Miss Manners: Wedding musician wonders if there are gender-neutral words for ‘bride’ and ‘groom’

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a musician who is regularly hired to perform at weddings. In the past, I have used the phrase “bridal entry” to describe one of the services I provide.

However, I do not wish to discriminate against same-sex couples or non-binary people, and I want this to be very clear in my descriptions.

Can you suggest non-gendered words that can be used to replace “bride” and “groom”? I’ve heard people suggest “almost married,” but to me, that sounds a bit corny. However, if you think that’s a good word to use, I’ll gladly do so.

GENTLE READER: If you’re referring to the announcement of the couple’s arrival, how about using their names? With the addition of “soon-to-be” if these names are about to change? This would not only solve the problem, but would also be a huge favor for their guests.

However, Miss Manners would be remiss if she did not point out that the whole practice of having a musician or DJ announce the married couple is unseemly in the first place. It’s a serious occasion, not an awards ceremony. But she has no desire to put you out of business—only to point out, perhaps nastily, that the label doesn’t recognize your problem in the first place.


DEAR MISS MANNERS: Our next door neighbor has sold his house, and the new neighbors have turned the property into an eyesore. Their 3-acre lot now looks like a dump. They have piles of dirt, branches and trash stacked 8 feet high in several places in their yard. There are broken vehicles, trailers, boats, etc., throughout the property.

The previous neighbor had a well maintained yard and we have enjoyed our view for many years. I am so sad that I can no longer enjoy my view when I relax outside.

I want to improve the existing fence that separates our properties, extending the privacy fence to block off their neglected yard. My husband says it would be mean to do that to our new neighbors.

Sweet Reader: Since your neighbors haven’t considered your feelings in the aesthetics of the yard, Miss Manners assures you that you don’t need to ask for approval to upgrade your fence. Please assure your husband that there is nothing mean in this. However, excessive noise or debris while creating the fence should be kept to a minimum.


DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband passed away recently, so I’m tasked with writing over 50 thank you cards. Although I like to write short personal notes on each card, I would prefer to generate address labels because I have trouble fitting long names on envelopes. My children find it impersonal. What are your thoughts?

GENTLE READER: Putting aside Miss Manners’ question about what exactly you’re grateful for – she assumes you mean for condolence letters or participation in your husband’s service – it’s also her preference for addresses handwritten. If larger cards and envelopes aren’t an option, she suggests smaller writing.

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




1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106; 816-581-750

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