Open Thread

by epi on February 1, 2012

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet H Jackson February 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

What is a “best man” called when it is a woman?

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Pam February 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I see on the message boards of theknot.com that people seem to be using Best Woman or Honor Attendant.

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Alicia February 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm

When I stood up for one of my guy friends I was the Best Woman officially in the program. I wore a black dress I already owned and a pin on corsage that matched the mens boutineers. I even planned the bachlor party ( steak, beer, cubs game, more beer).

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Margo February 1, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I was invited to a past coworker’s , whom I have not seen in three years wedding. The invation was to me only, I do have a boyfriend. The wedding is at a ballpark, serving baseball type food, cash bar and $10 parking fee. Am I being prudish thinking this is such a frugle way to such a special event? I plan on not attending. What type or should I send a gift? Thank you

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Zakafury February 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

The opulence of the party should have nothing to do with the gift you decide to purchase. You do not need to Cover Your Plate at a formal reception, nor should you cut down on what you would give because someone has opted to avoid traditional decadence. I wouldn’t call your concern prudish but perhaps a little tacky.

The setting and style of the wedding is a perfectly fine reason to decline the invitation, as is the inability to bring a guest, but you should not send such an explanation with your regrets.

If you wish to send a gift, then send whatever you want to. Clearly the couple must be baseball fans, if a signed ball is the type of thing you would enjoy giving, then take inspiration. I don’t think you should feel obligated to send a gift to someone who was only ever a coworker and who you haven’t seen in three years.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to counting pennies here. I would’ve been shocked to receive an invitation from someone so distant, and interpreted it as a gift grab. I suppose filling a baseball stadium would require inviting a lot of acquaintances.

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Jody February 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm

It is frugal, but perhaps the ballpark atmosphere has special meaning for this couple. Since you haven’t seen this former coworker in 3 years, and assuming you haven’t had any other contact with her, I would not feel guilty about not sending a gift. If you want to send a gift that’s fine too. In any case you should reply promptly to the invitation.

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Just Laura February 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Yes, you are being prudish to judge others for how little they spend on their wedding. It is their wedding and their money to spend as they see fit. Of course you may decline for any reason at all, though as Zakafury mentioned, please send no explanation. You do not need to send a gift, but you may. Your call.

I went to a modest ceremony held during half-time of a Jacksonville Jaguars football game. The couple wore matching team jerseys. It was announced on the large stadium TVs. They spent money on a limo, the jerseys, and tickets – that’s it. Everyone applauded.
I enjoyed myself immensely.

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Alicia February 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Ballpark rentals are not cheap so this is probably not actually an umber frugal event. Baseball food goes well with a ballpark wedding.
Also boyfriends who are not live in relationships nore fiances are not technically a social unit and there is no requirement to include( plus if you have not talked in 3 years they may not know) Cash bar and parking fee are obnoxious but not technically rude and thankfully they told you in advance.
So yes you are being a smidge unkind in judging the way they are hosting however you are beig sensible to decline given your feelings.
Yes you should send something. A minimum of a long letter or card saying how happy you are for them. But gifts are always based on budget and closeness to the people getting married. So only you know your own budget and how close or not close you feel to these friends.

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Winifred Rosenburg February 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I have what is probably a silly question, but here it goes. What sort of events require thank-you notes for the hosts? I usually send thank-you notes to any event where dinner is offered, including a casual dinner at a friend’s house, but a lot of times the person I sent the note to tells me that I REALLY didn’t have to send a thank-you note. I’m wondering if my criteria should be changed.

My current criteria has recently presented several awkward situations. In one case, the party was hosted at one person’s home and food was provided by another person. Do they both get thank-you notes?

In another case, I went to my nephew’s birthday party, which had a buffet-style dinner. When I went to write the thank-you note, I thought what if they think I’m just sending a thank-you note to guilt them into sending me one for the gift I gave?

So when do the polite folks on this forum send thank-you notes?

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Alicia February 1, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I sent thank you notes for fully hosted events that had invites (evite at the minimum). This means not potlucks, not the casual come over for a burger and lets play settlers of catans. Also I do not send thank you notes for casual family gatherings I instead send thank you emails.

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Nina February 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I think Alicia’s suggestion is excellent–I too often use emails for casual parties that still deserve a thank you. Actually, a few years back I noticed a friend of mine always sent a “Nice seeing you last night–thanks for hanging out!” email even if we’d gone to a restaurant. It was so friendly, and such a nice way to continue the conversation, that now I often email just to thank folks for their company.

I think my point is that extra thanks are always welcome, but you shouldn’t make it a burden on yourself if you are thinking it is not really necessary.

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Winifred Rosenburg February 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Settlers of Catan! I love it!

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Just Laura February 1, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I love Settlers of Catan. I might send a thank-you if they have the expansion packs… ;)

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Lilli February 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

1. Agreed on the awesomeness of Settlers.
2. For me it depends more on the person. We have a couple that we switch off hosting for dinner about once a month; she’s my old college roommate and since it’s a trade off we don’t send cards. I do send cards mostly for new acquaintences who invite me to their home.

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