DEAR MISS MANNERS: About half of all those free return-address labels I get have my name preceded by "Mr." If someone wants to call me mister, that's fine, but I don't believe it's right to call myself that. Even if I did want to give myself an honorific, it wouldn't be mister, because I'm not a mister. I'm a Lt. Col., USAF-RET.
As a practicing conservationist who hates waste, it pains me to think of all the doctors, military people, women whose first names sound like men's, etc., (as well as real misters who don't believe it's right to give themselves a title) who are receiving and discarding millions of labels that call them mister.
It seems to me that if these large organizations don't have people on their staffs who know the proper forms of address, their printers should.
GENTLE READER: Indeed they should, because it is complicated, and Miss Manners is afraid that even you don't have it quite right. Please wait a moment while she struggles with herself about whether she should just let the point go, because you are erring on the right side and because she doesn't have a lot of emotion invested in address stickers.
As you point out, it is frightfully pretentious to call oneself mister, or, for that matter, colonel, in speech, as one's signature and (for everyone except Miss Manners) in any spoken or written reference one might make to oneself.
However, this does not apply to one's name as it is engraved or printed on personal cards or writing paper, where the convention is to use the formal name complete with honorific. Miss Manners makes a point of this because of the current error of issuing formal invitations, such as wedding invitations, with the honorifics omitted.
In your case, the question is moot, as your correct title was not used. Consider that it saves you the effort required to think of those little stickers aspiring to formality.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a co-worker's wedding, a brief note was included in the program given to all guests, saying, "In lieu of party favors, a donation has been made to St. Mary's Hospital in the name of the bride's grandmother."
I, of course, said nothing about this to anyone at the wedding, but I privately mentioned later to some friends who also attended the wedding that I thought this note was tacky. Party favors are something you give to your guests to thank them for attending your special day. Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to give a donation in lieu of asking guests to bring gifts?
My friends all gave the same reply: "Did you really want a stupid little party favor?" That, of course, is not the point. Your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: Your friends are not asking you the right question. Miss Manners' question is, Why do you feel stupid when your friends are telling you that they did you a favor?
The answer: Because you were surely not clamoring for party favors, which are more associated with children's birthday parties than with weddings, when they dangled one in front of you, whipped it away, and then preened themselves about being charitable for doing so.