Open Thread

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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. Oliver Caruso

    My girlfriend and I are interested in finding a better term for each other in our relationship – mostly when introducing one another. Both in our early 30s, we feel like Boy/Girlfriend is both juvenile and doesn’t fully represent our relationship. She suggests “partner”, but I feel like that implies a same-sex relationship or a business arrangement. Beau/Belle is old-fashioned and vaguely French/southern. Is there a better term for the parties in a long-term adult relationship?

  2. Jazzgirl205

    I like Beau/Belle and it’s not so archaic that people won’t understand the meaning. I’m not being judgemental, but if you are so concerned that people know you are in an exclusive relationship why not get engaged? I’ve been married 26 yrs and enjoy it. Maybe you will, too.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I appreciate your opinions, but I have to say it seems silly to me to suggest they get engaged so they can say they are engaged instead of try to find a term to accurately describes their current status. There is presumably a reason why they are not engaged, and it’s not anyone’s place to say that they should get engaged but theirs. (Besides, I’m sure they already have family and friends that are nagging them to get engaged.) IMO that is not within the category of etiquette advice we should be focusing on.

  3. Catherine

    If you send a monetary fund to a church in memory of friend who passed away, should the family send a note of thanks? The church has acknowledged receiving the money.

    If you send a monetary fund to a financial group handling money for a young widow and child, should the financial group send an acknowledgement of the funds, as well as the family?

    • Elizabeth

      In the first case, no. You sent the money to an institution in the memory of someone. The church likely does not notify the family that this has been done. Unless it’s right around the time of the funeral, I think the acknowledgment from the church is all that’s expected. However, you could notify the family yourself, and then you might expect some thanks in a reply back.

      In the second case, I would expect the financial group to send something in the form of a receipt, but not necessarily a “thank you.”

  4. Becky

    IMHO the organization and the family should be sending something. The organization (church or other entity) should send the ‘acknowledgement’ type thank you that essentially amounts to a receipt for the IRS and in some cases an opportunity to promote the organization for future giving. The family (if some how notified) should write the personal thank you for the gift/gesture made in the family member’s memory. Most organizations (if they have the information) will notify the family for which a memorial is given. But if that organization has not been specified by the deceased or was very close with the deceased, they may not know how to send a notification to jane doe’s family 1,000 miles away. When I make these types of memorials, I include the family’s information as well and/or I send a note letting them know that I made a memorial contribution to X organization. Also, it is customary for the charity to acknowledge to the donor the specific dollar amount for IRS purposes, but only notify family of a gift and the giver’s name, with no mention of the specific dollar amount (though they may use some code of “kind gift” vs. “generous gift” vs “extremely generous gift” to give a cue to the level of giving.)

  5. Jen

    A friend is giving her son a rather large scale wedding, however the bride’s family is also giving another event very similar to reception with a ceremony the night prior. We are invited to both. Both events happen to be on a holiday weekend and both require formal attire and travel. Are two gifts required since basically each family is giving a separate wedding? Also, is it acceptable to go to one instead of both? I have only met the bride and groom once and the “friend” would not be considered part of my inner circle. I like her, but I feel this is extreme. My friend also seems a bit insulted when I hinted that we might only be able to attend one night. I want to celebrate with her and her family, and. I am not sure how to proceed.

    • Elizabeth

      Is the reason behind this cultural? Indian and Pakistani weddings often run to 3 and 4 days of events, with the groom’s family and the bride’s family throwing receptions (though with much the same guest list). Or is this the result of animosity between the two families? The answer to your question is that you are only required to give one gift per wedding. You can send it in advance or even after the wedding to avoid making it look like you were bringing it for one party or another. Further, you are not “required” to go to both evenings. An invitation is not a summons, and you need only send your regrets in a timely manner for the event that you cannot attend. You are not even required to give a reason. If asked, you can say, “I’m sorry, but we have a prior engagement.” That prior engagement might be watching missed episodes of the Bachelorette, but you don’t have to explain!

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I agree with Elizabeth. I’m not sure what the reasons for the two events are in this case, but in my experience usually when two ceremonies and receptions are held it’s to accomodate guests in different parts of the country/world and usually only immediate family and very close friends will go to both and it’s expected that everyone else will go to the one that’s closest to them even though they may all be invited to both just to give them the option.

  6. Jean

    I have a friend who is very angry with me. I was invited to her niece’s destination wedding in Mexico via e-vite. I have only met the bride once or twice, although her aunt is a friend of mine. I did RSVP to the bride that I couldn’t attend, but I did not send a gift. Was I wrong to not send a gift?

    • Elizabeth

      No you were not. I doubt the couple expected you to attend, so their invitation was a gift grab. You were right to ignore it. Your friend is our of line to be angry about this.

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