Dear Miss Manners: I'm the matron of honor of my sister's wedding. I live in Asia, and my husband isn't able to travel with me for the wedding because of both schedule and money considerations. I still received a plus-one, so I asked a female friend to be my date to the wedding to have someone to sit with at the reception because all of the bridesmaids will have their partners with them.

My sister just told me it's fine to bring her, but she doesn't want my friend to sit with me at the wedding party table because it's weird that she's just a friend and not a romantic partner. My main motivation for inviting her was not being an 11th wheel at the wedding party table.

I don't know how the relationship between my plus-one and myself would affect anyone else or why it would be a problem. Or why I even got a plus-one if bringing a friend would be a problem. It has been known all along that my husband would not be joining me.

Generally I resort to whatever she wants because she's the bride. But being a bridesmaid is super expensive, as is a flight home (especially since I don't earn money in USD), and so it seems that letting me sit with my plus-one would be the reasonable thing to do.

I haven't raised this issue yet because she's stressed enough as it is from planning a wedding. What are your thoughts? Am I in the right, or would saying something make me a bridesmaidzilla?

An 11th wheel? At your own sister’s wedding, where she has especially chosen to honor you?

You seem to imagine a table of nuzzling couples. But it is the groomsmen, not the bridesmaids’ partners, who should be seated at the bridal party table.

Wedding dinners are generally organized by family groups because the occasion often constitutes a reunion. Guests who come together in pairs — in whatever relationship that entails — are not seated together as a general rule. This is not done as punishment, but so that they may mingle with other guests. So the proper thing to do would be to seat your friend at a different table.

But this seems to be a rare trip home for you — must you bring your own conversation partner? Don’t you want to see your relatives and meet your sister’s and new brother-in-law’s friends?

Dear Miss Manners: Something unexpected happened when my hair started to turn gray in my late 50s. Bank tellers, waiters, shop clerks and others started calling me "dear," "honey," "sweetheart" and other names I feel should only be used for children or loved ones, not strangers who are doing business with them. I don't think they mean to be disrespectful, but I don't know how to respond other than to ignore it.

A puzzled stare followed by a sweet smile and, if quizzed, “Oh! I was waiting for someone named Honey to answer. My name is Mrs. Stitch. What did you want to ask me?”

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com.

2019, by Judith Martin