Miss Manners: Toddler’s dance recital will not be a hot ticket

June 30, 2012

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a place to go to find information on what is customary for a dance recital? Do we send invitations, and do we provide dinner? Is there a customary list of people who were present throughout this child’s life?

Our little dancer is not yet 3 years old. There is a possibility that she will take dance all of her life. When do we send out invitations, and who would be a recipient of them?

GENTLE READER: Your 2-year-old is not a dancer. She is a toddler who is taking a rhythm and motion class.

Miss Manners hates to be so harsh as to point this out, but she wants you to know that you cannot pass this off as an artistic event to anyone except the child’s grandparents. They, and the parents, can take pride in seeing their children perform, and honor requires them to feign interest and admiration for the other children in the class.

It is a bit much to ask of others; fondness for the child is not generally enough to make this endurable for friends, and inviting them may make them feel obligated. You can test that by saying casually, “Emmeline’s little class is having a recital.” See if anyone says, “Wow! May I come?”

Any more formal overture would suggest that you were more interested in showing off than in offering your guests a good time. Those who accepted would be likely to feel that you owed them, and would expect free tickets when the young lady is dancing solos at Lincoln Center.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My fiance and I have planned our wedding (second for both of us) as a casual party — 50 people, small ceremony followed by a cocktail party. We are having drinks, appetizers, cake and coffee. Our closest friends are musicians, so they will all be “jamming.” The entire party will be three to four hours, as it is on a weeknight.

My fiance is wearing a nice collared shirt and designer jeans. I am wearing a pretty blue-and-white sleeveless dress to the knee with a small-heeled sandal.

I would like people to dress appropriately, although my fiance told people to just wear jeans! That’s fine for the guys if they are neat and have a collared shirt, but wouldn’t it be fun for the gals to wear their party clothes sans the taffeta? How do I word the dress code?

GENTLE READER: We don’t issue lopsided dress codes, stating that the ladies should meet a higher standard than the gentlemen. Sorry. Nor is there a formal way of specifying that the gentlemen must be neat and that their trousers must be designed.

So although you will have to trust your guests, Miss Manners suspects you may get your wish. This is an informal wedding, which is fine, but everyone interprets informality differently. It is possible that in considering what to wear, gentlemen will focus more on the informality, while ladies focus on its being a wedding.

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site, www.missmanners.com, where you can send her your questions.

2012, by Judith Martin

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