Answer:

I'll defend e-invitations because (1) trees love them, and (2) I can't oppose wedding-expense bloat while also ruling out one harmless way for a lovely couple who are paying for their own wedding to cut costs. If invitations and postage expenses mean you can't invite Auntie Lou, then paper becomes tougher to defend.

The couple's not keeping in touch doesn't rile me up, either, unless they abruptly stopped calling, live on your street, or only check in when they want something. Friendships aren't linear, and it's possible both to care and to fall out of touch.

As for the gift-grubbing e-mail, that's so foul that it makes the e-mailed invitations tacky versus tree-friendly, and their scarcity a snub versus an accident of busy lives. Declining the invitation is the best recourse for the skeeved guest, but a bridesmaid needs a better reason than that. Smile at their hubris and go.

Question: My husband is not close to his family, who live 30 minutes away. In the 14 years I have known him, we have seen/talked to them periodically, but we usually have to initiate things.

A few months ago, my mother-in-law declined an invitation to one of our kids' milestone events because she was "tired." I think that was the straw that broke my husband's back, and he hasn't contacted her since.

I've encouraged my husband to call her because she is his mother, but he has procrastinated. She won't live forever, and I don't want him to have any regrets. On the other hand, she hasn't reached out to us, either, and hasn't seen our kids in a year. Should I keep encouraging him to call her?

Answer: How sad.

Have you specifically addressed it as a matter of regrets? If you're just saying, "She's your mother, you should call," then you're not making a very forceful argument for calling.

If you've said your piece clearly and your husband's unmoved, then keep in touch with Mom on you own. But if he's just ignoring Mom because that's easier than dealing with her, then I think a good spouse will warn him of possible regrets when she dies. It's about having his back emotionally - especially apt here since that's a skill his family apparently lacked.

E-mail Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.