It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
One of my fraternity friends, whom I’m not very close with, is getting married and I was invited to the bachelor party. I sent back the invitation saying my girlfriend and I would attend the wedding. He calls me right after he gets the RSVP saying that, due to venue size and how he wants to invite all his frat guys, my live-in girlfriend of six years can’t attend. I’m furious because I will be spending over a grand on his bachelor party. He said there is a hard and fast rule that only engaged, married, and/or in-the-wedding-party can bring a significant other. I know for a fact this rule was bent. What should I do now that my girlfriend doesn’t want me going and all my friends are telling me to suck it up? Why should I spend all this money on him when we aren’t good friends and he can’t even invite my serious live-in girlfriend to his wedding? — Pissed at My Frat Bro
If you don’t want to spend a grand on a bachelor party for someone you aren’t even good friends with, DON’T. You could still go to the wedding without attending the bachelor party. Or, you could skip the wedding, too. As rude as you might think it was of this guy not to extend a plus-1 to your live-in girlfriend of six years, it was kind of rude of you to presume she was invited and inform the groom she would be attending if nowhere on your invitation did it indicate anyone other than you was being invited.
I’m going to a wedding this summer of a close friend, and I just looked at their registry and GOOD GOD! Everything on it was ridiculously expensive. It’s not like they’re starting out with nothing; they have been living together for years, but it’s like they want to replace their entire household with the highest of high-end products. Seriously, I’m a poor grad student and I can’t even afford to buy them one of the towels they registered for on top of traveling to their destination wedding. Is it okay to not give them a gift or to get them something off-registry? What is a good, reasonably priced wedding present? — Broke Wedding Guest
Yes, of course, you can get something off-registry. I have wedding gift suggestions here at a variety of price points. It’s also ok to not give a gift and to give a card with a heart-felt, hand-written note inside. Anyone who would feel offended by a lack of gift from someone without a lot of money who traveled far to be at their wedding isn’t worth worrying about anyway.
My honey and I are getting married over Labor Day weekend and we’re super happy and excited. It will be a second wedding for each of us, so this time we’re going smaller and only having about 50 people (immediate family, closest friends, etc.). I was going to send out Save the Date cards as soon as possible, but my fiancé suggested we just send out wedding invitations instead and those who RSVP “no” can be replaced by people on the B list. What are your thoughts on this? — Second-Time Bride
I’d send out Save the Dates, and, since you are only inviting immediate family and closest friends, you could ask that anyone who already knows that he or she won’t be able to attend let you know as soon as possible. Then send invitations out two months before the wedding and, if you get additional RSVP regrets, you can send out last-minute invitations to your “B” guest list with the understanding that most people will probably already have their holiday weekend plans made and won’t be able to make the wedding (and that they’ll also suspect they were last-minute additions to the guest list, so consider how that might affect your relationship with them versus not inviting them at all to your intimate wedding).
In about a month I’m going to a good friend’s wedding and I’ll have met some of his other mates and they’re all nice. So that’s fine. Except, he’s also invited someone else I was close to about four years ago until we had a very messy “friend break-up.” I feel absolutely rotten about some things I did that contributed to that break up, but, also, I’m not completely sure why things had to become so fraught – I think there were more reasons for the fight and break-up than I knew about at the time and that I still don’t know now. I’ll have to see this person at the wedding and I’m not really sure how to react to her. I think I should make an effort to go over and say hello at the start of the festivities, and then slink back to my separate corner and talk to some other people for the rest of the time we’re there. What do you think? — Expecting Awkward Ex-Friend Run-In
Eh, I don’t think you need to make a big production of going over and saying hello. I mean, don’t go out of your way to avoid her, but, if you happen to end up near each other (in line, on the dance floor, what have you), a simple, “Hi, how are you? Nice to see you,” will suffice. The issue with looking for her and approaching her is that you then analyze your “performance” afterward. Plus, the slinking back to your corner is weird. Just wait for a natural, organic opportunity to give your regards and move on. And try not to worry about this too much. There will be plenty of other people at the wedding and the focus will be elsewhere anyway. Plus, champagne and cake!
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.