What is the funeral reception etiquette for asking people to pay for their lunch at the luncheon? We cannot afford to feed anyone other than ourselves after a graveside memorial service. A family member suggested we should organize a luncheon at a beloved restaurant after the service and let everyone know in advance that they are welcome to join us, but they would have to pay for their own meal. How do we put that in the invitation/announcement?
My mother-in-law stipulated that she did not want a formal funeral reception. We thought of having a potluck luncheon in our home, but the list of people wanting to attend the funeral is growing and our home is small. We struggle to make ends meet monthly. The idea of asking people to buy their own meal is fine and the restaurant holds many memories for my husband with his mom. I can’t think of a kind way of saying, “Buy your own meal, if you want to join us in the invitation.” Should it be done?
Dear Janet,It's OK to suggest that people pay their own way. What you want them to understand is that instead of sending flowers, they join you and your family for a Dutch Treat luncheon at your family's favorite restaurant after the gravesite memorial service. Say that she didn't want a formal funeral reception and would rather have her family and friends mourn her death happily in her favorite restaurant.
The invitation, centered on a card or email and substituting your own information, could go something like this:
The family of Alice May Brown cordially invites you to mourn her death cheerfully at a dutch treat luncheon in her honor at her favorite family restaurant, by paying for your own lunch instead of sending flowers.
Immediately following the 11:00pm graveside memorial service we hope you can meet us on Thursday, July 18th at the Blue Heron Restaurant, 228 Valley Road, Minneapolis. MI.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 431-456-6711. Please let us know if you are planning to attend the luncheon so we can reserve enough tables.
What you say to friends is that in lieu of flowers, you would rather they attend a dutch treat lunch in her honor.
Ahead of time, find out from the restaurant the approximate cost of how much the average lunch costs, in case someone asks you'll want to know the answer. By talking to the manager or owner, you may be able to work out a set price for a three course lunches that has two options for the entree.
I’m getting married in September and I’m thinking about whether to hyphenate our last names or keep my maiden name. Losing my last name totally would be a shock to my sense of identity. I’ve had the same last name for thirty-two years and I can’t understand why I would have to give it up. How do other women handle the name change?
–F.E., Boston, MA
Dear F.E.,About keeping my maiden name. You don't have to give up your last name.The English have been using hyphenated names for centuries and are even known for using three names connecting with two hyphens, but with early computers that didn't read the hyphens in the names, many once hyphenated names no longer appear hyphenated. There is always the option of not using both last names with no hyphen at all, which is evident in such names as Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. About using just your maiden name, the problem is the IRS. They'll want you to hyphenate your husband's name with your own to put your Social Security number on your joint tax return. Why not use both names on your Social Security card, hyphenated or not, and continue using your maiden name professional and socially? Then pragmatically giving your husband's last name to any children you may have, or adopt, acknowledges your children's paternity. You can have it both ways. Most medical records and credit cards will take both your last name and your husband's with a hyphen or without. The downside -- or some might say the upside -- is that by taking your husband's last name, it will then be harder for people to find you on social media. Approximately 20% of newly married women in the past few years have kept their maiden name -- and another 10% have hyphenated their maiden name to their husband's last name, but still use their maiden name professionally and socially. That's a rise of 22% since the 1990s. Researchers say the hike is most likely because many more women are having careers and more and more couples are living together longer before getting married, so changing their name is a genuinely drastic change. Statistics show the older you are when you married for the first time, the less likely you'll change your name. Personally, I never legally changed my name and still use my maiden name, but the IRS changed it for me because I used my maiden name and my husband's last name on our joint tax return. Do what you have to do to keep your identity. Americans have been relaxing our traditions for decades. We are marrying later in life and less often. More often, older women are having children without getting married. And now, finally, we can legally have spouses of the same sex. Nevertheless, taking your husband's last name is still "the norm," albeit less and less.
What is the current baby shower etiquette for the hosts, the honoree and when it is honoring a second baby? Can there be more than one host? Can it be a couples shower? When it is a second baby, do guests bring children who are the age of the first child? Does it seem like a push for presents if you invite people whom you know won’t be able to attend?
Dear A.C.,About baby shower etiquette. The birth of a new baby is always a reason to celebrate. New fresh linens, underclothing, plush toys and books are appreciated whether it is the first, second or fifth baby. Pooling resources makes a lot of sense -- especially when so many of the celebrator's family and friends want to celebrate but don't have time to organize a shower. Delegating a point person for all the elements simplifies the process as long as each person understands their responsibility. Although showers for the expecting mother are popular, expecting couples' showers and same-sex expecting couples' showers are on the uptrend. Making sure the expectant mother or the parents of the honoree have designated an online registry such as at sproutsanfrancisco.com, burtsbeesbaby.com, diapers.com, buybuybaby.com, giggle.com, or potterybarnkids.com makes returning duplicates or exchanging sizes much easier. Adding that information on the invitation is helpful to guests. Finding printouts for fun games to keep guests amused can come in handy, but silly party games aren't necessary. Especially if guests are being invited to bring their child of the same age to play with the unborn's sibling(s). The honoree contributes by being on time and giving a small gift to each of the hosts. Such as a herb plant wrapped cheerfully or bottle of wine to thank them for their time and contributions. It goes without saying that the expectant mother sends a thank-you to everyone who attended. The gift and gifter are carefully recorded by one of the guests.Whom to invite? In making up the invitation list with names and addresses or email addresses, the honoree can include people whom she knows won't be able to attend as long as she also sends them a birth announcement after the baby's arrival. It is understood that retirees and relatives in nursing homes are not expected to send a gift, but they appreciate being included and often will reciprocate with a card. The invitation itself should incorporate the honoree's name a and the phrase Baby Shower, the date and time of the shower, and the exact location, as well as the name of the online registry. You are best served when the RSVP includes a cutoff date. When sending the invitation or evite two weeks before the shower date, the cutoff date should be two days prior to the party to allow for an accurate headcount for the right amount of food and beverage. An August 14th shower, should have a cutoff date of August 12th.
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When we meet another family at a family style BBQ restaurant for supper with our kids and they have more kids than we do and we don’t drink, how can we not split the bill fifty-fifty?
–C.M., Atlanta, GA
Dear C.M.,Sharing the restaurant bill isn't always easy. Especially in your situation where your share of the bill is less because you're ordering less food and you won't be drinking alcohol. Once you implement one of the below solutions to the problem, you will be less self-conscious about being assertive. Your friends will resect your boundaries and expect you to only pay for what your family consumed. By taking the lead and reaching for the bill first, estimate your family's share of the expense before proactively handing over your card to the waiter. Ask him to debit your card that amount. However, don't forget to include his 20% tip when before signing your credit/debit card receipt. Alternatively, approximate what your family will spend and be ready with cash to rush to pay your share. Be sure to explain that you've included tax and gratuity. A third solution is while you're ordering your food. Letting your waiter know from the start exactly who you'll be paying for will undoubtedly result in a fairer chit when it comes to pulling out your credit or debit card.
With our spouses we want to celebrate our parents’ Fiftieth Anniversary and invite their closest friends. However, my parents’ five children are not all in the same financial position. My sister and I are willing to foot most of the bill for a Lobster Bake in their honor, but we think our siblings should pitch in and pay for themselves and their children instead of bringing boxed gifts to the party. Our parents are downsizing and don’t need anything. Celebrating with the entire family would mean more to them than material objects. How do we work this out to make all the families feel we’re on a somewhat level playing field? I might add that travel expenses will be incurred by many of us.
Dear Anonymous,Make a list of all the ways that your siblings can contribute to the 50th anniversary party for parents with toasts, songs, flowers for the centerpieces, or by baking the anniversary cake. Find out who has what to offer in terms of airline miles to bring one of the family members home for the celebration. Or does someone live near the New Hampshire line and can buy inexpensive beer and wine at one of the state's liquor stores, while someone else is assigned to making up cheese plates. Handle this as a team effort. Look for ideas and resources as to how the other three families can contribute in a meaningful way. Maybe one of the families can write and sing a song to your parents. Put one of your siblings in charge of putting together a music track that includes your parents' favorites. Another could be in charge of decorations and making up placards for the seating. Yet another sibling can be keeping track of who is doing or bringing what so that you don't end up with too much craft beer and no ice to chill it. Find a volunteer to put together a chronological assortment of family photos over the past five decades. Another creative type can design the invitation and send it out after assembling a guest list. As the paying hosts you and your sister should figure out the cost to host each person, including guests, partners, and dates attending the Lobster Bake. Be sure to negotiate a reduced price for children under sixteen. Let's estimate the cost of the Lobster Bake to be $65 per adult. Then ask your siblings to pay that for their own dinners, saying you will be covering your parents and their friends. Encouraging your siblings' families to pitch in by creating other expressive ways to celebrate your parents anniversary will assure success.
We’ve just received a form from the wedding photographer and we’re trying to figure out our priorities in terms of whom he focuses on and when. Of course the bride and groom only want photos of their friends, but we would like the bigger picture with photographs of everyone. They have a video photographer who will most likely focus on on a large group, which is fine. What tips can you give us about how to preserve the glorious wedding day?
–T.O., Falls Church, VA
Dear T.O.,There are so many sweet spots during the course of the wedding day that capturing everything would take more than one wedding photographer. Having the photographer start with the dressing of the bride by her bridesmaids is a lovely way to begin because the excitement is contagious. It is highly recommended that the formal photos of the bride and groom with their families and bridal party are taken before traveling to the church. Why? Forget superstition. There are no statistics revealing that marriages where the groom saw the bride in her bridal gown before she walked up the aisle on her father's arm are less likely to succeed. Picking the perfect setting for the formal photos is important. However, it means that the bride has to be dressed two hours before arriving at the church. If the dress is so gorgeous, why not photograph it early on before it is crushed and wilting. Having the photos of the bride arriving at the house of worship with her father are a prelude to the sweetness of him walking her up the aisle, whether he's her biological father, brother, or uncle. But hold that shot for a minute because you really want the photographer just inside the church door taking photos of couples and families entering, because those opportunities may not raise again. During the dancing, if the photographer doesn't know they are not a couple or related, the photo may prove meaningless. Suggest that your friends and family are photographed one shot at a time entering into the church. Think of the photos of the ring bearers, who are brothers, as the perfect thank-you present to the parents for arranging such a special element. The rest of the photographs are pretty standard: reception tables set up with centerpieces and place cards, the bride and groom walking down the aisle and out of the church, the receiving line, toasts, first dance, cutting of the cake, tossing the bouquet. What you want to do is to focus on people from the start, before the subjects become disheveled from too much wine and champagne and the tables look messy with too many glasses, half-eaten rubber chicken, and soiled napkins. You don't want a lot of shots of couples dancing with the guest of a guest. One notation you may wish to add is the dress code for the wedding, because you don't want the photographer arriving in denim jeans when the restaurant where the reception is being held has a jacket and tie dress code.
Our daughter’s big day is coming up and we’re wondering about wedding bouquets, boutonnieres, and corsages. How to choose them and how to distribute them? Do we take them to the church? Do the bridesmaids and groomsmen pick them up from us on the way to the church?
What colors should the boutonnieres be, or what color should they not be?
The bouquets are white, with shades of blues and pinks.
Likewise, who beside the bride, bridesmaids and mother of the bride and groom’s mother carry bouquets or wear corsages, and what colors should they be?
–MOB, Westport, CT
Dear MOB,Let's talk about the hours leading up to the ceremony and wedding bouquets and boutonnieres. Having the formal photos of the families and the bridal party taken ahead of time, prior to the ceremony, is popular for practical reasons. Because you want everyone participating in the photo taking, looking their best and not disheveled before they've had something to drink. Choosing a picturesque location along the route between the house of worship and the reception is ideal. It can even be outside the church, or on the grounds of the reception venue. After the reception begins swinging, nobody will want to be responsible for rounding up the bridal party for formal shots. Least of all the mother of the bride. Corralling the wedding party into formal photos after the ceremony, and before the reception, can be problematic and tiresome. When everyone is driving in different vehicles to the reception, there can be holdups delaying the arrival of the wedding couple at the wedding. For instance if they stop at a location along the way for the formal photos, it is easy to forget guests are waiting at the reception. The bridesmaids gather around the bride ceremonially in her home or hotel room to "dress" the bride and check one another's hair and makeup over ice tea and tea sandwiches. The groom meets his groomsmen and ushers at the church ahead of time where their boutonnière is either inserted into the buttonhole of their lapel or secured with a pin. The mother of the bride arrives at the church at about that time to supervise and she is the last person in the bridal party to be escorted to her seat. As the saying goes, the mother of the bride "shuts" the church door. Boutonnière is the French word for buttonhole. Traditionally they were worn by men for special occasions, less often now except at weddings and funerals to distinguish, members of the wedding party from the the guests. If a guest needs information, he looks for a groomsman or usher wearing a white, red, or blue cornflower in the button hole of his jacket's right lapel above the handkerchief pocket. A green flower is worn to declare homosexuality. Making sure a long straight pin is included with the boutonnière is helpful. Pushing the pin from inside the jacket out and in again tightly will secure the flowers calyx to the jacket. It goes without saying that any male guest can wear his own style of boutonnière. The ones you'll be providing (or the groom will be responsible for) are for: the groom, his father, his best man, his groomsmen and his ushers, as well as for the bride's father. Grandparents and uncles are optional, because when extended families extend to step-parents and their parents, it can get pricey. A white boutonnière is the most formal and certain holidays call for a specific color flower, but nowadays anything goes for a wedding. Personally, I like the blue cornflower, although they are often difficult to find. Wedding bouquets naturally reflect the flowers of the season and the bridesmaids' bouquets should be a smaller version of the brides' bouquet. In winter the flowers are deeper in color, in the fall they are the colors of autumn and in spring and summer you'll see anything from pastels to the brightest pinks, blues, yellows, and purples. More than likely the bridal bouquet includes at least one of the wedding colors, which is also found in the bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnières, corsages, table centerpieces and then again decorated on the wedding cake. Personally, I'm not a fan of corsages. I don't like making pin pricks in my clothing to attach them or having them crushed while dancing cheek to cheek. I wouldn't wear a wrist corsage either unless I was reliving my junior prom.
Our son recently graduated eighth grade from our country day school and got himself into a nasty altercation with one of his classmates. He came home from one of the graduation parties with his eye glasses broken and his face bleeding from being punched in the face. I texted the boy’s mother asking if we could meet soon for coffee telling her what had happened. She responded with, “boys will be boys.” Texting back I said we really need to talk. We were looking for the boy to apologize. We didn’t get it. She keeps putting me off, but we don’t think the boys should end their school year with the incident unresolved. Any suggests?
Dear Anonymous,Parenting while texting isn't always effective. Texting the naughty boy's mother inviting her to your house for coffee would be a gracious move. It will make her feel that it is more of a social visit and less confrontational. Bring out your best china coffee cups, but don't go so far as to bake a coffee cake. Ask her if she thinks the boys should hash out the problem. The catalyst no doubt was a girl. Each boy should tell his side of the story. In a perfect world, the brawler would apologize and the lads would shake hands. But we don't don't know the whole story.
We’re coming over from the South Shore to attend the Newport Flower Show this weekend and my friends and I want to know about ladies hat etiquette. Do you have the inside on the kind of hat to wear and what we should look for?
–A.W., Duxbury, MA
Dear A.W.,About hat etiquette for the Newport Flower Show. Upon entering, start by heading to Lisa Stubbs' hat kiosk Lilo. The foremost milliner in New England, Mrs. Stubbs handcrafts all of her popular hats that come in an array of styles and prices. Whether you're looking for solutions to keeping the sun off of your face or searching to find that dark and mysterious hat to top off your favorite cocktail outfit, you'll see it at Lilo. You'll find hats for all different uses from daytime visors for playing tennis, golf or sailing, or simple straw hats to wear to your local farmer's market, as well as fabulous fascinators -- fanciful headbands -- to dress up your best LBD. To get a sense of Lisa's natural high style, here are photos of Lisa and her friends at the 2014 Newport Flower Show.
I’m searching for a mother of the bride outfit that is a sophisticated look suitable for an older mother of the bride to wear to her daughter’s August wedding. If someone is asked to describe the way I look, I’d like them to say I’m pleasantly plump. The mother of the bride dresses I’ve been trying on just aren’t for me. I look in the mirror and say to myself, “What am I doing in this silly dress?” Do you have a creative solution to this wedding dilemma?
–Anonymous, Watch Hill, RI
Dear Anonymous,Living close to Newport, you are in luck looking for mother of the bride dress code ideas at this time. The answer is to attend the Newport Flower Show this weekend June 19-21, 2015. At booth #24 you'll find couture special occasion jackets by the ever so chic Maria Pucci. In choosing one of Maria Pucci's lovely handmade jackets you have more options to coordinate with the wedding colors, which typically match the wedding color scheme, by simply changing a trim, button or other detail to coordinate with the theme. For instance, instead of a corsage, your jacket can have a floral pattern in one of the wedding colors. The beauty of the Newport Long Coat (photo above upper left) is that it is a formal jacket. Because it is not a long dress, it won't compete with the bride's wedding gown, the arms are covered for a religious ceremony, and the mother-of-the-bride is freer to move around the reception to greet and dance with guests. Ahead of time go to Maria-Pucci to check out the brilliant designs of her versatile couture jackets. These beautifully made special occasion jackets are not only for the mother of the bride, but are a popular choice as cocktail attire -- especially for wearing when entertaining or being entertained day or night. These wonderful jackets are made for the young at heart.
I am attending a polo match tomorrow in Newport and I have no clue what to wear. I have many dresses, most of them form fitting. I do not know what is appropriate to wear though.
–Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear, Newport
Dear Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear,Hold your horses. Polo match dress code is not that complicated. Think about comfort and protecting your face from the hot sun. You may find yourself picnicking at your tailgate, so wearing a dress that is not too short is more comfortable sitting on the grass. Find a mid-calf length dress in your closet. If you have a light summer denim blouse, wear it over the dress and belt it. Top off the look with a small brimmed straw hat that isn't too fussy or prissy -- but no fake flowers on the brim. Most importantly, if you wear heels, wear cork wedges. Spiked heels will catch you up by digging into the turf and we wouldn't want you to trip over you feet. Here is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge above at a polo match wearing wedges and denim. Here are some looks you may be able to pull together from your full closet: Lastly, our very favorite most recent polo match photo of fashion icon Olivia Palermo.
I am 48-years-old and shamefully weight about 220lbs. I love the look of caftans and have recently found many formal ones online. I have a wedding on June 28th and have had no luck shopping. I have found a beautiful dressy caftan in a catalog and I can get it in time, if I order it soon. It comes from Soft Surroundings. Unfortunately it is IVORY.
–Michele, New Jersey....wedding in PA
Dear Michele,About wearing white to a wedding as a guest. I looked at the website and could only find two caftans that are available in white. Both were featured as beachwear, meaning you will need to wear a full length slip under both, because beach caftans are meant to give a hint of the bikini underneath. Sadly, the Martinique Caftan & Slip only comes in ivory, and you would have to buy the slip separately -- but it is quite beautiful for another occasion. In the reviews it describes as a "beach dress." The other white caftan would definitely need a slip, but it doesn't come in another color either. The Contadora caftan is available in two beautiful shades of blue, however, it looks as if it is more for evening than for a noontime wedding. I also like the Celeste caftan in green, coral, or blue. The Humas and the Mosaic caftans, also come in lovely shades of blue, but look a bit too casual for a wedding. The only person who is wearing white at a wedding is the bride. It is her special day. Out of respect for the bride on her wedding day, you don't want to be caught wearing white at a wedding. The best caftan on the site for you to wear to an early afternoon wedding is the Celeste. Luckily it comes in three wonderful colors
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Does joining an online dating site announce to the world that I am desperately seeking a husband? Obviously what I thought I once wanted is not my ex. I learned that hot and heavy doesn’t mean forever. I’ve looked at various online dating sites, but won’t I be at a disadvantage because I’m so publicly available?
–E.L., San Francisco
Dear E.L.,In general, women find online dating less frustrating and more rewarding than men. So go for it. What do you have to loose? You have the advantage of vetting guys over the course of a dozen or more email messages until you discern the type of person you're most compatible with through a process of a elimination. You may not be wasting your time frivolously. Your criteria becomes more defined. A person who is as well educated or more highly educated than you and who has your same salary or greater, and whose favorite ice-cream is also Ben & Jerry's Half Baked, sounds good to me. A recent study found that men typcally have to send 25 messages to different women to get a response. A woman only has to send five to receive a reply. Leading researchers are to prone to believing that women have a much larger pool from which to select potential dates, mates, or lovers, than men. In 2013 one popular dating site AreYouInterested, reported that a woman sending a message to a man in her age group has a 18% chance of receiving a response, whereas a man in the same age group has only a 4% chance of receiving a return message. Women clearly have a much larger pool from which to select potential dates, mates, or lovers than men, and can afford to be fussier about who they date. According to Time magazine this week, U.S. the annual number of marriage ceremonies is on a steady decline. With the rate of marriages per 1,000 single women dropping 60% from 1970 to 2012, women are less likely to marry now than in the seventies. Are women becoming pickier as they earn higher and higher degrees and more and more money? Makes sense to me.
What do we need to know about hosting a tailgate picnic at a polo match? My boyfriend is playing on one of the teams and I’m organizing a posh potluck picnic for his team with food throughout the afternoon. My friends are helping and offering to bring dishes, but what about the food and setup? We liked your answer to how to be the best guest, and thought you would know about polo match tailgating. Most websites suggest grilling, but they don’t allow grilling on the polo grounds.
Dear Bridget,Think of tailgating as an elegant cookout -- a veritable moveable feast. The kicker is you don't even have to bring a grill. Ahead of time you can prepare by boiling and/or roasting in the toaster oven, a fun assortment of haute hot dogs and sausages. Made of beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or tofu, try creating haute hotdogs with names like the Downward Dog, Truffle Dog, Red Haute Dog (with chili), Grif Dog (bacon-wrapped wieners), Hot Turkey Dog (with cranberry sauce), Chicken Friend Dog (chicken sausage) and the Kenturkey, to name a few. You don't need paper plates or utensils, just lots of colorful napkins in their team colors, and of course mustards. Creating an assortment of hautedogs is easy when you only have four members on a team to prepare for -- plus your friends and his. Since tailgating is hugely about meat, hautedog toppings and buns, and cold beverages, here are simple suggestions. For a two hour polo match followed by a one hour cocktail party hosted by the association, all you may need for booze is a couple of half gallon bottles of semi-pre-prepared Mimosas, Middleton Mules, Bloody's Mary's, and Pimms Style Cold-Brew Ice Tea. Don't forget styrofoam coolers for ice and local craft beer; putting salt in the cooler along with the ice will keep the colder . The more local the craft beer, the fresher the taste. Keeping it chilled is key. The Middleton Mule is such the perfect derby, steeplechase, and polo cocktail. Sparkling from champagne poured over a mixture of gin flavored with crushed passionfruit, mint, simple syrup and ice, it is festively refreshing The night before the match try making Pimms Style Cold-Brew ice tea by leaving a gallon of cold water, to which you've added Earl Grey tea leaves to cold brew, in the fridge overnight. Sweeten it slightly in the morning after straining out the leaves; then add fresh lemon juice and mixing in any mashed fruit such as peaches, raspberries or strawberries, and it's ready to go. As one of your friends to bring a bottle of Pimms 1, and your guests can do further doctoring themselves. For tailgating glasses, we like reusable, shatterproof, recyclable plastic glasses by Govino. They look like the popular Riedel "O" (except don't have a stem) or a beer glass, but have indentations for the thumb and pointer finger that's helpful for gripping on to your Bloody Mary or craft beer. Don't use stem glasses because there's no place to rest them. Thinking about moist desserts, strir up a batch of Chocolate Chip Cupcakes and a couple dozen Bacon Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies to hold everyone over until the celebratory dinner. If friends want to dress up your fold-up table (or the trunk of your car) with a cheerful tablecloth, encourage them to bring deviled eggs (Google best deviled eggs), pickles in a jar, and assorted nuts in a basket are all popular. Warning: dips and chips don't do well in the heat of a summer afternoon; cheese tends to sweat and crackers shrivel. Check with your boyfriend for an approximate estimate of the headcount. Knowing how many might be stopping to sample your moveable feast, and what you need to bring in terms of tablecloths for the ground and/or table, beach umbrella, folding table, will help you be more organized. Don't forget to be wearing a wonderful hat.
After the Break Up
All About Weddings
Who To Invite
After the Break Up
Dress Code & Grooming