Fiance thinks I should cut them from wedding

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At my bachelorette party, two of my bridesmaids left after about an hour to go to a different party.

My best friend and maid of honor had planned a fantastic party with everything you can imagine that would be at a bachelorette party, and they missed 99% of it.

I chose to ignore it because I wanted to have fun, but my future spouse is telling me to cut them from the wedding or at least tell them it was a terrible thing to do.

They already paid for their dresses, and they did contribute to the bachelorette party expenses, so I can’t cut them out, but how am I supposed to address something like this? I’m at a complete loss!

GENTLE READER: Was your bachelorette party 100 hours long? Miss Manners is no mathematician, but your letter indicates so. If your friends were unaware that they were spending a long weekend partying with you, she can hardly blame them for getting out while they could.

More importantly, though, she cautions against your thinking that this is a contractual obligation — as indicated by their having paid for all of the things involved. Perhaps this is another reason they felt that they had fulfilled their duties, however minimal. They thought of it as a transaction, rather than an expression of friendship.

While it is unfortunate that your friends left early — and certainly rude that they double-booked themselves — there is no reasonable punishment to be served here, other than expressing your disappointment: “I was so sad that you left early and missed the all-night paintball scavenger hunt and hot-pepper tasting. We really missed you.”

If you are feeling bold and fear otherwise, you might gingerly add, “I hope that you will be able to stay for the whole wedding. I do so want you there.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: When eating at an expensive restaurant for dinner, we were seated next to a table of 10, including two children under the age of 6. During the three hours of dinner, the children were crawling under the table, screaming, climbing on the chairs and the back of the banquette.

None of the adults were making an effort to keep them quiet or occupied. They were so noisy, it was difficult to carry on a conversation. There wasn’t an option of moving to another table.

What could have been done? I didn’t feel that a suggestion from me would have helped or been met kindly, and the waitstaff shouldn’t have to interfere, as they are depending on tips. The manager was on a different floor.

GENTLE READER: Surely you and the waitstaff were concerned for these children’s safety. Crawling across the furniture and under the tables will likely damage their little heads. Miss Manners suggests that you express this fear to the family — or call upon the servers to do it for you — leaving out the part about similarly damaging your adult-sized ears.

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