Q: I am getting married in the town where my fiancé and I grew up, hundreds of miles from New Orleans, where we now reside. My mother and sister are helping out with so much and I’m almost worry-free. I do have one worry: I would like to know how I can politely ask for guests to not bring gifts to the wedding or send them to our parents’ homes because we would have to pay to ship them here. Is there a way that I could ask for our guests to send gifts to New Orleans or, better yet, to send cash or gift cards?

Jennifer Krantz
New Orleans

A: While asking for cash would probably make Mrs. “Etiquette” Post roll over in her grave or Martha pinch you, there are ways to state your intentions without crossing the line. For instance, on your wedding invitation you can print on the bottom: “Since the couple will be residing in New Orleans, please send gifts to ‘your address’.” Also, make sure that when you register for gifts, you register at stores that provide shipping. In addition to registering for items that you want, you can also register for gift cards. Since shipping costs have become prohibitive for larger items, you might just receive those gift cards en masse!

Q: How horrible is it to use e-mail for wedding things, such as save-the-dates and thank you cards?

Shannon Flannery

A: Please forget about e-mail other than as a way to communicate about details with your bridesmaids. If, on the other hand, you’re planning a casual, small gathering, e-mailing a save-the-date, especially for the smaller events such as bridesmaids’ teas, can be a good way to go (especially if you don’t actually have the physical address of an invitee). But please, don’t randomly pick a free e-card! Take your time and search the Internet for companies who will customize your e-vite, such as designhergals.com, which also offers printing services or weddingwindow.com, which also acts as a full-service planning site.

Q: I have inherited my grandmother’s china and silver sets. Unfortunately, they’re not complete. I would like to obtain more of both her china and silver, and even ask for them as wedding gifts, but I can’t find them anywhere and I’m afraid they’ve been discontinued. Is there anywhere that specializes in this?

Cynthia Greene

A: Actually, there are many routes to take to find your grandmother’s patterns. The one for you depends on how much of a treasure hunter you fancy yourself. In New Orleans, we’re blessed with an abundance of flea markets and antique stores. Taking weekends and free time to peruse these merchants can be exciting and can net you baubles in addition to a chance at finding your grandmother’s patterns at much less than you expected (especially if the vendor doesn’t know what he’s got)! If, on the other hand, you’re more of an Internet shopper, visit Replacements, Ltd. (www.replacements.com). With the slogan of “We replace the irreplaceable,” not only do they offer over 12 million pieces from over 290,000 patterns of china, silver and collectibles, they are also able to “clean polish and restore virtually every type of silver and hollowware.”