Advice Columns

Miss Manners: Disgusted by electronic invitations

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am horrified and disgusted that electronic invitations have changed the nature of offering hospitality. It is particularly distasteful to view a guest list and the responses from each, whether responding Yes, No or Maybe.

Since when is “maybe” a legitimate RSVP?

I, personally, refuse to respond through one of those buttons. Therefore, my response does not show on the website, causing my name to stand out as one who has not answered.

Silly and embarrassing, isn’t it? Your thoughts, please, on this outrageous application as a tool for invitations.

GENTLE READER: Electronic invitations would be fine for very informal events, if only they did not encourage rudeness.

The ones you describe do. “Maybe” is not an acceptable answer. Nor should there be any way for the guests to scrutinize the guest list or the other responses.

So Miss Manners assures you that you need not be embarrassed by responding individually. However, if you would like to emphasize your point and make it easier for the host to tally numbers, you could reply “Yes” or “No” as appropriate, and write in the comments, “Please find a written response in the mail.”

Won’t be attending

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Why are brides so full of themselves these days?

Perhaps because this particular bride, whom I met only once when she was a child, was named after a jewelry store and believes she is the Hope diamond?

In any event, I received an eight-page “Save the Date” booklet from the soon-to-be bride and groom, bragging about their international travels, fine dining, careers and overall passionate love for each other. The couple will be married in a private ceremony at an exotic locale, with receptions for the adoring masses to follow five months later.

This announcement was preceded, earlier this month, by a shower invitation requesting gift cards. How do you suggest I respond to this correspondence? I do not plan to attend either event, as I live out of state.

GENTLE READER: How one responds to beggars generally depends on whether they seem truly in need, and whether they impress you as people who would benefit from your help.

Neither seems to be the case here. Never having heard of a destitute case that involves enjoying fine dining, Miss Manners understands why this fund-raising campaign does not touch your heart.

You need only respond to the shower invitation with a note offering your regret at not being able to attend and your best wishes.

If you receive a formal invitation to a reception, you respond in its style (rather than that of the pitch):

“Ms. Natasha Twimbly

“regrets that she is unable to accept

“the very kind invitation of ( )”

It is not necessary for you to point out to Miss Manners that you actually feel no regret. In fact, you do, but it is regret that people who are not destitute no longer feel ashamed of begging.

Gift cards

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My spouse says a gift card is impersonal. What are your thoughts?

GENTLE READER: Well, its only attempt at being personal is to indicate, “I know where you shop, but otherwise I haven’t the least idea of what you are like or what might please you.”

Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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