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Question re wedding invitation - etiquette?

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Old 07-15-2013, 05:19 PM   #1
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Default Question re wedding invitation - etiquette?

I received a wedding invitation to my cousin's wedding. This cousin and I barely know one another- I honestly don't know that I could pick him out of a crowd unless I knew specifically he was there. We have never socialized outside of saying hello at large family functions we both attended. He's significantly younger than I am and we've just never had any type of relationship.

Therefore, I'm not sure why I'm invited. I do have a distant relationship with my Aunt and Uncle (his parents) and suspect that I ended up on the invite list because of that. Or maybe just because I'm related- we don't have a large family presence in the State I live in, just 9 of us total.

I don't have a lot of interest in going to the wedding, but I'm torn. Despite barely knowing this cousin, would it be inexcusably rude to decline the invite? I don't begrudge them a present, and would gladly send them one. However, my mother and this Aunt and Uncle are feuding right now. That's not why I don't want to go, but it creates a level of awkwardness either way. If I go, that feud hangs over my head and it's possible they may say things or even ask me to play referee between them and my Mom. If I don't go, I risk them thinking that I'm expanding the feud by refusing to go.

The reality is that as a rule I don't enjoy formal occasions and generally only accept invites to ones for people I am close to.

This is only the third wedding invitation I've ever received and the first two I attended (close friends) so I don't really know if I just need to suck it up and go, or if I can gracefully decline and send a gift instead.

What do you all think?
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Old 07-15-2013, 05:46 PM   #2
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It isn't rude to decline! I have a large family and generally everyone gets invited to weddings which makes it expensive to have a wedding in my family. I would say, send the RSVP declining with a note wishing them well. You could also choose to send a gift but I don't think you are obligated.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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I agree with nelie. You don't have to go just because you were invited. I think a nice note with a gift (if you choose to send one) would be nice. Let them know that you appreciated the invitation, but are unable to make it.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:34 PM   #4
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you could respectfully apologize for not attending because you already made other commitments within that time frame.....

.....including a nap and your favorite tv show, but you shouldn't mention that part
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:11 AM   #5
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There is nothing wrong with declining. If you hardly know him, I would wager that his parents expected an invitation to distant family out of formality and that he probably doesn't want to foot the bill to practical strangers!
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:32 AM   #6
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Given your distant relationship with the cousin, I see no reason to feel badly about declining the invite. And I wouldn't necessarily feel compelled to give a gift, personally, unless the aunt and uncle gave a sizable gift to me for my own wedding. I'd probably just send a nice congratulations card to the couple.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:13 PM   #7
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I would decline the invite and send a gift. I'm shopping for a baby shower gift right now (thank you, Amazon!) for the daughter of a cousin I haven't seen in years. I might recognize the cousin, I promise I would NOT recognize the daughter so I'm not going, but a gift seems necessary. I'm sure at some point my cousin sent a wedding gift or shower gift or something to me. Who knows. Ignoring the invite seems like a snub, going seems ridiculous. So here's a box of diapers and some wipes, congrats!
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:53 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. I feel more assured now that I'm not committing some grievous faux pas by declining the invite. I appreciate the feedback.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #9
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I once remember someone I know telling me "It's an invitation, not a summons."
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:47 PM   #10
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You can't control how your aunt and uncle will respond but if they choose to see your lack of presence as a snub, then that's their unfortunate choice.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:59 PM   #11
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I would decline and then call them. Very graciously say something along the lines of..."I know we don't keep in touch but I personally wanted to congratulate you and wish you all the best. I unfortunately cannot attend for whatever reason but I will be thinking about you all day." That would be a little warmer than a decline letter, and would clear any doubt of you not attending for feud reasons.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:02 PM   #12
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I think some people just invite everyone. I received a Save the Date two years in advance for an out of state female relative I had seen once as a newborn. We have a massive family and I could not even figure out who it was at first. If my Mom had not called me saying that she had been invited to the wedding I would have had to ask who she was.

Along with the Save the Date, was a list of about twenty places they were registered. I assumed that was just a way to get gifts. I realize that etiquette has changed over the years, but I am still offended by unrequested registry lists. I think that some people just invite everyone so as not to offend anyone and others are hoping for a huge payout in gifts.

In your case, you may have specifically been invited so as not to upset your mother regarding the feud. If I were you, I would just send a nice note like other people suggested so that you are adding fuel to the feud fire.
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