Dear Miss Manners: My son has a 3-year-old daughter with his fiancée. His fiancée's parents have been divorced for about 12 years and are on very unfriendly terms.

Because the bride doesn't want her mother to make a scene, the bride and my son have chosen to marry with only their daughter, the minister and a witness present.

I love my future daughter-in-law very much. But I am very sad that I will not get to see my only son get married. I feel that the bride's parents could surely get along for an hour for the sake of their daughter's happiness.

The couple plan to have a luncheon after the ceremony with immediate family only. The bride's mother will be coming, and there will be a separate luncheon for the father's side of the family.

I understand this is the bride's day, but my husband and I feel we are being penalized because of issues between her parents. I do not want to add drama to the situation and don't want to cause any hard feelings between anyone, but I am feeling hurt.

Gentle Reader: That it is "the bride's day," with the understanding that therefore she can do whatever she wants, is an expression Miss Manners loathes. No one should have a day off from being considerate of others.

But this poor bride, caught between warring forces, is not asking for self-glorification. She only wants a dignified and peaceful ceremony. And no doubt she knows better than you that her parents could not "surely" get along for an hour.

Presumably, you are included in the luncheon, perhaps even both luncheons. What you can do is what the other parents apparently cannot: Enjoy the occasion without tainting it with any hurt feelings of your own.

Bill for pet-sitting

Dear Miss Manners: My neighbor asked my daughter to look after their two dogs for a week while they were on vacation. They gave her a very demanding schedule to follow and said they would pay her, but didn't discuss specific amounts.

They have been back for a couple of weeks now and stopped by a few days ago to see how things went. However, they have not paid her. How should she handle this situation? She feels like she has been taken advantage of.

Gentle Reader: As she will continue to be, if she does not learn proper business procedures.

Miss Manners understands that your daughter feels that it would be unseemly for her to ask for payment from the neighbors. But once they hired her, a business relationship was established. Then it is not just proper, but expected, that she will present a bill for her services, which can be softened with a note about how she was happy to help them.

"Miss Manners" is Judith Martin of the Washington Post. Send questions to