Best Behavior: Memories That Last

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My daughter is getting married in June. I’ve laid down the law that we’re not going to have people taking cellphone pictures during the ceremony, but I don’t know how to make it happen. My daughter suggests that we put baskets in the vestibule of the church so that people can leave their phones there; she says teenage attendants can hand out tickets so that people can get their phones back. This idea sounds pretty tacky to me. But what am I to do? Of course we’re not going to include “No phones, please” on an engraved invitation. But time’s already wasting. Please help. —Anonymous, Brentwood

I’ve seen it happen: At a wedding a couple of years back, I saw a full-grown woman step into the aisle and start shooting — with flash — during the procession. I’m not making this up. At least she didn’t trip over the flower girl.

The baskets in the vestibule might help, but confusion will be inevitable. Maybe you could offer little bags in which people can stash their phones. They’d make a lovely souvenir.

But don’t leave anything to chance. A card forbidding phones might come in handy, but they’d get a little pricey. You know whom you’ve invited, so your daughter can start emailing them or texting them as soon as the RSVPs start coming in. Surely they’ll know how to do that. Tell them (don’t ask) to hold off taking shots until the reception. Resort to a little anti-social media. They’ll know you mean them.


My husband died three months ago. He was a beloved man, and his friends, who are also mine, have been more than kind, calling and taking me out for meals. They all ask how I’m doing, but the conversation always reverts to their great memories of my husband. I appreciate all of this, but I feel the need to talk about other things. I don’t want to be sitting at home. What do I do? —Anonymous, West End

Three months may not seem that long to your well-meaning friends. But you’re the person who knows how you feel — or at least how you think you feel right now. It’s time for you to take charge of your own life.

At lunch, at dinner, or on the phone, you can change the subject. You can say, “Yes, Bill was a great man,” and move the conversation along. Friends intend to be helpful, but that doesn’t require keeping the pain current.

Dinner conversations may wander anywhere, especially if the table is filled with people who’re at a loss. Your husband sounds like a noble fellow, but your grief is a sadness you’ll have to deal with, eventually, on your own.

Suggest a movie, a concert or a play, something that you can talk about. Or perhaps you can make the call, to a less intimate friend, one who didn’t know your husband so well, and suggest that you go out together. That way, when the faithful ones call, you’ll at least sometimes have another appointment. They’ll know that you’re not sitting at home alone. They may be relieved.

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