Open Thread

by epi on February 10, 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.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlene February 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I am having a party for my Mother’s 90th birthday. I received a reply from a couple that is invited in which they declined with regret as they will be out of town. However they also wrote on the reply card that their daughter and her husband will be attending in their place. The daughter is not invited. How do I handle this?

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Just Laura February 11, 2012 at 5:34 pm

With a phone call.
Wow, sending another uninvited person to an invitation-only party. What are they thinking?
When you call, very gently say that you are sorry they are unable to make it, but the invitation was solely for them. Perhaps they will get the hint. If they do not, and respond along the lines of, “We know. That’s why our daughter is coming instead,” let them know that you will be delighted to see their daughter at another time, but for this particular event, the guest list was carefully considered, and invitation was only for them. If you let yourself get bullied into an uncomfortable situation, you’ll not only feel bad all the days leading up to the event, but the event itself, which should be celebratory, will leave a bad taste in your mouth. I wish you the best.

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Winifred Rosenburg February 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I agree with Just Laura and would like to add that as tempting as it might be to give in in situations like the to avoid conflict, doing so would be rude to the people who may have liked to come but were polite enough not to try anything like this to sneak onto the guest list. They may try to make you feel like you’re being rude by saying no, but remember tgey are the rude ones.

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Katie K February 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

I also agree that it’s inappropriate to substitute guests like this.

However, I have a friend whose extended family does this routinely – sincerely believing that they are “being considerate” of the honoree and of the hostess by sending a representative from their family.

So, your friends may have meant well, thinking that they were honoring your mother by sending a family representative. Customs vary from community to community (I could tell you some stories about my in-laws!) and these folks may not realize that they have been rude.

Before you address these folks, you might ask your mother if she minds the substitution – perhaps she would rather accept the situation than to embarrass old friends who are confused but who meant well.

But if you decide that they are just taking advantage of the situation, Just Laura has offered good advice.

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Jerry February 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Katie: I agree with you, given the circumstances of this event, that friends probably wanted someone from their family to attend and honor the friendship between the families. It sounds like Charlene may not want these people to attend — as is her right. Laura: You are, as usual, spot on, with your analysis as to how to handle this if these guests are, indeed, unwelcome.

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