DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend’s future daughter-in-law will not allow her to know the color theme for the wedding. My friend has asked her several times what color would she like her to wear. All the bride says is, “Wear whatever you are comfortable in.”
She has invested in two dresses. The first is going to be too warm to wear to an outdoor wedding in the South. The second is an ivory/cream color, and she has been told that color is inappropriate. Is it true that that color is inappropriate?
GENTLE READER: Is it your friend’s hope that she can turn this sensible and considerate young lady into a bossy, detail-obsessed bride?
Dressing her prospective mother-in-law is not the bride’s responsibility. Many who attempt it discover that it is not conducive to warm family relationships. Nor does a wedding require a “theme” other than marriage.
Your friend should not be investing in clothes that are unsuitable for the weather. She should wear something dressy that she likes. And though it is not customary for others to wear the same shade as the bridal dress, Miss Manners is confident that the bride in question will not go to pieces worrying that people will confuse the two of them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband’s two daughters estranged themselves from him more than 20 years ago. Their actions were likely inspired by their deceased mother, who had severe emotional problems, but neither has chosen to explain her reasons. He has four grandchildren he has never met.
Although he has made many thoughtful efforts to heal the wounds and seek reconciliation, he has not been successful. He has an excellent relationship with his son and daughter-in-law, as do I.
My husband is now in his 80s. He has asked me how I would phrase his obituary — in terms of survivors — if he predeceases me.
My initial impulse is to list the daughters, their husbands and their children, along with his son and daughter-in-law. Yet it seems strange to include children he has never met and a son-in-law he met only once. The daughters have been dishonest and unkind with their father, and part of me says they don’t deserve to be listed.
But if they are omitted, many casual friends who know the daughters but not the situation will surely find it strange. I want to take the high road. The question is much on my husband’s mind, and I want above all to be kind and respectful to him.
GENTLE READER: It is not the purpose of an obituary to thank the people who have behaved well to the deceased. Rather, it is intended to be a tiny, instant account of that person’s life.
Miss Manners understands your desire to reassure your husband, but if you have to give him an answer, you might point out that excluding the daughters would indeed create curiosity from those who know the family.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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