Home Perspectives Advice Has technology changed the rules of proper etiquette?

Has technology changed the rules of proper etiquette?


Dear Ella,

My good friend is getting married and she is offending many people in the process. Jenny and Mark are paying for their own wedding, and I understand that their funds are tight, but did they really need to send out electronic e-vites instead of regular mailed invitations?

Come on! They could have taken the time to buy nice paper and print them on  a home printer. So they would have spent a bit of money, but all they’ve accomplished now is gossip for everyone.

I’ve had so many friends get married in the last few years, but this is a first for me. It’s like she couldn’t be bothered, and what’s even worse is, she didn’t invite me with my boyfriend. We’ve been dating on and off for a couple of years. I’m so annoyed that I haven’t actually decided if I’m going to go to her wedding.


Fuming Friend

Dear Fuming Friend

Technology has complicated traditional etiquette. What’s proper and right today is not what was acceptable when my generation got married. In fact, marriage itself in some cases has taken a back seat to cohabiting. It’s a changing world and there is no point in getting upset. The sooner you come to terms with electronic invites, thank yous, photos, etc., the happier you’ll be. They aren’t going away.

Of course she could have made invitations as you suggested, but she chose to send out electronic invites, which can be very creative and attractive. In the grand scheme of things, this is insignificant.

As for not inviting your on-again, off-again boyfriend, you’ll have to get over that, too. Weddings are expensive, and when it comes down to cutting out people, boyfriends and girlfriends make the first cut. If you were a long-term couple – married, engaged or living together – I might side with you, but you are still in the
infancy of your relationship.

Get over it. You are being far too hard on someone you say is a good friend. Be happy for Jenny, and don’t rain on her happy day just because she didn’t do things your way. Go to her wedding and enjoy.

Dear Ella,

A close cousin’s son got engaged and emailed relatives and friends to announce the news. Our mom was offended, as there was not a personal phone call. Mom is of the “old school,” but on reflection I do think she’s right. We emailed back with our mazal tov, but wondered if we should have called directly instead .

I’m confused about the ethics of technology. What is proper etiquette?


Technology and Etiquette

Dear Technology and Etiquette

Things have changed tremendously over the years. Technology has definitely intruded on tradition, and it doesn’t sit well with many.

In an age where kids text each other in the same house, where people would much rather speak via email or text rather than pick up a phone, etiquette is being rewritten.

In your case, the announcement is not an invitation to anything, it’s simply a way for the couple to share their happy news. I do not think it’s inappropriate for them to have sent out an email to those close to them. Think of the alternative: at least you made the email list. I’m sure many did not and ended up finding out in an updated Facebook status.

Yes, things have changed and communication has become far more impersonal. Your mom may not understand the fast-paced changing world of young couples today. Do your best to explain it to her, and let her know that they meant no disrespect. It would be nice if sometimes we could slow down long enough to pick up the phone and meet and speak in person, but in today’s world, that’s not a realistic expectation.

Ella is the author of Hidden Gold – A True Story of the Holocaust. Her advice is not a replacement for medical, legal or any other advice. For serious problems, consult a professional