DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are preparing for our wedding next spring. This is the first marriage for both of us. We are well-established in our careers and have a nice house with everything we need in it.
Abby, my fiance and I lost our fathers to cancer within the last few years. One of our biggest regrets is that we never got to meet each other's father, and they won't be at our wedding with everyone else we love.
Is there a polite way to ask our guests to donate to the American Cancer Society, their local hospice or a charity of their choice, instead of buying us things we don't need? It would mean far more to us knowing that some other dad who might have been lost to cancer will be able to walk his daughter down the aisle on her special day. -- SPRING 2011 BRIDE
DEAR SPRING 2011 BRIDE: While I commend you for wanting to help others whose lives have been touched by cancer, what you have in mind must be done "delicately" so no rules of etiquette are broken. No mention of gifts (or money) should be made on (or accompany) your wedding invitations.
However, it is customary for those who plan to attend to inquire about where the couple is registered or what they might need. At that point, it's permissible to say (verbally) that a donation to the American Cancer Society or to hospice, etc., would be appreciated for the reasons you stated in your letter.
And one more thought: Although your fathers-in-law died before you could meet them, please don't think they won't be at your celebration. Because they are in your hearts, they will not only be present at your wedding, they'll be with you always.