Q. Could Miss Manners please help in the invitation wording for a "good-time" 30-year party? The celebration is 30 happy years on the job. It is meant to be a gathering like a reunion -- over 200 of longtime work associates, and a few very close friends outside of work departments. It will be in a private hall, with a sit-down dinner and dancing. No gifts.
The desire is for the guests to feel welcome to come "to a good time," a "good-to-see-you" gathering (at no expense to them). These people are present and past members of a great fire-fighting division.
A receiving line is not planned. Neither is entertainment. I would hope to visit each table for a bit of conversation.
Does this sound simple and congenial for a "happy time?" Could you please help in the wording for a "care-free, fun-loving evening?"
A. It sounds very much to Miss Manners as if you have carefully planned the party so as to give people a good time. A sit-down dinner with dancing is an excellent and comfortable way to let people who have worked together enjoy themselves, and having no entertainment is extremely wise, as it will allow people to enjoy the chief purpose of a reunion, which is conversation.
However, you cannot advertise in the invitation how good the party is going to be. Telling it is to be a "good time," "happy time" or "fun-loving evening," is like killing off a joke by prefacing it with "This is so funny -- you'll love it." The normal human reaction is to think, "Oh, no I won't."
Call it merely a 30th-anniversary celebration and a reunion. The fact that they are invited as guests, and not expected to buy tickets, will alert them that their host is anxious to see them and to give them a delightful evening.
Q. In reference to the letter about religious groups who call at your house -- I find the best way to handle this matter is to invite them in, but, since it is my home, I use the opportunity to first tell them of my religious beliefs and give them one of our (Baptist) books. I find this is a wonderful opportunity to witness for my faith and not hide behind a closed door.
P.s. We are very seldom approached now by other groups.
A. Miss Manners is always delighted to hear of an instance of people doing unto others as they would wish to have done unto them. Especially when it works.
Q. My marriage was a quiet one, occurring as it did during the terminal illness of a close family member. Now, more than a year later, we are moving to a new house, and I would like to take the occasion to let friends know we are married, along with the new address notification.
I retain the use of my birth name at all times. What wording can you suggest for a card that would provide all the information without suggesting inadvertently that I hereafter wish to be known as mrs. Jane Doe of Mrs. John Doe?
A. Please do not attempt a formalish third-person announcement card
The situation is too complicated, and what with all the strange arrangements being announced these days, the possibilities of misinterpretation are staggering. A personal note can be dashed off quickly on a card: "John Doe and I, who were married last year, are living at --" with the address and your full signature.