered better to do so, but it is not always easy.

Miss Manners’ new columns are published Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can submit questions to Miss Manners on her website, MissManners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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