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Elderly reader

Dear Queenie,

One of our close friend’s children is getting married for the second time. We are invited to this wedding, as we were to the first one. We like the groom and new bride to be – and their family – very much. We may go, but we are not sure yet.

If we decide not to go, what is the custom on gifts for a second wedding, as we did a lot for the first wedding. I do not feel we have to – or should – give the amount we did for the first wedding. But what is appropriate?

And if you have any advice on the best way to turn down the invitation – that would be good to read. Though I find that when you turn down an invitation from close friends – they are not happy.

Usually I am pretty frank by just telling our friends that we cannot do these long trips any longer – and hope they understand.

Thank you.— Elderly reader

 

Dear Elderly reader,

I am no spring chicken myself, so I know exactly how you feel about all this.

The rules of etiquette say that if you do not attend a wedding you are not obliged to give a gift, although it is nice if you do. However, for the sake of peace with your friends, it is a good idea to send one even though it is not obligatory.

First wedding or second – or third or fourth or whatever – the amount you spend on the gift is always up to you. And if you do not attend this wedding, thus saving on travel expense, you can afford to spend more on the gift than you might otherwise have done.

Also, if you decide not to attend, be sure to send your regrets promptly – not at the last minute! How much explanation you give for your non-attendance and how you phrase it depends on how sensitive your friend’s feelings are.

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