Dear Miss Manners: Because some of our friends are moving to another state, we thought a small- to medium-size going-away gathering would be nice. We offered, and they accepted. We then offered for our friends to invite a few more people from their careers whom we don't know.
We got a list of 18 additional people they would like to invite! We were expecting to host about 12 to 14 people, total. Their request adds significant effort and cost, as well as not fitting in the venue (our house).
How do we let them know this wasn't our intention and ask them to scale back? We thought maybe they could contribute to the cost, but really, there isn't space. Help!
There is no polite way to walk back your offer without taking partial blame for its misinterpretation. “Oh dear, I am afraid that I didn’t think it through, and that our party might be uncomfortable and overcrowded with so many people. Would it be possible to trim the list a bit? Maybe just good friends from work that you also see outside of it?”
If this is met with resistance, Miss Manners suggests that you pray for good weather — or sturdy tents.
Dear Miss Manners: I am a minister who performs many marriage ceremonies. Usually, the couples will invite me to a rehearsal dinner, either verbally or via other informal means, such as text or email. Most people around here aren't particularly fancy, and an informal invitation to a casual dinner suits us just fine.
The problem is that they seldom mention if my wife is also invited. I don't think it's an intentional slight; rather, I think they are assuming that by inviting me, they are inviting my wife de facto. And when I show up to the rehearsal alone, I'm almost always asked by the bride, "Where's Charlene? I was hoping she'd join us for dinner."
My wife says she is not offended and has no druthers on whether she attends or not, but she will not attend unless she is certain the invitation includes her. While I must attend the rehearsal, I would rather not attend the dinner afterward if my wife isn't with me.
Should we just assume that the invitation is meant for both of us? Or is there a tactful way to find out if my wife is invited?
Your wife is right to be hesitant. A rehearsal and a rehearsal dinner are two very different things: One is your work, and the other social. It would be odd for your wife to accompany you to work under the assumption that she might be asked to the party afterward — especially if she is not.
If these dinner invitations are impromptu, there is little you can do. If, however, they are issued in advance, but omit the explicit inclusion of your wife, you may add as you accept: “Charlene sends her best wishes to you both.” Miss Manners feels fairly certain that an extension of the invitation will follow.