No ring, no bring – a new wedding rule?

Dear Ella,
I recently received an evite to a wedding. One of my dear friends, Amanda, whom I went through high school and university with, is getting married to her childhood sweetheart.
I was excited to answer “yes” to the invitation and quickly replied that two guests would be attending. It didn’t take long before I heard from Amanda, who told me I could not bring Brian, my boyfriend, with me to the wedding. I’d have to go solo. I was shocked, as I’ve been dating Brian for six months and I’m not exactly a child anymore. The way she put it to me really upset me. She said, “No ring, no bring.”
I was so upset, I decided not to attend at all. But now that some time has passed, I’m beginning to soften and would like your opinion. Should I go?
Guest Plus One

Dear Guest Plus One
I can understand being upset by that comment. I’m still trying to wrap my head around sending an evite for a wedding!
My first thought after reading your email was the same as yours, but then I started to think of this from Amanda’s perspective. You don’t know the details other than date, time and venue. You really have no idea how many guests are invited, who is paying for everything like flowers, food, music, liquor, photography, event planner, venue and all the smaller expenses like wedding attire and pre-wedding dinners, etc. Let’s face it, even small weddings in a big city like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver are very expensive. Every extra head can cost hundreds of dollars, so Amanda is cutting down where she can.
What is really off-putting, though, is the way she told you not bring Brian. No ring, no bring? Could it be any more crass than that? That line is not only boorish, it cheapens your relationship with Brian and is unacceptable.
This, however, is not a reason to ruin a long friendship, which has been built over many years. Cut Amanda a break, go and enjoy seeing your good friend get married. Perhaps one day, down the road, you can have a discussion about the way this was presented to you, but for now, join the party, dance, eat and be merry!

Dear Ella,
I’m getting married in July. Mark and I have decided to add our own vows to the traditional “Harei at m’kudeshet li b’taba’at zo.” I really wanted to exchange something personal from the heart. Problem is, Mark is forever the comedian and I’m a little afraid of what he might say. He’s joked around already about shocking me, but this is not the time and place for comedy. I’ve tried to be nonchalant and explain that to him. He keeps telling me not to worry and then laughs. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, after all. When I tried to scrap the whole idea, he said, “No way, we are doing this and it will be something we will remember forever.” That made me even more nervous. What do you think?
Void the Vows

Dear Void the Vows,
The idea of exchanging your deepest, heartfelt thoughts at this special time in your life is something that you’ll remember forever. Even though Mark is a comedian at heart, at this point, you should be able to start your marriage with some trust in his common sense.
Could you be overly paranoid, or do you really think Mark will make a mockery of his wedding vows for a laugh?
There are so many elements that have to come together when planning a wedding and it’s normal to be in a heightened state, hoping everything falls into place. To set your mind at ease, how about you both show your vows to a third party? You show yours to his best man and Mark discloses his vows to your maid of honour. If you both agree to that, you can relax a bit and keep this special moment as part of your wedding. That will allow you to concentrate on the bigger picture: your lifetime commitment to each other. Mazel tov!