Open Thread

by epi on March 5, 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.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Roz March 5, 2012 at 6:55 am

I recently had a birthday, and I recevied some gifts, which I wrote tank you cards for of course. The problem is, one of my gifts was a check, that I accidently lost. I informed the giver, so she would would not think that was not cashing it and so she would not be looking for the debit from her account. She then sent me another check. Do I need to write her a second thank you card thanking her for the replacement check?

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Zakafury March 5, 2012 at 9:58 am

You should call to thank her, but I don’t think sending another card immediately is necessary. You could send a note after spending the money to describe the gift you spent it on – and how seeing/using it makes you think of her.

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Ellie March 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

I’m getting divorced. Can I still call my husband’s nieces and nephews, my nieces and nephews?

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Lilli March 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I think it depends on your relationship with the nieces and nephews. All of my uncles have been divorced, but I still see their ex-wives because of my cousins. I still refer to one of them as my aunt (even though the divorce was over 15 years ago now) and she refers to me as her neice because we know each other well and like each other very much. The ones I don’t know as well (or don’t particularly like) I simply call my name. They aren’t around each other enough to notice this distinction though.

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Zakafury March 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Yes, you can certainly refer to them that way. If your former siblings in law want to draw a wider boundary that’s up to them, but I agree it all depends mostly on the particulars of the relationship involved.

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geri garnet unrue March 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I am invited to a beach wedding, about 1 1/2 hours away. Most people are saying in a hotel the night before. The wedding is at 11:00 in the morning but there is no reception or any form of refreshments afterwards. I was told that guests can pay for their own lunch at a gathering in the hotel afterwards. This is the bride’s 2nd wedding and the groom’s 3rd. The parents of the bride are giving a reception but over a week later, in a different town. Is it normal to invite people to an out of town wedding and not provide some form of refreshments? I was told that the bride & groom can not afford any form of refreshments after the ceremony but they are going on a weeks-long cruise. Am I being insensitive to their situation? Should I just shut up and attend? Should they expect gifts?

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Alicia March 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Yes they are being rude by not providing any hospitality even cake and coffee. The pay your own way lunch is rude. Should you attend? It depends do you want to attend despite the lack of hospitality? Should you give a gift? Well I would. I might consider giving as my gift however paying a portion of the general guests bills for the lunch. Bride and groom should be paying for lunch. So I woudl consider paying as much as I would spend on a gift towards the group wedding guests tab.
But yes this is very tacky

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Zakafury March 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

This doesn’t sound tacky to me. It sounds like they are trying to have an understated ceremony for their remarriage, and they picked somewhere that anyone who wishes to attend can be accommodated. Yes, it also happens to be free. I assure you they aren’t expecting gifts, and probably don’t want to find room for any.

Their cruise is none of your business, and I do find it inappropriate to criticize a couple for spending their money to pamper themselves instead of feed you.

Also, a 90 minute drive is not really an out-of-town wedding. If I got married in my own home it would be 90 minutes away for almost every member of my family.

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Alicia March 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

The tacky part is making the guests pay for their own lunch and failing to provide any hospitality. Seriously punch and a grocery store cake would not be tacky but making the guests pay to attend their wedding is lacking in graciousness.
Understated is lovely failing to actually host your own wedding is tacky.

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Elizabeth March 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I have to go with Alicia on this one – this is tacky mctakerson. I don’t think the OP was criticizing the couple for their cruise. It would have been different if the word was spread that the couple just wanted an understated wedding, but they (presumably) were the ones who stated that they couldn’t afford refreshments. If you can afford a cruise, you can afford cake and punch. Heck, if you can afford a marriage license and an officiant, you can afford cake and punch! You can get a gigantic Costco cake for super cheap. I’m sorry, but when you invite someone to a wedding, you’re saying: “Please, come and celebrate my life milestones.” When you invite someone to celebrate yourself, hospitality is required! It doesn’t have to be expensive or extensive, but it is rude to ask people to go out of their way for you, probably buy a gift, and then have to buy their own lunch!

Unless you really like or care for this couple, just RSVP ‘no’.

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Country Girl March 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I definitely agree some light refreshments for the day of the ceremony would be a gracious touch (even if it were simply home-baked cookies and tea), but I also do side with Zakafury a little bit on this one. The couple doesn’t seem to have committed any huge faux pas here. The reason being, that there IS a hosted reception, to which presumably all guests have been invited, it is just not directly after the ceremony. And the celebration luncheon (unless it was stated on the wedding invitation, which would be really odd and tacky) sounds like just an optional gathering more so than an ‘unhosted reception’. Feel free not to attend.

2nd-3rd marriages typically don’t assume a gift, so if you choose to attend and don’t feel like a gift would be in the true spirit of congratulations, a nice card and handwritten note should suffice.

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Jerry March 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Dude, this is the definition of tacky.

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Zakafury March 7, 2012 at 9:03 am

Everyone’s acting like the invitation came and said “bring cash for lunch.” The wedding is just a ceremony. It’s at a beach near (although that might be a stretch by the common New England definition) where the couple lives.

Geri “was told” a bunch of stuff that’s being attributed to the tacky choices of the couple, but I don’t think they are.

Guests put it on themselves to stay in a hotel to avoid a three hour round trip. Someone put a lunch together where these folks are staying.

This is all a lot of gossip, and the facts of the wedding are simple: There’s a wedding, go or don’t, but stay out of the couple’s financial transactions.

If my interpretation of the passive voice is wrong, and the bride or bridegroom said “come to lunch with me at the non-reception. I’m too poor, and by the way, I’ll be in Barbados all of next month,” then I concede, but I’m having an awful time imagining that.

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Jerry March 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Technically you’re correct that a wedding is just a ceremony. (If you wanted to be even more precise, it’s a change in status recognized by the state after the couple satisfies certain statutory requirements.) But inviting guests to see you get married and not offering them any repast (even if just punch and cookies) is tacky. If the couple wanted to have the state bless their relationship, they could have done it at the local courthouse.

The cruise does not enter into the equation for me.

Nina March 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Dear Geri,

Well, this is pretty non-standard and not terribly hospitable, although technically I suppose a wedding doesn’t *have* to have a reception, nor do the bride and groom have to take into account guests’ driving time. The cruise really has nothing to do with it. It is their perogative to schedule the day how they want–and yours to attend or not, depending upon your feelings for the couple and how comfortable you would be attending. If you aren’t close, and you would find the receptionless wedding awkward (I think I would!), certainly decline promptly, and send a card and small gift. You don’t owe them an explanation–if asked, I would be vague about it.

If it were me, if I declined the ceremony I’d feel I’d have to decline the reception a week later as well–but I’m not certain that’s the “rule.” I’m sure other posters will know.

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