22 Comments

  1. Robin

    I am currently planning my wedding which is 5 months away. I had chosen my 6 bridesmaids carefully and had asked them all individually and in person when I first got engaged. This past week, I received an email from my finance’s sister-in-law who had thought she was a bridesmaid and was asking about what dress she should get and who she would be walking down the aisle with. I do not know why she thought she was a bridesmaid seeing I had never asked her! Not wanting to upset my in-laws before we were even married, I decided to add her as a bridesmaid and upgraded an usher to a groomsman. I am wondering what would have been the proper etiquette to handle this situation? Should I have had the uncomfortable, possibly hurtful, conversation and told her she wasn’t a bridesmaid or was it best to spare feelings and drama and make her a bridesmaid?

    • Pam

      You should not have anyone in your party whom you did not actually ask. Why did you have to upgrade an usher to a groomsman? Your parties do not have to be perfectly balanced, it’s a wedding not a Broadway show. You asked people to be ushers and groomsmen and bridesmaids because you want them to be a part of your day, not because the even numbers make your photos look nicer. If you had more bridesmaids, then 2 groomsmen could have walked 1 girl down the aisle. Anyway, perhaps you could have said to her “Sadie, I’m sorry but my bridal party has already been established. I would love for you to do a reading during the ceremony, however.”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Robin, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. It sounds like you are a very, very gracious bride!!! No you did not have to include your fiancee’s SIL (married to your fiance’s brother? if I may be so bold, it sounds like a somewhat distant relationship to presume to be a bridesmaid in your wedding). There are gentle ways to tell a person that you are unable to include them as a bridesmaid such as telling her that it is limited to your side of the family and friends, etc. And you should never feel obligated to pick anyone. But of course, now that you have selected a 7th bridesmaid, I’d say its too late to disinvite.

  2. K.

    When someone asks you “What is the date of your wedding? I want to know so I can mark it in my calendar.” is that typically an assumption they will be invited? What is the proper response if you do not intend to invite this person?

    I have been asked a couple of times. I would feel rude giving someone an excuse as to why they are not invited when they are not (exactly) asking if they are. But it also feels awkward to just say the date and leaving it open ended for the person to assume that they will be invited to attend.

    • Alicia

      “Oh it is going to be a small wedding in July. So how have you been? How is lacross practice going?”
      Basically say the truth but not the full date and that it will be small and then change the subject.

  3. Pam

    I think the first rule is to not discuss your wedding with people who are not being invited. I’m not saying that this is what happened, but just a general rule. Anyway, I don’t know how far into the future your wedding is, but could you say “June 10th, but we are still in the planning stages.”

    • K.

      Thank you both for your advice. No, I would never bring up my wedding with someone who is not invited. I’ve read and I like the typical polite response “We are having a small wedding.” Unfortunately it is fairly well known in our tight-knit community that our wedding will not be small. My family is really involved in the community and I think the fact that we are having a large wedding leads people to believe since they know us (and likely know many others who will be invited) that they also will or should be invited. I have already sent out our Save-the-dates which seems to have stirred up quite a few who didn’t receive one to start asking about it. It makes me feel awful.

      • Alicia

        Do not feel awful. Anyone who asks is being rude. you are not obligated to invite anyone at all to your wedding and definatly not someone who is rude enough to ask for an invite.
        Small is in the eyes of the beholder I have seen weddings described as small ranging from 7 people to 900 people.. If you do not want to say small then just change the topic anyway. If you are having a large wedding and not icluding these people they are not your nearest and dearest anyway.

  4. CB

    Regarding same-sex weddings, and the complicated nature of being out in a still-hostile environment: Is it okay to request that guests *not* post photos or identify the event on their facebook pages? The concern is about other people’s lax privacy controls on their own pages, as well as possible problems for clergy who may get in trouble for officiating.

    • Country Girl

      “Unplugged” weddings are not that uncommon these days for many many reasons.

      Word your invitation in a manner of “We invite you to relax and truly enjoy living-in-the-moment with us on our wedding day. We respectfully ask that you leave your cameras and cell phones at home.” (You can also place similar signage outside the door of the wedding.)

      If you will have a wedding photographer, then you can also include an offer to mail or hand-deliver printed photos to those who are interested in a photo keepsake. To anyone rude enough to ask why or prod you to let them take pictures, remain firm in “It would mean so much to us if everyone was really present and enjoyed the day fully and not through a camera lens.” You may also like to appoint someone to keep watch for this on the day and politely remind guests that the couple prefers no photos are taken.

    • Alicia

      Well a wedding in its nature is society recognizing that these two people are a social unit. So a wedding is a social event be it a large or small wedding. I think a clergy that is not willing to be open and public about performing a wedding should not perform it. It will get out and will be public because the wedding and the marriage will be public info.
      I think that telling people that they should not share their joy and pleasure in attending a wedding and the lovely digital pictures of such a wonderful event makes it seem like you are ashamed of the event. I would not do so as it is quite an insult to the wedding couple and the friends and family that are happy for them to tell them that they and their friends should be ashamed and hide their wonderful day and wonderful wedding. Anyone who wants to treat it as anything other then the same as a dual sex wedding well that is their own issue and what a horrible shame for then to be so closed minded. Love and kindness are two of the greatest things and anyone who finds someone who loves then foibles and all is a lucky personand their marriage is something as a siociety we should celebrate.
      By the way, I have only ever been to one same sex wedding and I know I put up pictures of the reception on facebook just like I do with all the weddings I go to. Both of the grooms are facebook friends of mine (although much closer friends with one of the grooms) and both commented positively on my facebook page on the pictures.

    • Ashley

      It is okay because it is YOUR wedding. Do what YOU want. Your guests should be respectful enough to follow your requests even if they personally disagree. And when pictures are put on facebook they somestimes have a way of ending up in weird places of the internet, unintentionally. Also, once pictures are posted to facebook, you never know who (complete strangers) could save it or reproduce it – even years later.

  5. scdeb

    Society at large recognizes the that the two are a social unit but I think this is more of an issue of feeling safe. Unfortunately there are people in society that have violent tendencies toward people who are different from themselves and they are very capable of ruining lives in the process. Keeping things private might mean the difference between losing a job or even losing a life–so you do what you have to do to be safe. The marriage is between the two people not society so what does it matter if society knows any details. Yes it is a horrible shame but so is dying.

    • Jodi Blackwood

      Hi CB,

      I think SCDEB sums it up well, and to follow-up with your question, yes, it is all right to request that guests refrain from posting photos or identifying the event on their facebook pages. I would not include the request with the invitation — let that be something that is wonderful and exciting for everyone to enjoy, especially the couple, without any negative connotation to it. Instead, I would make note on the program, if there is to be one, and place small signs on the tables at the reception. There is no need to provide detail or explanation — something along the lines of “We invite you to enjoy any photographs for personal remembrance but for personal reasons ask that they are not posted on any social media sites. Thank you.” And then, when someone does not comply with the wishes of the couple, the couple are well within their rights to ask that the photo be removed from the other person’s page. Facebook also now provides the option to untag oneself from photos posted by others, if it becomes necessary.

      I hope this helps!

  6. emily

    during xmas celebration at grandmas house, gifts were unwrapped and acknowledgement,ie “thank you” was said to the giver. is there a need to follow up again with a handwritten mailed note?

  7. Alicia

    If a thank you was said then there is no requirement of a thank you note. However, thank you notes are always allowable in addition to verbal thank you. There are also some times where the receipt of a thank you can be considered a thing that must be sent because it makes the giver so much more pleased. Also sending thank yous can gain you a reputation for being a gracious person and thankful which can over time gain you better and more frequent gifts. This also varies.
    So need?No
    Strong reason to do so? Perhaps.

  8. kelli

    Hello, I may be at the wrong website. If so, perhaps you could direct me to the correct one. I don’t have a question about weddings-not yet anyway. I was wondering if it is considered poor etiquette if a stranger comes into one’s home and begins asking for belongings in that home??

    • That’s not really a matter of etiquette, Kelli. That’s more a matter of “you should call the police” now. I hope this incident was quickly and safely resolved for you.

  9. Kelli

    Thank-you Laura! It’s a bit long and an unsavory story. Perhaps I’ll share it a some point. Let’s just say that some “groups” in our society think you are being greedy and selfish unless you hand over your belongings to someone you don’t know. Of course I could have misunderstood their motives. Again my mistake. It’s confusing to say the least.

    • Let’s just say that it was a distant friend or acquaintance of yours that you invited over for tea. Your friend comes in, sits down, is sipping her from her cup… then says she would like to have the cup. “Oh no,” you reply, “that was my great great aunt Sally’s set. She brought it over from the Old Country.” Your friend presses you for it. “But it would match my new kitchen!” she exclaims.

      My point is that it doesn’t matter if it is a stranger or a friend – it is rude to ask people for things in their home, then expect to receive them. There are cultures where the host/hostess will give the guest whatever they like if they express interest, but you didn’t mention that it is one of those cases (and the guest wouldn’t ask for it anyway; the guest would show appreciation for it.) In my family, a person may say, “this is wonderful. If you ever decide you don’t need it, let me know.” Still, no one is expecting to walk away with the object.

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