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

Maintaining Compassion During Sibling’s Messy Divorce

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am getting married in April. A wedding guest who lives out of town told me that she is planning an engagement party for my bridesmaid, who moved out of state with her fiance, for the day after my wedding.

We are planning a wedding brunch on Sunday, and I will not be able to attend this engagement party for one of my best friends. My engaged friend will have already been engaged for four months by the time my wedding occurs. I initially told the planner that I was OK with this, but then told her that it would be hurtful, and it sounds like she is still proceeding with booking a venue and sending invites to this engagement party during my wedding weekend.

Should I be hurt by this? I also want my friend to be able to celebrate her engagement with her family and friends who live here, but it feels very rude, particularly when many of the invitees will also be at my wedding. I can’t prevent her from planning this event, but am not sure how to handle this. Is this a total faux pas, or something I should try and let go?

GENTLE READER: Sometimes conflicts can be avoided, and sometimes they cannot, but no one owns the calendar -- not even brides.

Miss Manners advises against arguing about the relative importance of the events -- not only because the value of a delayed engagement party versus a day-after wedding brunch is hard to measure, but also because you have already confused the issue by agreeing to the conflicting date for the party.

(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.)