Dear Miriam,

I read your column in the edition of Irish Country Living dated 31 July 2021 with interest. It got me thinking about a slightly similar situation I’m in. I haven’t been invited to my friend’s wedding, but I hadn’t expected to be. She’s having quite a small wedding, not even 50 guests.

We are, I would consider, very good friends. Had the wedding been bigger, my partner and I would definitely be invited. What I want to know is, do I still need give her a card with money, as you normally would? How much should I give?

I’m unsure. I feel like COVID has changed all the rules.

Thanks in advance,

Connacht Reader

Dear Connacht Reader,

Thank you very much for your query. So, from a quick straw poll conducted among friends, I gather the going rate (in normal times, for want of another expression) is €100 per person and €200 per couple (ish) for someone you know well.

Now – it is important to point out here – that is as long as you can afford it. Weddings are expensive days out. If that is not within your budget, it is perfectly acceptable to give a thoughtful gift of a lesser value.

Anyway, in this case, “normal” etiquette goes out the window. If you want my tuppence worth. Here, I feel a gift would perfectly suffice. A nice set of glasses, or again, maybe something thoughtful. You know best in this instance. If you can afford it, I think around the value of €50-€100, from you and your partner, would be fine.

Wishing you all the best,


Reader reacts

I regularly get correspondence from readers reacting to my column. Sometimes it is offering additional advice or sharing a relevant story. Other times it is disagreeing with my advice, which I totally accept. Variety is the spice of life. I always strive to be as compassionate and balanced as I can be, but I am just mere mortal. Here is one reader’s take on recent advice I gave.

Dear Miriam,

I have read your recent advice column (Irish Country Living edition dated 31 July 2021) and am upset mostly by the scolding tone and dismissive, somewhat superficial advice.

[Context: this lady feels rejected by a ‘good’/’best’ friend as she was not invited to her wedding due to restrictions on numbers and was told of this through a cold, generic text message – she is obviously very hurt!]

Firstly in such a case of raw hurt, the lady’s feelings should be acknowledged with mercy (I wasn’t feeling your compassion Miriam!) Before she can “put the situation behind her” (as you say) the truth of the matter should also be acknowledged (ie “Yes, your friend was not a good friend here”) (you failed to do this). Only then, may she be able to move on.

Instead, you moved quickly to advising her (scolding her even?!) to “try to have a bit of empathy and see things from her (the bride’s) perspective” and that she (the bride) “was under a lot of pressure”. Yes, indeed, we do need to cut brides some slack. However, if having “the perfect day” hurts people, it’s time to call a halt I think.

As a former bride, I would have been greatly saddened if a guest was hurt by my decisions and never spoke of it, but carried it into our friendship. It’s not what you say, but how you say it – the bride would likely benefit from this lady’s honesty, and from knowing how her actions affect others.

This is positive conflict at its best – cementing friendship. A wedding lasts one day, a friendship ideally lasts a lifetime. Shouldn’t our priority be to protect the latter?

Thanks for reading,

Elaine, Cork.

PS I would also like to say that I do appreciate your advice column and agree with your assessment a lot of the time. I hope my email didn’t come across negatively. I did feel I had to write though as I thought your advice was unbalanced on the side of the bride – I hope you understand. Thanks.

Read more

Dear Miriam: I think my husband has an issue with me losing weight

Dear Miriam: my daughter won’t take the vaccine