DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son, who is in the Navy, and his wife are expecting their first child. I wanted to have a shower for them, but they are unable to come back home to attend it.
What, if anything, is the proper way to have something for them without it being seen as tacky? Can I do a welcoming event by sending out cards with the baby’s name and expected birth date on it? What would be the best wording to use for such a thing?
Most of her family lives in one area, and they will be having a small shower for her when she goes home for a week. Our family is spread out all over the East Coast.
I am at a loss. I don’t want to wait until after the baby is born because anyone who has children knows how all the little things can add up pretty quickly. Also, doing something online or virtual is out because we have a lot of older guests who wouldn’t know what to do or how to do it. HELP!!!
GENTLE READER: ALL RIGHT!!! (But if you don’t like the answer, please refrain from shouting at Miss Manners again.)
An expected birth date announcement is not only strange, but also pointless, as it could easily turn out to be inaccurate.
Anyway, relatives are not supposed to give showers (although that should not be used as an excuse to criticize the in-laws). It makes it look as if their only motivation for entertaining is to extract presents, which, in your cases, is only too clear.
With a bit of patience, you could announce the baby’s actual birth, or even, if the family is coming to visit, invite people to meet the newest relative. Many will respond — don’t get over-excited here — by sending presents. The notion that all necessities must be in place before the baby is born is a silly one.
No to this dress trend
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I read somewhere that an insert called an attire card can be placed along with your wedding invitations if you wish to describe your wedding attire more specifically and elaborately. It said this is optional, but I want to ask whether it is appropriate to use such a card, or if it is bad etiquette.
GENTLE READER: Is the assumption that otherwise, people will keep stopping the bride on her way up the aisle to ask, “Who are you wearing?”
If that is likely to be the case, Miss Manners would think that the proper place to release such information to an insatiably curious public is a press release.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I (age 69) have been dating a man (age 75) for the past year. Both of us are unsure how to introduce each other in social situations.
We introduce each other as, “I would like you to meet my friend (insert name).” Our relationship is exclusive and more than friendship, but we are not engaged. At our age to be introduced as girlfriend or boyfriend sounds ridiculous. How should we introduce each other?
GENTLE READER: Just the way you are doing. Miss Manners assures you that everyone is able to figure out that you are a couple.
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.
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