QUESTION: My adult daughter is engaged to marry an old friend from high school. This will be her first marriage, but he was married briefly before. My daughter would like to have a large church wedding and reception, and I expect that some of my friends will offer to have parties and showers. The dilemma is that we live in a small town and share some friends with the groom's family. The groom's mother is embarrassed that some of those that my husband and I would invite to the wedding and parties already gave wedding presents to her son and his first wife, only a few years ago. How do we handle this?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: Invite the people you want to invite, and try not to stress too much about it. Take it all in stride; this is a happy time for your new son-in-law and daughter! Congratulations, and have fun!
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: Your concern for you future son-in-law and his family is thoughtful and respectful and seems like it will serve as the foundation for a good relationship in the future. However, it is your daughter's first wedding and a celebration for two people joining for a future together — not a past, except the one they share from high school.
Friends will want to rejoice with the happy couple, and most will keep in mind that it is the first marriage for your daughter. Invite the people with whom you normally would share this occasion, and let them decide whether they want to give another wedding gift. In today's times, most people have dealt with the realities of divorce, whether they've gone through it or supported a family member or friend who has. Given the choice based on the invitation, they can figure out personally what works best for themselves in terms of gift-giving and celebrating the new wedding.
HELEN'S ANSWER: How wonderful it is that these two people have found each other again. Celebrations are definitely in order. I hope her wedding and reception are just perfect!
Weddings, parties and showers are optional and guests can make the decision whether to come or not, or, whether to send gifts. It would probably be better to invite these friends to the wedding and round of parties, rather than leave them out of the plans altogether. Guests could bring gifts for the couple that would focus on the one who is getting married for the first time.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Kathy Walker, local volunteer and community leader: When a couple become engaged and the wedding invitations are to be mailed to family and friends, whether the guests of the bride or groom overlap is not relevant.
The bride's family and friends will want to send a gift, after all this is her first and — best scenario — only wedding. Also, friends of the bride and groom who had previously attended the groom's first wedding will want to send a gift to the bride.
However, I would hope that the groom's family is not expected to give him gifts this second time around and certainly his bride should understand. Members of the groom's family may want to share his celebration by giving the bride something personal.
Friends of the bride's family will want to host parties and showers. When it comes to compiling a guest list for the affairs, the bride should not be denied sharing her happiness with her friends and those of her parents. Perhaps she could celebrate with only one shower and then the couple could be honored at a dinner or brunch and she at a luncheon or tea.
After the wedding is over and the years fly by, the bride and groom will come to realize that love and understanding will become more valuable to them than all the possessions bestowed upon them for their wedding. However, they will forever remember their friends and family for supporting them when they joined their lives together.
Callie Gordon is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com. For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to blog.newsok.com/partiesextra.