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

Do I Have to Open the Door for Everyone?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My fiance and I are getting married in a small backyard ceremony this fall. Friends of mine are getting married two weeks later, and have sent us a save-the-date announcement for their large wedding.

We had not planned on inviting them to our wedding, but are now feeling like we should reciprocate. What is the proper thing to do?

GENTLE READER: The rule of returning invitation for invitation does not apply to weddings absolutely, but Miss Manners recognizes your dilemma.

The solution will require a conversation that begins with the admission that you are also getting married, followed by the explanation that you are having a very small, informal family wedding.

Since telling people that they are not invited is ... not a compliment ... your explanation should be followed with an alternative invitation. If you are not planning a later party for friends, then perhaps you could suggest an evening out with the two newlywed couples. And if you have not already booked the honeymoon, you might wish to ensure that you are far from home on the second weekend after your own nuptials.