Ask the Wedding Lady!

Your wedding–or at least your first wedding–should be the most glorious day of your life. Summer wedding season has arrived, and the Wedding Lady is here to help you master the many minute details that make for a perfect nuptial . . . or is it nuptials? . . . ceremony.

Dear Wedding Lady:

My cousin, whom I will call “Della” recently got married. When she called to tell me she was engaged she asked me to sing at her wedding, which I agreed to. “Della” lives in Elkhart, Indiana, while I am a resident of New Hampshire. I am a professional singer who has performed at Holiday Inns and in cocktail lounges of several other nationally-known motel chains. I poured my “heart and soul” into this performance, practicing my medley of “O Promise Me” and “We’ve Only Just Begun” by The Carpenters, along with “I Love You Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel in case I was asked to sing an encore, which I was.

“I love you just the wa-ay you are-ar-ar-ar-wo-wo-wo-wo-yeah!”


Wedding Lady, when I accepted this engagement it was with the understanding that I would be treated as the performing artist that I am and would be compensated or at the very least reimbursed for my expenses. I had to pay $489 for a round-trip ticket from Manchester, New Hampshire to Kalamazoo, Michigan, with a layover in Columbus, Ohio–there are no direct flights. Then I had to fork out another $69 for a Continental Trailways bus ticket to Elkhart. What with hotel, meals, etc., I am out over $700!

After the wedding, we went to the Oddfellows Hall for the reception, and “Della” comes up to me and says “Judy, you were just wonderful–here is a little token of our appreciation.” What she gave me was one of the cheesy centerpieces from the dinner tables!

Somehow I feel that I have been cheated in this process. I would appreciate your thoughts.

JudyAnn Dinnini, Manchester NH.


Dear JudyAnn-

Don’t be a diva. What else do you want–nothing but red M&M’s in your candy dish? Perrier water in your hotel shower? When you accept an invitation from a family member to perform at a wedding, it is implicit that you will not be compensated. If you want to make money, go work the lounge at the Motel 6.

Dearest Wedding Lady:

I was recently requested to be Maid of Honor at my friend Lisa’s wedding. Lisa and I have been friends since childhood, and used to spend many happy hours dressing up our dolls together. I thought it would be such fun to collaborate on the bridesmaids’ dresses with her!

Long story short, Lisa’s tastes have changed since we were little girls. Her husband-to-be is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, and she has chosen a soft toile material for a floor-length dress, and little pillbox hats with tulle veils in the same shade–all in orange and white, the “Vols” team colors! I may have the tulle and toile parts mixed up, but you get my drift.

Wedding Lady, I have put on a little weight and am going to look like a damn Creamsicle walking down the aisle. Can you suggest a diplomatic way I can broach this subject with Lisa? I don’t want to lose a good friend.

Amanda Goshen, Chattanooga, Tenn.


Dear Amanda:

What God and Volunteer football have brought together, let no Barbie and Midge doll fantasy put asunder! Your friend’s long-term happiness with her husband is much more important than the short-term fashion concerns of you and the other bridesmaids, and I would suggest that you be a team player, suck up your guts, get back in the game, knock somebody on their butt and stop whining.

Dear Ms. Wedding Lady:

I went to my sister’s rehearsal dinner tonight, and the best man “Greg” gave the traditional toast about her fiancé “Mark”, who is a very successful salesman of pneumatic fasteners–you should see the humongous engagement ring he bought her! “Greg” had had a few pops, and I guess the alcohol acted like a truth serum on him. He launches into this long speech about how “Mark” had many, many girlfriends before my sister, and that he remains friends with all of them because he is such a gentlemen whenever he breaks up with somebody, he lets them down easy, etc. I thought maybe this was supposed to be a joke, but when people started giggling, “Greg” says “No, seriously-it’s true!”

My sister is distraught, and the wedding is tomorrow. She has no idea what to do, and there’s literally no time. My fax number appears at the bottom of this letter.

Amy Rae Baxter, Huntsville, Alabama


Dear Amy Rae:

Men must sow their wild oats, boys will be boys, blotta blotta and so on and so forth. When your sister says her wedding vows she will promise to forsake all others, and Mark must do the same. Short of putting a private investigator on retainer, however, there’s not much she can do to hold him to his vows. I would suggest that you watch how things develop and, if the relationship goes sour, you can be Mark’s second wife. Given his track record, you and Mark should be able to stay on good terms with your sister.

Ms. Wedding Lady:

This is not technically a wedding question, more like a post-wedding question. I was recently married to a wonderful man named “Jim.” We decided to take our honeymoon in Hawaii, which was just beautiful. We bought a day-long excursion that included a romantic swim beneath a secluded waterfall. Ms. Wedding Lady–it was like a dream! “Jim” decided to climb to the top of the fall to impress me with how big of a splash he could make with his “can opener” jump. He leaped from the precipice, disappeared beneath the water, and unfortunately died when he hit his coccyx on a submerged rock.

I am slowly getting over my tragic loss–we had our whole lives in front of us! What I want to know is this: we received a number of nice wedding presents, including a Salad Shooter, a countertop doughnut maker and a deep fryer that I was going to use to make “Jim” fried chicken. Do I have to return these gifts?

Barbara Jean Haskell, Glasgow, Missouri

P.S.–I have already sent in the mail-in rebate card on the Salad Shooter.

Dear Barbara Jean-

First let me express my sincerest condolences. The loss of a spouse can totally ruin a honeymoon! As for your question, as long as the marriage was legally consummated you are entitled to keep the wedding gifts, although you may want to repay the kindness you have been shown by sending some baked goods or other treats with your notes. There is nothing that says “Thank you” like homemade donuts!

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”


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