Get­ting your wed­ding gift back — sort of

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - PARTIES ETC. -

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: A wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion I was to at­tend was called off at the last minute. I can­not fault any­one for can­cel­ing the nup­tials if the bride or groom did not want to get mar­ried. But my mother told me, years ago, that good man­ners dic­tate that the gifts for a can­celed wed­ding be re­turned. I was wait­ing to see how this would be han­dled.

I soon got an email from the store at which the bride was reg­is­tered. It stated: “We are in the process of get­ting all gifts back from the bride, but we have been asked by the bride’s mother to give all pur­chasers a store credit. You can call us the next time you need a gift for any­one . ... We can ac­cess any ma­jor depart­ment store reg­istry and typ­i­cally save you 20 per­cent from the depart­ment store prices on most ma­jor brands. We also have over 50,000 items on our own web­site.”

I’m not sure how I should re­act to this in­for­ma­tion, but I do know I am of­fended. Is this an ac­cept­able way to re­turn a gift? I feel that the mother pre­empted my de­ci­sion about what to do with the re­turned present, but maybe I should just be thank­ful that I am re­ceiv­ing some­thing back. Af­ter all, the bride could have kept all the gifts.

GEN­TLE READER: It hardly seems bet­ter that they are, in­stead, be­ing held on con­sign­ment. Per­haps with the no­tion that it would be con­ve­nient for all, this woman has forced her guests into the un­pleas­ant po­si­tion of hav­ing to ask per­mis­sion for what is right­fully theirs.

If you have the gump­tion to do so, Miss Man­ners will al­low you to po­litely de­cline the of­fer, say­ing, “I ap­pre­ci­ate the dis­count, but if you do not mind, I think that we will go through the trou­ble of re­turn­ing the sil­ver wa­ter fil­ter our­selves.”

DEAR MISS MAN­NERS: I am mov­ing back to my home state in three months. An aunt of mine found out about this move and sent me, via so­cial me­dia, an in­vi­ta­tion to my cousin’s (her son’s) wed­ding since I would “be in the area.”

Hon­estly, I am not close to my ex­tended fam­ily; I barely even know them. I wouldn’t mind go­ing to the wed­ding to ex­tend an olive branch and maybe start to know them bet­ter. But can I re­ally put any weight in a so­cial me­dia in­vi­ta­tion from the mother of the groom? I feel that if they re­ally wanted to have me, they would have sent a real in­vi­ta­tion. How should I re­spond?

GEN­TLE READER: To your cousin. He will surely have a more di­rect line to whether the rest of the fam­ily has other ideas: “Aunt Des­tiny was kind enough to in­vite me to the wed­ding through so­cial me­dia, but we all know that such in­vi­ta­tions are ten­u­ous, at best. Are you sure that it would be all right if I at­tend? I would love to see the fam­ily now that I am in closer prox­im­ity.”

And then Miss Man­ners sug­gests you send an equally charm­ing note to his fi­ancee, say­ing how much you look for­ward to get­ting to know her bet­ter — ei­ther at this event or an­other one — to en­sure di­rect in­vi­ta­tions in the fu­ture.

Please send your ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, www.miss­man­ners.com; to her email, dearmiss­man­ners@gmail. com; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

Ju­dith Mar­tin

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