Dear Zadie:  We’re having a flower girl and a ring bearer in the wedding party.  I have chosen the most beautiful dress for the little girl.  It cost a little more than some of the other dresses but I think it is worth every penny. Who pays for these outfits?


Dear Paying Bride:  That’s a good question and the answer is very simple.  The parents!  I’m certain you loved hearing that answer, didn’t you?  Finally, something you don’t have to pay for.  However, it might be a good idea to defer a little to the parents of participating children regarding costs, don’t you think?  That said, here are the caveats to who pays for what.  You are responsible for the flower girl’s basket and ring bearer’s pillow.  Plus, if you are putting flowers or crystals in the little girl’s hair that come under the florist’s bill that is yours to pay.  If you want her to wear a tiara that matches yours, you better spring for that, too.  It should not cost the parents of the flower girl as much as bridesmaids to participate in your wedding.



Dear Zadie:  I have an unexpected problem.  Last weekend when I told one of my bridesmaids the cost of the dresses I selected, she freaked out!  In the midst of her tirade, she said she didn’t know if she could afford it and more than that didn’t think she could be in the wedding!  I wasn’t planning on paying for the bridesmaids’ dresses.  Now what???


Dear Surprised:  It’s time to sit down and have a heart to heart about money and the costs to be a bridesmaid.  Be upfront with your friend about all of the upcoming costs:  As a bridesmaid she will be expected to chip in for the bridal shower and possibly the bachelorette party; travel expenses; her dress, hair and makeup on the big day. 


After you have discussed these possibilities, give her the opportunity to back out with no hard feelings.  Tell her you understand being a bridesmaid is responsibility that comes with a pretty big price tag.  If the wedding is just weeks away, consider putting a halt on bridesmaids’ gifts and using that money towards their dresses.  On the other hand if you really wanted to buy specific gifts for your maids, just spring for this particular bridesmaid’s dress.  Ask for her word that she will not reveal this to the other members of your wedding party.



Dear Zadie:  What’s the best answer to rude people who ask how much we’re spending on our wedding?


Dear Quick Answer:  Your question is one  that doesn’t come up often, but it reflects a whole genre of embarrassing, rude questions…the askers of which really need to be put in their places…in the nicest possible terms. 


First, listen to the politicians and you will hear numerous ways to respond to a question without actually answering it.  Zadie’s favorite is:  “Why do you ask?”  Or if you are a little bolder, “It is necessary for you to know this because…?”  Most of these bold questioners really have no shame so a cheeky reply is entirely fine with me.  If that doesn’t back them down, you can also reply with a straight face, “Our love has no price tag!”  That should handle it.  If not, just turn and pretend to be very busy doing something, anything—about ten feet away and ignore further conversation.



Dear Zadie:  My parents are giving me only half of what they paid for my sister’s wedding last year.  This is so unfair!!  How can I get them to give me more?


Dear Grasping:  I hope when you re-read your question you will see how selfish and self-centered you sound.  Maybe your parents are victims of this recession and don’t have the money to spend on you they had last year.  Nowhere is it written that just because your sister had a $50,000 wedding that you must have one also…it might be nice, but it’s not their obligation.  Times and circumstances change.  Did it ever occur to you that maybe your attitude is causing your parents to rethink this whole wedding thing?  In addition, I have a bulletin for you:  Seventy percent of all couples getting married today are paying for some part or ALL of their weddings.  Expecting your parents to foot the whole, entire bill is very much yesterday’s thinking. 


Now, get over your snit.  Your parents love you.  There is just something else at play in this situation that you don’t know about right now.  At some point in the future you will be glad you didn’t make a big deal of this.



Dear Zadie:  We are getting married in California next fall, but my husband’s whole family lives in Iowa.  I think they are wonderful people, until a week ago when they began insisting we pay for all their accommodations in Santa Barbara.  Zadie, we just cannot afford that.  Where do we go from here?


Dear Close-to-Broke:  By no means do you have to pay for their accommodations and/or travel costs, but you are responsible for making their trip more affordable.  Look into group rates at local hotels.  It’s really easy to negotiate a discount if you booking a block of rooms.  If some of his family are really in need of help, maybe you can find accommodations with local friends of yours who may have a guest room or two.  Another way to cut expenses for your guests is to plan tours, a couple of parties or other entertainment so your guests won’t have to spend so much on food and diversions. 


If this is a destination wedding, you may get married without the blessing or presence of your fiancé’s parents.  I would also suggest that more thought should be given to the expense of a wedding far away from home…for everyone.



Dear Zadie:  My fiancé’s parents are making a financial contribution to the cost of our wedding, but it’s about half of what my parents are paying.  Should we include my in-laws on the invitation?


Dear Giving Credit:  Traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding—whether it’s the bride’s parents, an aunt and uncle, or a combination of people—is listed on the invitations, regardless of their financial contribution.  Times have changed a few things, however, and many couples now list both sets of parents (bride’s first) as a sign of respect. 


One common structure:  “Mr. and Mrs. John Robbins and Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Peters request the honor of your presence at the wedding of their children, Claire Marie and Joseph Brian…..”  Your stationer and most etiquette books will have a few alternatives for you, too.


Does anyone else FEEL spring in the air?  Look at the foothills around town, they are turning bright green and even the ocotillos are starting to bud with the flame red flowers that resemble feathers on the top of each branch.  This is Zadie’s favorite season of the year…it is the time of new beginnings and if you are newly engaged, we welcome you to the pages of The Wedding Chronicle.  Every issue is all brand new material, and we are glad you are here.


Your mannered friend,



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