20-40-60 Etiquette: Who's that bride?
QUESTION: I just received an invitation to a bridal shower. When I opened it, I (A) had no inkling of the name of the honoree or who she was (B), no idea who the hostess was for this shower. The return address label didn't help.
My first question is: Shouldn't the invitation state the name of the impending groom, if that is the connection for the invitation? Honestly, I had no idea who anyone was from the invitation.
I used Facebook to look up the name of the honoree, then realized the groom was the friend of my son. Without the Facebook connection, I'd have no clue who was being honored or who sent the invitation.
Second question: Speaking of that, the groom has been married and divorced and I attended bridal showers for that failed marriage and also sent a wedding gift to the now-divorced couple.
What is an appropriate response on gifting to people who can't seem to stay married when you've already significantly spent time and money on gifts for the first marriage? I know the groom, not the bride. I don't want to be rude.
I'm just little bent out of shape on all this.
CALLIE'S ANSWER: Clearly, you're more than just a little bent out of shape. When only the bride is listed, this indicates it is a ladies' shower. Not listing the groom is very common for those types of showers. You should probably RSVP “no” to the shower and not send a gift. That is completely fine to do so, just don't explain why you're saying you cannot attend. Keep that to yourself.
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: First, sometimes social media is a great tool for playing detective — thank goodness you figured out how you were connected to this wedding and shower through Facebook. Yes, the invitation should have had more information than it did, especially the names of all the hosts. And even though it appears to have been a bridal shower and not a couple's one, it would have been nice to mention the connection to the groom, since not every guest knew the bride, like yourself. People don't always think these things through all the way.
Second, it's OK to regret without explaining yourself. I realize it's therapeutic to vent, like you did anonymously here, but just quietly RSVP that you can't come and leave it at that.
HELEN'S ANSWER: Yes indeed, invitations should provide as much information as possible. The hostess should be indicated, and last names provided for the hostesses. It would be appropriate to list the groom's name, even if it is a women's party.
It also is appropriate for you to regret the invitation.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Patti Leeman, community volunteer: By all means, invitations need to be specific as to Who, What, When, Where and RSVP.
Since that information was missing, you are within your rights not to reply at all. If the hostess follows up with a phone call to check on whether you are coming, you could explain your uncertainty as the reason you did not respond.
You were invited to attend the shower because somebody thought you would want to be there. If you decide to go, you should, by all means, give the gift that you want to give the couple. Dish towels, silver, crystal, or just a warm congratulatory card would be entirely appropriate.
You need not consider their history so much as celebrate their future. No need to get bent out of shape about it. Just be honest.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com.