DEAR MISS MANNERS: For a wedding, is it rude to indicate a preferred color of dress? Is it rude to do so on the invitation or on a card sent with the invitation — by saying, “The wedding is fall themed, please favor colors such as red, orange, and yellow”?

I’m just looking to provide helpful suggestions if people want to match the wedding’s theme. I’ve never had to write wedding invites before, and I really want to avoid being rude about it. The colors wouldn’t be a requirement or something like that — people can wear what they want as long as it’s something nice.

GENTLE READER: This is going to come as a shock, but wedding guests are not interested in matching the theme colors of a wedding. They just want to look good, preferably without incurring expense.

If you asked them the next day what the theme colors were, Miss Manners doubts that many would be able to say much beyond, “I think the bridesmaids had some sort of purplish-pink dresses. But maybe they were more blue-greenish. Anyway, the bride wore white.”

Brides, however, have become convinced that a themed color scheme is of vital importance, and that they should have dictatorial powers over the wardrobes of the wedding party, without regard to the tastes or budgets of those concerned. Miss Manners has not met with much success in attempting to persuade them that the bridesmaids need not look like a chorus line.

Please do not even suggest that the guests match the decor. They are people, not props.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: About a decade ago, my mother asked me to promise that if she ever had a visible hair growing from her chin, I would tell her, or remove it if she weren’t able to do so.

Can you give me advice on how best to keep this promise? She is quite fastidious with many things and very capable. I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

GENTLE READER: Of all the promises mothers may extract from their children, and of all the qualms children may feel about keeping such promises, yours is surely the simplest.

First, buy tweezers. But you mustn’t spring them on her. She may have forgotten the promise, and you don’t want to make her think that you are bothered by a mere hair. Rather, you should bring up the promise with some amusement.

Her reaction will tell you what to do. Either continue to look amused, or say, “All right, I’ll look if you want me to” and fulfill your promise.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I recently read a book that used the word “tiffin.” The dictionary defined the word as “luncheon,” but that did not really fit the context in which the word was used. What is a tiffin?

GENTLE READER: Without having peeked over your shoulder, Miss Manners can tell you that you were reading about British India. That’s where and when the term was devised to describe a light meal, whether late morning, at lunch or at tea time.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on You can send questions to Miss Manners at her Web site,

, by Judith Martin