The host asks politely if someone wants something, people politely decline, the hostess senses something is wrong because one guest isn't drinking and appears to not be having as good of a time as everyone else.
This is clearly a case of Protocol Biting you in the Ass.
It kind of reminds me of the wedding invitation thing. Someone asked me what the protocol is when you get invited to a wedding you cannot or don't wish to attend. Here's a dirty little secret about weddings. In your heart of hearts, you'd like to invite the world to your wedding. Unfortunately, budgets and venues have limits. Even the kardashians had to set some sort of limit and there is always a subset of friends that were not invited (read: multi-tier B-List).
And it sucks to have to pick someone over someone else. As I've said before, weddings are a snapshot of your life at a particular point in time. Is it fair that someone you've only known for a short time but hang out with all the time bumps a close friend from the past that you haven't seen in years (or even decades)?So while the couple may feel sad that you cannot attend, they will feel worse if you hold a seat at their wedding hostage until the eleventh hour only to send your regrets after it is too late to tactfully invite someone ones. I feel that if you know you are being invited to a wedding and cannot make it, you should let the couple know as soon as possible.
I've been invited to some weddings were I can only imagine they needed to balance the single person quota or a relative died and a seat had to be filled. I've also been "snubbed" and been the only one in a group that wasn't invited. So I try not to take it personally. I say try because I am human and it does sting to be excluded.
Of the people we invited, there were a few people who declined for various reasons. A few broke protocol and actually wrote on the return card why they could not come. Whether its an invitation to a backyard cookout or the Wedding of the Century, a simple yes or no is all that is required. Oversharing is Overkill.
With our wedding there was one couple we didn't invite in lieu of another. Had I know Couple A was going to decline for one of the fucking lamest reasons of all time, I would have been able to invite Couple B. Now Couple A avoids us at parties because they cannot look us in the face and Couple B avoids us because they are pissed.
In their hearts they were probably trying to cushion the blow but here's the thing: sharing what you are doing besides attending one of the most important days of our life isn't cushioning the blow. It's tacky at best and drama-Queen-esque at worse. You're in danger of taking something about someone else and making it about you.