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. Pat

    My daughter is writing her wedding thank you notes and there are two couples who attended the wedding but, neither gave a gift. One couple said that they would send a gift but have not and the other couple never said anything. Does my daughter have to send either of these couples a thank you? Should she make any comment to the couple that never said anything, in case a gift may have been sent but never received? If so, how should she broach the subject?

    • Elizabeth

      She should not send a note for a gift she didn’t receive. Neither should she or anyone else mention anything to the couples. Gifts are not mandatory, and one would only appear greedy to mention it. Guests are invited in order to share the specialness of the day, not because they are anticipated to bring gifts. On the off chance that a gift was sent but lost, one would hope that the couple would eventually discreetly inquire whether their gift had been received.

      • Joanna

        She COULD, however, include these couples in her thank you notes, simply because they shared her big day with her…that should really be the main focus, after all, not a gift, and it’s certainly a gracious thing to do.

        • Winifred Rosenburg

          That’s not a good idea. Thank-you notes go from guest to host, not the other way around (although there is an exception for ceremonial events so the guests would not be expected to send a thank-you not to the host in this case). Sending a “thank you for attending” note risks appearing to be trying to shame the guests into sending a gift. Unfortunately there are some newlyweds who send thank-you notes to all their guests for this exact reason.

  2. Mel

    I’m having a housewarming party- my husband thinks we should say no gifts, instead bring your own drinks…I think it sounds tacky- does anyone have any other thoughts or idea how to make it sound less tacky?

    • Elizabeth

      No. You should not mention gifts in connection with the invitation. Housewarming gifts are small – you may receive a bottle of wine, some dish towels, or a houseplant. The point of the party is not to receive gifts, it is “warm” the home with the good cheer of your friends and family. And since this is a party thrown by you for your friends, the refreshments should be provided by you. People will no doubt still bring things, but you should not instruct them to BYOB – this is your party, it’s your responsibility to throw it. You don’t have to buy tons of alcohol, nor do you have to buy top shelf. But you should provide adequate refreshments for your guests.

  3. Joy

    I received an email invitation asking me to help host a 50th birthday party for a friend. The 20+ hosts are being asked to pay $150 each to cover the costs of the party and a birthday gift. While I can afford the $150, it seems a bit excessive. I’ve helped host graduation and wedding parties which cost this much, but I’ve never been asked to pay this much for someone’s birthday party. Is this appropriate? If not, what is this best way to gracefully decline the invitation to host?

    • Elizabeth

      It can be appropriate if a lot of time has passed between the first two and the third, or if the shower is actually a “sprinkle” and the mom only registers for very inexpensive items. But if this is her third in three years and she’s going all out, then no that is not appropriate.

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