DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was invited to two weddings that were indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, both couples are in careers where their work schedules make it difficult to reschedule the weddings.
I had not yet bought presents for either wedding, as one was still a ways out, and the other, I was only invited to one day before it was canceled. I am trying to decide if I should send a present now, or wait until the wedding is rescheduled.
What is the proper etiquette for this unexpected situation? One couple has been married legally for over a year anyway, and the other is a stable couple, so I fully expect both will reschedule.
GENTLE READER: While you are not obligated to send wedding presents, a show of good faith that these weddings will take place eventually would certainly be welcome.
Presumably, even the issuers of the last-minute invitation are people who mean something to you, and it would mean something to them to be remembered during this difficult time.
That is not to say that Miss Manners does not appreciate your hesitance -- not only in sending presents without assurance that a wedding will occur, but also with the fear that if you send a present now, it could easily be forgotten later. (Miss Manners wishes she were less cynical, but she has seen too many wedding couples who unabashedly go after their guests if they think a present is owed.)
However, she is also inclined to be generous -- particularly now -- and therefore proposes a compromise. Why not send a small token that shows that you are thinking of these couples? Something that takes their minds off of their situation and allows them to focus instead on their current time together?
A unique board game, for example, or a home or craft project. If the unintended effect is that their competitive spirits, disparate interests or too much time together instead drive them apart, you may have no need to send a more substantial present later. But of course, Miss Manners sincerely wishes that that will not be the case.