DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it considered good etiquette to ask why an invitation is declined? We were invited to a wedding that we cannot attend, and the bride asked why. I was under the impression that generally one should never ask why an invitation is declined.
GENTLE READER: Such an inquiry is neither proper etiquette nor common sense. The not-to-be-guest must then either tell the truth, which at best is another commitment, or lie, as an alternative to admitting to disliking the bridegroom.
Instead, Miss Manners counsels giving as little information as possible (“I’m so sorry, we just can’t”), lest the host compound the rudeness by using your answer to appeal the decision (“Oh, just find a babysitter”).