Open Thread

by epi on March 7, 2013

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Young March 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Hello:

My father & I are trying to throw a surprise 50th birthday party for my mother (March 18th, 2013!) at a local restaurant. My dad is renting a room and will be paying for everyone’s meal and alcohol. There is a food and beverage minimum of $500 (before taxes & gratuities) and the space holds 30 people max. So far, I have come up with a list of 23 people of my mom’s closest friends and a few family to invite. I’m going to send an evite/email inviting these guests.

Our dilema: how do I subtly say on the invitation that spouses are not invited? If I open it up to everyone on my invite list plus one, that will be over our maximum amount of guests… what is the best way to say “no plus ones??” HELP!

Thanks!!

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Winifred Rosenburg March 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Married couples are considered a social unit, and it is rude to invite one and not the other, the only exception being girls nights out and other gender-specific events. I suggest you rethink your guestlist to a more select group that includes spouses. With regards to unattached guests who might want to bring a date for some reason, clearly name the invited person on the invitation and that will indicate that they are not permitted to bring someone along.

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Taking Rudeness Personally March 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

This might not be the place to ask this kind of a question, but how do you prevent feeling bad over somebody else’s rudeness? When somebody does something rude I tend to think that I must have done something wrong, even when I know this isn’t the case. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Any advice on how not to feel offended when people treat us in a manner we would not treat them?

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Stephanie March 7, 2013 at 11:25 pm

The invitations for my brothers wedding went out and my mom’s best friend of 25 years completely flipped her lid that her oldest son was not invited. She told my mom (not the bride or groom, whom the invitations are from) that unless her oldest son was invited, she would not attend. The kicker? Her younger son is THE BEST MAN AT THE WEDDING. My mom was stunned, obviously. The friend came to the bridal shower the very next day after telling my mom she would not attend the wedding. Two weeks went by.

This past Sunday I checked my mailbox and discovered that the friend had left the wedding invitation, in it’s entirety, in the mailbox for my mom to find. I immediately removed it to spare my mom the hurt and brought it to the bride and groom, where I promptly freaked out about how nuts I thought this all was. The bride was also, to put it kindly, IRATE that the woman had done something so cruel. She waited a few days to calm down and called the friend. What started as a calm conversation ended in the friend yelling at the bride and the bride hanging up. The bride got in all of the key points about the guest list not belonging to my parents, having 200 of her immediate family and no friends or plus 1′s attending, that the friend and her husband were invited out of consideration for my parents and that her behavior would not be tolerated and would result in her missing her other son give a best man speech, etc.

The friend is confident that my parents invited “other friends over her son”, insisting that “she knows how a guest list works” and pointed out that all three of my parents children were invited to the younger sons wedding. Given that two of us don’t have more than a passing relationship with him, we were surprised that everyone got an invitation with plus 1′s. The bride pointed out that that was her choice and that had we NOT been invited, my mother would not have been upset (true) and even if she was she would never have behaved in this fashion (couldn’t be more true).

That night the bride and groom came over and explained to my mom everything that had happened. My mom, understandably, is devastated about her friendship seeming to come to an abrupt end over a wedding invitation to someone my brother has zero relationship with (since elementary school, at least). She’s wandering around in a complete fog mumbling that “she can’t believe it’s come to this”.

I guess my question is: does this really happen to other people? Do weddings bring out the worst in people? Is there ANY scenario in which the friend has any valid points to be upset about?

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Kris March 8, 2013 at 12:47 am

Dear Stephanie,
I’ve learned that a lot of times when people overreact over something it is rarely due to that event alone. That event is usually just the cherry on the top of a sundae of unexpressed frustration. This frustration might have nothing to do with the final, cherry-topping event, and once the person calms down, has some frustrations resolved, s/he can reevaluate and often will apologize for rude behavior. I think it is quite unusual for someone to expect parents of bride and groom to have control over the guest list. Hopefully, your mother’s friend will realize this in time as well, and their relationship will be repaired.

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Jody March 8, 2013 at 7:14 am

Stephanie — yes, weddings do seem to bring out the worst in some people. Something similar to this happened to me. My youngest sister’s best friend was getting married (my sister was a bridesmaid) and our two families were good friends. At the time of the wedding I was the only one of the 3 “children” not living at home, and the only one not invited to the wedding. My mom was very upset but I don’t know what (if anything) she said to the bride’s family. My sister, the bridesmaid, asked the bride about it and was told “we knew she couldn’t come so we didn’t invite her” (at which point my sister told the bride in no uncertain terms how rude that was).

The key to all this, in my opinion, is how does the oldest son feel about the situation? If he isn’t close to your brother and his fiancee and if he isn’t irritated or upset about not being invited, there’s no issue. If he’s also not living at home, I see no issue about his not being invited. It sounds like the bride handled things in the best possible manner. The guest list is, as you say, under control of the bride and groom. It sounds like they had constraints over how many could attend and kept that number under control. I don’t think the friend had valid reason to be so rude under any circumstances. If the oldest son is still living at home, he should have been invited out of courtesy, but that doesn’t give his mother an excuse to act the way she did.

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Elizabeth March 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I disagree that the son is owed an invitation if he lives with his parents. One is never obligated to invite anyone (except, perhaps, for the rule about inviting couples as a social unit) to anything. My sister has friends who are also very fond of my parents, and I can imagine one of them inviting my sister as well as my parents to their wedding, but I can’t see how that entitles me to an invitation as well.

I think the woman in Stephanie’s situation blew her lid at some erroneous notion of quid pro quo – that since she’d hosted her friends children at one of her children’s weddings, that her family was entitled to the same treatment. Unfortunately it just doesn’t work that that, and this woman has thrown away a 25 year friendship over one stinking event. I think it’s sad when people’s identities are overly wrapped up in their family unit, as it sounds like she’s thinking that a slight against her son is a slight against her. It’s quite laughable, because I would bet that the uninvited son couldn’t care less.

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Stephanie March 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm

We have no idea how the oldest son feels about not being invited, he might not even care. When the friend received the invitation she told my mom she had to hide it to make sure he didn’t see it and get upset. So to the best of my knowledge, he never saw the invite.

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Winifred Rosenburg March 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

No, she has no justification for her behavior. There is no reason why they were required to invite friend’s son. Yes, weddings do bring out the worst in people. I would like to say that everyone eventually comes to their senses, but that’s not always the case. I have a friend whose mother threw a tantrum along the lines of what you described for even more foolish reasons while her son was getting ready to get married. She ended up not going to the wedding and convincing his entire family except his brother and uncle to not go either and sat shiva for him on his wedding day. That was seven years ago and they haven’t spoken since. I hope the situation with your mother’s friend goes better, but perhaps it’s better to not have a friend who would throw her friendship away for what sounds like nothing but a thirst for drama.

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Stephanie March 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Thank you so much for all of your feedback! My mom is still at a total loss, but hopefully after the wedding it will get easier.

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