DEAR MISS MANNERS: A friend and colleague is getting married, and I accepted her orally delivered invitation long before she gave me the printed one.
Opening the two-folded card, I found, framed in it, a smaller card with a bank account number printed in bold, and the suggestion that one might, if so inclined, contribute to the couple’s honeymoon. It was only by removing this first card from the frame that I got to the actual invitation (which declared its own relief at being found, opening with a “Finally!” -- which was supposed to be a self-deprecating joke).
The groom, however, probably knowing how I feel about begging for -- well, anything really -- started justifying their decision to include their bank account details, and made a point of explaining how impractical more traditional gifts would be for them.
Once I got home and was done with my head-shaking, I realized that the couple hadn’t even provided all the necessary details for the donation they are soliciting: a second, necessary, bank code was missing, as well as the name of their bank and the details of the account holder(s). I know both of their full names, but they aren’t provided, either.
I now see three possibilities of action for myself, all of which make me rather uncomfortable: 1. Ask them to provide the missing information so that I can comply with their request. 2. Reply in kind, accepting the invitation and enclosing an amount of money, while profusely apologizing for such a vulgar gesture and explaining I didn’t have all the data for a banking transaction and didn’t wish to bother them at a highly busy time. 3. Straight-out ignore the displeasure expressed by the groom at the prospect of actual gifts, and buy them one I suspect will not be appreciated. What do you recommend?
GENTLE READER: Would not this couple be afraid that someone might misuse their information? Perhaps that is why it was incomplete.
While it is commendable that you want to please this couple and facilitate their rude and greedy request, Miss Manners feels compelled to remind you that it is they who are committing the transgression, not you. Send them a present that you hope might please them -- perhaps with an accompanying note that their banking information was confusing. This might result in them correcting it for you, but you may ignore that.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I threw a birthday party for myself. It was a big birthday for me, and I paid for everyone’s dinner (including wine). This was an expensive affair, and I went all out. Two couples (the wealthier ones, LOL) came without a gift (only a card). Was it presumptuous of me to find this rude?
GENTLE READER: Yes. While Miss Manners commends you for not forcing others to pay for your own lavish party, it is only recently -- and under false notions of etiquette -- that this has become unusual. It is, in fact, correct. Expecting a present for it in return, however, is not.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)