Dear Miss Manners: Last fall, I married my partner of 24 years in another state that allowed gay marriages, as our state did not. Once back, we had a lovely reception at our home and hosted about 100 guests.
We really did not want presents, and after doing some research, decided not to mention anything about gifts on the invitation. We received many great and unique gifts and many gift cards, which were put to good use.
However, we were surprised to receive a number of greeting cards with promises to take us out to dinner to celebrate. Seven months later, not one has made good on their promise.
Not that we are keeping track, but each time we see one of these folks, we hear, “Oh, we still owe you a dinner!”
I politely reply, “You don’t owe us a thing, but we would love to go out with you sometime soon!” It is to the point of being very awkward when we see one of these people. We never bring up the forgotten dinner.
I hope young married couples do not receive such promises as gifts. What are your thoughts?
Gentle Reader: That you needn’t worry about the awkwardness, which is of their making, and which you have been handling gracefully.
Miss Manners quite agrees with you about such promises. She does not doubt that the desks of many parents now contain prettily decorated but worn slips of paper with Christmas promises from their children for breakfast in bed and other treats.
What name on the napkin?
Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary next year, if the Lord is willing and we are still both here, and I would like to have our names printed on the napkins. Which one of his names should I use?
All our friends and family who live in the state where we were born and attended school called him by his middle name. He was in the Army for over 20 years, and wherever we lived and where we have lived now, for almost 40 years, people call him by his first name. We are hoping some of our friends and relatives will be coming for the reception from our home state.
I don’t want to have two stacks of napkins – kind of confusing, as people here would wonder what is going on. So, which name should be put on the napkins?
Gentle Reader: That this is what we now call “a First World problem” does not bother Miss Manners. What does is that etiquette has no tradition to cover this.
Somehow it failed to acknowledge paper napkins. Thus the closest precedent is that a bride’s linen napkins are monogrammed with her initials. That’s no help at all – wrong material and 50 years too late.
So Miss Manners will have to set a precedent, as well as a special exception for this case.
Paper napkins being highly informal, marking them with whatever one goes by, including a nickname, is better than trying to pass them off as the real thing. However, here she would allow you to use both your husband’s and your first and middle names, so as not to prompt any guests to think that there has been a switch that they missed.