Dear Carolyn: My wife and I have an anniversary coming up. It’s the second marriage for both of us and has been a blessing. I’d like to give her a nice piece of jewelry to mark the event.
But here’s the situation. Her daughter, as a teenager, resented her mom’s marriage to me. For several years it was brutal. We have managed a reconciliation of sorts, now that she is 20-something, but I’ll never be part of her “inner circle.” I’m fine with this. It allows for an amiable family setting.
But I have five adult children of my own and 12 grandkids. Because of these separate pasts, we have kept our “assets” separate.
So, finally: Would it be unacceptable for me to request that my wife agree to bequeath a fine piece of jewelry to one of my progeny rather than to her daughter? The daughter will already come into an expensive engagement ring and a considerable amount of less-expensive stuff. I confess that seeing more precious jewelry go to this daughter dampens my ardor for honoring my wife.
Do I not understand the true meaning of giving?
Request: Seems you understand it quite well, which is why you’re looking for a loophole.
Alas, the answer is no, it’s not acceptable to hand your wife a gift on the condition that she keep it from her not-as-awful-as-she-used-to-be-but-still-rather-difficult daughter, because then it’s not really a gift. Not with strings attached.
Maybe you’d like to treat your wife to a romantic vacation for your anniversary? Then the laws of physics are in your favor: She can’t both take the trip and will it to her daughter. A woman who already has a “considerable amount” of jewelry might agree, too, that experiences make excellent gifts.
Dear Carolyn: At a recent wedding, I found out about a new trend: The bride asks that guests post none of their photos of the event online — only the couple will choose which photos to post. Guests are instructed to send all photos to them directly for choosing.
I’m of two minds. I fully support a couple who asks that no photos be taken during the ceremony. However, I’ve never heard anyone say the entire event is off-limits to cameras. So it’s okay for me to take photos of the reception, but not to post online? It sounds a bit bridezilla to me, too controlling.
But perhaps I am missing something and this is not only reasonable but to be encouraged?
— I’ll Just Leave My Camera at Home, I Guess . . .
I’ll Just Leave My Camera at Home, I Guess . . .: I see no reason for a special rule or request pertaining to wedding photos (though I’ll no doubt hear some starting . . . now). The existing boundaries of good social-media citizenship will suffice: Don’t post any pictures without the permission of the people in them, or pictures of creative output or private spaces that are plainly a host’s prerogative to display — their home, invitations, decorations, etc.
So, a photo of bride or groom? Get his or her okay or don’t post. A selfie with friends at the wedding? Get their okay or don’t post.
Translation: Best practices only need apply. If couples need explicit embargoes to get that across, then it’s hard to say whether they or guests are the ones crossing the line.