Decorum Dilemmas: Just Ask Sian

What to do when your parents despise your in-laws? Relationship expert Sian Jaquet has the answer.


    What to do when your parents and in-laws despise eachother? Relationship expert Sian Jaquet with a solution to this problem and more. 

    See more advice from Sian in our Summer issue, on shelves now!

    Mothers at War
    My mum and soon-to-be mother-in-law have never gelled, but our planning process has brought out the worst in them. They disagree over how much we should all be spending, despise each other’s taste, and their spats over the menu are just nasty. Now they’ve both fallen in love with royal-blue dresses, and they’ve asserted they don’t want their wedding attire to be the same shade – but neither will back down. Help!

    Dear Mother Meltdown, 
    Take the warring mothers out for a coffee and let them know the pain and stress they’re causing you needs to stop at once. Tell them the respect and consideration you’re trying so hard to give them is wearing thin, and in the spirit of future harmony you’re banning everyone from wearing royal blue on your wedding day. Politely suggest they set aside their differences and find ways to contribute in a positive way to the most important day of your life. If they don’t like it, tell them to call me and I’ll let them know just how unacceptable their behaviour is.

    All for one
    A colleague and I became engaged around the same time and are having weddings of a similar size. She has included our entire work team of 22 (including me) on her guest list, while I’m not planning to invite any of them (including her). What’s the most tactful way for me to explain why I’m not inviting any of my workmates?

    Dear Guest-List Issues,
    I presume your colleague wants to invite everyone because a) she likes them or b) she doesn’t have any other friends to invite. Either way, it’s her prerogative. Similarly, it’s your wedding day, and if you don’t want to invite anyone from work, don’t! People know how much weddings cost and how challenging it is to keep guest numbers down. They will understand. If someone does say something, just tell them the truth: you simply did not have the space or money to invite the team. Make up for it by offering 
    to bring in your photo album after the wedding – and some cake to enjoy with it.

    Yay or nay?
    Two-and-a-half months after we sent our invitations, a fortnight after our RSVP date and even after follow-up phone calls, we still have a handful of guests who say they’re unsure whether or not they can attend our wedding. This isn’t a problem I anticipated having to deal with. What’s a polite way to tell them if they don’t give me a straight answer quickly, they’re off the guest list?

    Dear Bride with Rude Guests, 
    Tell it how it is: ‘Dear chosen guests. We really do want you to be part of our wedding day, which is why you received our heartfelt invitation. I’ve tried chasing you to get a commitment, but to no avail, so I’m trying a new approach. Please give me an answer in the next 48 hours, or you’ll be off the guest list. With love from a stressed-out bride to be.’ Alternatively, ask your fiancé to call the guests: get him to say the situation is putting pressure on you and he doesn’t want you to be upset, then ask if they’re coming or not.


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