DEAR MISS MANNERS: Recently, my relative was married in a lavish affair with copious amounts of food and drink. After the wedding, the bridal couple compared what all the relatives had given for wedding gifts.
All had given money, and the amounts were disclosed, along with complaints about those who had not given enough. Some relatives gave hundreds of dollars while others gave thousands of dollars.
What do you think of this? I don't know what was spent on the wedding reception, but are the guests required to "reimburse" their hosts for the cost of their meal by the largess in terms of the wedding gift? It seemed to me the wedding reception was a bit overdone.
GENTLE READER: Well, doesn't that sound like a good time was had by all?
Or, considering the countless and shameless money-shaking schemes that bridal couples have disclosed to Miss Manners (in the idiotic hope that she could whitewash this with bogus etiquette), maybe it was just franker about what seems to be the chief purpose of such weddings.
No, of course guests shouldn't calculate their dinners when selecting presents. The very notion that wedding guests, or any guests, owe their hosts for what they ate and drank is a disgusting perversion of the notion of hospitality. People who want to charge admission to their weddings, rather than simply share the occasion with those about whom they care, should sell tickets.
P.S. What was the guests' reaction to this attempt at public shaming? Did they rush to pour more money into those grasping hands?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When my dog died, my new neighbor very sweetly sent me a condolence card. But now she has sent me a card asking for a donation to a disease association.
I don't want to give to that group, but the way the fundraising works, I would have to send my donation to her and then she forwards it to the association. So she'll know if I contribute or not, which is the strategy of the association -- to use peer pressure to get one to contribute. Which makes me want to contribute to it even less.
What do you think? And how should I reply to her, if at all?
GENTLE READER: Your neighbor did not send you a letter saying, "I'm sorry your dog died, and I'm collecting for the Bunion Fund." So Miss Manners sees no need for you to reply, "Thank you for your kind wishes, check enclosed."
The two separate mailings should be treated separately. A solicitation does not require a reply if you do not intend to contribute. A letter of condolence requires a handwritten letter of thanks. And while a condolence card with only a signature and no message does not strictly require a response, you might want to be more generous and send a note of thanks.