Open Thread

by epi on July 5, 2013

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Winifred Rosenburg July 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I got an email from my mother-in-law asking for help wording an invitation to a couples shower she is throwing for her son and his fiancĂ©e. She included a wording she found online and asked if I thought it was okay and if not what I would suggest. Here’s her suggestion:

A couples shower in honor of Rita & Tom
Rita and Tom will soon be flying away.
You can help defray the cost
of a traditional Chinese wedding
In Hong Kong on Oct. 18, 2013.
Join us to celebrate with a Bon Voyage bash
In lieu of gifts, please consider giving cash!
Please join us for a celebration in their honor
On
At
RSVP

In addition to the obvious problem of requesting cash (which I would feel awkward pointing out to begin with), there is another problem. Rita and Tom are already married (I won’t go into how I know, but I am 100% sure), but my mother-in-law does not know. They have been helping her plan the shower and encouraging her to spend a fair amount of money on it when her finances are very tight, and they don’t seem to have any intention of telling her they have been married for over a year. I would personally feel uncomfortable getting invited to a shower for a couple that is already married, and I imagine others will feel the same way. (They have not told me or anyone else that they are married, but it seems like everyone except my mother-in-law has figured it out.) I really don’t know what to say now that I’m being asked to give input on something I have several problems with and really don’t think she should be doing. Help!

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Alicia July 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I would focus on the cash request and the shower should be only those who were invited to the wedding thing. I would also say were not will be in respect to the wedding dropping the hint but not outright stating it.

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Lauren July 7, 2013 at 6:43 am

That’s extremely awkward on so many levels. Whose idea was it to ask guests to pay for a second wedding ceremony/reception–the couple or your MIL? If it was the couple who somehow suggested that instead of gifts they’d like people to chip in on the wedding and travel costs, and if it really is true they are already married (it’s not just that they’re living together, right, you have some reason to think they’ve already had an official ceremony?), then that is just SO inappropriate. I’d take a stand on principle here: it’s really deceitful! But if you don’t want to tell your mother they are already married, perhaps you can kill two birds with one stone and suggest a total invite rewrite that removes both issues: make it a bon voyage couple’s shower and a more simple invitation, omitting mention of the traditional wedding (which it won’t be), and then–like registries–if anyone asks about gifts, your MIL or the bridesmaids can spread the word about the couple’s (still inappropriate but oh well) gift preference of cash.

You might even be able to move away from it being called a couple shower, if the couple don’t intend to invite the shower guests to the wedding in HK–then it should really just be called a bon voyage party.

If she insists on mentioning the wedding in the invite: something like “…Hong Kong, where they will celebrate their marriage in a traditional Chinese ceremony…” is maybe slightly more accurate.

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Winifred Rosenburg July 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

I like your idea of a Bon Voyage party instead of a shower! I’ll suggest that. I’m assuming the couple came up with the cash request as it doesn’t seem like something my mother-in-law would come up on her own. They are definitely legally married. I really don’t think it’s my place to tell her about their marriage. Some in the family have said they think it’s best to keep it a secret because it would break her heart to find out they got married and didn’t tell her. They might be right.

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Lauren July 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm

So glad if I’ve been able to help! I do hope it all goes well. :)

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Becky July 8, 2013 at 9:44 am

ditto on dropping the word ‘wedding’. focus on the celebration of the marriage…which it is, albeit a little belated.

As for the couple’s deceit, if you feel strongly and are close enough to the couple, you could let them know that it is no secret and you are concerned about your MIL being devastated if she doesn’t hear it from them, particularly if your MIL is close enough to them for her to host a party. The secret may still take some time to get to her, but these things eventually do get out. If your MIL finds out you’ve known all along, then the couple is dragging you into it as well, so you do have a personal stake.

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Susan July 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I am throwing the bridal shower for my older sister, as the maid of honor.
Back in January, I asked the groom’s mother if a couple of dates were acceptable, she gave no qualms, and in March we went ahead and booked a venue for the shower. Knowing she had pressured my sister into inviting 130 guests to the wedding,
I was prepared for, and received a guest list from her for the shower of about 35 women. Like I said, I was prepared for it, even though I thought it excessive considering my sister’s non existent relationship with most of them. My mother explained it would be best to let it go and allow her to invite whoever she liked, eliminating something else troublesome for my sister.
I have since been told (six weeks out from the event- invites had not been sent out) by my sister that the grooms mother planned to host a separate shower, that neither mother or myself have been informed of directly.
I am hurt, and I feel that this is rude and inappropriate. We purposely chose the venue for its size knowing that she was going to have a large number of guests, and without them, we may not make our minimum. Knowing that the MOG is throwing a shower of her own, I feel as though his family will chose to attend her party.
I don’t know how I should approach the situation, and I feel as though my hands are tied. Any thoughts?

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Elizabeth July 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm

It seems strange that you’ve been in contact with the MOG, that she gave you a list of groom’s side guests, and then something else happened and she decided to throw a shower of her own. I would not give up so easily. Call her (taking care to calm yourself and find a ‘generous’ place in your mind), and say that you heard something about another shower and you were calling to find out what was up. Act concerned and confused. (you are, are you not?) As, “is everything OK? Did something happen? Do you think that your guests will not enjoy the shower that we discussed and agreed upon before?” Gently let her know the bind this puts you in. “Jane, since you gave me the list of your guests previously, I had to find and book a venue that could hold 50 people, and now if we don’t invite the groom’s side, we will probably not be able to make our minimums. Can we go back to just having one big shower?”

If she is unwilling to talk, or unwilling to reconcile into one shower, you may have to cancel your shower. You should also discuss this with the bride in advance of calling MOG, as she may have some insight, and she may be able to prevail upon the groom to talk some sense into his own mother.

Good luck.

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Laura July 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I may not be posting in the correct place, but I have a question about an enclosure for a gift registry / baby shower gift enclosure for a baby shower invitation. The expectant couple lives on the opposite coast will be flying back after their party. Gift cards would be fantastic — if they are brought to the party, but we (the hostesses) obviously don’t want to ask guests to limit their gifts to gift cards. However, the secondary dilemma (and really the most important issue) here is that we do not want anyone to mail gift cards as the couple lives in an area that has had major issues with the USPS and gift card theft. (The USPS will only pay $15 on lost gift card claim, even if you insure it for $100.) Is there a way to word an enclosure so that people know not to mail gift cards? It seems crass but not as bad as sending someone a $50 gift card that they never get.

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Alicia July 7, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Nobody will send a gift card in response to a shower invite. A gift card is tiny and easy to pack so it will be brought to the shower if that is what is sent. A real gift may be mailed but really nobody will want to send instead of having the card with gift card opened at the shower. Showers are about handing gifts over in person and as such any worry of mailed gifts in particular mailed gift cards in so small as to be insignificant. Additionally there is no way to say gie them gift card but only in person without coming across as way too bossy. Relax it should not be a significant worry.

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Jody July 9, 2013 at 11:37 am

I have to disagree with Alicia. I can and have sent gift cards in response to a shower invite, and I’m not the only person who does so.

I sympathize with and understand your dilemma but can’t think of an easy or graceful way to word things. Is there any alternate mailing address (such as another friend or relative) that you can provide? If so, maybe something like “if you plan to mail something to the couple, please send it to Street, City, State, Zip.”

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