DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the etiquette surrounding invitations for far-flung friends for bridal showers, etc., when it is probable they won’t be able to make it?
I know people want to make sure they include loved ones in their special events, but when does it cross a line into gift-grab territory? Realistically, a lot of people can’t travel cross-country for these events, but I also wouldn’t want to exclude people simply because of assumed travel burdens.
I was on the receiving end of a baby shower invitation for a high school friend’s wife. This friend has made zero effort to keep in contact with our friend group over the years (with the exception of attending the occasional wedding), let alone having us get to know his wife. I live across the country, and I’m sure there was zero expectation that I would travel for the shower. I interpreted this as a blatant gift-grab, and I politely declined to attend and sent a nice card instead.
I’m about to enter that stage of my life, and would love guidance on avoiding the appearance of 1. excluding folks based on their location, or 2. sending blatant gift-grab invitations. What really means the most to me is making sure loved ones know they’re special to me.
GENTLE READER: Showers, by their very nature, are a request for (nominal) presents -- but only from those attending. However, the ridiculous registries and size of these requests has upstaged any pretense of wanting to see the people who are being asked to hand them over.
Miss Manners has a simple solution: Extend invitations to those whom you would genuinely want to have there, no matter what their location. Then make an effort to stay in touch with those people so that your own motives are not similarly suspected.