18 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    Recently I’ve been invited to two engagement parties but not to the subsequent “small” weddings. I always thought an invitation to the engagement party was reserved for wedding guests and was offended when I was not invited to the actual wedding, especially after I attended both parties and gave gifts. What is the rule here?

    • Alicia

      Yes prewedding parties are supposed to be only for those invited to the wedding. Yes they messed up and were rude. You however were gracious. There is however little benifit in being offened beyond knowing never to treat others like this. But yes you are right they are rude.

    • I’m not disagreeing with Alicia, but remember that most people have not planned their wedding at the time of the engagement party. Some couples don’t throw their own engagement parties; they may be thrown by parents or friends who won’t be paying for the wedding. My engagement party was a surprise, so I had no idea who was invited until I showed up. The couple may not be responsible for the party’s guest list. Still, the Emily Post Institute agrees that engagement party guests should be invited to the wedding.

      As an aside, remember that gifts are not expected at engagement parties. So don’t feel as if you must bring/send one.

      • LC

        I have to agree with Just Laura here. I think engagement parties are different from other pre-wedding events. Gifts are not required and these are typically hosted by someone other than the bride and groom and their families. I don’t find this to be in poor taste, in my opinion.

  2. Vanna Keiler

    I agree completely with Alicia. From what I have read here and my own personal convictions, it is considered a “gift or money grabbing event” when some people are only invited to engagement and bachelor parties or showers, but not included in the actual event. I was once invited to several wedding showers and engagement parties for one couple, but not to the actual ceremony. I declined attending their events (they were evites). That was my personal choice, but it seemed awkward and unaccommodating that I would not be present at the wedding and reception.

  3. Billy B.

    At a recent birthday lunch party I attended, the hostess cut some of the birthday cake for several of the guests who were leaving early to take home. The guest of honor (hostess’ 15 year old daughter) was not served first. This went on for a while until almost half of the cake was gone. Finally several of the guests who stayed on asked the hostess if they could have cake, but she became upset and said that they had to wait until the guest of honor had her picture taken with the cake and wait for the Happy Birthday song to be sung. Some of these guests felt belittled by the whole incident.

    What should the hostess have done in this situation?

    • Alicia

      Well guests should not leave until after the cake is cut. Then hostess should have then taken whatever pictures she wanted then had the birthday girl do the first cut. Then only then the guests should have been served. Those unable to stay for dessert should only have been given leftover peices to take home.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      She should not have cut the cake for the guests leaving early. They made the decision to leave early, so they miss whatever happens after they leave. A hostess shouldn’t serve some guests and tell others they have to wait. The other alternative was to move up the entire cake cutting, including the picture before the cake cutting, to earlier in the event, but this may not have been plausible with the timing of the event.

    • Nina

      When I was a whippersnapper having birthday parties, my mom told me that since it was my party, I was the hostess and had to serve myself *last*–a hostess can’t enjoy herself until all her guests have been seen to. I’ve not seen that etiquette rule written down anywhere, so I don’t know if it is technically correct, but it makes sense to me that the birthday girl would not get any cake until everyone else has some. About the staggered cake distribution I totally agree that it was bizarre. Also, who wants their picture taken with half a cake?

  4. Robert

    We have a new neighbor who just moved a few weeks ago. They were having a birthday party for their son yesterday, Saturday 09/03. The party started in the morning, around 10:00 or 11:00 AM, but they came around 3:30 PM to invite our daughters… My wife did not want to go because she thinks they should have invited us at least 24 hours earlier. I thought that we should go even though we would have stayed just for little while… Finally we did not go… So what should we do now?

  5. Pam

    They came 5 1/2 hours into the party to invite your daughters? Are your daughters and their son playmates? Maybe they just wanted to be neighborly and have you stop by to enjoy some food in an extremely casual way. I would just move past it at this point. Don’t act annoyed toward them, though. Just continue being neighborly.

  6. Kent

    I recently had a fallout with my wife’s sister when i finally felt i had to speak up about her coming over to my home unannounced or on very short notice. I was politely and calm about everything i said, well she didn’t like it got up and left with her husband and daughters. She called me rude and i fired back. Now this woman is ( not only my opinion as her other sisters and coworkers have said this about her too) inconsiderate, thoughtless, tactless, and selfish and has never tried to befriend me and i have been in her family for ten years. God knows i have tried to engage her in conversations but she doesn’t seem to care to carry on,i have told my wife about this but she says that is how she is and i have to accept it so, i have told my wife that her sister has to then be fair and accept the way i am. My wife didn’t say i was wrong but at the same time she told me she wanted to avoid discord all i asked for was for a little respect too ,i always respect them at all cost even though they(wife’s family) are poorly mannered and it is all about them. My wife and i are very considerate and thoughtful toward them and their daughters during birthdays, Christmas ,etc… And all that my wife has learned through me as my South American culture has rubbed off on her. I just felt i had to let it loose cause i have been holding it for years. It is just too bad some people don’t get it.
    Should i have kept my mouth shut or did i have enough reason to let it out?

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      You don’t have to keep your mouth shut, but you shouldn’t let her have it either. In the case of her coming over unannounced, you should tell her “I’d appreciate if you called ahead of time before coming over. I’ve been known to be a little messy from time to time, and I would be embarrassed to not have a chance to clean up for you.”

      As far as short notice visits go, when they say, “How about we come over tonight?” say “We’re busy. That won’t work for us.”

      The bottom line is, you should seek out the appropriate response to each offense and avoid general statements like “you always do this” as they never end well. There is a way to keep your dignity and be polite.

    • Country Girl

      I’m sorry to say (though I feel your frustration with your sister in law and it seems there is alot more at play here that we don’t know about from your explanation) that you should not have tried to “hash things out” with your SIL at this time or at all. This outburst was certainly not a step in the right direction for your already rocky relationship with your SIL, and it also put your wife in a very bad position.

      The right thing to do would have been to maintain your cool and have a private and direct conversation with your wife afterwards explaining your concerns. Ie. “I really feel your sister is taking advantage of our hospitality, and I think it is only appropriate that she give us more notice, as well as ask us, before coming over in the future. I’d appreciate if you would say something to her, because it has become too hard on me and our family to keep accomodating her unannounced visits.” It should be up to your wife to share your family’s rules with her sister, not up to you. And she should phrase it as “our rules” without making you sound like the bad guy.

      If, after your wife informed her sister of the new rules on visits, she showed up unannounced again you and your wife would have been completely within your rights to greet her simply with “I’m sorry Michelle, we didn’t know you’d be stopping by. We aren’t able to have company at this time.” You don’t owe her any reasons.

      Since the damage has already been done, it seems you and your wife have some decisions to make together on how to handle her sister in the future and how to make ammends, if that is what you choose to do. (And I hope for the sake of all involved that you and your wife do choose to smooth things out with her.) You must realize when you choose to marry someone, that their family comes as a package deal. And you and your wife must deal with problems as a team. When it comes to her side of the family she is the captain, and it is her job to be liason for your family.

      • LC

        Well stated, Country Girl, and I agree on all counts.

        I would add that you may owe an apology to your SIL depending on how you “fired back” at her. You should never stoop to the “offender’s” level, so to speak, however challenging and difficult that may be. The gracious thing to do would be to apologize for your outburst or however you may have been in the wrong. This doesn’t mean you apologize for asking her to respect your family’s rules or wishes.

        I would definitely reiterate that it is almost universally best to allow the person related to the extended family member(s) to address any discord or bad behavior. It’s often not well received from the one who married into the family, no matter how right or justified it may be.

        Good luck!

        • Kent

          Appreciate the feedback but believe me we have had this conversation before but she doesn’t get it,you guys would feel frustrated if you knew how they lived there lives, my wives family lives like it is all about them. I was raised to be considerate and respect people and property. My wife has communicated this to her many times but falls on deaf ears. I was as nice as possible, even going as far to say “i am sorry this offends you but please give us ample time to prepare by calling us at least an hr. before you visit”. As far as firing back goes, she called me rude cause she didn’t like the fact that she was wrong for coming without calling and because i said she was rude for thinking that everyone should live as she does . I have been very good to her (eventhough she has never tried to engage me in any conversation whatsoever or try to be my friend. I have communicated this to my wife but my wife says i have to accept the way she is. I am good to her husband and daughters, doing things for them just because it comes from the heart and that is the way i am. Buying them coffee, gives for birthday’s and Christmas!! Never once do they ever think of me the way i think of them. There wasn’t any outburst and i was very p0lite like i always am, to everyone! But there some people who don’t know what that is . I don’t feel like i have to apologize as it is my home, and this has been communicated to her by my wife many times. There is nothing more to it than my SIL just being an inconsiderate and thoughtless and believe if you three knew her you would side with me on this!! I consider myself as a passive person but everybody has their boundaries and she overstepped them once too many times.

  7. Alicia

    Being rude back does not solve anything. A simple greet them at the door when they drop by unannounced and say”Oh I’m so sorry No we can not entertain you today. I do wish you had called before wasting your time coming over here. Talk to you later” And then close the door. If you do not let them in a few times when they come by unannounced they will start to plan visits.
    If you give in and let them visitr anyway they have no incwentuive to change.

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