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Miss Manners: Baby announcement is not a command to purchase supplies

Dear Miss Manners: My sister eloped and quickly became pregnant. They had intended to announce the marriage to family with a spring visit and small celebration, but instead shared all the news after her first trimester of pregnancy.

She is very nontraditional and has never cared to have a wedding or be the center of attention. She waited for a long time before sharing her pregnancy with many people and has been reserved. Similarly, she does not want me to host a shower for her.

Regardless, many friends and family will want to celebrate her new happiness, and I do not doubt there will be many people who would like to send a gift to the baby due in May. The generosity of loved ones is clearly a help to first-time parents, who have many supplies to purchase.

What is a polite and not tacky way to share baby registry information when she feels certain she does not want a traditional shower? Should she do it after the birth with a baby announcement? Or could she share it now with an announcement of both the new marriage and expected arrival?

I realize some people are starting to share this type of information in “virtual” baby showers on social media, but that seems tacky to me. What is your opinion?

Gentle Reader: That you fail to understand what is traditional and what is tacky.

“Traditional” is leading a quietly dignified life, which is what your sister is trying to do. “Tacky” is prodding others, by whatever means, to do your shopping, which is what you are prodding her to do.

Your sister could have announced her marriage in the truly traditional way, and she can announce her child’s birth when the time comes. But Miss Manners hopes that she will have enough confidence in her own good taste to avoid attaching to this the notion that others can be “clearly a help” by purchasing supplies.

Barring photographs

Dear Miss Manners: I would like to throw a very distinctive theme party. I’d like to include everyone I know, but of course that isn’t possible.

I’ve noticed on social media (Instagram, Facebook) that everyone insists on posting photos of every party they went to, as if to say, “See? I was there too!” I feel this is hurtful to those who could not be invited at that time. I also know some who will be attending would prefer not to have photos of themselves posted to social media without permission.

I would like to either include an insert in the invitation or put up a small sign at the party asking that no one does these things. How can I word it without sounding judgmental or overly restrictive?

Gentle Reader: Have you already chosen your distinctive theme? Miss Manners suggests a “pre-electronic” theme, or perhaps “Upstairs party at the White House – guards will confiscate telephones and cameras upon arrival.”

Barring photographs should be a relief to your feelings as a hostess and those of your guests who do not want to be snapped. For your guests who feel otherwise, it should at least be a novelty.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, or to her email,