Miss Manners: No gift is required
May 06, 2010
Dear Miss Manners: I grew up with the rule that a wedding invitation requires a gift, even if the invitee does not attend the wedding. But friends have been telling me that rule is obsolete.
I’ve been invited to the wedding of a first cousin twice removed, whom I haven’t seen since she was 5. Her parents and I are in touch only through Christmas cards. I have no idea why I was invited and have no intention of going to the wedding, which will not be in my town. It would involve an expensive overnight hotel stay. Must I send a gift?
Gentle Reader: Those among whom you grew up were generous but misinformed.
Getting married does not grant people license to distribute bills to those who are minding their business. A wedding invitation is merely an offer of hospitality. As such, it must be answered, one way or the other, and it should also prompt a letter wishing the couple happiness. There is nothing wrong with also sending a present, but that is certainly not required.