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A GUEST BY ANY OTHER NAME

Dear Miss Manners: When one receives a wedding invitation addressed to Mr. John Smith and Guest, is it correct to respond that Mr. John Smith and Guest will be attending, or that Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Jones will be attending?

My fiance recently received such an invitation and responded "Mr. John Smith and Guest." The parties giving the wedding, knowing that Jane Jones was the guest, put her name on the table-seating card, to avoid using "Mr. John Smith and Guest."

Gentle Reader: Miss Manners gathers that Ms. Jones objects to Mr. Smith's being irascible over the original failure of Mr. and Mrs. Host to identify their guests properly. If Mr. and Mrs. Host knew that Mr. Smith was engaged, why didn't they invite Ms. Jones by name in the first place?

Miss Manners is willing to sympathize with Ms. Jones, but on two conditions:

1. Ms. Jones must understand that Mr. Smith was only perpetuating the indignity in order to protest it. That may not totally exonerate him, but it establishes that he was acting in Ms. Jones' interest.

2. Ms. Jones must promise that when she marries the now-forgiven Mr. Smith she makes the effort to learn and use the actual names of all of their wedding guests.

Shower forecast

Dear Miss Manners: My daughter is marrying a man of a different race. They have already bought a house, and have therefore spent any money they had saved toward a wedding. I also gave them money toward the house instead of the wedding, which was their choice.

They are now planning to get married with only the immediate family attending. I feel that she is entitled to have a bridal shower. How do you handle this when guests will not be invited to the wedding?

Gentle Reader: Entitled? Bridal showers are not an entitlement, no matter how many brides or their mothers believe that they are.

Bridal showers may be given voluntarily by friends of the bride's, but the only firm rule is that they should never be given, much less suggested, by members of the bride or bridegroom's family. So the etiquette proper in this case is for you to forget the whole thing and enjoy the family wedding.

Miss Manners fails to see what the couple's racial background or financial resources have to do with this question. She assures you that this is an equal-opportunity ruling.

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