Q. My husband and I, both professional people in our late twenties and from upper middle-class families, were married last summer after an engagement of six months. We asked our attendants to be in our wedding months in advance and helped pay for their attire.
At the rehearsal dinner, we presented them with commemorative gifts. Our wedding was a lavish celebration, with a sit-down dinner and dancing afterward. My husband's best man, one of his former college roommates, had the audacity to call the morning of the ceremony to announce that he simply had not gotten around to purchasing a wedding gift, but he would do so within the near future, and did we mind?
Not wanting to instigate any negative feelings the morning of the wedding, he was told that would be acceptable. Today, 11 months later, his gift never has materialized.
Miss Manners, could you please write something about how wedding attendants should feel honored to be asked to be in a wedding and should help make the occasion festive and elegant?
We are so insulted by this person's plebian behavior. Doesn't Miss Manners believe that if he truly neglected to select a gift, he at least could have stopped by a drug store and purchased a card, perhaps writing in it that his gift had been "ordered" but simply hadn't arrived? Or what about a gift certificate at one of the department stores where we had registered?
Just thinking about the best man's brazenness casts a storm cloud over our otherwise pleasant wedding memories. Needless to say, the friendship has been tarnished.
A. Brazenness? You are talking about brazenness? As you did not want to instigate negative feelings on the morning of the wedding, Miss Manners is surprised that you did not ring him up after the ceremony, say on the wedding night or the morning afterward, and explain that it was not acceptable not to ante up. And are you not being lenient by suggesting that you would accept an IOU, which seems to Miss Manners to be the meaning of that card you have proposed?
What Miss Manners would like to write about is how bridal couples should feel honored to have their friends stand up for them, as we say, and should add to the festivity and elegance of the event by pretending that no admission fee is being collected.