Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - by Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: I have a long­time friend who has asked our cir­cle of five women to be “brides­maids” for her wed­ding pho­tos. She has been mar­ried to her (sec­ond) hus­band for years. They own a beau­ti­ful

home and have two chil­dren. She had a lav­ish first wed­ding and opted for a small sec­ond wed­ding, to which none of us were in­vited. She comes from a wealthy fam­ily and her par­ents are buy­ing her a new wed­ding dress and pay­ing for the photographer.

She wants to do this as a 40th birth­day present to her­self. She asked her brides­maids to drive to her par­ents’ ranch (a three-hour drive each way) for a vow re­newal. Our chil­dren and spouses were in­vited. She has cho­sen a brides­maids dress that costs $100. She says she wants to get “per­fect pho­tos.”

We were just in­formed that it is no longer a vow re­newal be­cause it was too much ef­fort, so the week­end will in­clude no spouses or chil­dren, ex­cept for her own.

This is now a hard­ship. A cou­ple of us are sin­gle moms who would have to ar­range for week­end child care and are stressed out about the cost and time com­mit­ment. We all work long hours. We can’t af­ford her “asks” for her fake wed­ding pho­tos, but don’t want to let her down.

Would it be un­rea­son­able to ask her to be flex­i­ble on the dress or to choose a closer set­ting for the pho­tos? — Put Upon

Dear Put Upon: You and your friends are not “brides­maids.” There is no cer­e­mony, no cel­e­bra­tion and no bride and groom. You are props. She dan­gled an event in front of you, which never ma­te­ri­al­ized, and that event is what you all agreed to.

I sug­gest you all tell her, po­litely, that you sim­ply can’t do this. If she wants to have her fake dream wed­ding pho­tos taken at her par­ents’ ranch, then that’s her busi­ness. Per­haps as a birth­day gift, you and your friends could host a party and pitch in and hire a photographer to take some fun can­did shots of your group.

Dear Amy: I am a woman in my late 20s, and I have a se­ri­ous girl­friend.

My part­ner and I have been to­gether for nearly four years. We’ve lived in three states to­gether, own a dog, have suc­cess­ful ca­reers and ul­ti­mately love each other the best we can.

It has taken a while for my girl­friend to be ready to com­mit to mar­riage, but when she was fi­nally ready, she asked my mother for her bless­ing to pro­pose to me. I told her ahead of time that it would mean some­thing to my mom.

It ended up back­fir­ing and my mom told her that she was “un­com­fort­able with the idea un­til she could have a con­ver­sa­tion” with me. My mother asked her to wait to pro­pose. I am very up­set. Do par­ents ever re­ally say no when some­one asks for their child’s hand in mar­riage? — Not En­gaged

Dear Not En­gaged: It is pos­si­ble that you are read­ing your mother’s re­ac­tion in­cor­rectly.

When my (now) hus­band went to my mother to ask for my hand, she replied, “Amy doesn’t have to ask my per­mis­sion for any­thing.” She then asked me (pri­vately) if I wanted to get mar­ried (I did), and she told my guy, “Well, there you have your an­swer.”

Not quite the charm­ing scene we had in mind.

Your mother might want to con­fer some se­ri­ous ob­jec­tions to you. If your part­ner had been re­luc­tant un­til re­cently, she could cau­tion you that re­luc­tance be­fore mar­riage can trans­late into some­thing else later. Or she might just want to ask you if this is what you want.

Have this con­ver­sa­tion with your mother. It’s true — she fouled up this mo­ment, but if you two want to get mar­ried, her re­ac­tion shouldn’t change the out­come.

Dear Amy: “Dis­turbed Daugh­ter” wanted to con­front her fa­ther over snap­ping at her mother, but you told her to han­dle it pri­vately. I dis­agree. I think she should call him out when he is do­ing it. — Dis­ap­pointed

Dear Dis­ap­pointed: Be­cause of the dy­namic she de­scribed, I thought it wis­est to start with a pri­vate chat, but if that doesn’t in­spire him to al­ter his be­hav­ior, then she should def­i­nitely call him out.

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