Dear Amy: I got married last year. I saved up and paid for the wedding myself.
My husband and I decided not to have a honeymoon. We are both quiet homebodies, so we were perfectly content to just spend the night of our wedding at home together.
A few weeks before the wedding, “Cheryl,” a longtime family friend, approached me and said that, as a wedding gift, she would be paying for us to spend our wedding night in a hotel.
I politely declined and told her our plan to enjoy our first night as a married couple at home. After that, though, Cheryl became more forceful and said that we would be spending our wedding night in a hotel of her choosing.
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I spent the next few weeks trying to talk her out of it. I even told her that we were thinking of making other plans to go out of town (we weren’t), but nothing I said stopped her. She simply said I would be doing it her way, with no argument.
After some more time, my mother came forward and told me that I was being very rude and that I should graciously accept the gift that Cheryl wanted to give me.
Since I felt like the whole world was against me at that point, I broke down and allowed Cheryl to plan our honeymoon. She did, and we spent our wedding night in a small hotel in a town I did not recognize (Cheryl told me she searched the area to locate the least expensive option).
I hated the whole experience and spent the night wishing I was at home, or at least somewhere my husband and I chose ourselves.
I know there is nothing I can do about this now, but I just want advice on how to get over this. I will never get my honeymoon back.
Dear Heartsick: The way you describe “Cheryl,” she sounds like a bully of the first order.
And you are a pushover. Obviously, you tried to stop the Cheryl-train as it raced toward you, but at the end of the day, you still made a choice not only to agree to her plan, but to actually do what she told you to do.
Wouldn’t it have been fun to pull up to this hotel, look at your new husband, and decide spontaneously to flee in the night, right back to your own home?
It is indeed upsetting to realize that someone else has dictated such a symbolically important night, but please remember that it is only one night in what will be a long life of togetherness at home.
At this point, you should turn this into a funny story about the honeymoon from hell, stop kicking yourself about it and make a choice to move on.
You and your husband could reframe this on the night of your anniversary by creating a celebration tradition that will be deeply symbolic and enjoyable for both of you.
Dear Amy: We are renting a wine studio for my daughter’s bridal shower, and have a limited time frame for the party.
With 50 guests invited, and the estimated length of time it takes to open and acknowledge each gift, would it be bad form to suggest on the invitations that guests forego wrapping their present, to perhaps just box and bow it?
We realize wrapping is traditional and pretty, but maybe we could start a new trend, i.e. not spending more money and time (and wasting paper) at functions like this?
What do you think?
Dear Mary: I recently attended a very large shower like this, and the invitations said something like, “Adorn your gift with only a ribbon or bow; no wrapping paper, please, so your gift can show...”
The gifts were all displayed on a table, and the guests all perused them during the shower, the way you would at a bazaar.
Understand, unequivocally, that your daughter must NOT save paper when it comes to thanking her guests. Each gift should be individually acknowledged and each attendee should be thanked, through a note sent in the mail, or, if she can’t locate them, a phone call.
Dear Readers: Sometimes people who dispense advice run out of answers. If you’ve ever been curious about the life behind my advice, read my new book, “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home” (2017, Hachette).
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.