Dear Miss Manners: My partner and I are planning a mini wedding this spring with just my parents, my brother and his kids, and our two best friends. This is for two reasons: 1. With the continuing uncertainty of covid, we don’t want to have a big gathering requiring lots of travel (most of my family lives scattered across the country). 2. Neither of us is honestly that interested in planning and partaking in a big, more traditional wedding.
What etiquette is involved with announcing this to extended family and other friends? Should we say it before or after the wedding? Who, if anyone, should be informed personally? Do we send out cards? Just post it on social media and be done? What is a polite wording so no one feels left out?
We might have a celebratory party for an anniversary in the future, when covid is solidly wrapped up (if it ever is).
It’s not quite an elopement, but close. What are the manners for eloping?
The rule about elopements is to do it first and announce it afterward. But there is never a call to tell people that you are planning a celebration to which you are not inviting them, with the unwritten implication, “So there!”
What you are planning should be described to anyone else aware of it as “a private wedding with just the immediate family.” Miss Manners need hardly warn you not to post pictures that would belie this description.
You can then send formal announcements, if you wish, but that will not solace relatives who feel excluded. To them, personal letters, explaining the circumstances and declaring that you missed them, should help.
Dear Miss Manners: I frequently play duplicate bridge with other members of the local senior center. At such games, we frequently get the exhortation from other players, or from the “director” of the game, to “play faster.”
When I hear such comments, I usually respond with something like, “I want to ask if you have a plane to catch or something, but that would be rude, so I won't.”
Is there some other way I can express my lack of appreciation for the original command? “I didn’t know we were in a hurry” occurs to me. This is supposed to be a leisure-time activity, after all.
Sure, but the many others involved don’t know what to do with their fragments of leisure while waiting for the next round. Snapping back, however cleverly, is only going to make you seem like more of a nuisance.
However, Miss Manners suspects that modified pathos would work: “I do seem to need some extra time, and I'm sorry to hold everyone up. Is it all right if I still play?”
Dear Miss Manners: When squeezing into a theater row, is it better to put your butt toward the people you are squeezing past, or to awkwardly look them in the eye?
That’s the problem — you would be looking them too closely in the eyes. Miss Manners agrees that the backward approach seems unseemly, even though you will turn your head occasionally to say “Excuse me.” So think of it as facing the stage.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.
©2022, by Judith Martin
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