Reader's Response: Wedding Etiquette Re-re-revisited
On May 26th, we received a letter from Mrs. B, who needed Bubby's advice concerning a wedding invitation (Miss Manners' apparently didn't have a chapter on this). The envelope contained no RSVP card, and Mrs. B wasn't sure how she should formally inform the couple that she would in fact be showing up. Bubby wrote back that the wedding was probably going to be a very informal affair, and that Mrs. B should just send a hand-written note confirming her presence at their party. An update soon followed, and Mrs. B told us that Bubby was correct - it was going to be a very informal affair.
A few weeks after that we received another letter from a woman in Jerusalem, who had read Mrs. B's letter, and Bubby's advice -- and then had a few insights of her own to share with us. Here's what she wrote:
I enjoy your blog very much. Reading your advice makes me miss my own Bubby (whom I call "Omi"), who lives in America (I moved to Israel last year). She's very sweet and makes excellent blintzes.
Anyhow, tonight I read about the wedding invitation with no response card. Your reply, and the follow-up the next day, made me think of something interesting.
Not so long ago, response cards were considered gauche. If you read the Miss Manner's books from a few decades ago -- which you probably remember, Bubby, but some of your younger readers might not -- they all say that when you get an invitation to a wedding, you must hand-write a response on your own stationery, accepting or declining the invitation. So the advice you gave, technically, is the very most formal way of responding.
It's interesting how manners change over time. Once upon a time, writing a hand-written response was the ONLY acceptable way to respond to a formal invitation. Now, it's come full circle, and become the way to respond when an invitation is so INformal that there is no response card!
Anyhow, keep up the good work.
--A Fan in Jerusalem
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