DEAR ABBY:

Is it improper to decline a wedding reception invitation just because you do not wish to attend? I received a “save the date” postcard from a co-worker’s daughter for her wedding. I don’t know this girl or her fiance, and I’m not particularly close to her mother.

Where we live, a gift of $150 per person is expected if you attend a wedding reception. My husband and I are on a tight budget, and a $300 gift would be a sacrifice. In addition, my husband would have to take time off work to attend and lose a night’s income.

We attended her older daughter’s wedding seven years ago, but enough is enough. This will never be reciprocated, as our children will not be marrying. If they did, I wouldn’t invite my co-workers to their weddings. Can I decline the invitation by saying we are sorry, but we are unable to attend? Or is it mandatory that we attend? — DON’T WANT TO IN ILLINOIS

DEAR DON’T WANT TO:

An invitation is not a command performance! Because you don’t want to go, and because it would create a financial hardship, check “will not attend” on the RSVP card included with the invitation. It’s that simple. Although you won’t be obligated to spend $300, it would be nice if you sent the happy couple a card wishing them a long and happy marriage.

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DEAR READERS:

I wish you all a happy and healthy Fourth of July. Please drive carefully and celebrate safely.

PS Wishing a Happy, Heavenly Birthday to you, Mom! — LOVE, ABBY

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (US funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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