Miss Manners: Our wedding situation is complicated. How do we word the announcement?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our wedding was delayed because of COVID-19, and we let our guests know we’d be postponing the celebration until next year when it is (hopefully) safe. However, we decided to get married in a small video ceremony in a couple of weeks.

How should we announce the wedding to the people we invited, then disinvited, then possibly will invite again in the unspecified future? Does it change things if we still intend to have a large “first anniversary” party with the original wedding guests, to celebrate our marriage and the end of the pandemic?

How does one do this and make it clear we don’t expect any gifts for either occasion (but wouldn’t exactly turn them down, given our economic situation)?

GENTLE READER: Surely you do not expect Miss Manners to design a formal announcement that would cover this complicated, although unfortunately not uncommon, situation. The engraver’s bill would be staggering.

It is best conveyed informally, along with the hope of celebrating with them all, if possible, on your anniversary.

When or whether they send presents is not for you to dictate.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I enjoy hosting, and believe I do it well. I try to offer a variety of options, provide little comforts to make guests feel at home and let the wine flow.

However, I have a family member who always seems to want what is not offered. If I make a pot of coffee, they ask for an espresso; if I set out a diverse continental breakfast, they ask for eggs.

I am starting to feel insulted — and frustrated, especially now that we have a little baby at home. I’m wondering how I can address this issue.

GENTLE READER: This relative (it’s not your spouse or child, is it?) is, Miss Manners gathers, in a category who cannot be told about nearby restaurants that accept special orders.

Well, no guest is. But with infrequent guests, you can merely say how sorry you are that you do not have what is requested, leaving silent the part about “… so take it or leave it.”

However, certain concessions should be made to frequent house guests: asking what they generally have for breakfast, whether they have any food restrictions, and taking note, when possible, of foods they particularly enjoy. Respecting the restrictions is mandatory, and it is not necessary to fill other on-the-spot requests. But it is gracious to anticipate what would please your guests. Picky as they are, you seem to be stuck with them.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A former boss, from more than 10 years ago, revealed a cancer diagnosis to a very small circle of former colleagues by a note. There is not a lot of information about the prognosis. I heard of this information secondhand, and am saddened. Should I send a “best wishes” note?

GENTLE READER: And thus reveal that the very small circle is spreading that person’s medical information?

Yet Miss Manners is not one to discourage good wishes. You could ask the colleague from whom you heard this to pass the message to your former boss. This leaves open the opportunity to cover any indiscretion by making the message merely a friendly greeting, rather than a reaction to perhaps privileged information.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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