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Laura Hunt

Ask the Experts


Question: My daughter is planning on getting married in Rome to an Italian native of the city. My questions are:
1) Wedding shower - do we invite all those who would be invited if the wedding was held locally even though we do not expect them to attend the wedding in Rome? Do we invite the prospective groom's relations? If we do invite them, should the invitation be in Italian since many of them do not read English?

2) Wedding invitations - do we send invitations to all, both here and abroad, even though the majority in this country will not be able to attend? Again, how should we approach the language issue?

3) The groom will be coming to live in the U.S. within a month or two of the wedding in Rome. At that time we plan to have a dinner celebrating their wedding. Again, do all get invited even though it may be impossible to attend? Should we include those who did attend the celebration in Rome?

4) Are you aware of any protocol, particular to Italy, of which we should be aware?
Any advice you can give us would be appreciated.

Answer from Jubilee Lau
Jubilee Lau Events
If the majority of the guests here are not expected to attend the wedding in Rome, I would recommend sending wedding announcements to them instead of actual
invitations. Since you will be having a post-wedding celebration here as well, you can invite all the local guests to that celebration. It sounds like there will be two separate celebrations--one in Rome for more of the groom's side of the family and one here for the bride's side. In situations like that, it is best to keep the invitation lists separate. Of course, the closest families and friends to the bride and groom can be invited to both.
This should eliminate the language issue, but if you do end up inviting many local people to the Rome celebration, you can consider printing the invitation in Italian with an English insert that translates the information stated on the invitation.
For details on Italian wedding customs, you can visit
the following site:
Good Luck! Sincerely, Jubilee Lau

Question: Need a dinner menu for rehearsal, which is during Lent, bride's side is all Catholic, whereas groom's side isn't. Need some
help as to what we should serve.

Answer from Johanna
By Recommendation Only
Fish is allowed during Lent. Go to Cooking for Couples. There are several fish recipes.
Good luck, Johanna

Question: I just recently got engaged in early December, I have already booked my hall and church for late October in '04. My brother just proposed to his girlfriend on New Years Eve and they just informed me that they want to have their wedding on October 2, 2004. Is there such a thing called Wedding Etiquette not to get married the same month as your sister? As of now, my brother and soon to be sister-in-law seem to think I'm selfish. We said it was ok to get married in Sept, not October. I mean there are only 12 months in the year. They have plenty to pick from. What would you do?

Answer from Johanna
By Recommendation Only
Your problem is less a question of etiquette than a question of courtesy your brother and future sister in law should have towards you and your future husband. To get married within the same month might be a strain on your parents check book as well as on your mutual guests. They might not be able to give presents to both of you or attend both of the weddings. Even though your brother might be married first, some of the guests might want come to your wedding rather than to his and vice versa. Talk to your parents and ask for their support.
Good luck!

I was hoping to get some suggestions about the best time of day (i.e., most flattering light) to take wedding photographs for an early October wedding.

The website also mentions consulting with a sort of color expert to analyze which colors work best for one's skin tones. How would I go about finding someone like this? Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Answer from Johanna
By Recommendation Only
The very best light for taking pictures is at sunrise and sunset. The exact time is right before the sun comes up or right it after disappears beyond the horizon. There are only a few minutes to take these pictures. Direct sunshine is not a good choice; open shade is much better, its is particularly true when wearing a white wedding dress.
Color consultants can be found in the phone book. Make-up artists can help, too.

My wife and I were married on Aug. 2, 2003, by a justice of the peace. We just decided to have a real wedding. Is it proper etiquette to have a regular wedding on March 6, 2004, and expect people to come and buy gifts for us?

Answer from Johanna
By Recommendation Only
Yes, I think it is proper etiquette to have a real wedding at a later date. I am sure your friends and family will happily celebrate with you. Now about the presents: If your friends already sent you gifts, I am not sure if they want to give you another big gift, if not, there is no reason why they should not.

I have been asked to be a brides maid in two of my friends weddings, both in the same month. One of my friend is the type that expects the very best from every one; she will want the best most expensive dresses and the most expensive party thrown for her. The problem is, I an a single mom. Both of these weddings are really going to kill me financially, especially with the friend who is expecting the Cinderella wedding. What can I do? Do I tell them I can't be in the weddings? What is my financial obligations that comes with being a bridesmaid. I'm happy I was asked but truly I don't have the money to go all out. Please help me!

Answer from Claire Hatch
The Bridal Oasis
Many bridesmaids have found themselves in the same stressful dilemma. You want to help your friends celebrate their big event, but the reality is that you don’t have an unlimited budget.

Traditionally, the bridesmaids pay for their own dress and accessories, transportation to the wedding, and sometimes a bridesmaids’ gift to the bride in addition to a gift to the couple. If the bride wants her bridesmaids to have professionally done hair and makeup, she should pay for that. That being said, the most important thing is that the arrangements suit the individuals involved. Some brides have paid for their bridesmaids dresses. Some have made a point of choosing inexpensive dresses when they realized expense was a concern. Another possibility is for the bride to give the bridesmaids some general guidelines and allow them to choose their own dresses. Not only can they spend according to their budget, but each can choose a dress that suits them individually.

I would suggest that you first sit down and decide how much you can spend on both of these weddings without neglecting your own responsibilities or feeling stressed. Next, I would be very honest with both of the brides and say just what you said in your letter. You are very happy you were asked and there is nothing you would love to do more, but you are concerned about taking on more than you can handle financially. Ask if they have considered the suggestions above. Offer to help with some research on reasonably priced dresses. Most brides would love the extra help! Tell them that if you can stay within your budget, you would love to be a bridesmaid. Otherwise, you will unfortunately have to say you can’t do it. Make it clear that you are looking forward to celebrating with them in any case.

In this way, you will be financially responsible, caring, and sincere. I hope you friends will understand and appreciate it.
Claire Hatch

I just got a dozen roses and I was wondering if you could tell me how to dry them myself or preserve them. I would be quite grateful to you if you could tell me.

Answer from Johanna
By Recommendation Only

If you want to enjoy them before, the only way I know is hanging them upside down and letting them dry. You have to let them dry before they are completely "over the hill." The colors of the roses become much darker. Red roses will become almost black. If you preserve them in silicon gel or have them freeze-dried the flowers have to be as perfect as possible.

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