Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I have been the target of every kind of wedding-associated demand, from extravagant gift orders from casual acquaintances to being told to attend a wedding in period costume. Many of these "invitations" left a bad taste in my mouth.
Our own 20th anniversary is approaching, and we would like to have a party and restate our vows. We do not, however, want to give the impression that we are trying to hold a personal fund-raiser. We were poor when we married, and had a modest wedding and reception, and would like to celebrate our anniversary with a more lavish party for family and friends.
Is it ever acceptable to throw a party for oneself? Would it be rude to simply invite the guests to a party without mentioning the anniversary, and surprise them with the ceremony? For the record, we would expect to pay all costs for the party. I only mention this because we have been invited to a wedding held at a Renaissance Faire, where there was a parking fee and a charge for admission.
Gentle Reader: Funny, Miss Manners never heard that it was a Renaissance custom to charge guests to attend a wedding. They may have had valet parking, in the sense that there was a groom (as opposed to a bridegroom) to lead your horse away, but she doesn't recall there being a fee.
In contrast, everything you suggest is in keeping with the correct manners of your time, no matter how often some of them -- such as hosts paying all the costs when they entertain -- are violated.
Dear Miss Manners: When a person returns my business call to him, which of us is to initiate the closing? Do I, since I was originally calling him, or does he, since he is only returning a call that I initiated?
I have consulted business etiquette books and called business professors at a local university. No one seems to know the answer to this often uncomfortable and clumsy position.
Gentle Reader: In these brusque and hurried times, Miss Manners is charmed to hear of businesspeople's hanging onto telephone calls long after the reason that prompted them is concluded, for fear of seeming abrupt.
Nevertheless, she can't have commerce grinding to a halt. The person who initiated the transaction is responsible for bringing it to a close. Those who fail to do so in a reasonable amount of time may be asked politely if there is anything more that needs to be settled.
Address your etiquette questions to Miss Manners, in care of The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. The quill shortage prevents Miss Manners from answering questions except through this column.