DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend of mine quickly eloped after becoming engaged. I sent a really nice bouquet of red roses to their home shortly after they returned, along with a card addressed to her and her new husband congratulating them on their marriage and wishing them a lifetime of love together.
I was surprised when I didn’t receive even an acknowledgment for the roses. About a month later, a mutual friend of ours shared with me that my newly married friend thought it was inappropriate that I sent RED roses, saying that I must be in love with her because red roses are sent by someone who wants to express their romantic feelings to the recipient. And that I should have known white or yellow roses were OK, but not red!
I have been completely perplexed by this. Is it inappropriate to send red roses to a newly married couple? Should I feel embarrassed and call with an apology? This has been confusing and upsetting to me.
GENTLE READER: As silly as the symbolism of flower colors and the relative emotional truth-in-packaging they represent may seem, the precedent does exist. Your friend’s reaction, however, was beyond silly. Besides the presumptuousness of assuming something that clearly was not intended, if she really took it so seriously, wouldn’t flowers addressed to both members of the couple mean you were in love with both?
If you would like to continue the friendship -- and smooth over the situation -- call or send a note saying that you meant for the red to symbolize the couple’s love for each other, not yours for them.
And if everyone makes up and you are invited to any post-elopement celebrations, let Miss Manners caution you further against wearing red -- as it is traditionally considered too racy a contrast to a bride. She may not be able to defend you twice.