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Attend son’s reception to signal support

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son’s wedding reception will be themed around a politically charged topic on which I hold the opposite view from him. Should good manners preclude having issues, even heartfelt ones, involved in an unrelated celebration to which people of a variety of viewpoints are being invited?

Am I obliged to attend an event in support of my son where my silence may be taken as approval of something I disagree with? How can I tell him that this puts me, and other guests, in an awkward position?

GENTLE READER: You are quite right that the only proper “theme” of a wedding reception is a celebration of the marriage that has just taken place. Considering it an opportunity to enlist guests in a Save the Mosquitoes drive is, indeed, tasteless.

However, refusal to attend your own child’s wedding festivities is such a serious public statement, with long-lasting consequences, that Miss Manners supposes you must be violently opposed to his cause.

Is it possible that you only mean to say that your son is marrying a gentleman? In that case, we call it a wedding, not a politically themed rally. Your presence would not constitute a vote for same-sex marriage, but your absence would be an extreme rejection of your son.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How does one politely chastise an attendee at a social event who has not RSVPed as requested on the invitation?

Perhaps “chastise” is too strong a word, and I certainly don’t want to interrupt my own event with scolding, but this is an increasing problem that I feel should be addressed – in a polite way, of course.

GENTLE READER: Certainly guests should never be scolded; they should be greeted with enthusiastic hospitality. In this case, Miss Manners suggests exclaiming: “What an unexpected pleasure! When you didn’t answer my invitation, I figured it could only be because you were away.”

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,