Dear Amy:

My wife and I disagree over a problem I have.

I have a friend I have known since we were 5. I am now 33. My friend is getting married this summer.

He was a guest at my wedding and at my son's baptism, but we have not heard from him in several years although we live in the same city.

He put a wedding announcement in the paper of our hometown but not in our local paper. I have not received an invitation. I don't know whether I should crash the wedding or simply not go because I haven't received an invitation.

What do you think?

Wondering

Listen to your wife. I assume she is telling you to abandon any plans you might have to "crash" this wedding. Crashing a wedding is never a good idea.

It seems obvious that this friendship is over. Unfortunately, knowing someone at age 5 is no guarantee that you will know him at age 35. Having someone as a guest at your own wedding is no guarantee that you will be a guest at his.

Because you are concerned about the state of this friendship, it would be a good idea to follow up with your former friend in order to ask him how he feels about your relationship.

Don't do this at his wedding, of course.

Dear Amy:

We recently purchased a beautiful vacation home and wish to share it with family and friends. The problem is that I don't really have the stamina to "wine and dine" everyone.

I have physical problems, and it is difficult for me to stand for long periods of time and go up and down stairs to the lake. How do I have guests and not have my back "go out" on me by the time they leave?

We anticipate having guests a couple of long weekends per month, so I would like to know what is the proper etiquette in terms of who pays if we go out to dinner and am I expected to make most of the meals?

Exhausted Already Hostess

Don't overbook until you determine what you can handle. Have your spouse and kids do everything possible to pitch in. You'll need help and careful planning when it comes to handling the groceries and laundry. It's fine to leave the makings for breakfast -- coffee, bagels, etc. -- available so that people can prepare their own plates. Lunch can be deli fixings and fresh veggies and fruit. If you can manage to put together an evening meal for the gang one night, it might be fun to visit the local crab shack the next night. Perhaps the third night could be a group meal that everybody pitches in to help prepare, "Big Chill"-style.

Gracious guests do offer to pick up the check for a meal out, though I don't know of an etiquette rule dictating this kindness. My all-time favorite guest won me over when I came down the stairs one morning to discover him sweeping my kitchen floor and baking a pie. He and his family are visiting again next week, and I can't wait.

Write Amy Dickinson, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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