DEAR MISS MANNERS: After attending the first of many weddings we were invited to, we have been made aware of a new trend Or, maybe it is an old trend that we were just unaware of.
It seems that wedding "invitations" aren't necessarily an invitation to the actual event, but could be just an "announcement" of the event with the expectation that you won't actually attend but will send a gift.
It now seems (after the fact) that our first invite was exactly that. I took the invitation at face value -- as an invitation to attend -- and did so at great expense because we had to travel quite a distance.
After we arrived in town, I was informed by a third party of a trend of sending "Courtesy Invitations" to people you don't expect to attend, and therefore, no RSVP card is included. (RSVP cards are not always a practice, depending on the type of wedding, so I wasn't concerned that one wasn't included.) Needless to say, I was mortified, embarrassed, hurt and offended that such a practice would even be considered. I have already purchased the airplane tickets to attend the next wedding, 2,000 miles away, and now I am wondering if we are "really" invited.
If one is "announcing" the wedding, why not send announcement cards instead of actual invitations? The postage is the same, and the consequences are much less offensive.
In this day and age, a lot of brides are printing their own invitations on their home computers. It is a simple act to change a line or two from "Request the Honour of your Presence" to "would like to announce" and remove all confusion.
GENTLE READER: It's been a while -- oh, maybe a week -- since Miss Manners heard of a new atrocity against etiquette invented by those who are planning weddings. But the idea of sending noninvitations ("Here's what we sent to people we want to attend, but you're not one of them") qualifies.
She is hoping against hope, or rather against experience, that this is the work of a lone crazy -- the person who told you this -- or at most, of a pair of them. Every time she thinks that, it is only to be deluged with reports that such a practice has spread like the flu.
But surely your supposed hosts know you are coming because you replied to their (apparent) invitations. Please don't tell Miss Manners that you bought into the absurd notion that a host who doesn't supply guests with the materials needed to reply doesn't care to get replies.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend invited me for her birthday dinner at her house, which, of course I attended, and naturally I had a gift for her.
A few days after the event, she came back to me asking me for payment for dinner, and apologizing that she did not mention this detail before hand.
I feel that this was in principle inappropriate, and I feel slighted. What do you think? How should I have reacted?
GENTLE READER: By apologizing that you did not realize it was a benefit, and commiserating with her plight. Should your friend deny being desperate, Miss Manners would forgive you for getting out your wallet and saying quietly, "Then how much do you charge for celebrating your birthday?"