Open Thread

by EPI Staff on July 1, 2011

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandy July 1, 2011 at 12:42 am

Worst Wedding Ever. Friends of mine were getting married and decided that because they were short on money (despite renting out a church that seats 1200 people even though they only invited 200 guests) that they would invite guests to the wedding, but closed the reception to only family and close friends. In their wedding invitations they sent gift registries for two stores, so they still expected gifts, yet only certain people were invited to the reception. To make matters worse, they sent out digital invites asking people to chip in money to help them pay for their honeymoon.

I ended up not attending the wedding because I was so offended. I feel that if they were short on cash they should have had a smaller wedding, but opened the reception to more people. What was the correct thing to do and was I right not to attend the wedding?

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Just Laura July 1, 2011 at 12:46 am

Good evening, Sandy. I understand your frustration. No one should send out registry information in an invitation. In addition, if a couple can’t afford the honeymoon, then they need to scale back, or wait a bit until they can afford it (my parents went camping for theirs, my brother and sister in law didn’t get one since he was deployed one week later). Since this behavior upset you so much, it is better that you didn’t attend, so that you wouldn’t struggle to keep a happy face during the ceremony. Personally, I would write these people off as friends, but you may know them better and perhaps they simply let “wedding fever” take over their normally solid common sense.

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Sandy July 1, 2011 at 12:54 am

Thank you for responding. I’ve actually scaled back my contact with them due to this and other matters. I just wanted to get an opinion. Thanks so much! :)

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BWoz July 1, 2011 at 1:21 am

I understand what you’re feeling, Sandy….finances and weddings. Terribly devisive. Except with me it is my stepson and future DIL. We are contributing money to the wedding (even though the kids just bought a house and are planning a lovely honelymoon — no skimping for them!) and we have not been asked for a guest list, nor have I been invited to the upcoming bridal shower (because it is “so far” away.) I am beyond hurt and insulted and am ready to convince DH to not give the amount we said we would. Oh, and they just adopted a puppy, purebred — not shelter. Can’t believe DH can just accept this…he gets upset when we discuss but will not confront stepson. I have raised that (now) young man since he was 7 years old (he is now 23) and this may be the most hurtful way he has ever treated me. I don;t want to lose contact, but I am afraid if I confront I will.

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Just Laura July 1, 2011 at 9:27 am

Calm down, friend! It is very, very generous of you and your husband to financially contribute to the wedding, but the final guest list belongs to the bride and groom, since it is their wedding. The bridal shower was thrown by a friend of the bride (I assume), and it may consist of bride’s relatives/close friends only. By not sending you an invitation, they may not be sending you a negative message at all. In fact, perhaps the bride thought of how much you’re already contributing, and felt uncomfortable expecting a shower gift from you, as well as making you travel a long distance. The fact that they bought a home and adopted a puppy has nothing to do with you or their relationship with you, so don’t worry. :)
Weddings and funerals are always fraught with emotion – I hope you can take a deep breath, wear a fabulous dress, and enjoy the festivities.

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Jody July 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I’m speaking here as someone who has been the recipient of “oh I didn’t send an invitation because I knew you wouldn’t come.” Definitely the invitation should have been sent; it’s up to the invitee to decide if he/she can come to the party (and should respond appropriately). Not sending the invitation causes too many bad feelings.
As for the other items you mention (house, honeymoon, puppy), it’s quite possible they budgeted for those separately, so the money was already there.

Jody

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Jess July 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

BWoz…you absolutely should have been invited to the bridal shower. I do not understand when people make decisions FOR other people as to whether or not they would want to attend an event…regardless of distance. You and your husband are contributing toward the wedding and there is no question that an invitation to the shower should have been sent to you. Then, you could have decided if you wanted to attend, not attend and/or send a gift. My grandfather and his wife gave their son (my uncle) and his fiance $6,000 to put toward their wedding and then my grandfather’s wife was not invited to the shower. A friend of the bride threw the shower and my family was very confused on the day of the shower when my grandfather’s wife never walked in. My Mom knew immediately that it was going to be a HUGE problem and called my uncle to say “what the heck happened?!” and let him know that he was going to have quite a problem on his hand when my Grandpa found out. Suffice it to say, there were hurt feelings and it all could have been prevented by just sending her an invitation.

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Just Laura July 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

Jess, you’re absolutely right that she *should* have received an invitation. While it is unfortunate that some people make decisions for others, I only intended to convey that this may have been an honest mistake, and no ill will was meant. As many other smart people have said on this site, we cannot control the actions of others – we can only control our reactions to them. In this case, I think the best course of action is to be the better person and not assume malicious intent; i.e., let bygones be bygones. It does no good for the family’s future relationship (or BWoz’s blood pressure!) to let resentment and anger build over one party.

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Mrs. Czeisel July 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Actually, I think you might be mixing up rules. For wedding one shouldn’t take distance into account when coming up with a guest list because it’s a major event that people may want to travel for. For showers, this isn’t the case. It’s considered rude to invite people who don’t live nearby to a shower because they most likely won’t want to travel for small event like that and it makes them feel obligated to buy a gift. It’s generally considered acceptable to invite parents anyway, but I suspect they were trying not to be gift crabby by not inviting you.

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Pam July 1, 2011 at 10:51 am

I have constant guilt about decisions I make regarding making plans with friends. I feel like I’m always just disappointing people when I don’t give them an immediate answer to making plans or do exactly what the want. For example, I have a friend who recently went through a terrible bout of depression. I would call her multiple times a week to try and make sure she was ok. Now, thankfully, my friend is much better, but she is back to calling my cell multiple times a day and trying to plan holidays weeks and weeks in advance. I get very overwhelmed, and as happy as I am that she is feeling better, I am now reminded of how things were prior to her depression. I was at a bridal shower and she called me 5 times without leaving a message. When I finally spoke with her she simply wanted to make 4th of July plans. So we did, but then she also wanted to go see fireworks on a different night. I feel so guilty not agreeing to it as I have other obligations and friends, etc etc. How do I rid myself of the guilt I feel after making decisions?

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Country Girl July 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

It certainly can be draining to have friends such as this who are very needy, but it seems like you are a very well-meaning and kind friend to this person. First you should probably consider that many people who go through depression have very strong feelings of loneliness and sometimes low self-worth. It is actually a very good thing that she is trying to fill some of these voids by seeking positive things like companionship with you. As you mention, she just isn’t fully aware of how to go about doing this.

You should have to have a gentle private talk with this friend. You should let her know how happy you are that she is becoming so active. But you must also let her know that with job/kids/family/etc that you aren’t always able to spend as much time with her as you or she may like. You must be honest without insulting her efforts. “Cindy, I want you to know that I don’t and won’t intentionally dodge your calls, but sometimes I am truly busy and may need a bit of time to return your calls or respond to invitations.” You can also perhaps do some research and find some fun groups that she could join (that way she can meet some new friends and have a new avenue for her positive changes). Even in my small town we have a happy women’s group, a single mother’s group, a photography group, a hiking group. (You can find some on meetups.com) You might even take her to the first gathering.

Rest assured that you are being a good friend to this person, and she is lucky to have someone like you in her life. But you must always know that you can’t be everything to her. You can be kindly honest with your limitations, and still be a terrific friend.

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Elizabeth July 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm

It sounds as if you have a needy friend and are having trouble establishing boundaries. Calling you five times without leaving a message is rude and borderline stalkerish. You need to be friendly but firm – “Sally, why did you call my phone 5 times without leaving me a message? I was at a bridal shower/ at a movie / etc and I couldn’t pick up. It would really be better if you would just leave a message the first time and I will call you back as soon as I can.”

If she tries to make plans with you weeks in advance, just say “Sally, I’m sorry but I can’t commit to Xmas plans right now. It’s just too far off, and I don’t know what will be going on that weekend. Let’s talk in a few weeks. If you don’t want to wait that long, I won’t be hurt if you make plans without me.”

The guilt you feel is entirely self-imposed and not at all warranted. You don’t “owe” her your social life just because she asks. It’s funny – polite people know not to ask for things that are beyond the boundaries of friendship or good taste. But, when other people ask us for things that we would never ask for, we just assume they have a good reason – we don’t stop to think about the impropriety of their requests. I am here to tell you that your friend’s behavior is inappropriate!

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Pam July 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Thank you so much for your advice regarding my friend. You all definitely made me feel better!

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Jess July 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

Well thank you for quoting me Laura. However, I think that there are certain situations where controlling your own actions involves expressing that something was hurtful to you. While it is good advice to tell someone that it shouldn’t take over their life or turn into grudges and bitterness, I see nothing wrong with expressing that the lack of an invitation was hurtful.

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Zakafury July 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Clearing the air is okay, but let blood relatives and spouses talk.

There’s absolutely no reason that the bride and her step-mother-in-law need to have a face to face. Especially since BWoz is quiet upset and not particularly close to the bride. If things must be said in order to move on, have DH tell Stepson tell DIL.

In this particular case, I can think of several reasons the invitation wouldn’t have been sent, excluding an intentional slight by the bride.

Also, there is a near 0 chance of ever having this occur again. Even potentially starting an argument over such a dispute seems silly to me.

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