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When the Wedding Welcome Dinner Is on Halloween

Dear Didi,

My son is being married on November 1st. The evening prior to the wedding there is a Welcome Dinner for all guests hosted by me and my husband. Because it is Halloween, my son and future daughter-in-law want it to be a costume party. Is it distasteful for my husband and me to dress as bride and groom? I am wearing my original wedding dress from 1983 and my husband ordered a rental tux from the same era.

-Patti, Santa Clarita, CA

Dear Patti,

Wonderful idea! As you said, it is a costume party. Most of the guests at the Welcome Dinner will know the wedding couple, and that you and your husband are not the ones being married the following day.  Run your idea by your son and his fiancée for their approval. Personally, I think it would be a real hoot. You may want to spook it up a bit and go heavy on the makeup, with big teeth and a wig.

~Didi

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Barbados Destination Formal Wedding

Dear Didi,

We are invited to a formal destination wedding in Barbados next month. They told us it will not be on the beach, but we're not really sure if it's outdoors or indoors. Does my husband have to wear a Jacket? And will a short-sleeved dress shirt pass? It's hot and humid there and he is balking at long sleeves and a tie. I thought it was weird that the invitation didn't say if it was outdoors or not.

-A.J.

Dear A.J.,

A "formal destination wedding" means at the very least your husband should wear a summer suit or summer blazer or jacket with trousers, a collared-shirt and handsome tie. Out of respect for the bride on her wedding day, men will be wearing jackets and ties. It sounds as though the ceremony is not taking place on the beach, but in a hotel or a private home, where they have a tent with a wooden dance floor. On tropical islands such as Barbados there is an indoor-outdoor lifestyle where tiled and stone terraces with a wooden dance floor are used for dining and dancing. Look at the invitation, if it specifies 'Black Tie' or 'Formal Attire,' your husband should dress accordingly. However, he can wear a white dinner jacket, because you'll be in a tropical climate. It is not exactly a short-sleeved dress shirt, but cooler than a tuxedo jacket. At some point after the dancing begins the groom will take off his jacket, and that's the cue for your husband to take off his jacket and fold his tie into one of the pockets and escort you onto the dance floor.

~Didi

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Children + Peanut Allergy

Dear Didi,

We admit to being helicopter parents of a first grader who is allergic to peanuts. Peanuts are everywhere and this is the first time he's taking his lunch. What can we do to make people, as well as his classmates, aware of the seriousness of his allergy? The school health clinic has his EpiPens and we hope he's prepared for a life threatening emergency, to the best of his seven-year-old ability.

-D.S., Providence, RI

Dear D.S.,

It sounds as though you've prepared the school and your son for an emergency. Hopefully, most schools understand the seriousness of the problem. According to the advocacy group FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education), one out of every thirteen school age child have a food allergy. Lunchrooms should be monitored, cafeteria food nut free, and epinephrine auto-injectors known as EpiPens (containing adrenaline for emergency treatment for anaphylaxis--a traumatic reaction that can cause death within minutes) are on hand. You're right in fearing that your son may be on the school bus, in the playground, at another child's house, or at a birthday party when he's given peanuts in some form. Whether or not you send him with an EpiPen sealed in a ziplock bag tucked into his backpack to school or to play, only you can train him to know what to do. Tell the grownup in charge about the seriousness of the allergy, the symptoms and where to find the EpiPen. Having unexpired EpiPens in school and at home are a must, but I don't need to tell you that. Aside from what you already know, lobby your congressmen to support national legislation in the form of the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which would require schools to stock prescribed epinephrine and allow authorized staff to administer it. The bill was passed in the House last July and will be voted on in the Senate this fall.

~Didi

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Wife’s Family Control Funeral and Asks to Be Paid

Dear Didi,

My brother just passed away. My sister-in-law and her family made all the arrangements without any input from us. My mother and I live cross country from my deceased brother so it would have been helpful to give us a little time to make travel arrangements. We were not asked if we needed a little time instead we were told when the funeral was taking place so we had to book very expensive flights with very short notice. My other brother wanted to contribute photos to any presentation that would occur and he was rebuffed by their family. He asked if there was going to be a video stream and he was told no. They communicated to us that as per tradition there would be a luncheon after the cemetery service and had me communicate that to my relatives then they turned around and withdrew the invitation saying it was for immediate family only. At first they said all were welcome to the memorial service then they said it was also private but after my vehement protest they allowed my relatives to attend. At the service there were photos and video stream pretty much exclusively of her side of the family. The coffin was a very expensive one. My wife and I ended up taking all of my relatives to a separate eatery and treated them to lunch. Sorry to ramble but all this was necessary to help you to help me answer my question. At the conclusion of the family only luncheon the boyfriend of my sister-in-law's sister approached my uncle and said that our family should shoulder the some of the cost of the funeral. My sister-in-law's father is a multi-millionaire who owns several lucrative properties in NYC as well as overseas. My mom is living on social security and with savings she and my dad penny pinched all their lives to save. We are outraged and feel like neither my mom or any of us should be obligated to pay. What do you think based on all that went on? Thank you very much.

-N/A

Dear N/A,

A funeral can be a minefield of unexploded emotions that lead to demands over money and control. Your brother's family made it clear that they didn't want any help with the funeral, then disinvited your family to the luncheon, and now they want money to defray funeral costs. If your brother's family had needed help to pay for his funeral, they should have mentioned it before making elaborate arrangements. Since you don't think they really need help, tell them that your family will be honoring your brother's memory in their own way and in their own time. In memory of your brother, find a school, charity or non-profit organization that, for instance, can arrange to plant a tree or install a park bench in his name in a park, nature reserve, or fishing location where he spent time as a child. Take as long as you like to create a heartfelt expression of your family's feelings toward your brother, and then let his wife know the specifics after it is in place.

~Didi

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