Open Thread

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.


  1. Tine

    A close friend of mine, “N”, recently became pregnant. Naturally, myself and another close friend, “L”, would like to throw a baby shower for her. We contacted N’s sister, “D”, to see if she would join our planning. But it turns out, D was already planning the baby shower, and had a venue and date picked out. D asked L and me to help her with shower games, decorations and putting together party favors — which we were glad to do. However, a few weeks later, when the official invitation was sent out (via Evite), L and I were left off as hosts. Instead, the hosts were D, and N’s and D’s mom! Naturally, L and I are a bit miffed. We’re doing all the work associated with the shower, but we’re not recognized as hosts. We also know that, as a host, we’re probably required to chip in to the costs of the venue/food, which we’re OK with. But we weren’t even given that choice; we were never asked. Instead, we’re left to go the grunt work – including designing and printing decorations, which would require time and money to do. (The games itself will need gifts, which we are also responsible for.) L and I both feel awkward about bringing it up, but we also feel like indentured servants in a party-planning that we don’t have any say in. Are we over-reacting?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      Yes, I believe you are overreacting. You are technically not the hosts as you did not the hosts as you did not plan the party except for the games. You did assist the host, for which I imagine the host will thank you and give you credit as will the mom-to-be.

      • Tine

        Thanks for your input. I know I’m “technically” not the host, but that’s the issue – my friend L and I were never asked whether we want to be named a co-host for the shower. N’s sister just rolled our intention to throw a baby shower into the party SHE is planning. Then, she started delegating tasks (all of which cost time and money), and yet, we are not named co-hosts on the invitation.

        I guess part of the reason behind my reaction is that I’m also a stay-at-home mom to a 16-month-old toddler. I’m not twiddling thumbs all day long – I have to consciously set aside time to do this. So now I’m contributing time and effort, and all I’m getting is a ‘thanks.’ I feel like I’m getting the short end here….

        • Jody

          Tine, I don’t think you’re overreacting at all. I would be hurt if I were in the same situation.

          I don’t know the people involved, but it’s possible D didn’t intentionally leave you off as hostess to take advantage, she might not have been thinking about it. Maybe a call to D is in order to clarify exactly what she expects from you at this stage. If you can keep it lighthearted instead of accusatory (which would admittedly be hard for me to do) it should come out OK. Is it possible that in the interim she rethought things and came up with games/decorations herself?

        • Maggie

          If I was in the sister’s position, I would have assumed that N’s friends would have wanted to contribute to and help with N’s shower without expecting to get some kind of credit line on the invitation. She and N should certainly be appreciative of your help, but I think it’s safe to say that the sister had no way to know that you would be miffed by not being mentioned on the evite. And I can’t imagine how you could bring this up and suggest that N’s shower invitation should focus more on your contribution without looking petty

  2. Becky

    I now have the arduous task of following up on 1/3 of my wedding guest list that has yet to respond via the postage paid cards included with the invitations. Invites were mailed 8 weeks prior to the wedding (5 weeks ago). It is now 5 days after the date by which responses were requested…but due to federal holiday, it is only 3 ‘mail’ days past the date. I have my polite script prepared…”Hi, just wanted to make sure you had received our wedding invitation? We haven’t heard if you will be able to join us and we just need to finalize things with the caterer….” Shouldn’t I wait at least 5 mail days till I start contacting folks? A grace period for those innocent ‘oops’ to catch up? I also wonder how to handle those who have not replied, but we know are (or are not) attending? Most of my groom’s family will attend, but none have replied. My own mother, 3 miles away sent her’s in….. I may just have to let those drop …..except my 19 year old niece that may need a friendly ‘thump on the head’ from her loving aunt regarding her social responsibility.

    • Eileen

      For us, this was a divide and conquer task – I took people who hadn’t responded at all on my side and he took his side. Start with the people who you haven’t heard from at all, and if you’re concerned, then follow up with family members who you got an answer from, but maybe not in writing.

      As for the timing, its past the deadline you provided. They haven’t remembered by now, so just reach out.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      From an etiquette point of view, you have every right to contact them now as the deadline has passed. From a practical point of view, you may save yourself some phone calls if you wait a few more days. Basically, it’s up to you. For my wedding I waited a week after the deadline before calling people and I recall getting a lot of responses in that week.

    • You could consider e-mailing. That would probably be less embarrassing for those guests – they don’t have to stammer out apologies if you catch them on the phone.
      It would be easier on you (just a template or two).

      Dear _

      John and I hope you received our wedding invitation and that you will be able to come. We have to finalize out numbers so could you let us know one way or another by __.

      Very much hope to celebrate with you, but understand if things get in the way.

      Dear Family Member,

      We suddenly realized that we’ve taken it for granted you’re coming to the wedding! It wouldn’t be the same with you. Could you buzz us and confirm we’ll be celebrating with you.

    • b

      I’ve found a simple “I don’t feel like we have the connection that I’m looking for and would hope to have at this point in getting to know someone, so I think it’s time to move on (or i think it’s time to end things between us.) Wish you all the best.”

    • Elizabeth

      I think it depends on how much contact you’d had. If a guy merely messages you, I don’t think you have an obligation to respond at all. If you’ve met in person, or exchanged a number of messages, you might feel better if you send a simply message that states that you’re not interested.

  3. Sheryl

    We invited my husbands cousin and his wife and their 2 children to the bat mitzvah of our daughter several years ago. Now the cousins eldest son is having his bar mitzvah. Etiquette states what about reciprocity? Should our 2 children be invited to their son’s affair? Thank you.

    • Alicia

      There is no rule of reciprocity in this case. It depends on how close their son is to your kids as well as size of event and such. The only rude thing would be for you to demand or expect an invite on your kids part.

  4. While it would be gracious to invite you and your family, as Alicia says there’s no reciprocity rule and if you are not invited please try to take it in good part. There are many reasons you might not be invited that are no reflection on their feelings for you.

    Is your daughter close to her cousin? Whatever her relationship to him, if she’s not invited please be a model of generosity if this comes up. You don’t want her to think this is a reflection on her or her Aunt and Uncle and cousin. There’s no mileage in that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *