Wedding Invitations, Vol. 7, Issue 7

Dear Etiquetteer:


I find myself at a loss to deal with a situation involving the upcoming nuptials of my cousin. Upon hearing of her engagement, I was so overcome with excitement (One can sell the cow after giving the milk away for free!) that I offered to make the wedding cake for the reception.  I've never undertaken such an effort and have put my heart and soul into preparing for the task -- including baking, freezing, transporting and decorating a "preview" cake to serve 70 or so guests at the "Jack and Jill" shower last weekend.


Imagine my shock, when, upon opening the invitation, that the words "and guest" were nowhere to be found.  While my partner of eleven years and I were still having discussions about whether he would join me, my feelings are somewhat bruised at him not being included. I've received a suggestion that I submit my reply card for two, but I bristle at the thought that my own familiarity with the conventions of etiquette could be called into question.


Your reply is anxiously awaited.


Dear Burned Baker:


First of all, you'll be surprised to learn that Etiquetteer really does not like "and guest." If you're inviting someone to a wedding -- and not just someone's partner of eleven years, anyone -- you ought to know their name and address. Adding "and guest" to an invitation is just sloppy, and it also doesn't give hosts enough control over their own guest lists. Suppose you put "and guest" on an invitation to someone and they brought as their guest someone who is your sworn enemy?


But this is a sideline to the real issue you want addressed, which is the omission of your partner from the wedding invitation after you have so generously offered your love and service to make the wedding cake. Certainly your partner should have been invited! (And if you do not share living quarters, he should have been mailed his own invitation at his own address.) 


Assuming that Your Cousin the Bride actually knows you've been in a relationship for over ten years and has actually met your partner -- and Etiquetteer has no reason to assume that she has actually met him or knows about him -- you have a pretty serious offense on your hands. Since you know your cousin well enough to bake her wedding cake, you know her well enough to call her on the phone and ask (calmly and coolly) why your partner was not invited. Please give her the opportunity to hem and haw and be Appropriately Embarrassed and of course to extend an invitation to your partner. This is your opportunity to forgive an innocent oversight, which Etiquetteer hopes you will do.


On the other hand, if she indicates that your partner was intentionally omitted for whatever reason, you have an obligation not to enter rooms where he is unwelcome. Tell your cousin that you'll deliver the wedding cake, but won't be able to attend her wedding or reception. Then hang up to let her stew in her own juices.


Really Etiquetteer expects the former situation to be the one that prevail, and wishes you all a happy time on a Happy Day.