DEAR MISS MANNERS: A dear friend of mine recently became engaged after 12 years of dating. This is a second wedding for both parties, and both are well over 50 years old and established.
The groom has been unemployed for years, and the bride-to-be makes close to six figures. Regardless of their financial situation, neither could afford to have a large wedding, so they started planning a small, intimate event.
Flash-forward a few weeks. Suddenly, 70 invitations go out in the mail, people are being asked to provide tables, tablecloths, food, labor, decorations, flowers from their gardens, music, photography, transportation for her mother … you get the picture. The last straw was when a call came to “man a table at the wedding to replenish supplies and keep the punch bowl full.”
Miss Manners, the guests of this wedding love and adore the bride and wish her nothing but the best, but how do we tell her that enough is enough?
In addition to throwing her a shower, assisting in throwing the wedding, and providing the setup and cleanup, she is expecting gifts. I love this woman, but am sick of feeling used and abused.
I’m tired of feeling guilty for saying no, and don’t want to offend her, but I’m at a loss and feeling very resentful.
GENTLE READER: Your friend is running an event-planning operation – with no pay for her workers. As she is a good friend, Miss Manners suggests that you take her aside and tell her that her guests will be more at ease enjoying less-expensive fare than being asked to provide it. And then point her in the direction of the nearest dollar store and task-assistance app.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I were hosting a small dinner party that included his 91-year-old father, whom we spend every day with, as well as a handful of other guests.
There were two separate conversations being held at the table when my husband openly shushed a guest and me, because he wanted to hear his dad’s conversation better. Our guest and I were caught off guard, but then politely stopped talking. Of course, she was never able to finish her story after that.
After our guests left, I told my husband that he was rude to shush us, but he felt that because his dad is 91, we shouldn’t have been talking, but instead just listening to his dad speak. Who was rude – my husband, or our guest and I?
GENTLE READER: How loud were you speaking? Had your husband asked you and your dinner partner politely if you could speak more quietly, Miss Manners would have been more willing to take his side.
However, it is a reasonable expectation that at dinner parties of more than three people, multiple conversations may take place. If your husband’s requirement is that only his father should speak whenever he is present, then the occasions should be limited to smaller audiences. Or ones that exclusively involve speeches and toasts.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com.
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