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Miss Conduct

Advice: It must be a mistake that I didn’t get a plus-one on the invite

Plus, tips for officiating a wedding ceremony from Miss Conduct, who has done it.

I recently received an invite to an old friend’s wedding. There was nothing about a plus-one, but in the envelope was a piece of paper with other wedding information and a line asking for the number of each entree selected. I asked the bride for clarification via instant messenger. She’s seen the message, but I haven’t heard back. I’m 30, in a long-term relationship, and the only people I’ll know are in the wedding party. Do I just specify two entrees and be done with it, in spite of the lack of “and guest”?

C.R. / Salem

No. If it had been an oversight on your friend’s part to leave “and guest” off the invitation, she would have responded to your message. I don’t think she made a mistake. The entree request form had room to write in more than one person because the bride didn’t want the hassle of creating two kinds of entree forms, one for single invitees and one for multiples.

When you say “old friend,” I assume you mean “friend from back in the day” rather than “close friend.” But if I’m wrong, your friend knows your partner, and you are more than 90 percent certain that the invitation wording was a mistake she’d feel terrible about, ask again. In other words, you can ask for her sake, but not for yours.

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A friend has asked if I would officiate at her wedding. I’m stunned by the honor and have started asking her what they’re looking for. You’ve officiated weddings, I believe — any pro tips?

D.K. / Boston

I have indeed done so, twice, and it was an honor and a joy both times. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect on the experience! In Massachusetts, ordinary citizens can be deputized to perform weddings — a great alternative for couples who don’t have a personal relationship with a member of the clergy or a justice of the peace. There is paperwork involved, so find out ASAP what you need to do to get legally certified, and take the lead on making sure that gets squared away well ahead of time.

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Find out what your friends’ top priorities are, what they want the overall atmosphere of the ceremony to be, so that if you have to improvise at any point, you’ll know how. This advice, like much of the below, also applies to best men, women of honor, and anyone else with a major supporting role.

Here’s the bit you don’t know until you’ve done it: As the officiant, you have stood up publicly and advertised yourself as a pleasant and take-charge person. This means that people who don’t know anyone else at the reception are going to make a beeline for you and that you’ll be treated as an authority figure. Find out where the bathrooms are and introduce yourself to the venue manager so you can direct folks appropriately. Be prepared to schmooze with strangers. Don’t bring a date, because you’ll be ignoring him or her a lot.

Keep in mind, you are only a part of the couple’s big day. Take care of your own stage fright, “centering” needs, or whatever. And know that you’ll always feel a certain connection, a deeper investment in the marriage than you would have otherwise. Also know that marriages end in either death or divorce, but that in some way — one that will not matter to the couple and that you’ll never quite be able to explain — their marriage will always be part of your story, too.

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Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.


WHAT ADVICE DO YOU NEED ABOUT GETTING ALONG WITH FRIENDS? Send your questions to Miss Conduct at missconduct@globe.com.