DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My daughter’s friend is expecting a baby. When this mom-to-be told my daughter the name she planned for her baby, my daughter must not have made a big enough fuss about the name because now the friend is upset with my daughter. Should parents announce a baby’s name before the baby is born?
— EVERYONE HAS ONE
DEAR EVERYONE HAS ONE: Well-meaning friends and family like to comment on and critique proposed baby names. It stings, however, when the chosen name is revealed to a friend and the response is flat. Keeping the name a secret gives the parents leeway. This week’s hot pick may go into the reject pile by next month. If the name is a secret, no one needs to know about the parent’s indecision. Endless lists of names are often reviewed. The process can become such a struggle announcing the name at birth is the best idea. Many a baby’s name is decided on the ride to the hospital. Other parents select a name right away and call the little person by the name long before he or she is born. If the parents are enthused and positive about their choice of a moniker or if it is a family name, everyone seems to love it and compliment the parent’s taste. Fortunately for those babies whose parents still remain in decision mode after birth, you cannot leave the hospital today without a car seat or a name.
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: I am writing in response to your advice to Grandma who wants to give a bridal brunch in her granddaughter’s honor. You advised her to invite the whole family and to include the gift registry so that everyone brings a gift. These same people are probably invited to other events for this couple. Consider the expenses of being a wedding guest: a gift for the engagement party, a gift for the bridal brunch, a gift for the bridal shower, a wedding gift, tuxedo rental, cash bar, baby-sitter’s fees and travel expenses to and from these events. Wedding expenses have really gotten out of hand for the bride and groom and for the wedding guest. When did it stop being about marriage and family and become all about the dress?
— WEARY WEDDING GUEST
DEAR WEDDING GUEST: Some weddings evoke a sense of pageantry. The bride envisions herself a princess in fairy-tale slippers, and the wedding production becomes a giant party or series of parties quite over-the-top. Naturally there has to be a groom; however, many of today’s brides have already set up housekeeping with the groom so he comes with the package. Other brides enjoy looking at the bridal hoopla in the glossy magazines and then come back down to Earth and plan a beautiful wedding within their budget. It is just as easy to note on a party invitation honoring the couple “no gifts please” as it is to note where the bride is registered. When the wedding invitation arrives you should consider your own budget. If you do not know the bride or groom well you may decide to pass on attending their wedding. A card and a warm note to the couple can suffice. Many weddings are mini family reunions and effort should be made to attend. Ticket takers never stand at the reception door evaluating your gift. You do need to wear something nice, hire a baby sitter and send a wedding present. Frequently hosting a wedding is the most money a family ever spends on entertaining, and they navigate uncertain etiquette waters with all good intentions. The trend is slowly changing, however, to less extravagant (still expensive) weddings. So your thoughts and comments are spot on.
Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.