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Reception guests with new SO's

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by avatar MaggieB 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #696315 Reply
    Roxy_84
    Roxy_84

    Hello all,

    My husband and I are having a disagreement and would like some advice.

    We eloped in June without telling anyone, and are having a cocktail party reception in our hometown at the end of this month. While it’s not a formal sit down dinner, it’s not a super casual event, which I believe was communicated by the invite, dress code, venue etc. We decided that we weren’t going to give out “plus ones”, mostly because it’s a small event, no extended family and close friends only (we invited 60 people, 45 are coming). Anyone who was living with, engaged to, or married to a significant other got an invite addressed to both of them, but no one got an “and guest”. That we drew the line at living together wasn’t really on purpose; none of our single friends were dating anyone in particular that they’d mentioned to us at the time we sent out the invite (mid-June).

    Here’s the problem. Since we sent out the invite, 3 of our single friends have told us that they’re dating someone (two of his friends, one of mine). Both of his friends have also asked in the last few days if they could bring their new bf/gf to the party. We disagree on whether we should say ok or not.

    I think that it’s kind of rude to ask so I don’t love condoning that, and I also feel like if we didn’t know these people existed six weeks ago (and we’ve only met one of the three since then) why should we have them at our event. Though not as important, there’s the cost of three extra people too (we’ve decided if we say yes to his two friends who asked, we should offer to my friend as well). As well, I think it’s a bit unfair to our other single friends – if these 3 friends bring people they’ve been seeing for 2-3 months, it’s not really that different from bringing someone you’ve been on a couple dates with?

    My husband thinks that this event is more for our guests than us, so if our friends care enough to ask, they must really want their new SO’s to be there. And he thinks that if they’d have a better time with their new SO’s then we should encourage them bring them (as a side note all these friends are good friends with other people at the reception, so they would have people to hang out with if they didn’t bring the person they’re dating). He also thinks it doesn’t inconvenience us that much, aside from having to pay a bit more money since it’s not like there’s seating charts or anything.

    Thoughts?

    #696316 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    I think you’re generally better off having a policy and sticking to it. Your policy was, keep it small, stick to budget, no plus ones. You kept it consistent by drawing the line at live-ins. That’s fine, and you can just graciously say that you needed to keep it small so you are not doing plus ones.

    You’re right that they shouldn’t ask. I guess you *could* just say, “ok, fine” to the people who are now dating someone, but be prepared that if you do, a bunch more people may ask if they can bring a date, or worse, just bring one. If you invited a bunch of single people who may potentially do that, and it hurts your budget, don’t cave on these first few.

    #696317 Reply
    avatar
    Fyodor

    Hah, I know that there are a few letters from insulted people who were on the other side of this equation on the archives.

    I’ll disagree with Kate here and say that if the costs aren’t a big burden to let them bring their significant others. If it were an actual wedding reception, I’d say, yeah tell them to pound sand. But if you’re having something less…ritualized, you may want to let them bring their significant others. You (reasonably) chose not to have a formal wedding event and instead are having a cocktail party later on. While I can understand why, I think that one of the downsides for that is that the social conventions tend to be less formalistic. You can get away with telling people that their relationship isn’t serious enough to attend your wedding. It’s harder to do that for your two-months-later cocktail party.

    I probably wouldn’t have asked, but given that your friends HAVE asked I think it will come off poorly if you say no.

    #696318 Reply
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    Ron

    I’d let them bring their SOs. Gives a chance to meet them as a couple, greasing future social encounters as opposed to chilling them. Also, you wanted to keep the party to 60 and you only have 45, so it’s easy to accommodate several more people, while sticking with your original vision of the event. As we see on this forum, some couples move in together virtually instantly, while others take the more prudent step of getting to know each other a lot better first. Why penalize those who are approaching their relationship the right way. Engaged or married is a red line distinction. Living together not as much so. It doesn’t need to represent a huge commitment.

    #696319 Reply
    avatar
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Oh I somehow missed the part about only 45 out of 60 coming. Sure, B-list the dates if you can afford it. I do think you’ll be opening the door to more dates though and will have to be prepared to say yes to all.

    #696320 Reply
    avatar
    Essie
    Participant

    Sigh…I’m kind of on the fence here. Personally, I think it’s spectacularly rude to ask a host to add a guest to an event they’re paying for. And I’d be pretty ticked that they asked. I mean, come on, you can’t be away from your new boyfriend/girlfriend for a couple of hours to have dinner and cocktails? Sheesh.

    That said, I guess it would depend on my level of closeness to the person, and how much it would cost to add them. I can see your husband’s point of view, that’s it’s not as big a deal as it would be at a full wedding/reception.

    #696322 Reply
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    dinoceros
    Member

    I think that maybe you and your guests are on different pages. It sounds like you’re treating it like a wedding, and they are treating it more like a party. I can see how someone might think it’s OK to ask to bring a partner to a cocktail party. With a wedding, they know that that’s a set amount per plate, but a cocktail party, I think a lot of people assume that most of the costs are overhead costs or proportional, in terms of food, not that adding a person automatically adds $50 to you bill or something.

    I think that people tend to be more OK with lines being drawn when it’s a small wedding, but if they see it as a party, I think that they may not understand. Personally, I don’t think I could see myself barring partners from a cocktail-party type event. And I think in this case, the whole “you have to meet certain criteria for us to think your relationship is serious enough” seems more out of place than it does at a wedding. But technically, you’re free to do whatever you want.

    #696324 Reply
    Roxy_84
    Roxy_84

    Costs for an extra three people would not be a significant burden since we had been planning for up to 60 people.

    @essie you’ve pretty much encapsulated exactly the back and forth

    @Fyodor I think you’re probably right that this might be one of the trade offs to getting to skip the hassle associated with a formal wedding followed by reception

    To be clear, we did not exclude ANY significant others that we knew of when we sent the invites. And I tend to think that if you weren’t dating them/hadn’t mentioned them by the time the invites went out, oh well. But, I take a lot of people’s points about how including these guests is probably the more socially appropriate/less socially destructive thing to do. We will probably invite them.

    #696325 Reply
    TheLadyE
    TheLadyE

    “If these 3 friends bring people they’ve been seeing for 2-3 months, it’s not really that different from bringing someone you’ve been on a couple dates with?” No, not at all. My boyfriend and I have been dating for under 2 months and we have been out many times. I lost count as to how many – at this point it’s more than 10. We’ve begun the process of introducing each other to our friends. I would absolutely expect to be seen as a social unit with him by my friends at this point.

    And, honestly, if I were in your friends’ situations I would also ask. I don’t think it’s rude given the particulars: it’s a party, 15 less people showed up than you planned for, and they obviously want to be seen as a social unit with their SO’s. You can say no, of course, but in this instance I don’t think it’s rude that they asked. I would ask too. As Ron says, it’s greasing the wheels for future encounters.

    #696328 Reply
    Copa
    Copa
    Participant

    I dunno. IS it rude to ask? I don’t think so. I’d personally allow them to bring their SOs under these circumstances for reasons Ron stated.

    #696358 Reply
    avatar
    Janelle

    I will never understand why people feel the need to bring anyone they date to every event. I truly don’t. Nor do I get why the SO would want to go hang around 60 people they don’t know. It baffles my mind. It’s to celebrate your marriage, not show off their flavor of the month. They can spend three hours without them.

    And what gall to ask. So rude. If disinvited whoever asked.

    #696359 Reply
    avatar
    dinoceros
    Member

    I think it’s a gray area, at least in terms of what the guests know about the party (is it a reception without a wedding, or just a party or what) — which is probably not much. Disinviting someone from a party because they asked to bring someone seems a lot more rude than asking to bring someone to a party.

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