Which half of Bennifer gets the ring?

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The ring -- what about that 6.1-carat Harry Winston pink diamond engagement ring?

To heck with the questions of who will pay the caterer, the florist and the musicians for J.Lo's canceled nups with Ben Affleck. Points of etiquette relating to a wedding on the rocks are myriad.

But the burning question, if the Bennifer breakup is for good (and who knows, right?), centers on the $1.2 million bauble, a symbol of Affleck's one-time passion.

Richard Alderman, who writes "The People's Lawyer" column, advises that an engagement ring is "a conditional gift." No nuptials, no nice piece of ice.

But that's only if the couple mutually agrees to the split. A jilted bride may win the court's favor and do as she pleases with the ring, according to Alderman.

But Rachel Safier says in her recently published book There Goes the Bride that most judges consider the ring the property of the man because he paid for it. Only the courts can decide. And only if Affleck makes a case of it.

So, let's say Jennifer Lopez keeps the ring -- for now, and later auctions it off at Sotheby's. Our idea, not hers. But really, who wants a constant reminder of a runaway groom?

Now about the big party that had been planned for last weekend and was "postponed." Affleck may escape the wedding bells, but at this late date there is no escaping the wedding bills. Canceling a bash in the upper-six-figure range within a week or so of showtime means quite simply, you pay.

Jackson Hicks, Houston caterer to the financially fortunate, explains, "Typically, six or seven days out, all of the money for a particular event has already been expended. The food bought, the flowers ordered, the waiters hired. ... We would say 'We're sorry to learn of it.' But they still would owe for it."

We contacted an authentic wedding planner for her take on Lopez's dilemma, assuming of course that the wedding really is off. Elizabeth Morgan, a veteran of matrimonial pairing, adds to Hicks' wisdom. "If you're a month or two out, you might get by [on the cost]. But a few days before the wedding, they're going to have to pay for everything," Morgan says, "plus a psychiatrist to get her through this."

As for wedding gifts, they must go back. The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette says that all presents, other than monogrammed items, must be returned to the sender -- with a handwritten note.

The etiquette guide adds that friends and family assist in making the calls to inform wedding guests of the cancellation.

Not necessary in this case. Anyone with a newspaper or a television already knows that this gig is off.

Or whether it's back on.

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