Wedding Will Be Smaller, More Personal — Not a Bad Thing

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the proper way to “invite” people to a formal event that has been converted to a virtual one in light of the pandemic?

a close up of Judith Martin: Judith Martin, Miss Manners

© Kay Chernush, Kay Chernush
Judith Martin, Miss Manners

I find myself stuck with two simultaneous feelings: the first being that a digital invite is not appropriate for some events (such as a wedding), and the other being that sending a gilded cardstock invitation with RSVP instructions is ostentatious when one is only offering a livestream, not actual hospitality.

I would not be miffed by receiving such an invite, as I would never begrudge a couple wanting to stick to tradition despite unusual circumstances, but I find myself unsure of sending one. Should the cards themselves just be in a simpler style than one might have used otherwise?

Additionally, what does one put in a wedding invitation now? “This list of parents request the honor of your presence on the internet” does not feel quite right. Would it be acceptable to print invitations with viewing instructions and URLs? Should this be a separate card in the invitation, and if so, then what information goes on the main one?

Should these be followed later by wedding announcements, or is everyone invited to view online considered to have been invited to the event?

GENTLE READER: What you have done is to convert a formal wedding into an informal one, which also has its traditions, and the invitations should reflect that.

Miss Manners hopes you are not disappointed. To her mind, these altered weddings achieve what couples always claim they want: Couples say a great deal about wanting their wedding to be personalized and memorable, and then produce the same bloated routine as nearly every other wedding. These recent backyard ceremonies, attended by only the closest intimates, surely seem more personalized and memorable to those who are able to watch from afar — even if they weren’t given party favors.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My sister-in-law is having her first child. She has emailed family and friends a link to her registry for items she feels she needs for her coming baby boy.

On the list are items like new dish sets for the family, a car rooftop storage box and a very expensive baby/toddler cart that is pulled by a bicycle ($379), and things are specifically for toddlers, not babies.

Is this the new normal for baby registries? With the current economic issues happening due to COVID-19, many people cannot afford expensive purchases, especially for a baby who will not be making use of the items in the near future.

I was going to purchase some of the smaller, more affordable items, but I overheard my sister-in-law complain to my mother-in-law that only the cheap items are being purchased, and they would rather have the very expensive ones.

I was really put off by the comment, and feel that she is being very ungrateful for what has already been purchased by family and friends. I would love to be able to spend that kind of money on my own child! Should I just spend the money on an expensive item from the registry?

GENTLE READER: Only if you want to encourage greed and wreck your budget. And if you do, Miss Manners warns you to save up for when you are expected to pay this child’s college tuition.

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


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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