Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)
Question: My future daughter-in-law announced last week that she wants to be barefoot for their wedding. She is wearing a $1,000 dress and getting married Jan. 1 in our backyard. Obviously all her guests will be wearing shoes, along with our son, her groom. I have a personal pet peeve; I was raised you do not come back in the house after being in the yard or driveway without washing your feet. I was not allowed to do this growing up and raised my children to not do it. I cringe when she drives over barefoot, walks in to my house barefoot and sits with her dirty feet on my couch, but I have kept my mouth shut. This is a small family only wedding, but the rules are not changing. I told her how I felt about it. I am obviously not on the top of her most favorite people list right now, but honestly, I believe she is totally out of place. I have told our son he needs to speak up and also reminded him it is totally inappropriate. She was never taught as a young child, and now at the age of 30, still doesn’t know and doesn’t care to know. I would love your opinion.
Answer: We all come from different backgrounds with different rules and codes having been instilled in us. It sounds as though your future-daughter-in-law is a free spirited, bohemian type. Over the past 10 or so years, the trend for bridal shoes is a bit anything goes. Some brides opt for more traditional strappy heels, pumps and stilettos, while others go with cowboy boots and Converse sneakers. It’s another way for a bride to show her personality. Many brides go barefoot for beach or bohemian weddings, so it’s not a stretch to envision a bride going barefoot for a small, family wedding held outdoors at a family home. I do understand your rule about not wanting people to come in the house after tromping around outside barefoot, especially as it relates to propping up on the furniture. That said there’s nothing that can be dragged in on bare feet that isn’t also being tracked in on the bottom of a shoe. I propose a compromise: First, try to embrace your soon-to-be daughter in-law’s inner hippie and understand that much like you probably did when you got married, she has a dream about her wedding day. Perhaps she always envisioned padding down the aisle with her hair flowing in the wind and the cool grass on her feet. Next, tell her that you have given it a lot of thought and you understand her desire to be barefoot and fancy free on her Big Day (it is hers after all, no?) and your only request is that she wipe off her feet before entering the house. Position some baby wipes discreetly by the door and show her where they will be hidden, so she can easily access them on the day of the wedding and beyond. Finally, give her a big hug and ask if she wants to go get a pedicure to celebrate. If she’s going to be showing off those tootsies, they should look pretty and this will also be a great bonding experience. The good will fostered by accepting this wish (and her) will go a long way toward a loving relationship with the woman your son loves and likely fell in love with in part because of her free spirit and earthy vibe.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.