Miss Manners: Guests didn’t give gifts after son’s destination wedding


Dear Miss Manners: A few years ago (pre-covid), my son had a wedding in the US Virgin Islands. He and his fiancée invited their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and about a dozen of their closest friends. We served dinner and drinks for all the guests after the rehearsal, and the bride’s parents served dinner and drinks for the wedding party.

I was really upset when I learned that the guests didn’t cough up some wedding gifts when everyone got home. They said that they did not need to give gifts because they had blessed the spouses with their presence (my words).

Jeez Louise, we were offered two nights of dinner and unlimited drinks! I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, especially after all these years, but it might be helpful for other wedding guests out of the country to know proper etiquette.

This is correct. Miss Manners, however, will have to insist that you are not the one to say so.

Because what you don’t appreciate about your somewhat inattentive talk is that by attending an out-of-the-country wedding, your guests will have already coughed up at least a couple—in airfare, hotels, extra meals, and the disparate “beach dress code” that the invite called for—no. doubt. Not to mention sacrificing personal vacation time.

Surely this is worth a few dinners - as much or more than an expensive set of bath towels. So proper etiquette here, Jez Louise, guests don’t need to agree to all of this. and even if they did, the gifts were optional—though Miss Manners would concede that it would be impolite to mention it explicitly.

Dear Miss Manners: The woman who recently joined my church is a very intrusive woman who tramples on all personal boundaries. I am at a loss for how to tell her that her questions are not her business without being rude.

For example: She and I are in the choir together. One day a friend (another choir member) and I were having a quiet, private conversation in a corner of the choir loft away from everyone else. We were discussing a health problem that I have. I told my friend that my doctor was changing my medications. Just then, the new woman came over and heard my last sentence. Then she asked me why I take medication.

I’m afraid to freeze because I didn’t know how to answer. I’m not comfortable with her knowing this information, but I also don’t want to say something that could be rude. When I didn’t answer, she started pestering me by asking if I had a heart condition, liver problems, etc. Fortunately for me, the service was about to start, so the conversation ended.

How do I close this type of questioning without being rude?

“Gosh, How rude of us. Evelyn and I shouldn’t be having our private conversations here in church. I’m so sorry.” Miss Manners then suggests limiting future conversations to completely isolated areas.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday through Saturday washingtonpost.com/advice. You can submit questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.