Question: My daughter would like to request cash versus the usual wedding gifts.
How would you go about wording this request? We are trying not to sound too harsh. I thought I read about this idea in one of your previous columns. - T.
Answer: The phrasing you seek is as follows: "The bride and groom don't want your stuff, they just want your money."
"Too harsh," right? That's the point: There's no polite way to bill guests for liking you, pat their pockets for loose change, or coerce them into paying your bills. So, please don't try. Thank you.
If you read about this in my column, then you read some version of this. My answer hasn't changed; I just repeat it occasionally since the question won't die.
When couples have a good reason not to want vases and candlesticks, then their proxies can say so when asked for registry info: "Heckle and Jeckle are combining two households/downsizing/relocating overseas, so your presence is present enough." Because it is, right?
Or, to your friends, good ones, when they ask: "Cash always fits."
Question: My fiance and I are currently in the final stages of planning our dream wedding, which we have saved and paid for ourselves.
It just came to my attention my mother has told my older sister and her children they will be in the wedding. My fiance and I prefer a small wedding party with no children.
I have already asked my younger sister to be my maid of honor, as we are close. My older sister and I barely speak, and when we do it's always my reaching out to her.
For the past week, my mother has been pressuring me to reach out to my older sister, who is feeling left out of the festivities. I have tried calling her on several occasions only to be hung up on. I've left messages without a response.
At what point do I tell my mom enough is enough, and she needs to clean up the mess she created by telling my sister and her family they all had a part in my wedding? - Over the Drama
Answer: That point came the moment you learned of your mother's meddling. Wow.
Fortunately, the moment hasn't passed. You still can, and must, say to your mother: "You have seriously overstepped, and put me in a terrible position. We are proceeding with our wedding as planned. I will not be blackmailed.
"Meanwhile, I've tried to reach out to Sister 1, and she hangs up on me. I will keep trying to repair our relationship - but because I want to, not because you're pressuring me to, and not with my wedding as a bargaining chip."
About that wedding. I realize having Sister 2 at your side is the way these milestone events are "supposed" to go. However, you have a fractured family, which means a public kumbaya statement to one sib is a full-face slap to the other.
I'm not suggesting you blow up your plans. I merely advise you recognize the power of your favor and grant it with a more careful eye to family-wide cause and effect. If nothing else, there are children here who wound up on the wrong side of this mess. Take care not to let your frustration with Sister 1 and your mom seep into your tone with the kids.
Email "Tell Me About It":
or write: "Tell Me About It," c/o The Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.