Q: My husband and I have several friends and family members who are gay and have just gotten legally married through a justice of the peace or are planning to do so.
We went to all of their wedding ceremonies in the past — before these were legal unions — and we gave them gifts then. Now we are confused as to what, if anything, should be gotten for them now that they are going to the courthouse to make it legal.
Is just a card acceptable? Or just a phone call or email? Do we get another gift? Or nothing at all?
A: Your good wishes, in whatever form of communication the announcement was issued (although Miss Manners, of course, always prefers a handwritten letter), are all that is required. A formal announcement of a legal marriage is perfectly correct and even proper, as long as there is no solicitation for additional gifts or funding underneath it.
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Q: Throughout the school year, our daughter is invited to a dozen or so parties for classmates, and we make every attempt to attend them all.
But she is a summer baby. We live in a fairly affluent community, where most people take off for extended vacations in the summer, or sign their kids up for expensive local camps or classes, none of which we can afford.
So, not only does our daughter lose touch with her classmates, but in July, when her birthday rolls around, they are either out of town or enrolled in some kind of activity.
On her seventh birthday this past summer, she was so excited about the prospect of reconnecting with her friends from school, but when only one classmate showed up, she was brokenhearted. I was so brokenhearted for her that I wanted to cry.
I have considered celebrating her next birthday at the end of the school year before classes end to better ensure that she is surrounded by her friends, but I don’t know how this would be received, being that it is not really her birthday.
A: You should know that Miss Manners gets scores of letters from parents bemoaning the fact that they feel an obligation (or it is the school’s mandate) to invite an entire class of children that they are unable to accommodate. They would probably love to trade problems with you.
In any case, parents have to arrange children’s parties according to various scheduling issues all the time; it is the rare birthday party that falls on the actual day. That your daughter’s party will be a month instead of a week earlier should hardly be noteworthy.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.