Open Thread

by epi on December 20, 2011

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy December 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Wedding Manners,

I have an etiquette question that is causing a real issue in our families. There are two brother. The younger brother dated his girlfriend for 1 year and got engaged in September of 2010. The older brother has dated my daughter for 5 years and he got engaged to my daughter in November of 2010. The issue arose when the younger brother’s fiance said that the older brother and my daughter could not get married first since they were not engaged first. This has turned into a major family issue. We found the perfect venue within our budget but it’s only available on April 20th of 2012. The younger brother and fiance are not getting married until June of 2012. The younger brother and his fiance have convinced the whole family that it is absolutely wrong for the older brother to get married first since he didn’t get engaged first.

I’ve never heard of this etiquette and no one I’ve talked to has heard of it.

Please comment.

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Alicia December 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm

One sibling does not need to have a long engagement simply because the other wants a long engagement. Siblings can get married and engaged in any order they wish. Each should avoid the same weekend as their siblings wedding maybe one could even argue the same month due to the hassle for the family and friends. However, If one brother gets married in June and the other brother gets married in April there is no reasonable conflict. If the groom in your daughters wedding wants to get married in April there is no ettiquette issue. However, he should stop and talk to his brother the groomzilla and explain that it is unrelated to his brothers engagement and that he is engaged to his love and getting married to her and that the timing is unrelated in any way to the wonderful occasion of his brother also being engaged and get married to brothers love.

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Ashleigh December 20, 2011 at 1:52 pm

It sounds like the fiance was first the bratzilla and has since pulled the brother into her drama (probably just to stay on her good side…). Absolutely do not in any way let the snottiness of your to-be SIL’s brother’s fiance bring your daughter’s day down. If they found a venue they love that is only available in April, then it’s really too bad for the other couple. If they must get married first, I’m sure they could find something lovely in February. Otherwise, they can get over it. Afterall, the older brother loved your daughter first so that has to count for something ;) ;)

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Just Laura December 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I’ve never heard of this either. These are two separate relationships/weddings – why would the actions of one dictate the actions of the other?

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Country Girl December 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm

My fiance’s older brother got engaged a few months after my fiance proposed to me. They will be marrying a month before us. Honestly we were just completely thrilled he didn’t pick the same month as us like they had originally planned! (For issues of family getting time off work for both events, etc.) The bridezilla mentality brother’s fiance has bestowed upon him and others of pitting their wedding against everyone else’s is neither helpful nor appropriate.

Your daughter’s fiance should tell his brother “Our wedding venue is only available on April 20th, so we are taking it. We hope you and your fiance don’t think of our weddings as competing against each other. Jen and I are so thrilled for you and Katie. If you are really concerned about the dates, we will not be offended if you decide to move your date in front of ours. But because of availability, we won’t be changing our date.”

This is the same sentiment that you and your daughter can also relay to anyone rude enough to bring up the matter to your family. Simply say “We’re sorry they feel that way. This is the only date that is available for our venue, so this is when our wedding will be. Hope you can make it!”

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Winifred Rosenburg December 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm

You are right that there is no such rule. There used to be a rule that children should be married off in age order in which case the older brother should be married first, but that rule is no longer in place.

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Natalie December 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

My college-aged daughter has been invited to go home with a friend over spring break. She is paying for her airplane fare and any other travel expenses. The parents who will be hosting her visit have insisted on paying for meals, plays or musicals and other entertainment, and hotels. What is a suitable way to show appreciation to them for taking our child under their wing and paying for so much? She would not be making this kind of trip without their incredibly generous hospitality.

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Alicia December 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Your daughter should write a thank you note. She should also bring with her a host gift(things specific to daughter home region are particularly appropriate ie Berger cookies from Baltimore ,maple syrup from vermont, wing sauce from buffalo ect, or any other nice host gift) while she is there she should be a gracious guest and helpful. One night she should take the whole family out for a meal.
You however ask ” What is a suitable way to show appreciation to them for taking our child under their wing and paying for so much?” Which implies you are thinking of sending a thank you from you. I would encourage your daughter towards the thank you and maybe behind the scenes subsidize that taking out for dinner of the family but your daughter is a young woman and the thank you is more appopriate coming from her rather then her parents as greatful as you may be you should be a behind the scenes influence only on the thank yous.

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Nina December 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

It’s not a rule, but it is a rumour–I have heard this one before. Folks worried about other couples “stealing their thunder” will often suggest it is “rude” for friends or family to even get engaged before their own wedding. I was a maid-of-honour in a wedding last summer, and the bride actually specifically told me not to believe that silly rumour if my boyfriend and I wanted to get engaged before her wedding. And then we did, and the other couple was thrilled for us, as we were for them.

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Pam December 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I think this issue has come up for as long as there have been weddings. My parents were engaged and planned a wedding a year in advance. My uncle (my Dad’s brother) had a quick wedding a month before my parents’ wedding date. My parents were invited, but they declined as they had a lot to do for their own wedding and couldn’t spare the expenses for flights and time off work. My uncle and his fiance totally understood and still graciously flew home and attended my parents’ wedding. No one compares anniversary dates or holds anything against anyone. The most important thing should be that you are marrying the person you love. I could certainly see if the second engaged couple planned the wedding for the same month as the first engaged couple, but that is not what is happening, there is a full 7 months in between. The second engaged couple should stick to their date and if the bridezilla wants to fester in hard feelings then her priorities are very out of whack.

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Kim December 20, 2011 at 8:32 pm

How should I feel when a family member sends gifts cross country for Christmas and there are gifts for our children and myself but my husband is left out?

Also, how should I feel when my MIL gives generously to my children and husband but not quite so generous to me (monetarily)

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Alicia December 21, 2011 at 8:56 am

First Christmas has not occured yet so the first family member could still be sending your husband a gift just one from a different retailer.
Regarding your MIL nobody is required to spend the same amount of money on all the members of a family. It could be that she bought sonme of the things on sale or that she had ideas that were more expensive for them and a less expensive idea for you. Either way it is not kind to judge gifts by their price tags instead be greatful for what she is getting you and that she is so generous with your family.

For example my sisters family this year if you go by money value alone you would think that my brother in law is getting very little and so is my nephew but that my sister is getting quite a generous present and my neices are wow top of the trees in my eyes. Well the truth is I thought of an inexpensive gift that I thought my brother in law will love, an inexpensive gift I know my nephew will adore and bought my sisters gift at 60% off and my neices gifts are actually the least expensive total because of being on sale but their non sale price would have been the highest since the parts of their gifts were an average of about 80% off. Sometimes it is not obvious and I know that I love all of that family so I would be sad if they ever second judged my spending as a judgement on who I care about the most.

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Zakafury December 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

You should feel grateful for all gifts of all sizes. It is certainly not meant to be offensive when someone splurges on her son, but not her daughter in law.

Perhaps in the first case, you should feel a bit awkward because your husband seems to have been snubbed. This depends on the gift, though. If you got a dress and he got nothing, that’s different than if you got a dutch oven. Perhaps the gift was intended to be shared, but was simply addressed to the closer relative?

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