Distant In-Law Wedding: Do you need to be there when your spouse can’t go?

by EPI Staff on January 25, 2011

Q: My husband’s cousin is getting remarried, but unfortunately, my husband can’t make it to the wedding. Am I still obligated to go?

A: Obligated? No. It’s OK for you to go on your own, but if you’d rather not attend by yourself, that’s fine too. If you do choose to decline, send your regrets to the bride and groom right away so they can invite other people if they wish to do so. And although gifts aren’t a must for second weddings (they are for first ones), you may want to give one in this case, to express your happiness for the couple.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy February 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm

What do you do when someone asks to see pictures of your dress?

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Just Laura February 4, 2011 at 10:41 pm

It sounds like there’s more at play here: Are you a bride, bridesmaid, MOH, or a Mother of Bride or Groom?

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Alicia February 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Depends Do you want the dress to be a surprize or are you excited about showing it off. If you want to gush over lace or style go ahead and show pictures if you want to keep it a secret say ” I’m keeping it a surprize” Friends will understand. Half of the question is just loving style.

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Janet February 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm

My Mother and sibblings are part of a religion that I no longer practice. They have discontinued communnication with me. I plan on inviting them to the wedding and I am pretty sure they will attend. Should I try to incoprporate my mom into the ceremony? Should she be escorted? Should she light the unity candle? Her and my dad are divorced.

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Alicia February 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Why not ask Mom. If she is barely on speaking terms and may or may not come then it makes sense to make sure she is attending before assigning her a role. If she accepts the invite they you can ask her if she would like to be escorted in and if she would like to light the unity candle. She can accept or decline these roles as well. But I would be 100% sure she is attending before asking.

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Margaret March 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Addressing Single Envelope Wedding Invitations

We are using one envelope only for wedding invitations.
I own the Emily Post “Wedding Etiquette” book, but need more specific instructions for including children’s names when addressing the single envelope. When there is more than one child, would the format be Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Miss Ann Doe
Master Johnny Doe (each on a separate line)
or
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Ann and Johnny ( On the same line, no last name)

And what is the format when there are more than one or two children? In other words, with 3 or 4 children, space could be an issue unless only first names, all on one line, is acceptable.

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Alicia March 1, 2011 at 7:17 pm

“and” in addressing envelopes means someone is married. So
Mr. and Mrs. John Doe
Miss Ann Doe
Master Johnny Doe
is correct.

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Margaret March 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm

So does this mean that even in the case of 3 or 4 children, each should be listed on a separate line? Or could first names only be used, commas only, no and?

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Lady Antipode April 13, 2011 at 12:53 am

Yes, each should be listed on a separate line. Or, if you are inviting all the children of the couple, you could perhaps write ‘and their children’ on the second line. I’m not absolutely certain, though.

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Jackie March 11, 2011 at 12:32 am

My husband and I have been married (a second time for him) for 18 years and over the course of the last twenty some years he has lost somewhat of a connection with his son who is now getting married. When my husband received his invitation it was only addressed to him (not me) and on the invitation it did not list my husbands name but only his ex-wife. In other words my hsuband was left out of everything…Do you think he should even go to the wedding? PLEASE HELP

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Graceandhonor March 11, 2011 at 12:40 am

Your husband’s ex is obviously one of the hosts and your husband isn’t; that is why he isn’t on the invitation. (He was left out of everything because he hasn’t been involved with his son!) It is also obvious that she and/or his son intentionally did not invite you. This puts your husband in a bad spot; if he declines out of deference to you, his son will take this as further evidence of their estrangement. While I don’t normally condone exclusion of a current spouse, you might consider that the most important thing at this time is the beginning of repair to their relationship. If you were not involved in the breakup of their marriage years ago, your husband should make it clear after their relationship is on the mend that he will not allow you to be excluded anymore. However, if you were involved in the breakup, it would be best that you stay out of it. Let your husband take the lead in how he wishes to handle this. He obviously has a hard road ahead.

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Kiley March 11, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Yes, it is typical that the only parents listed on a wedding invitation are those hosting (Ie paying) for the wedding. (I have noticed modern invitations being sent with all bride & groom’s parents’ names, but this is not customary) If your husband did, however, contribute money to this wedding, than this would indeed be a slap in the face.

I do everso agree with G&H about your husband attending in order to make amends with his son. While yes rude, I don’t believe you should take too much offense to not being included on the invitation since it seems son hasn’t had much of a chance to get to know you if they had their fallout before your marriage. While a rather weak one, it seems his son is at least trying to extend your husband an olive branch. Hopefully their relationship rekindles, and you will be able to become more of a part. =) Good luck!

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Lady P April 5, 2011 at 5:03 am

Friends of mine are getting married. It is going to be an extremely elaborate and lavish event. I was invited to the bridal shower and immediately purchased a sizable (for me/my budget) gift off the registry and had it shipped immediately as I won’t be able to make it to the event. A few days later, I received an invitation to their engagement party as well. Is it necessary to get a gift for the engagement party in addition to the shower gift? Of course, I will be giving them a wedding gift as well, but wasn’t sure if I needed to get 3 gifts as I am invited to all 3 events. I believe one gift for either the shower or engagement party and then one for the wedding suffices, but want to be sure I am correct. Should I get them something small and thoughtful for the engagement party or should I just leave it at the shower and wedding gift? Can anyone advise me?

Thanks!

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Alicia April 5, 2011 at 11:29 am

For the engagement party just RSVP. A card is optional. Engagement parties are not gift requiring events.

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jill April 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm

My daughter is getting married and one of my close friend’s has 2 son’s-one my daughters age and another younger. These children all grew up together and would have been invited to the wedding, however they live on the west coast and their mom repeatedly told me they were so bummed that they wouldn’t be able to come. My friend told me it was too expensive to fly her sons’ in for the wedding. I told her no problem. When the invitations went out I did not send the 2 sons an invitation because I was told they would not be coming. Was that wrong? Their mom thinks so.

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Graceandhonor April 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

This is the type of relationship I believe warrants a formal invitation, regardless of their inability to come. I’m sure you’ll get adamant and dissenting opinions contrary to mine, but I believe it is the gracious thing to let them know by inviting them that you are honoring longtime ties.

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reese April 28, 2011 at 10:50 am

I have a client who needs to reduce guest list due to budget after previously sending Save the dates. What is the best way to handle this ASAP?

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Alicia April 28, 2011 at 10:57 am

By scaling back on the event not in size of guest list but in offering. Maybe just cake and punch. The save the date was a promise to each recipent that they were being invited to this event on that date. There is no polite way to uninvite someone to a wedding. They put their word on it. Skip honeymoon, flowers, tuxs, new gown, ect. You can hostess a polite event for about $3 per person wuith cake punch tea and water. Scaling back is not a polite option when they have already invited people.

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Just Laura April 28, 2011 at 11:09 am

I’m with Alicia. What if a person received the Save-The-Date, and canceled other plans because of it? Or another way of looking at it could be if your friend invited you to a dinner party on Saturday, and then told you on Friday that you were no longer welcome. How would you feel? What other plans did you put off because of this?

Instead of a sit-down meal, serve hors d’oeuvres. Instead of a full-bar, offer a small selection of libations (or non-alcoholic only). There are many ways to scale back without grossly offending friends and family.

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