Q. I was invited to a "commitment" -- a wedding of sorts. The "bride" did not want to give up her alimony from her ex-husband, so she and her new lover committed themselves to each other in a mock wedding. She bought a dress, he wore a suit, the band played and champagne was served.
Am I obligated to buy a committing present?
A. Even for a second wedding, presents are not considered obligatory, although they may certainly be offered. Guests may express their good will simply by attending the event and writing charming letters wishing the couple happiness.
But somehow, Miss Manners does not detect a lot of good will in you toward this couple.
Not that she can blame you. Faking a wedding in order to defraud a previous spouse is not exactly heartwarming.
But then why did you attend the commitment proceedings, or whatever they called it? Prospective guests who do not rejoice with their hosts over whatever the hosts want to rejoice about should decline the invitation.
Q. Is it proper for me to wear a gardenia or other fresh flowers in the hair at a wedding if I'm not in the wedding party?
Also my children, who are 6 and 2, often get presents from friends or relatives. I have them write a simple thank-you to the sender.
I am trying as hard as I can to better my children.
A. You are doing fine. Miss Manners hesitates to think what sort of person someone would be who would think that flowers served only as a badge of honor at weddings and were forbidden to ordinary guests -- much less who would discourage the teaching of writing thank-you letters.
Feeling incorrect? Address your etiquette questions (in black or blue-black ink on white writing paper) to Miss Manners, in care of this newspaper.