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by Abigail Van Buren

Canceled Wedding Raises Question of Returning Gifts

DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine just canceled her wedding that was to take place a month from now. We already had an engagement party and a bridal shower for her.

I assumed since the wedding was canceled, the gifts would be returned. Instead, my friend asked me how much I spent so she could reimburse me, because she likes my gift too much to return it. She further stated that members of her family had refused to take back their gifts when asked. I was too shocked to respond to her question.

How should I have answered her question about how much I spent for her gift? (By the way, she was engaged once before but canceled the wedding before the shower.)

The gifts from the engagement party were never returned -- so now I have given two engagement gifts and a shower gift to someone who never got married.

Which leads to another question -- should she ever become engaged again, must I give her a third gift? -- CONFUSED IN WEST CALDWELL, N.J.

DEAR CONFUSED: Since you have already given two engagement gifts and a shower gift, I see no reason why you should feel obligated to give again should your friend get in the way of cupid's arrow. Tell her exactly how much you spent for the wedding gift she's keeping so she can reimburse you for the expense. She's trying to do the right thing and shouldn't be criticized for it.