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Mom-to-be not ready to plan wedding

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I find myself at the mercy of family and friends who, upon finding out that my longtime boyfriend and I are expecting, immediately ask, “When are you getting married?”

I’ve discussed with them that it’s not high on our priority list with a baby on the way and a new house to get settled into, though we’ll likely go to a justice of the peace and make it official.

This is not enough, apparently. One wants there to be a ceremony, the other wants her own bouquet, another wants to go dress shopping, and on and on. I appreciate that they want to celebrate with us, and I’m open to doing something in the future for our families and close friends.

At this point, I have enough on my plate and don’t need to incur any extra expenses. How do I politely, lovingly keep well-wishers from running away with my marriage, something I consider to belong to my future husband and me?

GENTLE READER: The most compelling reason these people can think of to persuade you to get married before your baby is born is that it would be fun to shop for the dress?

My, my, how things have changed.

However, Miss Manners trusts that you recognize that they are not so much trying to push you into marriage as they are hoping to participate in what they assume you have planned. And a wedding that consists solely of getting married, without hoopla and debt, has become unthinkable.

But whether the motive is to manage your life or merely to enhance their own, you should not enter into a discussion. It creates the illusion that the outcome will be decided by the person who argues better.

Instead, you can use the gentle tone of voice in which the obvious is uttered in order to say, “One thing at a time; one thing at a time.” Or, to anyone who argues that you must marry for the sake of the baby, “We’ll get to that in the proper order.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@