Q. Is it proper to have a large wedding your second time around? I was married for a short time. My ex and I had a very small wedding. My fiance has never been married before, and I don't think it would be fair to him if we couldn't have a large wedding. I wish the first marriage had never happened. Also, can I wear a white dress and invite my relatives who were at my first wedding? I see no reason why I cannot! Please advice. I have been divorced for two years.
A. Miss Manners recognizes three general categories of weddings in which the bride is either not at her first wedding, or not in her first youth, or both. They are:
1. The Snicker-Proof Wedding. This is the low-key wedding prescribed by advisers who provide new brides with schedules of things they must do from the minute of engagement until the consummation of the marriage for the greatest possible lavish, knock-emdead display -- and curtly tell veteran brides to do everything "quietly," as if enjoying getting married more than once were brazen. If you marry in a small chapel or judge's chamber, wearing a navy blue suit with a flower pinned on the lapel, have no one but your and his parents present, and celebrate afterward with a luncheon that nobody else in the restaurant can tell is bridal, you will violate on one's standards of propriety.
2. The This-Time-Know-What's-What Wedding. This can be small or large, but it is distinguished in its festivity by less formality and more sophistication than the blushing, veil-covered bride conveys. It doesn't mimic a first wedding, but replaces some of its fixtures with advanced good taste. The bride does not wear a standard wedding dress, but something more party-ish in a flattering color; she is not attended by a girl chorus, but by a real friend or her own children; she does not have her parents send engraved cards, but herself writes a charming letter inviting each guest.
3. The I-Got-Cheated-Last-Time Wedding. This is the wedding in which the bride says the heck with what people say -- I'm going to have it. If you want to do this -- and Miss Manners takes it that such is your inclination -- then simply follow the directions for a first wedding.
Of the three types, Miss Manners much prefers the second, which combines appropriatness with joyousness. However, she understands a yearning for the third; and only cautions you to cultivate an air of self-mocking humor about it, rather than keeping a straight face. And she warns you that the less generous of your acquaintance will click about it's all being frightfully improper. Don't let it bother you.
Q. I have a lifelong weight problem, and have finally, after years of doctors, crash diets, binges, pills and everything else, gotten myself under control. I know, for instance, that I can't take "just a little" of certain kinds of food -- one bite and I'd be off again. The trouble is that now I'm finally decent-looking, nobody believes that I really need to keep dieting, and I am always being pressed to "just have a taste" of this or told "I worked so hard making this -- won't you even try it?" Frankly, if it comes to a choice, I'd rather lose friends and pounds than keep both. But is there a way to say "No" and make people believe it and not keep urging you anyway?
A. The way to say "No" is often. People who won't take "No, thank you" for an answer are rude, rather than as they suppose, hospitable. Don't try to explain why -- just keep repeating those three words pleasantly until they give up.