Declining wedding invitation from estranged family member

I have been estranged from my sister (N) for several years (15years or so). “N” showed up last year to my work place, unannounced and pretended as though nothing had ever happened. After that visit, I received a “save the date” card for her daughter’s upcoming wedding in April 2008. The last time I had any contact with her daughter was when she was 3-4 years old, she is now 24 years old or so. My other sister ©, who is also estranged (about 4years) also received a phone call from her shortly after “N” visited me. “C” was skeptical of the phone call and also received the “save the date” card, afterwards. We (“C” and myself) think she made the contact just so she could invite us and she knows we are nice enough people that at the very least we would send a gift. “N” is a very controlling and rude person. The invitation does not include a regret only to choose your meal and number of guests attending. I nor “C” want to attend. My questions are (1) Are we obligated to attend? (2) Are we obligated to send a gift? (3) How do we go about declining a wedding invitation properly

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc

If you’re sure this isn’t your sister’s way of trying to get the family back together simply return the reply card as not attending. if there is no space to check “not attending” then simply write it in. A wedding invitation sent to guests we are not close with or with whom we have been estranged does not obligate the recipient to send a gift. perhaps you could send a card wishing the couple well. If you feel as though you’d like to have a relationship with your niece in the future, find a way to include that sentiment in your card or letter.

Family can sometimes be wonderful and trying at the same time. Best of luck.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I couldn’t agree more–great advice.