Q  I’m at my wit’s end about people who don’t respond to an invitation. We’ve had catered events and had to plan for everyone only to hear from some at the last minute that they aren’t attending, so we were out a lot of money, and had events where we rented tables and chairs and had too many, same reason. What’s the polite way to handle this?

A  When you have given invited guests ample opportunity to reply (something they should do immediately) and haven’t heard, the only remedy is to pick up the phone and call, ask if they received the invitation and if they are able to attend. Do this a few days before your deadline, whether for a caterer, rental equipment, or simply for your own menu planning. This is not impolite. It goes without saying that their lack of a response is very impolite.

Q  Our daughter is graduating from college and we would like to send announcements that we can order from the college. Should she send them, or should we, and when do we send them so they don’t look like invitations? Also, how do we indicate that we don’t want people to feel they must send gifts — we just want to share the happy news?

A  Generally, parents send the announcements. Send them at the time of the graduation or immediately thereafter so they are not misconstrued as invitations. Recipients of announcements of any kind (graduation, new baby, or wedding) are not expected to send gifts in return, although it’s very nice if they send a card of congratulations. If you are concerned that recipients of your announcement will feel they must send a gift, write “No gifts, please” at the bottom of the card.

Q  I’m hosting a shower for my niece. She has received registry cards from the two places where she and her fiancé have registered. Is it okay to include them with the invitation?

A  Sure. Your alternative is to print on the invitation, “Sheryl is registered at Bed Bath & Beyond and Crate and Barrel.” Showers are all about presents, and it is helpful to invited guests to know about registries. They don’t have to use them and might give something else entirely, but knowing what the bride and groom would love to have is a great relief to many people.

Q  My fiancée and I are being married late morning at a formal church ceremony and I wanted to check that I will wear a suit, not a tuxedo. Is that correct?

A  Yes, perfect choice. Convention dictates that the daytime dress codes apply to any wedding that takes place prior to 6 or 7 o’clock. However, some contemporary American authorities recognize that the majority of U.S. weddings straddle the dividing line and allow for tuxedos for a 4 or 5 p.m. ceremony if the reception will end late at night. Following these guidelines, a suit, or formal morning dress work best for you.

Have a question for Catherine? Email her at [email protected]