Q: My husband and I were recently married, and about half of our close friends were able to attend. We were touched that they used their vacation time to attend our wedding.
Even so, the majority of our close friends who attended did not give us a congratulatory card or note and no gift of any kind. We had an online registry with affordable options, but it was hardly used.
We were a little hurt because we didn’t ask them to spend much money on us outside of our wedding (no shower, etc.), and we always spend money on our friends to celebrate their life events (children and hosting showers/bachelorette parties), so we thought that we would at least receive a card.
My friends spend lavishly on themselves, and our wedding cost about $150 per person. I understand if people can’t afford much, but our friends earn about twice as much as us.
I feel petty for asking, but should I be insulted? I have never once forgotten to send a gift, even for weddings I can’t attend. Is it now socially acceptable to not give anything to a bride and groom if their wedding is a destination wedding? Is the lack of even a sentimental note a sign that our friendship is not as strong as I thought, or am I overanalyzing it all?
A: Little clues in your question are giving Miss Manners pause. Like the fact that it was a destination wedding. How far a destination? That only half of your close friends were able to attend gives her an idea.
And tallying the price of the dinner you gave and the amount of money your friends earn and spend on themselves is as irrelevant as it is unseemly.
Yes, a wedding present is generally given and a sentimental note is always thoughtful, although hardly a tradition or necessity from those who attended. But it seems to Miss Manners that after what can now be up to a year or two of celebrations and festivities surrounding a wedding, guests are simply exhausted. And they feel they have shown their sentiment for the couple merely by continuing to show up — and shell out.
How much more acknowledgment do you need? Surely it is time to turn your attentions to something else, like the marriage itself. Or as you stated at the outset, feeling grateful that your friends and family were there with you to celebrate it.
On (another) bright side, you have relatively few letters of thanks to send out — a tradition that many brides find abhorrent even for the lavish presents that they do receive.
Q: I will be unable to attend an annual dinner party for family members this year because of a particularly hurtful event between myself and another attendee. I want to say that I will not attend without going into detail. What is your advice?
A: To say that you will not attend without going into detail.
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, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.