It’s time for Wedding Week 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.
Wow, that was incredibly rude of your son’s future mother-in-law and sister-in-law to not include you as a host on the bridal shower invitation! That said, it’s not worth making a big deal about despite your understandably hurt feelings. These people will be your son’s family — and, to an extent, your extended family — and it’s better to take the high road and try to retain a cordial relationship with them. You don’t want to let it completely slide, though, and you should make sure there wasn’t a misunderstanding on your part. Have you already paid for your 10 guests? If so, I might say something like, “I’m sorry if I misunderstood, but did I adequately cover the cost of my shower guests? I was confused by the invitation and just wanted to make sure I hadn’t overlooked my end of hosting duties. Please let me know if there’s anything I can help with. I’m really looking forward to celebrating the bride and helping to welcome her to our side of the family!” This will get the message across without being unnecessarily aggressive and will give the mother and sister of the bride a chance to apologize profusely if they have any tact whatsoever.
Short answer: yeah, kind of. I mean, your cousin knows you live abroad and presumably knows you have a boyfriend. If a plus one were welcome, an invitation for a plus one would have been extended. You don’t know what kind of shuffling might have to be done to make room for just one more. And anyway, the wedding is about the couple getting married, not about you introducing your boyfriend to the family. Use the days before and after the wedding for that and let your boyfriend use the 5 or 6 hours you’ll be at the wedding and reception to catch up on sleep (or sight-seeing on his own!) — I’m sure after 20+ hours of travel, he’ll be happy with either.
A gift isn’t obligatory to a vow renewal ceremony or even expected in the same way a regular wedding gift is often expected, but it’s always a nice thought to bring a gift to any function where you’re a guest and someone is footing the bill for your food and entertainment. If you have it in your budget, a bottle of champagne (if you know they drink) or a restaurant gift card would be thoughtful. A nice card with a handwritten message would totally suffice if your budget is tight or if the invitation specifically said “no gifts.”
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.