Q.I am a young, single, working-class male who owns two dogs. These dogs are my friends, and I enjoy traveling with them.
Some relatives are not dog fans, and object to my visits with the dogs, but I do not wish to kennel them for an absence. The dogs are crate-trained and crate-content in my brief absences.
I do not mind taking a room, or sleeping in a basement or truck. I understand that this is a diverse world, and that some people own cats or just don't like dogs. I'm not a fanatic; I just want to take care of my friends. What is the etiquette here?
In visits of more than two or three days, is it impolite to suggest, volunteer or usurp household chores? I state at the outset that I wish to pay for my keep's trouble. I back off if the host declines, but I sincerely want to pay for my keep. I won't offer to clean the bathroom, but I will cook or mow the lawn.
A.As your attitude seems reasonable, Miss Manners has decided to allow you to get away with the idea of classifying your pets as full-fledged friends.
One does not, however, bring along any sort of uninvited friends when making visits. One does not even request to be allowed to do so. What one does to cadge such an invitation is to say, "No, I'm sorry, I can't stay with you, because I'll be traveling with my dogs," and then fall silent, so that the prospective host may, if he wishes, reply, "Oh, for heaven's sake, that's no problem. Bring them along."
The question of compensating hosts for their hospitality is a separate problem. As kindly as you mean it, you will offend people by offering them money. A friend's home may not be properly treated as a hotel.
The correct methods of compensation are:
1. Being helpful. This means that you not only clean up after yourself (and your friends), but cheerfully offer to help around the house. You can't go so far as to usurp chores, but you may say with conviction, "I'd love to cook for you tonight."
2. Asking them out (and insisting on paying for it). "Oh, come on, let's go out tonight. Show me a restaurant that you like."
3. Sending a present. This can either be a luxury item of food or drink, or anything you feel, after staying in the house, would be accepted with pleasure.
Q.I was forced, on very short notice, to postpone our long-planned wedding when the groom came down with infectious mononucleosis just three days before the wedding.
Upon notice by the doctor that he was effectively quarantined for the next two weeks, my family and his immediately called all of the guests who were expected, and dropped notes to those we were not absolutely certain we could reach by phone.
Now that the groom is recovering, we have rescheduled the wedding for next month. What is the wording for a second invitation?
Is it appropriate to send a second formal invitation and response card? Or would it be more appropriate to simply call those who were expected to attend the first ceremony and invite them? Should we bother sending invitations to those simply "protocol" guests invited to the first wedding, who were never expected nor intended to come?
What about asking additional guests to the second ceremony, who were not invited to the first because of space limitations or oversight?
A.No, you may not take advantage of this accident to revise your guest list. And no, there is no formal invitation that includes the wording, "Due to the recovery of the bridegroom . . ."
You must therefore write brief letters to all the guests on the original list (or send them second copies of the first invitation with the new date inked in), including those who declined originally, and that category that can never be given official recognition -- people we counted on not to come. (One reason for this discretion is that those are the very people who always do come.)
You may be sure that the postponement will be a major topic of discussion at your wedding reception, and you cannot therefore have guests who will learn from the conversation that they were afterthoughts.