Dear Amy: I never thought I would be coping with some silly wedding drama, but our daughter (out of state) is planning her wedding, and she would like to exclude one uncle (my sister’s husband) from attending.
My sister and her husband are the only relatives who have actually visited with my daughter and her fiancé.
As per my daughter, this uncle has not offended them personally; however, they fear that he has strong views, and that if he drinks he may say something upsetting to their guests.
I know this exclusion will cause a lot of confusion and pain. My daughter will invite other aunts and uncles as couples.
Although my husband and I are giving a substantial gift which will likely cover the wedding costs, we are not directly paying for the wedding, so this is not our decision.
I am open to your advice.
Dear Sad Mom: Your daughter need only read through any one of a thousand wedding advice sites, peruse her local bookstore’s wedding section, or – better yet – explore her own values and sense of decency to understand how wrong it is to exclude one half of a married couple from her wedding.
She does not seem to understand what is supposed to happen when two people get married, which is that they move through life in solidarity – as a unit.
My basic point is that if she doesn’t invite her uncle, she is also disinviting her aunt.
She needs to ask herself how she would feel, and how she would react, if her husband was excluded from a wedding under similar circumstances and with such flimsy evidence.
There are some circumstances where it is necessary for the safety of other guests to keep a family member away from a wedding ceremony, but “fearing that someone has strong views” and that with a few drinks that person “might say something” to upset others does not qualify as a legitimate concern.
You might make headway by assuring her that you will sit with your sister and her husband and do your best to head off any of his strong opinions before they leak out.
You should also assure your daughter that with the presence of alcohol, it is almost guaranteed that someone will say or do something that bothers someone else, but in my experience, the people most likely to offend are not invited guests but members of the wedding party (those pesky attendants who sometimes mistake a wedding ceremony for a spring break bacchanal).
Dear Amy: My husband and I are buying our first home. We are thrilled! We will be moving in within the next couple of months, and are eager to meet our new neighbors.
Our plan is to take a few minutes to knock on the door of each neighbor to say a quick hello and introduce our family of three.
I would like to bring along a small gift to each neighbor when we meet them but am hesitant to bring homemade food items, due to unknown dietary restrictions and any possible discomfort someone may have with eating homemade food from a complete stranger.
Is there another token gift I could give that would be appropriate for a first meeting?
New to the Neighborhood
Dear New: I appreciate your friendly spirit, but I do not think it is a good idea to knock on strangers’ doors, even if they are your neighbors.
I can think of many reasons, ranging from the benign (someone is in the tub, working from home, or simply shy) to the deadly (you are mistaken for an intruder).
When you are new to a neighborhood, the best way to get to know people is to be outdoors and, if you see a neighbor, wave, smile and introduce yourself. Ask a couple of questions about garbage collection and the recycling schedule. You could then drop off a baked good as a thank you (note the ingredients, and they can decide whether to consume it).
Dear Amy: I have the same issue as “Road Goes Both Ways,” in that I always host gatherings while never receiving reciprocal invitations.
Here’s how I’ve coped with it: Eventually, I simply accepted that my abundant good luck has graced me with a nice home and a generous attitude.
I have started asking friends to bring a dish to our gatherings, which has helped a lot.
Dear Hospitable: Your friends also have abundant good luck – in having you as an ideal and generous host.
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.
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