Etiquette: Graduation party guests are your choice

News-DemocratMay 13, 2013 

Q. An employee in my husband's office has hinted that she would like to be invited to our son's high school graduation. She has met him a couple of times when our son has dropped by the office, but he doesn't really know her. Tickets are very limited for the graduation ceremony and the party afterward is really just for our family. This is an awkward situation. What is the proper way to handle this?

A. Obviously, this employee has a lot of respect for your husband, you and your son. Nonetheless, you need not feel obligated to invite her to your son's graduation ceremony or the graduation party.

At some point, your husband needs to mention the fact that you are busy with all of the graduation plans and wish she and others could be invited, but tickets are very limited, and you do not have enough tickets for all of your relatives. She should understand since this is a common dilemma for a lot of graduations. Your husband should not have to continue the conversation.

If she chooses to send a graduation card to your son or give it to your husband to give to him, no problem.

If she does, your son should take the time to mail her a handwritten thank you note for her best wishes. Send it with his father to give to her at the office, or personally thank her if he has the occasion to stop by the office within a short time after his graduation.

Q. I found the perfect dress to wear to a co-worker's wedding in June. I happened to show a picture of it to some of the other girls in our office who are also going to the wedding. Since then, I've been told one of them went out and bought the same dress because she thought it was so cute. I don't know if this is true, but I would hate to go to this wedding and see her in the same dress, even though she is a bigger size than me. I don't really want to go out and spend the money on another dress to wear, and I don't want to cause a scene in the office lunchroom, so what do I do? This is unbelievable!

A. Although, this could be considered fashion flattery, it obviously would be an embarrassing situation if both of you came to this wedding wearing the same dress. It would also prove to be a distraction from the bride, which should never occur.

Since this wedding will obviously continue to be a subject of discussion in the lunch room, make a point of asking some of the other females, including the one thought to have bought the same dress as you, what they are planning to wear to the wedding.

It could actually be that this co-worker bought the same dress, but is intending to wear it at some other time and for another function where you may not even be included. Or, it may not even be the same dress and the person who told you she bought the same dress misheard or misunderstood the conversation. Whatever the case, it is best to politely address it now, rather than continue to fret about it.

Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Pat Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

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