Q: We are planning our son’s Bar Mitzvah for next year. We have a lot of out of town family and friends who we are fairly sure will not attend. We do not want to ‘beg’ for a gift but we don’t want to insult them by not inviting them. Is there a nice way to say that we are sending them a “courtesy” invitation but do not expect a gift?
A: No one is insulted not to receive an invitation to an event they cannot attend, especially a gift-bearing event where they feel they are being asked for a gift. If you feel they will not be able to travel to your son’s Bar Mitzvah, you simply do not invite them. There really is no such thing as a “courtesy” invitation, and you wouldn’t want to mention gifts on the invitation, in any event.