Dear Zadie:  My fiancé and I have decided not to invite our co-workers and business partners to our wedding since there are just too many of them.  However, as a professional courtesy, we want to send wedding announcements to all of them after we are married, particularly as I plan to change my name.  Could you suggest professional wording that does not mention our parents for our announcements – we are not exactly spring chickens?


Dear Announcing Bride:   This can be as simple or as flowery as you wish.  You could include a short poem or a quote you like at the end. 

Jane and Ken Burrows announce their

marriage on June 5, 2006.

It would be my suggestion to ask the stationer where you ordered your invitations.  These lovely ladies have the perfect words to write and the beautiful paper on which to write it. The wedding announcements should be ready to mail immediately after your wedding.



Dear Zadie:  In the tweny-first century, are thank you notes necessary and if they are, how long do I have to get them out?  I read somewhere that thank yous should be mailed in the first six months after the wedding.


Dear Hustle and Slide:  This question comes up periodically and it is Zadie’s solemn duty to properly chastise the ungrateful snip who does not want to be bothered with thanking kind people for their gifts.  Wedding customs come and go; but etiquette is always correct and does not change.


Thank you notes are NOT optional.  They are REQUIRED.  When someone has taken the time and money to send you a gift, you must write a note to acknowledge the gift and thank the giver for his/her generosity.


You have a week to acknowledge gifts received before the wedding.  Notes for gifts received on or after the wedding should be sent no more than a month after the gift is received.  This is non-negotiable and the groom is encouraged to help with gifts received from his family and friends.



Dear Zadie:  I am planning a private after-the-wedding breakfast in the hotel where the out of town guests are staying.  The time is 9:00 to 11:30 a.m., but people can drop in any time between those hours.  How can we inform our guests that it is private and they don’t have to be there at 9:00 a.m. sharp?

 Dear Gracious Bride:  I love these after-the-wedding breakfasts.  It is so nice for all the people who have traveled across the state or country to attend.  I would include a small card in the invitations of those you wish to attend with these words:  “Please join us for breakfast in the Bella Vista room any time between 9:00 and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 18, 2010.

Dear Zadie:  How do we ask for cash instead of gifts?

Dear Bridezilla:  In two words, You Don’t!  Gifts are just that – something offered in love and friendship.  I am sure you think it is important to let your guests know what you want, but if it is that important, why don’t you enlist your bridesmaids to tell people IF they are asked.  This information is not offered in advance of a question – DON’T volunteer.


Dear Zadie:  I am getting married this summer.  My parents are divorced and my father is mostly absent from my life.  However, I am very close to his parents who have been present and cheered me on at every important event in my life.  Can I invite them and not my father?

 Good question, dear.  Most of the time Zadie would answer this question very simply – you can’t have one without the other.  But this situation is different because your father skipped out on your life and your grandparents did not.  By all means, invite them and find some way to honor them for being the wonderful people they are.


Dear Zadie:  My wedding is in six months.  How early should I send out my invitations?

Most couples send them six to eight weeks in advance of the ceremony so that out of town guests have time to make work and travel arrangements.  If your wedding is planned for a holiday weekend, save-the-date cards are typically sent a year in advance.


Dear Zadie:  I am a third grade teacher and I want to invite my students to the ceremony, but not the reception.  How do I word the invitation when it is just for the ceremony?  I also don’t want them to send gifts.  I need a little help here, please.

Dear Gracious and Lovely:  How nice of you to think of your students at this time.  I’ll bet all the little girls will be thrilled to attend – some little boys, too.  Whenever possible, it always best to include everyone in both parts of the celebration, so you may want to rethink excluding your students from the reception.

That said, if you still want to invite the class for just the ceremony, send a casual note home to the parents.  In it explain the entire class is welcome to attend the ceremony.  State the time it begins, when it is expected to end and add directions. 

 A small note:  Please don’t be surprised if a student or two wanders into the reception.  As I’m certain you know, “ten percent of the class don’t understand the instructions.”  Graciously welcome them and hope for the best.

You can’t tell them not to bring a gift, but under the circumstances, most parents will understand the invitation is informal and a present isn’t necessary or expected.


Dear Zadie:  Should I invite my ex-husband to my upcoming wedding?  Our daughter is going to be my maid of honor?

Dear Second Time Around:  I am uncertain from what realm of the cosmos this question comes.  It is Zadie’s absolute, concrete, never-to-be-changed opinion that NO you should not invite your ex-husband to your wedding.  I don’t care what kind of post-modern, happy-happy relationship you two have, this is not the time to include former boyfriends, girlfriends, ex-wives or ex-husbands.  And then, the question arises, WHY would you want to?


Dear Zadie:  I want to give money to my friend’s son as a wedding gift.  What is a good amount?  I don’t want to give too little.

In many circles most guests spend between $100 and $150 on the wedding present.  Depending on your financial circumstances, and what is customary in your community, you can give more or less.

Another factor to keep in mind is your relationship with the couple:  If you are good friends of the groom’s parents, you’ll probably spend more than if you are pals from the local health club.


Dear Ladies and the occasional Gentleman, Zadie wishes to thank you for your devoted readership.  Without you, this column and paper in which it resides would not be possible. As this day progresses toward brunch, I raise a lovely mimosa to all brides and grooms everywhere.


Your mannered friend,





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