Dear Carson: My niece is getting married and, due to limited financial resources, the ceremony and reception will be small and modest. This is a first-time bride. Some friends have expressed a desire to give her and her fiancea party. Is it inappropriate to invite people to a party who will not be invited to the wedding? I do not want guests to feel that they have been invited just so they will bring a gift. - Aunt Wants Answer
Dear Aunt: It is acceptable to invite guests to a party who are not invited to the ceremony. Get the word out that the wedding will be a very small affair and that you want friends to meet your niece's future husband. You could ask your hosts to include this wording on their invitation: "No presents, just your presence, please."
Dear Carson: I belong to a bridge group that meets every other week. One of the members is habitually late, sometimes by as much as a half to a full hour. How can we get her to be on time without giving offense? - Trumped In Iowa
Dear Trumped: When one person gets their needs met at the expense of others, a breach of etiquette occurs. Your tardy bridge friend obviously considers her time more valuable than yours. I suggest telling her that the three of you have been inconvenienced by her habitual tardiness. Tell her that as much as you shall miss her company, the next time she is late you will be forced to ask another player to take her place. Your group holds all the trumps. Good luck!
Dear Carson: I attended a bridal shower in August of 2000. My shower gift to the bride was luggage and my wedding gift was a check. I work with the young woman and she has yet to acknowledge either by word of a note. Am I wrong to be troubled by this? - Irritated Co-worker
Dear Irritated: Ask her openly if she liked her gifts. Tell her that after two years with no acknowledgement from her you were beginning to wonder if either the envelope with your money or the tag on your luggage got misplaced. It is a different world out there with people feeling entitled and failing to be gracious. Thank goodness there are those like you who mind their manners.