Last Minute Mishap : What to do when people cancel plans

Q. A few weeks ago, I invited my cousin and her soon-to-be husband to our home for Thanksgiving dinner. They accepted immediately and we began discussions on logistics such as their accommodations and timing of the actual dinner.

The two were just married and, as we were saying our good-byes to them at their wedding, we told them we were looking forward to seeing them for Thanksgiving. My cousin informed me that she had since been invited out of town with another couple and would not be joining us.

It is my understanding that this was very rude – to accept an invitation and then decline for a better/different offer. My husband and I are very hurt/insulted and don’t know how to handle this without coming off as bitter or resentful. Any advice would be appreciated!

A. You are correct. It was rude of them to throw you over after your nice invitation. However, there may be circumstances she didn’t explain, such as a commitment her husband had already made. In that case, she would be hesitant to “blame” him and instead would leave it in rather an awkward place. Therefore, rather than remain hurt or insulted, or be bitter or resentful, let it go and give them another chance to be together another time.

When should you call to congratulate an engagement?

Q. My son just proposed to his girlfriend, should I call her parents to congratulate them?

A. When parents of the bride and groom have not met each other before the wedding, tradition has it that the groom’s family calls the bride’s family to introduce themselves, express their happiness, and extend an invitation for a meeting. Even if you already have met her parents, this is a time of joy for the couple. Both sets of parents should act with spontaneity and in the spirit of the friendship, regardless of who makes the first contact.

Sláinte! : Is it rude to clink glasses when saying cheers?

Q. My friends and I were recently in a debate about appropriate manners when toasting or simply saying ‘cheers’ with a drink. Is it appropriate to touch glasses in these situations, or should one just extend his/her glass toward another, but not actually ‘clink’ glasses? Thank you for your help in ending this debate!

A. It is customary to just raise your glass unless the person giving the toast request the guests to touch glasses. Then do so with a gentle touch.

Is Prescence a Present ? : Do you bring gifts to an engagement party ?

Q. I have received an invitation to an ‘Engagement Party’. Are gifts appropriate? Expected? Not expected? Your help and advice are appreciated.

A. An engagement present is not a requirement. Particularly if you are going to a large party, gifts are not expected. A recent belief on the part of many people is that a gift is expected so more gifts are being taken, but this doesn’t mean it is correct to take one. If you want to give an engagement gift, you may do so before or after the party, but you wouldn’t take a gift to the party. However, if you are invited to a small dinner party or other intimate gathering in honor of an engagement, then those invited are presumed to be very close and would likely take a gift. ? usually, only very close family members and friends give engagement presents.

Exs Etiquette : What’s the policy on sending congrats to your ex

Q. I am no longer dating the gentleman I had been for the past few years. His sister-in-law recently gave birth. Is it acceptable or proper for me to send a gift for the baby?

A. Certainly, if you retain fond feelings for her and want to offer your best wishes, as long as it wouldn’t be perceived as an attempt to win him back or ingratiate yourself with his family, if he is the one who terminated your relationship.