When I was pretty young, like before I was a teen, I was given an etiquette book as a gift for either my birthday or Christmas. With my tendency to devour the printed word, I'm sure the giver knew that I'd read it from cover to cover and take it to heart.

It being the 70's, many of those rules do not apply today. Still, I know the proper way to address letters, the order of introducing people to each other, and how a proper place setting should be prepared if I ever decide to break out the fine china and good set of silverware that resides in a box within arm's reach (my Dad bought my flatware as a wedding gift, I like having it close). Later, I'd read Miss Manners and update myself on things, as the Emily Post book really was intended for a modern woman of the 60's and had obsolete topics about calling cards and when to wear white gloves.

Many rules haven't changed, though-and those typically are the ones that have to do with weddings and showers and the like. I've been invited to several of each that make me wonder if the bride never bothered to research what is proper form. The latest one has me chucking. You see, I was invited to the shower and knew full well I wasn't going to be invited to the wedding: the bride had already said there would only be 40 guests and she has a big family.

Honestly, I'm at the stage in my life that I would rather not attend one of someone who isn't a very close friend or family member. I wasn't even intending on going to the shower, but I got egged on by a mutual friend to go. It was okay, but the lack of really knowing anyone but two people out of the bride friends, family, and coworkers made me realize I should have sent my regrets and given her the gift when I next saw her.

Now, the wedding is looming and the bride is acting awkward. She's invited people we both know, but not me. Saying that I don't give a shit really makes it look like it's sour grapes, but really-why would I spend the whole day at an occasion that isn't really significant to me?

I haven't said a word the bride. If she can't say "hey, I didn't invite you because I have such a small guest list", then I really can't bothered to say that I didn't expect an invite to a small wedding, nor did I really want one to an event where I don't really know anyone. If she's feeling uncomfortable about the situation, that is her own doing and I'm not going to fix it for her.

I probably would have bought the gift for the wedding if I hadn't been invited to the shower because it is proper form. All the etiquette books, Emily Post, Miss Manners, and even Martha Stewart say the same thing: if you aren't inviting someone to your wedding, they shouldn't be invited to a bridal shower. It makes it look like a gift grab.


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