DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband is retiring after 40 years with the same company. The same month, he is turning 70 and we will be celebrating our 45th anniversary. We would like to host a party for friends and family to celebrate with us with a catered dinner, music and dancing. The people we would like to invite include friends from church, our dance friends and company people he has worked with for many years.
Our dilemma is that we do not know how to word an invitation, so that people will understand that we simply want them to come and party with us. We are not even sure that anyone would come without knowing the reason for the party, yet we don’t think it’s necessary to state the cause for the celebration.
Are we going about this all wrong? Can we host a (wedding) reception-like party and convey, in the correct way, that we would love celebrating with friends and family just because we are happy to do so?
GENTLE READER: You do not give your friends much credit, do you? You doubt that they would want to socialize with you without having a specific reason to do so?
On the contrary, Miss Manners is certain that they will likely be grateful and relieved that they do not have to feel an obligation to buy presents – for no fewer than three separate occasions.
Issue an invitation to the party and show its degree of festivity and formality by sending hand-written invitations and using formal language. “Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Many Milestones request the pleasure of your company at Venue on Saturday the 8th of Month at Time.” Please no registry, charity or gift information of any kind. No, not even “no gifts.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a relative who is going to try his hardest to come to our wedding from out-of-state. He was recently diagnosed with cancer and is currently using a feeding tube.
He is hoping to be off the feeding tube come wedding time, but if not, what can I do to make him feel not so left out while other people are enjoying their entrees? I already asked his daughter if there was any kind of special course that would be needed, so I can ask if the venue would be willing to prepare it, but she mentioned if he was still on the feeding tube they would bring what he needs.
I want him to be able to forget his diagnosis for at least one night, but that might not be so easy if he’s not able to eat while others can. What can I do?
GENTLE READER: Surely, even if there is a last-minute decision to attend, your relative and his daughter will have thought of how to manage his basic needs, including feeding him. Miss Manners commends your desire to make this man comfortable, but warns you to leave the particulars of how best to do that to the ones who are most often around him. Likely, all you can do is ask where to seat him comfortably during the ceremony and after – and how else you may best accommodate the situation.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106
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