DEAR ABBY: A month and a half ago, my boyfriend of five years proposed. We are happy and excited. Most of the wedding party are my friends from college, who are like a family to me. They have also grown very close to my fiance.
One friend, "Eden," defines herself as a "goth." She wears dark lipstick, dark makeup and usually wears all black — lace, fishnets, etc. Her casual wear isn't all that out of place. However, when she dresses up, the goth comes out in full force — parasol, thigh-high boots, over-the-top stuff (at least to me).
She's invited to our wedding, and I'm concerned that she may go overboard with her wardrobe for the event. I do not wish to stifle her style or sense of self, but the guests will be mostly family and it's a formal event. Is there a polite way to mention this to her and ask her to tone it down a bit? I don't want to hurt her feelings or appear to be stuck up, however I am sure she will be in many of the photos.
—POLITE FRIEND IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR FRIEND: If there will be a wedding party and you have a maid of honor, the responsibility of explaining the "dress code" to Eden should fall to her—for the reasons you mentioned. Whether Eden takes offense is anybody's guess, but at least the message won't come directly from you. If she chooses to ignore the dress code and "come as she is," focus on your happiness and do not let it ruin your day. As for the pictures, put her in the back.
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DEAR ABBY: We live in Las Vegas. Now and then family members in Europe contact us to let us know their adult children will be visiting Vegas and would like to see us. We are retired and would enjoy taking these "youngsters" out for breakfast or lunch on the Strip. But what usually happens is, we wait and wait and receive no call until their departure, then hear all kinds of excuses about why they couldn't call earlier. This has happened three times now, and our question to you is: What are we supposed to say when they make their departure call?
—READY TO WELCOME IN VEGAS
DEAR READY: It is telling that when you receive the initial phone call, it comes from the parents rather than the "kids." This is what you should say when the "youngsters" call: "Oh, we're so sorry you couldn't fit us into your busy schedule, but we understand. Hope you enjoyed your visit. Let us know when you'll be back in town. Bye!" Then forget about it!
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DEAR ABBY: We have a storage unit filled with furniture we can't use. I want to sell it or donate it to a charity—provided they come and pick it up.
My wife wants to give it to a handyman who has done work for us in the past. My concern is that it might be insulting and imply that he is poor and needs charity. I don't know that he is needy, but he might well be. I just don't want to insult the guy. What do you think?
—JUST BEING NICE
DEAR NICE: Offer the furniture to your handyman, and when you do, tell him you no longer need it and wonder if he might know "someone" who can use it. I don't think that would be offensive or imply that he is needy.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.