Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

My Tea Habit Irritates My Friend

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it considered impolite to tie the string of one’s tea bag around the teacup? I usually do this to prevent the string and tag from falling into the tea. Whenever I drink tea at my friend’s home, however, she gets terribly annoyed by this.

GENTLE READER: The presence of the tea bag at all indicates an informal, perhaps family, meal. This broadens the options for disposing of the bag to include placing it on the side of the saucer or empty plate, or excusing oneself to the kitchen to toss it in the trash or park it in an agreed-upon spot for later reuse.

So long as your method does not result in the bag landing on your lap when you go to drink, Miss Manners has no objection. If the hostess does, she is free to provide a different method of disposal, or a proper teapot.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our son asked my husband and me what we could contribute to his wedding. We told him we could host the rehearsal dinner with a budget of $2,500, but if the bill is more than that, he would need to cover it. We are retired and living on a fixed income.

My son and his fiancee travel lavishly and frequently, and both have excellent incomes. He became upset with us because he didn’t think we were inquiring enough about their wedding plans, and thinks we are waiting for the wedding to fall through. He also asked if there was any more we could contribute, such as hosting the bar at the reception.

He said he and his fiancee did not like our restaurant choice for the rehearsal dinner, but we know she would not approve of any choice we made. He has had to amend and add more to the engagement ring, and she is not satisfied with the engagement photos he paid for.

Bridezilla mentality has been the gist of their relationship: If he doesn’t do what she wants, she is not happy, and will leave. In all this time, she has never been friendly to us or our other son, and will go out of her way to avoid us. We were threatened to be cut from the wedding altogether, and from future contact with grandchildren, before they were even engaged.

If we are not able to choose a place we’d like to host the rehearsal dinner, our next thought is to contribute $1,500 to wherever they want to host it and that’s it. We don’t know where to go from here.

GENTLE READER: Unseemly as is the behavior of the lucky couple, offering them more control at a lower cost is neither graceful, nor likely to be effective. What you want, however unlikely it seems, is to make them happy and grateful -- in your debt figuratively, not literally.

Miss Manners would not exclude a change of venue to please them, if it can be done within the budget. But she suggests you be extremely clear with the venue that any alterations called in by the couple must be cleared with you prior to implementation.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)