Dear Miss Manners:
My lesbian partner of 26 years and I will be helping our straight daughter with her wedding plans. We are out to our immediate family and friends, as well as the groom's immediate family. Our daughter wants her mother, not her father, to walk her down the aisle.
My questions are:
1. If Mom walks our daughter down the aisle, how should I, as Mom No. 2, enter with the wedding party?
2. How should the invitations be worded to indicate that both of us, as well as the groom's parents are announcing the wedding of our respective children?
The ceremony can be a bit unconventional, but we hope to maintain as much of the traditional wedding etiquette as possible.
Then you will have to accept Miss Manners' definition of traditional. That is to regard wedding etiquette as a basis for symbolizing the families involved as they actually exist, and not to try to jam them into roles that may not fit.
Giving away a bride is already an anachronism, retained for its charm. People who are fixed on the idea that this task must be performed by a gentleman, and who hunt up a remote one in the absence of a father or stepfather, render it meaningless.
The point is that it should be one or more parents, or someone such as a stepparent or guardian who has served as such.
How you assigned yourself to be "Mom No. 2" you do not say, but if you feel that the other mother alone should give your daughter away, then you should enter last as hostess, and sit up front.
But it might also be fitting for you both to give away the bride.
Invitations are usually issued by the bride's family alone because they traditionally acted as sole hosts. But if all of you parents are giving the wedding, all of your formal names with honorifics should appear at the top of the invitation, beginning with the parents of the bride, and using as many lines as it takes to request the pleasure of your guests' company.
Dear Miss Manners:
I would like to give a baby shower for a friend's daughter who lives 12 hours away. The daughter will not be traveling to my home area prior to the birth of the baby. Can I give a shower with gifts (with a book of good wishes) to be shipped to the mother-to-be?
You can shower your friend's daughter with however many presents you care to buy and send her, and Miss Manners finds it charming of you to think of doing so. What you cannot properly do is issue instructions to others to do the same. Presents are just a feature of such parties, not the entire point of them, shocked as many will be to learn this.
Feeling incorrect? E-mail your etiquette questions to Miss Manners (who is distraught that she cannot reply personally) at MissManners@unitedmedia.com or mail to United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.(c)2003, Judith Martin