Open Thread

by epi on April 9, 2013

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.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Felicia April 9, 2013 at 11:11 am

How would you abbreviate the name Amy St.Claire Porter? (initials, I mean) The St.Claire middle name has always thrown me. Thanks so much.

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Winifred Rosenburg April 9, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I would assume A.S.P.

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Laurie April 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Have not been able to find an answer to this question – so I am hoping someone can help. Should my fiancee and I send a wedding invitation to our Wedding Officiant?
Thanks so much.

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Alicia April 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Depends. If he is a hired officiant whom you have no personal relationship with then no you are not required to send an invite. However if it is an officiant that you have a close personal relationship with whom you would like to attend then do send an invite.

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Winifred Rosenburg April 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm

The official answer, according to Miss Manners and others, is yes you should invite the officiant to the reception as well as the rehearsal dinner. However, I have to admit that I did not do this for my wedding. The reason I didn’t is when I mentioned it to my parents, they told me not to because they’ve been to many weddings and any time the officiant was at the reception unless he had a personal relationship with one of the families he looked extremely uncomfortable.

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Elizabeth April 9, 2013 at 11:29 pm

I think there’s no harm in inviting – most will decline, though, unless there is a preexisting relationship. The judge who married my husband and I was a member of our very small synagogue and even he did not stay.

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Potential Wedding Guest April 10, 2013 at 11:15 am

In today’s world of electronic Save the Dates, more couples are including an RSVP in THAT correspondence. Is is REALLY necessary to RSVP to a Save the Date? One would assume that if a Save the Date was sent, the couple intend to send a wedding inviation a later time. Is THAT not the proper correspondence to which a response is warranted?

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Alicia April 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

You are right a save the date is not an invite and thus does not require a RSVP.

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Linda April 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Is it appropriate for someone to send their great aunt who is 95, in an assisted living facility, cannot walk and has dementia, an invitation to their wedding. The invitation is complete with an RSVP card and information regarding accommodations. Obviously, they know that it would be impossible for her to attend. It appears they are simply expecting a gift from her.

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Elizabeth April 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Or, they wanted her to know that they were thinking of her and the invitation was meant to convey that they wished she could be there. Or, perhaps they just thought that she’d like to see the invitation. You know the family member in question, but it is generally preferable to be generous and not impute the worst possible motive.

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Alicia April 10, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Or they thought that they would wish her to attend if she could and thus invited her. One could also assume that mail including pretty wedding invites may be appreciated. Stop assuming the worst. She can RSVP no or someone can easy do it for her. She does not need to send a gift but your ascribing the worst motives when most likely the best motives is not kind of you. It could have and most likely been the best motives. A great aunt is also the aunt of one of the parents of the bride and it could have been sent to make that person feel good.

Oh and the invites are likely standard for everyone except the name and address so that would be why the inserts are included. RSVP card makes sense because maybe they would love her to attend if she could with a nurse or some such.

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Gertrude April 11, 2013 at 9:11 am

When I got married, I invited some elderly relatives that I didn’t think would physically be able to make it. I did it because I wanted them to know that I was not excluding them. A lot of times, people in nursing homes feel like family is just waiting for them to pass away, and they are already treated as if they are no longer part of the family. I invited them to let them know that I was including them and thinking of them. Also, getting mail is fun! The style of the invitation gives people something to talk about. At the date and time of the wedding, even if they cannot be there, they think about it and get excited.

The thing is, though, a lot of them came anyway! I was pleasantly surprised! Their children picked them up and brought them for part of the wedding, and they had a blast. Don’t just assume because someone is elderly and in a nursing home, they won’t be able to make it, or they won’t enjoy it. I wasn’t expecting a gift from any of them. I invited them because I sincerely wanted them to be included.

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Winifred Rosenburg April 11, 2013 at 9:32 am

I agree with Elizabeth and Alicia. My husband and I invited a relative of his who was in a similar situation whom my husband didn’t know very well. We were certainly not expecting her to send a gift. We sent it because she was on the list of people to invite that my mother-in-law gave us and we didn’t see the harm. I’m not exactly the least cynical person, but sometimes an invitation is just an invitation. For all they knew this relative might have been offended at not receiving one because she would still like the option and not want to feel left out.

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Linda April 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm

The family member in question is not a close family contact. Although she has always been very generous in past years, the great aunt cannot travel, write a check or shop for a gift now. If the intent of the invitation was merely to let her know they were thinking of her, then why not simply include a note to that effect instead of the RSVP card and accommodation information? Is it still “preferable to be generous and not impute the worst possible motive” under those circumstances? Still looking for guidance … we are shocked at the invite.

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Elizabeth April 10, 2013 at 11:36 pm

I agree with Alicia. The envelopes are usually all stuffed the same, or all the same for out-of-town guests. The fact that there is an accommodations card is not meaningful (except as a source of information about accommodations in case that person can come and requires lodging). I don’t see how the inclusion of the accommodations card is somehow more indicative of gift-grabbiness. Perhaps this relative does not know the extent of her condition. Perhaps the parent of the bride or groom thought it would brighten her day to receive it. Who knows. I can see questioning the motives a little bit, but I really can’t understand why you are “shocked.” If, as you say, the great aunt is incapacitated and the bride/groom knows this, then they can’t be expecting a gift for the same reason. The course of action is quite simple. RSVP ‘no’ on her behalf.

And yes, I do believe it is always preferable to be generous and start with thinking the best of people rather than the worst! What did this great-niece/nephew do? Did s/he steal money from great aunt, did she try to steal the rings off her fingers? No, s/he sent her an invitation. Quelle horror.

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Linda April 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Ouch … didn’t think I was such a “black hearted” person. I am the great aunt’s power of attorney. I visit her daily, almost without exception. I take care of all her needs, financial, medical and otherwise. I am not compensated to take care of her and I do not appreciate persons who take advantage of the elderly. The great aunt is from a very large family, the bride is not in contact and lives several states away … and I was merely asking, according to “Emily Post”, if a wedding invitation was appropriate under these circumstances. Thank you for your kind responses.

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Katie K April 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hello Linda, I sympathize with your frustration. It seems that this family (great niece and her parents) are not in regular contact with the lady in question, her care falls to you, and you (perhaps correctly) assume that the invitation is a not-so-subtle request for a gift.

But as the other posters have stated, the family may have more sincere motives. It’s certainly less stressful for you if you can choose to see it this way.

In any case, etiquette is on your side. Since the aunt is unable to attend, many sources agree (Emily Post being an exception), that no gift is required. It also appears that the aunt is unable to reply to the invitation (you mention dementia), so as her representative you have the option to reply on her behalf. Perhaps this would be a good time to send a cordial letter thanking the niece for thinking of the aunt, detailing the aunt’s condition, and sending good wishes on behalf of the aunt. Nothing further is required.

I am curious – I assume you are related to the bride-to-be. Were you invited to the wedding?

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LA April 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I’m concerned that I’ve missed an unspoken message. Recently I was told by the host that my invitation to their formal event (which I’ve known about for a few months) was just mailed (a week before the event) because it had been unknowingly misplaced and therefore not mailed with the others. The printed invitation arrived a couple of weeks after the RSVP date which had been blacked out. I believe the host feels obliged to invite me but would rather not, hence the mix up with the mailing. My question is should I graciously decline and not attend.

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Winifred Rosenburg April 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion, but I don’t what tone the host used when informing you of the mix-up. Actually, my guess would be you were on the B list, and the host was waiting on other responses before sending your invitation. In any case, if you would like to go, you can call the host and say “Thank you for the invitation! I would love to come, but I would hate to throw off your plans since the rsvp date has past.” You can judge by his reaction whether you are wanted or not.

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Linda April 13, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Ms. Katie, Thank you for your posting. Of course I will respond for the great aunt and I have already written a note that the invitation was lovely and that her great aunt wishes she could attend.

In answer to your question, the great aunt is the bride’s grandmother’s sister and none of the great aunt’s family were invited probably because they are so distant and don’t actually know the bride. I wish now that I had not made the inquiry as it was certainly not worth the negativity… the question being, was it appropriate. That’s all.

Your post is most relevant to the situation and I appreciate your insight. By the way, I will also be sending a gift because that is what we do. Maybe the bride will send some pictures with a note afterwards.

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Elizabeth April 14, 2013 at 7:58 am

I apologize if my posts were overly negative. I in no way meant to imply anything bad about you. I, and I’m sure others, likely just wanted to explain the rationale for our answers.

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