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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Miss Manners 1/12

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our extended family just had a weeklong reunion at a rental house on the shore. I organized it and initially paid the full rent. All week long, family members thanked me graciously in a tone of voice that seemed to indicate that they knew I had paid.

The final day, one of my brothers handed me a check for 30% of the rent. I thanked him, of course – but only one other member of the family was still there to overhear the transaction (and might not have heard it).

Should I send everyone an email proclaiming my brother’s generosity? (We did all the other communication for the trip by email.) Or should I merely include this update when responding to thanks that I receive in the future? Where does recognizing generosity bleed over into excess recognition?

GENTLE READER: We are still talking about a family event, not a charity fundraiser, correct? Miss Manners urges you not to confuse this activity with thanking one’s host.

Nor should you worry that, because your brother contributed, you usurped thanks that should have gone to him as co-host. Had he wanted that, he could have made arrangements in advance. You thanked him, and that is enough.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are empty-nesters and have been invited to many weddings over the past few years – usually ones where we are friends with the parents of the bride or groom, rather than with the couples themselves.

When we wed more than 40 years ago, I remember making sure we went from table to table to welcome our guests and have a brief conversation. I have noticed, in recent years, that I never even talk to the bride and groom; they do not make the rounds or have an old-school receiving line.

I certainly get that it is their special day, and I do not feel insulted or want to intrude. I have tried to be proactive and go up to the couples, but they hardly know us, and it can be awkward if we even make it to them. I think about how odd it is on our way home, even though I had a nice time and appreciate the invitations. Do you think we have lost something in the new normal?

GENTLE READER: Give a lady a chance to catch up. You are already in the car on the way home, having accepted a new normal, while Miss Manners is still sitting at the table wondering where everyone went.

Whether or not today is the bride’s day, the bridegroom’s day or Boxing Day, bridal couples are expected to greet their guests, and guests must thank their hosts.

Parents also have a duty to smooth the introductions by reminding Sophie that she met you when she was 3 and threw up on your couch after eating all the cookies. This last bit may be less fun for Sophie, but the parents are entitled to some entertainment, and Sophie gets all the presents.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website