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20-40-60 Etiquette: Must I know the couple to attend their wedding?

If you’re invited to a wedding for a couple you’ve never met, is it proper etiquette to accept?
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Athey Published: July 21, 2014

QUESTION: Here’s a question opposite of the one I read in your June 30 article. I recently received a wedding invitation for the marriage of the son of a new friend whose connection with me is professional. I have not met her husband or her son and future daughter-in-law.

My personal feelings are that a bride and groom should at least be acquainted with their wedding guests. For this reason, I don’t really feel comfortable attending the wedding. If I attend I’m violating my own personal philosophy, and if I decline I risk offending my new friend. What do you advise?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Very nice of her to invite you. Send a gift and don't go. That being said, definitely let her know how nice it was to be invited.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: HI don’t think you have to explain all of that to your new friend. If you want to go and get to know her better socially, then do so. Or you can decline the invitation, saying you have other plans, and leave it at that. You don’t have to worry about offending her, but avoid the long explanation about your philosophy regarding wedding invitations. If you want to, send a gift along with your regrets; it can be small. And then celebrate this milestone in your new friend’s life by asking her about it during a get-together with her another time.

HELEN’S ANSWER: Maybe she invited everyone in the office and did not want to leave you out. Maybe she wants to get to know you better. For whatever reason, you are invited. Some wedding couples and parents invite their work connections so that if people are talking about it at work, then everyone is invited and can talk about it together.

There are many reasons not to accept an invitation. You might be out of town, already busy that night, or just want to stay at home. Pick one and decline. Get together with your new friend another time. Meet for lunch or a drink after work.

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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by Callie Athey
Freelance Writer
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a...
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