DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are planning a 25th & 50th wedding anniversary party and have put on the invitation that in lieu of gifts, people should please make a donation to our church's building fund.
Is it proper for us to know the amount of each donation so that when we send a thank you card we can mention the amount? Or is it better to not know the amount and just send a thank you that you sent a donation?
The Church sends us the names of people who have made donations but not the amounts. When asking them for the amounts, they say they have never given out that information before. They do give the total amount donated from all the donators. What is proper in this situation?
GENTLE READER: Practically nothing.
It is not your place to presume that your guests owe you presents and that you may therefore redirect how they pay this debt.
Although you may press your friends to contribute to your church's building fund if you do it frankly, you cannot propose it as a condition of celebrating your wedding anniversaries. (Miss Manners is presuming that more than one couple is involved here, although she has learned to take nothing for granted nowadays.)
Finally, thanks for money should express gratitude for their kindness and not be scaled according to how much they came across.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work in an office of five people. We are all very close except for one woman who has explained on many occasions that she chooses to not be friendly with her co-workers. I will be getting married next year, and I have decided that I don't want to invite this woman to my wedding.
Another woman in this office felt obligated to invite Difficult to her wedding because she thought Difficult would be hurt otherwise. I sat at the same "work" table as Difficult at the wedding while she negatively commented on the shabbiness of the food, the venue, etc.
A friend of the office was married last year, and Difficult was not invited because she claims she is not friends with any of us. She heard about the wedding and made a huge scene in the office about how she wasn't invited because she is a woman, or because she is old.
This really confused me, as Difficult is the one who has stated she doesn't want to be friendly with any of us. She points out that her car and home are a lot nicer than the rest of ours, allowing her to travel in a different social circle or class.
Difficult's favorite thing is to find things to be upset about. Therefore, I feel that when she finds out about my wedding she is going to make a deal out of it that she is not invited. I do not know how to handle this, exactly. I feel I should be able to speak freely about my wedding, but, from her track record, I feel that Difficult is going to try and make me uncomfortable about not inviting her. I guess the key word there is try.
GENTLE READER: Try what, exactly? To find out how much material you can give this colleague to feed her desire to criticize your wedding?
You are under no obligation whatsoever to invite people who are not your friends to your wedding (unless, of course, they happen to be your relatives), and this person even declares herself to be a nonfriend. A wedding is not a business obligation, and co-workers should be included only if you have formed friendships with them.
However, Miss Manners must warn you that you should not be discussing an event in front of people whom you do not plan to include.