Stranger Situation: Recieving a “Save the Date” from people you don’t know

by epi on December 26, 2012

Q: I received a ‘save the date’ wedding announcement from two people that I do not know. I’m not sure why they sent it to me (maybe someone they know shares the same name as mine). I checked out their website to make sure I
didn’t know them, and I’m positive I don’t, or don’t remember.  What should I do? Should I send the announcement back and say they have the wrong person? What if I’m supposed to know them and I don’t? I don’t want to embarrass them or myself. Should I wait until I see if I get an invitation?

A: Assuming you also don’t know the couple’s parents in addition to the couple, you should call or send a note explaining that you don’t know anyone from either family and think the card was sent in error.  If it turns out, you do know one of the couple or a family member, it is fine to simply say something along the lines of “I didn’t realize the connection.  I wish the couple the best but I won’t be able to attend.”  In either case, you shouldn’t be sent an invitation since receiving a wedding invitation requires one to send a gift whether or not attending.  To do so in either case would appear to be just a request for a gift.  Also, by letting the couple know, they may want to invite another guest if they are restricted on the number of guests they can accommodate.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry December 26, 2012 at 10:38 am

Good grief. I thought we had turned the corner on the whole “does a wedding invitation require a gift” thing. It appears I was mistaken about this belief.

I don’t know how much more plainly one can state this: receipt of a wedding invitation does not require a gift. (And no less of an authority than Miss Manners backs me up.) Getting married does not allow people to invoice their family, friends, and acquaintances.


Alicia December 26, 2012 at 10:57 am

Any invite requires only a prompt and polite RSVP! Birthday, weddings, shower, hey it is Wednesday party, whatever just RSVP promptly and politely and you have fulfilled your obligation if not attending.


Jody December 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I’m with Jerry and Alicia here. Merely receiving an inviation does not obligate me to send a gift. If I attend I send a gift. If I’d like to attend but cannot (for whatever reason) I send a gift. If I cannot attend and wouldn’t even if I could, I don’t send a gift. In any case I respond promptly — the host deserves that courtesy.


Vanna Keiler December 26, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Agree with the above sentiments, particularly scenarios Jody outlined.

I’m guessing it was an error on EPI part to say a gift was mandatory? I understand the history behind wedding traditions (American) was in no gift being given to the bride and groom.


Joanna December 28, 2012 at 3:38 pm

If you’ve racked your brain and can’t think of who these people are, if by any chance it turns out later on that there IS some connection, this plainly says these people are not in any way “friends” – which, in my mind, is the only reason for being invited to a wedding! Thus, there is absolutely no need to obsess about the etiquette of it, or to feel you need to send a gift.


Mary January 1, 2013 at 12:50 am

I am planning to be married next year as I complete my professional degree and will be moving out of the area for my internship. I think it would be wise if people gave me gift cards rather than gifts. How do I say something on my invitation to let people know this?


Just Laura January 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Congratulations on your accomplishment. I’m a bit confused – invitations to what?
And, no, you would never ever mention gifts (much less dictate exactly how your guests spend their money) on invitations.


Brockwest January 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Lots of rules apply here:
1) An invitation or mention of a wedding does not create the requirement for a gift.
2) Invitations must never mention gifts, registries, money, money trees, money in lieu of gifts, or anything other than you are sharing you joyous occasion.
3) It is up to the giver to decide on the gift if they chose to give one. A wedding is not a charity benefit for the marrying couple.


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