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by Abigail Van Buren

Trouble Comes in Singles When Making Invitation List

DEAR ABBY: I sent my wedding invitations several weeks ago. This is the policy I followed: If a guest was married, engaged or living with someone, I invited the couple. If the guest was single but had dated someone for a long time, I invited both. About one-quarter of my guest list was made up of single, unattached adults who received invitations for themselves alone. I consulted several etiquette books, and not one said I was required to provide "and guest" invitations for singles. (Some authors clearly stated that it's presumptuous for a single guest to expect to bring a date.)

I've been planning this wedding for over a year, and my friends seemed enthusiastic about attending. Yesterday, however, I received "regrets" from three women who had previously accepted. "Alice" had only recently started seeing someone. "Betty" had just ended a relationship, and "Carla" is married, but a close friend of both Alice and Betty. I can only surmise that Alice was offended because she couldn't bring a date, and decided not to come -- so Betty and Carla declined also.

If they had a problem with the invitations, they should have spoken to me. I feel they have ended their relationships with me. Am I overreacting? -- HURT IN PITTSBURGH

DEAR HURT: I don't think so. Evidently Betty and Carla feel closer to Alice than they do to you. Be happy that you didn't invest more time and energy in cultivating these three insensitive women. A friend you can't count on is no friend at all. Celebrate without them.

DEAR ABBY: Recently you recommended Toastmasters International for adults who are shy and afraid to speak in public. Have you never heard of International Training in Communication? We were founded as a women-only club 51 years ago under the name of International Toastmistresses Clubs. At that time, Toastmasters was for men only. Both clubs were later forced to become co-ed. When that happened, the women flocked to join the men, although both clubs offered the same benefits.

Sensing that men would not care to be called "mistresses," in 1985, we changed our name to International Training in Communication, retaining the initials ITC.

I have been a member of ITC for more than 25 years. It has worked wonders for me because I can now stand up and speak when necessary without shaking knees. We learn far more than speechmaking. We gain overall self-improvement skills. The benefits are too numerous to recite.

To locate an ITC club in your area, call the Chamber of Commerce. Our clubs are located in every free country in the world! Please mention us, along with Toastmasters. Thank you. -- MARIECE HERRING, FORT WALTON BEACH, FLA.

DEAR MARIECE: A toast to you for alerting readers to International Training in Communication.

DEAR ABBY: The lighthearted trick, "I remember your name, but I can't think of your face," which causes the forgotten one to blurt out his name -- then laugh -- reminds me of a faux pas I made during a trip to Hawaii.

While writing postcards to the folks back home, I wrote the usual, "The scenery is beautiful, wish you were here," but I inadvertently wrote to my secretary, "The scenery is here, wish you were beautiful."

Luckily, she forgave me. -- GORDON MARTEN, GRASS VALLEY, CALIF.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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