Sometimes it’s important to do the right thing — even when you really don’t feel like it. The “rules” of etiquette were established as a guide for how to behave properly. Any society, community, or family functions better when its members are willing to compromise and, on occasion, just “grin and bear it.” What goes around comes around, and when we behave civilly we hope that others will do likewise.
An invited guest asks: “My husband and I have been invited to the wedding of a longtime friend of my husband’s family. My husband and I agree that since neither of us likes the bride-to-be, we aren’t going to accept the invitation. If we don’t go to the wedding, do we have to send a gift?”
Dear guest: As an invited guest, of course you always have the option of rejecting or accepting an invitation. I suggest that before you decide, you take a minute to think. You mentioned that the invitation is from a close friend of your husband’s family — I don’t know from your note what your relationship is with his family, so I don’t how they’ll feel if you decide not to attend. Perhaps you should consider how your rejection of the invitation will impact on them. In any event, if you say “no,” you do not need to send a gift, although it might be a good compromise if you think your husband’s family will be offended by your not attending. If you opt not to send a gift, it’s appropriate for you to write a note wishing the couple much happiness, even though you don’t care for the bride. (It doesn’t go without saying: you should absolutely not mention your feelings about the bride in your letter!)