DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 31-year-old daughter and her 36-year-old fiance had my beautiful baby granddaughter nine weeks ago. The grandmothers hosted a baby shower prior to the birth, and friends and relatives were most generous in their gift-giving.

They are planning a wedding six months from now. My daughter does not believe she should register for the wedding. They have combined their households and have many of the basics, and yet between them they have four matching plates, no china, crystal, new towels or the essentials that would make their new life together complete. Neither has been married before.

Essentially my daughter feels that everyone has been so supportive and generous and accepting of the baby situation before the wedding, she just wants everyone to celebrate the day.

What is appropriate in this situation? Her wedding list is at least 150, so a normal bridal shower could be around 50 guests, a small, intimate celebration, possibly theme driven — or no shower at all?

GENTLE READER: With a daughter gracious enough to ask nothing more of her relatives and friends than that they celebrate her wedding, what exactly is your quarrel?

That she is passing up an opportunity to get free stuff? Or maybe even rake in some cash? That her friends and relatives, having already been proven generous, could be milked for more?

Miss Manners believes you could profit by listening to your daughter’s definition of what makes life complete.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: An old friend, now more of an acquaintance, recently lost his wife of 40-plus years. We’ve always loved their home. Not now, but at some point in the future, is it appropriate to let him know that if he considers selling to please keep us in mind? If it is appropriate, when would be a good (better) time, and would it be best to send a letter or ask to speak in person with him?

GENTLE READER: A better time would be if he tells you that he is thinking of moving. Otherwise, it is unforgivably intrusive to assume that as a widower, he should be downsizing, and downright ugly to let on that you see his wife’s death as an opportunity. Miss Manners would advise you to watch the real estate advertisements instead.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I needed the e-mail address of a friend at the company my best friend works at. He would not directly provide me with the e-mail address. Instead, he told me that he must ask for this friend’s permission to give it to me.

I think this is absurd, since the friend I want to contact and I have known each other for a few years now, although we are not at all close. Anyway, my best friend believes this is the proper procedure. In this day and age, people exchange e-mails all the time. What are your thoughts on this matter?

GENTLE READER: That you are fortunate to have a best friend who will not be handing out your address to everyone who wants to clutter your inbox. He could have suggested that he give yours to the person you wanted to write, but still, Miss Manners commends him for his discretion.

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site,, where you can send her your questions.

, by Judith Martin

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