Archive for the ‘Wedding’ Category

Service of Flowers and Candles to Console, Cheer and Celebrate

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Birthday bouquet

There have been too many occasions for flowers lately between Queen Elizabeth’s death and commemorating those who perished on 9/11. News reports mentioned that candles, marmalade sandwiches and Paddington bears joined the blossoms honoring the Queen. We also see flowers, candles and stuffed animals outside schools after deadly shootings.

Second Aveinue memorial

At 57th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan there’s a memorial for someone who died July 2021. It was his birthday according to one of the notes, hence the new bouquets I photographed this week [image right].

Friends sent flowers when dear ones died and I loved them.

I send donations in someone’s memory either to their favorite charity or to one that reflects their interest–as in wildlife or books–or supports research into the disease they suffered from. It would be discourteous for the firm to post notices on fences to ask mourners to please send the money you’d spend on flowers to your favorite charity or some of the Queens’.

I love fresh flowers in the living room when I have company. I associate them with happy times like weddings and anniversaries. I received a magnificent bouquet from my nephew on my recent birthday [photo above] and I remember a giant bouquet of wild flowers my then future husband cut and gave me on arriving for a date early on. One year a huge box of lilacs in three colors came from my stepdaughter’s garden. These blossoms and many others may be long gone but are hard to forget.

People are desperate to do something to honor a deceased person and to cheer survivors. Flowers are gorgeous. It makes sense. In addition to flowers, candles, and stuffed animals are there other symbols that celebrate both sad and happy occasions? Although fabulous flowers are memorable, do you prefer to donate money to charity in a person’s memory?

Firehouse East 40th Street 9/11, 2022

Service of How Long Should Wedding Celebrations Last?

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

Title: I think only of ME

The photo above–I call it “I think only of ME,” combined with recent events, inspired today’s topic. Unseen are the other riders standing around also waiting for the bus.

In the day, a typical American wedding included a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding for family and out of town guests and the wedding day. I specify American because weddings in some cultures have traditionally lasted for a long time.

More recently, folks added a brunch the day after the wedding or a party the night before the rehearsal dinner, stretching things into three days. I just heard of official parties in conjunction with a nuptial over four. Yikes.

This trend is great for the wedding and restaurant industries and for the bridal couple but expense aside, I don’t remember being so self-centered as to think anyone would want to go to so many events because of me.

In 2012 I wrote “Service of Self Involvement” in which I address destination weddings which are a subset of [ridiculously] long celebrations. They assume your loved ones share your love for the city, town or country and can afford the time and money to get and stay there.

If guests agree to attend a destination wedding or to travel a long distance to be wherever the event takes place, do they expect to be constantly fed and entertained? Would they rather explore the place on their own or with a few friends and/or relatives? Maybe they’d welcome a break from all the joy and togetherness?

Are you yea or nay for destination weddings? What’s the longest wedding celebration you’ve attended? Did you wear different clothes to each event? Ever heard of taking a poll of guests to see what they’d prefer? Think there’s a correlation between number of wedding celebrations and length of marriage?

Wedding at wartime
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Service of Leaks

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

The idea for this post came to me the day after the Meghan/Prince Harry wedding. I love seeing the fashions worn at high profile events and was looking for photos of the evening party that Prince Charles threw for 250 of the bride and groom’s nearest and dearest. Guess what? Not one photo had leaked. That’s how the couple wanted it.

Granted a party doesn’t have the gravitas of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation yet they share being information airtight: There’s not been the tiniest drop of disclosure from Mueller’s team. I eventually read online about the festivities at Prince Charles’ party for his son and daughter-in-law, but saw no photos.

So what’s with the White House and current administration? Some leaks are deliberate, I’ve heard, and rumors have it that others even come from the top, based on a history of such behavior when DT was a citizen. The queasier kind of information that nobody would want outsiders to hear is blabbed by someone–even more than one person perhaps.

In addition to being a passport to a hasty firing if caught, I don’t get why someone so irritated that they are willing to spill the beans sticks around any organization. Pundits have conjectured that this is the only way to get the attention of the president. I hope that’s not true.

There’s a difference between a leaker and whistleblower, the latter being extraordinarily brave, willing to jeopardize a career to save others. If you so dislike where you work, and you agree that whistle blowing is instant career suicide, then get out, and keep quiet at least until you do.

Have you had to stop leakers in an organization? How is it done? Are leakers held in high regard or does the press that takes advantage of the juicy information consider them to be rats? Regarding the White House soggy with leaks, why add to and be part of the rapid deterioration of the decorum of a once venerable office and symbol?

Service of Office Friends: Who Is Invited to Special Occasions?

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

I met some of my oldest friends at or through work. And while the article that inspired this post focused on weddings, there are many special occasions—50th birthday parties, 25th wedding anniversaries, a child’s momentous event–that might create the same dilemma: which office friends to invite when faced with constraints of a budgetary nature or of space?

The title of Sue Shellenbarger’s Wall Street Journal story “The Dreaded Wedding Decision: Which Co-Workers to Invite?” covers a lot. You spend more time on the job, shoulder to shoulder with colleagues, more than with most family and friends. It’s natural to share event plans and glitches or address family kerfuffles with these folks as you munch lunch. But who gets cut from the list: Cousin Frank and his nasty wife–which will cause a rift with your aunt and uncle and create stress for your parents–or Frieda and Fred in accounting?

According to Shellenbarger, the reaction of one groom with 18 office friends and space for only three: “Just because you’re really cool with and close to a friend at work doesn’t mean you’re going to be cool and close in your personal life.” When a bride’s work friend told her she couldn’t wait to attend her wedding, she said: “I’m really sorry, but we have kind of a strict guest list. I hope there are no hard feelings.” There weren’t.

One bride in her story opted for fewer flowers and a less expensive dress so she could invite all 15 of her co-workers. A wedding expert shared the obvious point that you should invite the entire group if you’re inviting most of a small team of co-workers. As for inviting the boss, another expert suggested to think twice if she/he is buttoned up and your family is wild and loves to party.

“Couples agonize over which co-workers to include and how to cushion the hurt among those they leave out. Balancing your needs without damaging important relationships requires nuance.”

One couple who worked in different departments at the same airport invited 30 guests and kept mum about their wedding. When they returned to work the bride was bombarded by co-workers with questions as to why they weren’t invited. To smooth things out she promised to invite to a housewarming party one person who would no longer speak with her.

Shellenbarger reported on a survey by The Knot of 13,000 couples which showed that guest lists shrank last year by 13 people to 136, as couples are increasingly passing on spacious banquet halls in favor of smaller venues like historic mansions or barns.

Social media postings spill the beans at work even if you don’t: Shellenbarger reported that nine out of 10 couples post engagement pictures.

Have you been in this situation or observed others who were? What is the best way to handle the stomach-wrenching dilemma if you can’t, or don’t want to, invite the entire office gang? Do you have other issues to consider if you are a manager?

Service of Nightmare for a Bride: What You Don’t Anticipate is What May Go Wrong

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Last weekend an NPR segment made me cringe for those involved. Bill Chappell’s headline sets the stage: “Brides Scramble For Dresses And Information After Alfred Angelo Stores Close Abruptly.” Brides and their attendants who’d bought and paid for their gowns at the chain’s 61 stores—as well as the chain’s [unpaid] employees–were given little if any warning, according to Chappell.

The 80 year old business, started in Philadelphia by Alfred Angelo Piccione and his wife Edythe, filed under Chapter 7, so no restructuring will happen, and its headquarters office in Delray Beach has an eviction lawsuit against it.

Refunds from Alfred Angelo don’t appear to be in the wedding parties’ cards. As important: What to wear? Chappell wrote: “To help those who might not get their dresses, some former brides are now offering up dresses for free — and member station KPCC in Southern California is using the #dressmatchmaker hashtag to orchestrate dress exchanges.” Others are sharing contact information of seamstresses they learned were altering dresses.

Customers of the Tulsa, Okla. branch are lucky. Employees there, knowing that they probably wouldn’t be paid, opened the store anyway and planned to ship dresses to brides. In addition, they weren’t charging if money was still owed on a gown.

One bridesmaid who expected to wear her gown in a fall wedding “told KPCC that when she called Visa about the situation, ‘They said that if the company doesn’t follow through then they will give me my money, and they will go after Alfred Angelo.’”

In subsequent coverage, Peg Brickley and Michelle Ma wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the reason for the failure is [still] unknown and acknowledged that at one time the business was “considered one of the top bridal designers in the country.” The gowns were “priced in the midrange, where most of the money is spent,” according to an industry research firm.

The article reported that retailers, both online and actual, that depended on the manufacturing and wholesale divisions, were also both surprised and left in the lurch. While competitors anticipated an immediate uptick in business, one may have spoken for many small wedding dress enterprises when she expressed concern for the future. She predicted that customers would be reluctant to buy from them for fear that they, too, might go out of business in a flash.

Apart from the biggest hiccup—a bride or groom no-show—or when the photographer’s results fall flat, the wedding glitches I know of, though traumatic at the time, pale by comparison to a lost dress. They range from a florist who shorted the number of bouquets and dashed to get a replacement that didn’t match the others to a mom who left her flower girl daughter’s dress shoes at home. Do you know of other wedding calamities and how they were resolved? How can you protect yourself from similar misfortunes when dealing with a small business?

Service of Nonsensical Laws II: Obsolete Wedding Statutes and Slipshod Driver License Regs

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

An Internet entrepreneur wrote me: “You’ve probably already covered laws and regulations that make no sense in a civilized society, one that prizes safety, well-being and plain old common sense.”  [I have, in “Service of Nonsensical Laws and Regulations: Cockamamie Campaign Finance, Motor Vehicle Rules and Road Signs.”]

She shared these examples:

Obsolete Statue in the Sunshine State

A Florida statute makes it possible for about-to-be brides or bridegrooms to cancel their wedding just hours before the event and still have no reimbursement obligation to whomever paid for the non-refundable wedding expenses that already had been incurred (photographer, wedding gown, flowers, reception, etc.).

I have personal experience with this and participated in a lawsuit against my niece’s fiancé, who called off their wedding 36 hours before the event. My sister, brother-in-law and I lost the lawsuit last year and still are furious about it.

Brides or bridegrooms are not protected from deadbeats in, I think, 43 states. I can’t recall the exact number but my sister has it memorized. This Florida statute was written in the 1940’s, when weddings typically took place in church basements and guests were served punch and a platter of sandwiches.

It makes absolutely no sense in the 21st century, when the average wedding costs $25,000 and some (like my niece’s) cost much more than that.

Taking License with the Empire State’s Driving Permits

In New York, a 90 year old can renew his or her driver’s license without being evaluated by authorities and without taking any tests. All they have to do is pay a fee. New York State says my Mom is good-to-go until age 98. What??!!

Why does Florida ignore the cultural change for weddings as do over 75 percent of states? Do you think that there should be protection for those with big investments in them and obligations to shoulder at least a percentage of costs for those who wait to the last minute to announce a change of heart?

There have been articles in The New York Times,, and elsewhere about how technology makes it possible for some elderly people to drive safely. What are your thoughts?




Service of Bridal Trends

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Last Sunday’s New York Times had two articles about brides and it’s not near June!

According to Abby Ellin who wrote “Does This Dress Make Me Look Incredible?” there’s a trend for brides to bring their future husbands into the wedding gown-buying decision.

That a woman can’t select her own dress for any occasion or reason seems nuts. The groom will see the gown for maybe six hours in a lifetime together and probably won’t look again at the bridal photos after the first year if that long. If a woman has selected a man who would throw a fit because he didn’t like her wedding dress, I suggest she look elsewhere for a mate.

In the paper’s Sunday Magazine Catherine Rampell wrote “Disrupting the Ceremony: Can the Internet fix the price-gouging problem in the wedding industry?” Any attempt to fix price-gouging in any industry is a good one. Rampell, a recent bride, wrote about a $50 billion industry reminiscent of the funeral and health care industries. They all pick on people at an emotional time many of whom are first-time buyers unfamiliar with prices.

Some bridal shops wouldn’t show her a dress until she shared private information including overall wedding and dress budgets and where the reception would be. She related an instance where a caterer’s price jumped $30 a head when he heard that the event was a wedding. I was discussing this topic at a party this week and one of the people in the conversation noted that his cousin makes wedding cakes that cost $5,000.

Perhaps it’s time to lower decibels on weddings just as Pope Francis has done on the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Papacy. Decisions about dresses as well as prices might then calm down substantially. Your thoughts?




Service of Wedding Gift Etiquette: Experts from Bridal Guide, Huffington Post & liliandloo Chime In

Monday, August 5th, 2013

We’re invited—and looking forward to attending–a September wedding. I checked in with a friend who goes to many such events only to confirm that some issues never change. Take RSVPs. Do people not reply because of fear of commitment of their time in hopes that something better will crop up? As long as I can remember, in both personal and business situations, too many remain silent leaving it up to the hosts to follow up.

What about gifts? Like holiday tips, opinions differ. So after sharing hers—send a gift if you’re invited–my pal forwarded two points of view she read on line.

An invitation is not an invoice wrote Robert B. Dimmick of, who technically was covering Bar and Bat Mitzvahs but who noted the same goes for weddings.

Katherine Bindley disagreed in her Huffington Post piece. She’d interviewed Emily Post’s great great granddaughter, Anna Post, and Sharon Naylor, author of 35 books about weddings. In “Wedding Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Guest,” Bindley wrote: “Etiquette dictates that if you were invited, you owe the couple a gift, even if you can’t make it to the wedding.” She quotes Post: “‘one invitation to a wedding ceremony equals a wedding gift.’”

Diane Forden, Bridal Guide editor in chief

Diane Forden, Bridal Guide editor in chief

I then turned to Diane Forden, editor in chief of Bridal Guide magazine who wrote in an email: “Technically you are not obligated to give a wedding gift. However, most people today do send a gift even if they’re not attending the wedding.

“Personally, I think it depends upon your relationship to the bride or groom,” the Bridal Guide chief editor continued. “For example, a former assistant sent me an invitation to her wedding and even though I couldn’t attend, I did give her a gift. But if someone I hadn’t seen in years sent me a wedding invitation then I would send a card with a personal greeting but no gift.”

[I still remember a person who came to my wedding and sent neither a gift nor a card so if you want to be memorable, that’s a route to consider.]

The bridal registry for the September celebration included a great looking dinner service so I had no trouble selecting a gift I’d be pleased about but I’ve run into snags in the past where the registry store is a place I won’t support.

Bindley warned that you must shop from the registry. “If you don’t, ‘It comes off as I knew what you wanted but I didn’t care,’ Naylor explained. ‘Or it comes off as I had this laying around and I’m re-gifting, even if you actually purchased a new gift specifically for this couple.’”

Forden wrote: “As far as sending only a gift from the registry, I disagree. Yes, we all know that the items the couple would like to receive have been registered for and if you’re going to the bridal shower you would most likely get a gift from the registry. But you’re not obligated to do so for the wedding gift.

“Many people give money while others choose a more unique, creative gift. A friend’s mother once told me that her favorite wedding gift was to give the couple a private dinner in their home prepared by a chef from one of their favorite restaurants. After the wedding and honeymoon and now settled back into their every day routine, what could be nicer than a romantic dinner prepared exclusively for them in their own home? Needless to say, the couples were all thrilled with this special gift.”

We asked Melinda Slover, founder and inspiration for one of the east coast’s best gift emporiums, liliandloo in Hudson, N.Y. Along with countless creative, smile-inducing well-priced gifts for all occasions the store also sells furniture and fashion. According to Slover some customers groan to her about a bride’s bland registry choices and tell her that they want to send something stunning. Ducking the registry isn’t isn’t always a good idea Slover tells them and reminds them that the registry represents what the bride would like.

“Before I became a bride,” said LG, [not the bride at the wedding we’re going to] “I thought it didn’t matter but now that I’m getting married, I prefer when friends and family buy gifts from my registry or better yet, give a check. With so many bills to pay associated with the wedding and honeymoon, it’s the one gift that all brides want to receive! If they don’t choose a registry item though, I’ll end up with several of something I already own or worse, something I simply do not want and know I will not use.  Registry or money will also help me not to have to fill in with my own money to complete a set of glasses, dinnerware or cutlery.”

Do you think you’re obligated to send a gift if you’re invited to any formal event, whether or not you can attend? Has what Diane Forden, Melinda Slover, Katherine Bindley or the bride LG expressed changed your mind about using a bride’s gift registry?

Service of Self-Involvement

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

I’ve written countless posts about people who are self-involved resulting in bad service, manners and attitude. Brides and grooms who inflict destination weddings on friends and family top the list.

In “Social Q’s,” in The New York Times, Philip Galanes responded to a question from California-based parents. They asked whether it was appropriate for them to give a second, bigger reception on home territory for a daughter who could afford to invite only 50 guests to her Sun Valley, Idaho wedding.

I agree with Galanes’ answer. He dismissed the issue of a second reception and focused on the destination reference. He wrote: “Ponying up for airfare and hotels (and giving up a whole weekend) isn’t small potatoes. Many people will still make the trip, but not happily. (And I have 10,000 letters to prove it.)”

He continued: “A wedding is a milestone for the bride and groom, and their nearest and dearest. For the rest of us, the happy occasion may not warrant security lines or credit card debt. Ask your daughter to tally how many folks on her list she would happily trek for. (I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a posse of 10 – and I’ll attend the opening of an envelope.)”

Travel is often involved if the bride and groom are from different continents or thousands of miles apart, but somehow, to fly to where a bride or groom is from seems different.

Have you been to or yourself given a destination wedding? What do you think of the concept? Are there other examples of self-involvement-on-steroids you might share?

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