Originally created 04/16/06

Return gifts when engagement is broken

Dear Carson: Could you tell me what the etiquette is regarding a broken engagement? Should engagement gifts and money received be returned to the giver? How should this be done? Thank you. - Baffled Bride

Dear BB: All wedding gifts and money must be returned promptly with your thanks. The gifts you received were for a wedding, not an engagement. A printed notice should be sent to everyone on your wedding invitation list, informing them that your wedding has been canceled. It is unnecessary for you to give a reason of any kind. Remember that it is far better to have a broken engagement than a broken heart. Good luck.

Dear Carson: Our church is installing a new pastor. I am responsible for the invitations. Can you tell me the correct wording that should appear on the invitation? - Invitation Enigma

Dear Enigma: The church bulletin would normally have an announcement for the ceremony of installing a new pastor. It is often customary for churches to hold a reception in the fellowship hall after such a ceremony. An example of appropriate wording for such an occasion would be: "Please join us in the fellowship hall for a reception honoring our new pastor, Dr. Jonathan Doe and his wife, Margaret." Light refreshments are in order, such as finger sandwiches, punch, nuts and mints.

I hope you will organize a receiving line, which includes the new pastor, his wife, the outgoing minister and church officials who you feel would be appropriate.

Dear Carson: I was born in Atlanta and now live in Manhattan Beach, Calif. I am completing my undergraduate degree online with the University of Alabama. I have been given the task of completing one final "non-opinionated" essay entitled, "Communicating Appropriately in the Workplace and Business Arena" with subcategories in "The Importance of Professionalism," and "Respectful Communication Etiquette."

I believe this is a form of punishment for the way I responded to a faculty assistant with an e-mail about a week ago. Correspondence between the two of us involved my well being, to say the least. It was the only time in several years that I had to "speak up" to someone for them to finally listen to the individual student rather than a number on a dollar sign. The assignment has nothing to do with the class that I am finishing, but now is required for me to receive credit for the course. Please offer your guidelines. - Punished Student

Dear Student: I see a lot of rationalization and self-justification in your query. Your assignment seems to emphasize professionalism, courtesy and respect. My best suggestion is for you to eat a little humble pie. Write about tact, abstention from name-calling, raised voices, etc. You've heard the adage about "restraint of tongue and pen," and that seems to be on what your paper should focus.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928, or e-mail askcarson@comcast.net. Carson Elliott's Web site is www.theproperthing.com.


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