Dear Carson: My son is getting married in a Lutheran service to be performed by a retired minister. He and his wife will have to drive about 90 minutes to get to the house where the service will be conducted. We have no clue as to how much should be given to the minister for his service. Is $75 reasonable, or should it be more? How should it be given, in cash or by check or in a card with his name on it?
Thanks so much for your help. -- Clueless Mother of the Groom
Dear Clueless: In my opinion $75 is not nearly enough, even if he did not have to make a three-hour round trip. No less than $200 would be an appropriate amount, and it may be presented in cash or by personal check made out to him. Place it in an enclosed envelope with a card or note expressing your thanks.
If I am with two seniors from my office, both men, I usually walk a few steps behind them. On reaching a door, who should open it? -- Humble Hired Help
Dear Humble: Walking a few paces behind the men makes you look like an Indian squaw. Fall in wherever it seems comfortable.
A man opens the door for a woman in social situations, but professional life and social life differ, and common sense prevails.
Dear Carson: I recently attended a bridal shower in which the mother of the groom made a laughing slur about Christmas wrapping paper on a gift from an elderly woman.
This lady doesn't get out much, and her health and her finances limit her. I'm sure she had to wrap that gift with whatever she had on hand. I personally thought the groom's mother was extremely out of line and should have just appreciated the gift.
I don't think I have to ask you if the mother of the groom was wrong. But was the elderly lady, according to etiquette, wrong for giving a gift-wrapped in Christmas paper? Should she have sent it unwrapped or not have sent a gift at all? -- Form or Feeling
Dear Form: Any manner in which she presented the gift is fine. Etiquette is a prescribed format or guideline for behavior in social, official or professional life. Common sense and kindness also influence it, which in many instances hold greater sway.