Newport Manners & Etiquette: Hosting Faux Pas: Weddings + Showers

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


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Questions concerning etiquette faux pas and the responsibilities of hosting weddings and showers and how much to spend on a wedding present are on the rise to Didi Lorillard at this week. 

Mother-of-the-Groom Invitation Faux Pas

I am the mother-of-the-groom. The bride's parents are paying for the wedding and asked me how I wanted the names on the invitation. I told the bride's mother to only use my name and not the groom's father's name, but I don't know why. My son's father and I get along very well. Is there any way of making this right with the groom's father because he is very hurt? I have no excuse as to why I left his name out of the invitation. The invitations have already been printed and mailed.  C.N., Seattle
Be honest with the father-of-the-groom. Tell him if you had it to do over again, you would have had his name included on his son's wedding invitation. Say you weren't thinking clearly at the time. Ask your son to make a special toast to his father at the rehearsal dinner or at the wedding reception and have him encourage his father to stand up and take a bow. There is no need to explain why the groom's father's name was omitted from the wedding invitation. It sounds as though you'll make it right by encouraging your son to pay special attention to his father. Your son could also ask his father to make a short toast, of no longer than two minutes, to the newlyweds.  ~Didi

Cost of the Wedding Gift When Hosting

My husband and I are hosting a post-wedding brunch the morning after the wedding for out-of-town guests (mostly of the groom) for our niece. Fifty people have been invited. I attended a bridal shower and took a gift. In what price range should our wedding gift to the couple be?  A.S., Cranston

You have certainly done your share by hosting the post-wedding brunch. Because she is your niece you probably want to send a token gift from the wedding couple's bridal registry. In a situation such as this it is not about how much you spend, but the fact that you send a token gift from their registry. Look online to see if there is an item on the bridal registry that you can fill out such as by sending a dinner plate to make up her set or pillow cases to go with her sheets. In other words, be practical. Giving someone something you know they need and want is appreciated more than you can imagine. ~Didi

Flaky Baby Shower Co-host

My mother is expecting a baby and I thought it would be fun to host a baby shower for her with the help of my aunt. Because I am a high school student, my aunt agreed to take care of the food and games (as those were deemed necessary) and I agreed to take care of the decorations. With less than a month away, I've purchased and worked hard on the decorations, prizes, and other things, but so far my aunt has not done anything that she said she would. I tried to meet with her but she wouldn't answer my calls. When she finally returned my call, she said I should order the food and game pieces. I am frustrated because I have already bought more than I was planning on paying for and I truly cannot afford to spend too much more. Is there a polite way to bring this up? I don't want to come off as ungrateful to her, but I feel a little hurt that she is asking me to do more than we agreed on. S.W., Rhode Island 

Be honest with your aunt by telling her that you're counting on her help and you cannot host the baby shower alone. Negotiate a compromise. Add that you want to make the party simpler. Suggest cutting down on the games and using free printouts for the invitation and party games online. Volunteer to make carrot cupcakes and fresh lemonade, if she brings the sandwiches and cutup fruit (and possibly rum or vodka for the lemonade, which is not for you to do). If you know the name, decorate cookies with the baby's name as the party favor. 

You only need a small plan. Lower your expectations. Write out a timeline of what has to be done when. Who is keeping track of the guest list and sending out the invitations? And how, digital or paper? Is there a cutoff date (a week prior to the party) for the reply, so you know how much food and recycled plates and glasses you'll need? Helping your aunt take ownership of the event, will make her more engaged in your mother's baby shower.

Make the job of hosting easier for you and your aunt. Guests really don't want to play games. However, they will fill out an index-type card with their name and guess as to the following questions: sex of the baby, name of the baby, weight of the baby, date of birth of the baby, and what the guest thinks the baby's first word may be. Ask questions such as, What do you wish for the baby? What do you wish for the mother? Ahead of time, make a hole with a puncher in the upper left hand corner of the card so when the cards are turned in you can braid the ribbons from the gifts and thread it through the hole to hold the cards together. That's all you need to do game-wise. Take charge. Make a plan. Ask for help. Get the job done. Chances are the adult you're working with is not able to follow through. You can try to delegate, but if it doesn't work, lower your expectations. You can do this.  ~Didi

Do you have a Question for Didi? Visit her at, where Didi researches etiquette and all matters of manners for her book,"Newport Etiquette." If your Question is used, we can withhold your name and/or address. Do explore Didi's earlier columns by typing Didi Lorillard in the upper right hand corner of this page. Or scroll down below.


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