Annie’s Mailbox: Many ignore ‘no gifts’ instruction

Dear Annie: I received two different invitations: one for a birthday party and the other for an engagement party. Both stated “no gifts, please.” Yet on arrival, there were tons of gifts.

I was astounded by this and asked, “What’s with the gifts?” wondering whether I missed something in their message. I was assured by those who set up the invites that they asked for no gifts and that if I wanted, I could get one the next day. Does that mean gifts were expected after all?

At the engagement party, I asked a family member why she brought a gift, and she boldly replied, “Because I wanted to.” As more gifts piled on, I began to feel humiliated, embarrassed and angry. In order not to spoil the occasion, I left.

What is the proper etiquette in situations like this? – An Avid Annie Fan

Dear Avid: People routinely ignore “no gifts” requests, which not only upsets obedient nongivers, but can also embarrass and upset the recipients. This is another reason why gifts should not be mentioned on any invitations other than those for showers, where gifts are, in fact, expected. You did nothing wrong. If it happens again, please pay no attention to those who cannot follow directions.

Dear Annie: I was surprised to read the letter from “Pastor’s Wife in the Northwest,” whose husband wasn’t paid for his wedding services.

The churches I have been affiliated with have a set of prices for weddings and specifically list the cost for the use of the sanctuary, the organist, rehearsals, cleanup and the pastor. The fees must be paid a week before the ceremony.

Members of the congregation may have fees waived, and needy persons may receive a discount. The pastor may waive his fees entirely, but that is up to him. She might want to call other pastors in their community to see what they do. – P.

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