Etiquette Police


Q: The groomsmen are a motley crew: ugly facial growth, stringy hair, lame style. They'll be okay clothes-wise in rental tuxes, but I'm worried they'll still look unsightly. What can I do?

A: We totally understand that a wedding party rocking the Joaquin Phoenix look isn't exactly the stuff of a bride's dreams. Here's what you can do, without offending them: Have your fiancé treat the guys to a shave and a haircut (or at least a trim) the day before the wedding. If they go to a full-service salon, how about a round of manicures, too? It might just inspire them to stay buffed and beautiful through the wedding day.

Q: Can I fire my maid of honor? She's just not that into helping me.

A: Take an objective look at the situation: Are you expecting her to do too much? Remember, she has a life—maybe she's taking night classes, is training for a 10K, or just can't muster up the enthusiasm for a debate on invitation typefaces. So instead of handing her a pink slip, have a friendly chat and find out what's going on in her life. If she still acts reticent, ask the bridesmaids for help. But put away the bullhorn.

Q: I want to wear a lime green wedding dress, but Mom gets upset when I mention it. How can I convince her I won't look ridiculous?

A: This is a big day for Mom, too, and she's probably always dreamed of your walk down the aisle in white, so give her some time to get used to the idea of you all done up in citrus. Show her blog postings of real weddings with gorgeous brides in colored gowns. Let her see firsthand that a bold wedding gown can still look appropriate. Pair it with a veil and gorgeous jewelry, and you'll look every inch the bride.

Q: Do I need to provide a limo for my future in-laws' trip from the church to the reception?

A: Are you giving your parents a lift? If so, don't snub your new hubby's family. (You've got a lot of Thanksgivings to spend together.) Book a town car, which can fit four to six people, for the two sets of parents. Or if your budget's tight, arrange a ride for them with a guest who's got extra room in his backseat.

Q: I've been invited to three showers for the same bride. (I'm one of her bridesmaids.) Do I have to bring a gift to each? I'm feeling strapped, what with all the wedding costs.

A: No worries—maids invited to multiple showers generally just bring a gift to the first. After that, your main obligation will be giving each crowd pointers on making gift-bow bonnets.

Q: My parents are divorced but get along well. Can I seat them at the same family table? My aunt says it's a bad idea.

A: She's right. It's awkward and will create the impression (to those who don't know them) that they're still together. Let them host separate tables instead.

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