DEAR MISS MANNERS: My older sister just got engaged and I am the maid of honor. I am very excited to play this role and take seriously my duty of planning a great, classy and fun bachelorette party.
She mentioned that she wanted to do a weekend with her friends, but for me to surprise her. Because the wedding is in the fall and she loves the beach, I was looking into an awesome beach weekend where guests can get back into warm weather and the rates are less expensive.
However, she has dropped hints about what she "had in her head" -- a very cold location with less to do, but one where she went to college and where some of her friends are.
I feel it would be difficult to have fun there for three days. The hostess part of me feels obligated to provide a good time for everyone, and a beach location offers the opportunity for guests to get out, go sightseeing or head to the beach, as opposed to being cooped up with nothing to fill in the hours between meals and wine tastings. I also feel people from that area would appreciate something different than their same old weekend routine.
Do I go along with the "ideas" of the bride and hope for the best? Or do I ensure a good time for everyone at an alternate, more entertaining location? Who am I obligated to here, the guests or the bride?
GENTLE READER: Your sister has added to the delightful game of "pay for my expensive party" by including a guessing component of what's in her head. What fun.
Miss Manners feels sure that when it comes to picking presents -- a time when guessing what will please her should necessarily be a component -- this bride would not dare leave that task up to chance. Ah, modern weddings.
It seems you are bound to fail at this task and promote discord either way. But while Miss Manners does not like these games, she does commend your sister, in part, at least, for having it "in her head" to save her guests money and inconvenience. And at least vaguely recognizing that a bachelorette party is a silly, optional gathering of friends, not a major vacation.
That she is (sort of) suggesting a party in a town where some of her friends live already virtually assures you and them a better time because it is a place that is more convenient and affordable. In this case, going against the bride's hints has the potential not only to disappoint her, but also to irritate guests who may or may not be more entertained by spending money on a vacation not of their choosing. Miss Manners suggests that in this case, you go with the bride -- and request that further wedding plans be made together and up front.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have invited some Jewish friends for dinner, although I know for sure they are non-kosher. What can I serve? Pork, beef, fish?
GENTLE READER? Yes. But probably not all at once.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)