Dear Zadie:  My wedding is being held in Cabo san Lucas which is an expensive trip for our guests and I absolutely do not want any gifts.  However, I would like to graciously offer an alternative to those who insist.  How do I specify no gifts?

Questions in Scottsdale


Dear Declining:  Well, Dearie, this one nearly stumped Zadie – until she remembered an angelic expert at Celebrations Stationery in Old Scottsdale, Rene Showalter.  Rene has written the perfect words for this situation.  She recommends a separate card enclosed in the invitation reading:

“We are truly blessed to have you in our lives.  In lieu of a gift, you may send a donation to ­­­­­_____________ charity.  Your presence at our celebration will be a treasured gift in itself.”

Zadie agrees with this gracious declination of a gift.




Dear Zadie:   We are invited to a 6:00 p.m. wedding and cocktail party in Seattle.  The bride has chosen black for her bridesmaids.  As aunt of the groom am I precluded from wearing a full-length black, cocktail dress?


A:  Dear Loving Black:  Back in the olden days, guests never, never wore black, red or white to weddings.  But as I am constantly reminded, times have changed.  So, it is Zadie’s considered opinion that as long as you are a good guest (not falling out of your chair drunk or leading a conga line), there is no problem in wearing black.  If you would like to brighten the ensemble, how about a colored, cashmere or silk shawl?




Dear Zadie:  The problem is my mother.  She’s needy and controlling.  My fiancé and I have planned a delayed honeymoon to Hawaii.  When we told her about our plans, she decided to go there “around” the same time.  I am heartsick.  I told her we wanted to be alone, and she swore she would not arrive until after we returned home.


We’re leaving next week and my brother just called to warn me that Mother intends to go early and has switched to our hotel to SURPRISE us!  This is going to be a nightmare because she will stick us with a million plans!


Dear Prisoner:  You’ve been bound, gagged, and taken hostage.  If you frolic in the sand with her, kiss your honeymoon goodbye.  The following would be Zadie’s strategy for handling her and the situation in which she places you:


  • Change hotels – leave no forwarding address.
  • Tell only the person taking in your mail where you are staying after you arrive at your destination.
  • Have a great time and rest up for the battle with your mother on your return home.
  • When you see her, tell her your first hotel lost your reservations and re-booked you on the other side of the island.
  • Act surprised about her plans.


Good luck.  This mother of yours is a tough old bird, and she will get over her hurt.  This may even teach her a small lesson.  It’s a start, at least.



Dear Zadie:  My mother is upset with me because I invited her second cousin, my aunt, to the wedding.  Unfortunately the invitations are mailed and my aunt has accepted.  My mother initiated our family’s relationship with her in the beginning, but now she complains that her cousin was always jealous and just wants a free meal.  My fiancé and I are paying for this wedding and I realize that I can invite whomever I please.  However, I want my mother to be happy.  I don’t know what to do.  At this point my mother has stopped speaking to me.  Now what!?


Dear In-the-Doghouse:  You have every reason to be upset with your mother.  This is no time for her to play Diva; however, she is your mother and you must make peace.  Gently remind her that your aunt is part of her family and she (your mother) initiated this relationship.  Ask her to honor your wishes to have a pleasant family gathering.  It is her job as mother of the bride help make everyone feel welcome.   I am certain that if you explain this as tactfully as possible, she will comply. 




Dear Zadie:  My bridal shower is in two weeks, and one of my bridesmaids just informed me that she won’t be attending because she and her husband are going to Europe.  My shower was planned several months ago – long before her trip.  This woman has barely participated, but I am certain she was aware of the shower date.  Recently she apologized for not attending, but her trip is still on.


Dear Missing:  How vexing!  Sometimes Zadie wonders if there are any polite people left on this planet.  I am sorry for you.   Now there are two things you can do:  You can let this impolite woman ruin your wedding or you can allow her to participate to the best of her ability while the rest of your wedding party celebrates this wonderful time without her.  I suggest the latter strategy.  Remember, if you emphasize the good part of your life, the rest will take care of itself.



My darlings, Zadie has fulfilled her one thousand words and finds herself literally exhausted.  She hopes her answers not only edify, but also entertain her lovely readers.  Weddings are a wonderful way to make a living.  Now, thank you all – a tiny bit of champagne awaits!


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