Open Thread

by epi on September 5, 2013

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael September 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I was unable to attend the out of state wedding of my brother’s daughter (my niece) due to financial difficulties and child care responsibilities – cancelling my attendance only 1 day before the wedding. My brother was not understanding of the matter and demanded that the only right thing is to reimburse his daughter the $160 for the dinner myself and my partner were reserved for. Though I rsvp’d at the time set on the invitation, my brother said that his daughter had gone over the number of guests allotted for and this caused an increase in dinner fees for the extra guests. Not only do I not have the means to pay, I don’t think that it is right to be demanded to pay for this. It does not at all seem to be etiquette to make such a request either. What is the etiquette related to this situation?

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Elizabeth September 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

If you could have foreseen the difficulties you encountered, it would have been better for you to RSVP no or to cancel with more notice. If you could have come without your partner, that would have been better than you both not attending. That being said, if you had to cancel in an emergency, the hosts should have been much more understanding about it. In no case should they have attempted to charge you for the food that you would have eaten. My advice would be to send a nice card (and a gift, whatever you can afford), apologizing for missing the wedding and sending them all your good wishes. I have never heard of additional guests causing an increase in the per-head amount, not that it matters. It sounds like you and your brother have very different financial situations, and unfortunately he does not sound understanding of yours. You don’t have to pay, and it sounds like you can’t afford it anyway, so you might consider sending your brother a final note of apology and consider the matter finished.

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Winifred Rosenburg September 5, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I really don’t see how financial difficulties and child care responsibilities prevented you from knowing more than one day before that you wouldn’t be able to attend. While your brother shouldn’t have demanded the money from you, I understand why he is upset. I suggest sending a letter apologizing along with a wedding gift and say you’ll reimburse them when your financial situation improves.

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Alicia September 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm

You were very rude to cancel last minute. Your brother was rude to demand payment. You can only deal with yourself and that means heartfelt apologizing to brother and niece and husband.

Often over a limit does mean a huge extra fee. But that is not really relevant to the fact that you promised to be there and it was your responsibility to therefore honor that promise.

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Jody September 6, 2013 at 7:31 am

I can think of several reasons why you didn’t know until the last minute that you couldn’t make it (for example, child care falling through at the last minute) and that you sent your regrets as soon as you could. I also think that your brother was definitely out of place in expecting you to pay for the dinner you missed. I’d ignore his request to pay for the dinner but send the bridal couple a gift in whatever range fits your budget.

As for the question of extra guests — it’s not your fault that the bride went over the number of guests originally planned. Yes, that would result in an increase in the total amount, but I can’t see where it would create an increase in the per-person cost.

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