But every once in a while, the actual wedding is held quietly and privately, or is held very far away from many friends and family members, or the happy couple wants to honor some form of milestone by reaffirming their commitment to one another publicly, or the relationship may not be recognized legally where the couple lives, but they wish to make a public commitment anyway. No matter which case is the one that fits your situation, you still need to understand how to word your invitation so that it is both polite and understandable.
For the last two days, I’ve been schooling you in how to properly word a wedding invitation. Well today we’re going to cover the burning question of how to work the wording when the couple in question is a same-sex one.
Traditionally, the form is ladies first. The bride’s parents were responsible for the entire celebration, and it was often the one day of her life that a woman got to be seriously celebrated. The world has changed, but ladies first is still the rule.
So how do we deal if there are two ladies getting married? What about when it’s two guys and there isn’t a lady to go first?
Yesterday we talked briefly about the standard forms for wording wedding invitations… and now we start getting into the finer points. What do you do when your parents have divorced? What if they’ve remarried? Multiple times? What if one of your parents has, sadly, passed on?
Not to panic. There are forms that have developed over time, because no matter your situation, you are not the first one facing it.
Down the decades, one sure-fire source of wedding humor has been the relationship between a newlywed and in-laws. Is this humor justified? As with so many common sources of mirth, yes and no.
There are great in-laws and ones you wish you could divorce without losing your spouse. There are ones that seem to embody every warning tale and ones who defy all the old saws.
It’s been my fortune – both good and bad – to have known in-laws from both ends of the spectrum. Not, I hasten to add, all in my own marriage. By the time I got married, there was only one in-law left on Mr. Twistie’s side. And while Mamasan Twistie could be frustrating sometimes, she was, all in all, a tremendously good egg. Mr. Twistie was equally fond of both my parents, and has always gotten along with my brothers. We’ve been fortunate.
My mother was dead by the time Mr. Twistie and I married, but my father helped make the food, and bought handmade lace-edged handkerchiefs for my bridesmaids just because he was in Belgium and thought they would make nice bridesmaid’s gifts. He and my brothers did all they could to welcome Mr. Twistie into the family.
Mamasan Twistie welcomed me into her family as a beloved daughter. We hadn’t asked it of her, but she appeared at our wedding with a large platter of her homemade sushi. She just wanted to make sure we knew how happy she was for us.
But as I said, in-laws run the gamut.
On the other end of the spectrum, my brother the alpaca rancher wound up with some serious drama queens for in-laws. His mother-in-law showed up to the wedding in a long, lacy, white gown and scowled in every single photograph.
His father-in-law made dozens of demands about how the wedding should be conducted and how my brother and his lady needed to behave themselves if they wanted her father to show up. Then he didn’t show.
We didn’t miss him.
But I’m curious. What about you? Any horror stories about your in-laws? Any happy tales about how wonderful your in-laws are? Tell me the best and the worst.
One of the big problems with writing about weddings for a living is that when your own wedding rolls around, no one wants to help you plan it. All right, maybe family and friends might want to help you plan your wedding, but they assume that you know exactly what you want and how to get it and therefor don’t need any wedding planning help. Or, worse, they are afraid to offer suggestions or lend a hand because they think you’ll get po’ed. Needless to say, I did not have a big fat German/Russian/Scottish/French/Whatever wedding.
I can see the same thing happening to professed wedding enthusiasts, which I know many of our readers are. Your loved ones may assume that you don’t need or want any help putting together your ceremony and reception because, well, you obviously know all there is to know about weddings. Then again, maybe you’re drowning under a sea of well-intentioned busybodies who are insisting that you simply must hire their hairdresser’s niece to create your wedding cake, since she just completed a cake decorating course at adult extension. The grass is always greener, right?
Today we’re curious to know about your wedding planning experience? Did your family let you know what their expectations were? Did your friends make not-so-subtle suggestions where the food, drink, or dresses were concerned? Or was your wedding planning experience more like my own, where you found yourself waiting for help that never materialized? Vote in the poll and then elaborate in the comments!
Image via Sandie Bertrand Photography
I’ve been mostly blessed in the in-law department, though it may be due in part to the fact that The Beard’s family is teeny-tiny. Not everyone I know is so lucky. I have enough friends with scary sisters-in-law and maniacal step-mothers-in-law and boorish brothers-in-law to know that having a few states and a few thousands miles between myself and my extended family is a good thing.
You see, mother-in-law jokes aside, the stories submitted to sites like I Hate My Inlaws are not just pieces of fiction created by some deranged mind. Sure, one’s biological parents can be a nightmare, too, but one usually has a few decades in which to learn to deal with the idiosyncrasies of one’s own family. Prior to and upon getting married, one is immediately expected to become fast friends with nonblood kin of every description. As if.
So what’s the problem? A reasonably sane adult should be able to cope with a few strained familial gatherings per year, right? Would that it were that easy. You see, it turns out that new research has found that avoiding your in-laws (even the icky ones) can actually harm your marriage.
A husband or wife’s satisfaction with their in-laws is a dominant factor in how happy they are in their marriage, University of Denver associate professor Mary Claire Morr Serewicz found after spending six years researching family issues.
In fact, Morr Serewicz found in-law relations can represent 43 percent of a couple’s satisfaction in their marriage.
Forty-three percent? Yowza! Maybe it’s time to send your future sister-in-law a holiday card or give in and let your future father-in-law fix your brakes. If good relations must be established, why not start establishing them ASAP with a little holiday cheer? Then again, I’m a big fan of setting strict boundaries. If you’re slated to be married or recently tied the knot, this might just be the time to say “I love visiting with you, but it throws off my schedule when you drop by unannounced” and “No, I’m sorry we cannot drive four hours each way to visit you for two hours on Christmas Eve.”
A six-year study might tell us that positive in-law relationships are integral to a good marriage, but I’d venture to guess that sometimes the best thing you can do to maintain good relations between people who mix about as well as oil and water is to avoid one another as much as possible.
A few days ago I found myself at the local mall over lunchtime entirely sans reading material or a companion. I have no problem eating alone, but if that’s what I’m going to do, I prefer to have a book or a magazine in my hand. Going home where all my books live wasn’t an option since I had more shopping to do (it takes fortitude and visits to several stores to find lightweight summer pants, sometimes), so I headed for the lovely brand-spanking-new Borders that had just replaced the anemic little Waldenbooks we used to have. Same corporate masters, much bigger store.
I marched in and what to my wondering eyes did appear? Dozens of bridal magazines smack dab in my face almost as soon as I was through the door. The one that really caught my eye, however, was a Real Simple special wedding publication. I rather liked the clean, fuss-free imagery on the cover of a bride (well, most of her, since we see her pretty much only from about mid-torso to toes) sitting holding a simple bouquet composed of several large, plump, purple hydrangeas and a few glossy green leaves tied with pale blue ribbon. Her shoes are ballet flats. The gown is unadorned. In short, it looked all about the simple, the stripped down, and yet the elegantly lovely.
Even the tag line at the bottom of the magazine cover looked like the sort of philosophy I have always liked best: ‘Your personalized plan for a stress-free, beautiful celebration.’ Who wouldn’t want that? I snapped up the magazine and proceeded to read it with growing gawk over lunch.