Dear Annie… Split ceremony wedding gifts and the real you, past and all


Dear Annie: What’s the correct etiquette for giving gifts for “reverse order” weddings? I have seen several times where a couple will first have a small civil ceremony to get married without the immediate expense of a formal wedding. Then, about a year later, they will have a formal wedding and reception, with the wedding shower being held before that date.

This actually has had to be done by many couples where weddings had to be postponed because of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Most likely you’ll not be invited to the civil ceremony but are invited to the shower and wedding.

What is the etiquette for gift-giving for these three occasions? Should you give the couple a now and later wedding gift as well as a shower gift?

The civil ceremony will be the couple’s official wedding date.

— Friend of the Bride and Groom

Dear Friend of the Bride and Groom: One gift is A-OK. No reasonable couple that has a “split ceremony” (as I’ve heard them called) expects double presents. Mail your gift and card to their home. You can send it around the civil ceremony or wait to send it around the larger wedding reception: Either is appropriate.

Dear Annie: My boyfriend and I were long distance for about a year. We met online and only spent a handful of days together in person during our relationship.

Eventually, it became too much for him, and he broke up with me last year because of the distance.

I still have intense feelings for him. And I’m flying to his town later this year to tell him that I still love him, but I am afraid that he will reject me.

Even though we never spent much time together in person, we had talked about our relationship being serious and committed. But by the end of our relationship, he just didn’t show any interest in me. He wouldn’t text me or return my texts.

I know that he still loves me, but I’m wondering if he might be embarrassed to see me if I show up in his town unannounced. Please tell me what to do.

— Longing for My Long-Distance Lover

Dear Longing: To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when someone shows you how they feel about you, believe them the first time. Spare yourself the airfare and additional heartache: He’s not interested — or at least, not interested enough to make this work, and that’s what counts. The truth hurts, but it shall set you free. Once you accept that this is over, you can begin to move on and work on loving yourself.

You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you. And with healthier self-esteem, you’ll come to realize that.

Dear Annie: I read the letter where a man got some interviews but not the job. I’ve trained thousands of employees around the world. I’ve seen a lot of interviews. Here are a few tips.

Leave your cellphone in the car. Wear nothing that’s gaudy or shiny, which could distract the interviewer from your eyes. Sit up straight and look the interviewer in the eyes. Don’t look down or sideways. It makes you look like you’re lying. Be relaxed and smile. Never be without a $100 bill in your pocket: Money in our pocket gives us confidence. This is especially important for people in sales, as salespeople tend to sell to their own pocket. If they don’t have money, then they think their customer doesn’t either. Those people lose a lot of sales.

— Larry

Dear Larry: Thanks for writing in with your professional expertise on interviewing like a pro. That last tip is new to me. I’d be curious to hear if anyone has tried this out and experienced a confidence boost.


Dear Annie: I’m recently divorced and seeing someone. We talk openly about our divorces and ex-spouses.

There are no hard feelings either way. She has children, and I don’t. We are in our 50s.

I had a prior marriage at a very young age. I was in the service and lonely. It was a long-distance relationship, and we were married within two years. We didn’t even know each other. I was miserable, and the marriage ended. I don’t like talking about it and am embarrassed by it, which is why I haven’t mentioned it to “Jane.” I haven’t lied, because the issue hasn’t come up. Am I digging a hole by not telling her? Would you be offended if this was not disclosed?

— Wondering in Michigan

Dear Wondering in Michigan: If your prior marriage is on your mind and you feel you should tell your new love interest, then tell her.

It might feel embarrassing at first, but part of being in an intimate relationship is being willing to feel vulnerable. You are putting yourself out there with all of your history, and I’m sure she has her own history. Once you both accept each other, real trust and bonding will take over. If she judges you and has an issue with your two-year marriage, then it is better to find that out sooner rather than later. No sense wasting time with someone who will not accept the whole you, warts and all.

Dear Annie: With COVID-19, many people have had elective surgery postponed. Insurance companies are shortening the length of stays they will cover afterward, and I am hearing of people being discharged from the hospital the day after surgery, for what would normally have been a four- or five-day stay. I am waiting to have surgery. More than the hospitalization, my concern is about home care afterward. I live alone, and my daughter plans to stay with me. However, she works where there are a lot of people in and out, and I know that she is going out with friends and not wearing a mask now that businesses are reopening. The number of COVID cases is on the rise in my state.

I am starting to feel that I do not want my daughter staying with me after surgery without guaranteeing that she will not be socializing for two weeks before. It’s bad enough that she works with the public. A few weeks ago, I jokingly mentioned taking two weeks off from work to quarantine before surgery. Am I wrong to ask her not to go out socially for two weeks before? Should I plan to have visiting nurses instead?

— Trying to Be a Patient Patient

Dear Patient Patient: You are not wrong to ask that of her. It is irresponsible of her to not wear a mask and socialize with a group of people. Your immune system won’t be at its best while it is fighting to heal. While her intentions are sweet, the biggest way she can care for you is by protecting you from COVID. If her job does not allow for that, I recommend hiring professional nurses to care for you while your body gets strong. If your daughter is offended by that, have a serious talk with her about the protocols she would need to follow to care for you.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


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