Column deleted at the request of the LW. Please note: When you write a letter to me asking for advice, you are essentially giving me permission to publish your letter. I do not have the time to answer letters privately. Thank you.
_jsw_ April 10, 2012, 10:15 am
I guess I’d probably keep the travel plans but would privately adopt a wait and see attitude about going. Personally, after an exchange like that, I’d be willing to sever the ties. I’m not sure what advantage there is is keeping that relationship intact, siblings or not. The LW’s sister is at best not at all empathetic, and the niece is a piece of work. I can smell the sense of entitlement from here.
_jsw_ April 10, 2012, 10:19 am
Also, I love my brothers, but I’d expect them to not defend such talk from their kids, and I love my children, but if one of them said something like that to one of their cousins and didn’t apologize sincerely, I’d cut off the wedding funds. That’s terrible disrespect and cruel. I couldn’t support that.
Of course, that assumes it was one-sided, which, agreed, it very well might not have been.
Still, given what seems to be a lavish wedding being planned, it just seemed like bad manners to not add a +1 to the LW daughter’s invite… or, I suppose, just to not invite her at all.
CG April 10, 2012, 10:51 am
Yeah, I agree about the relationship not really being worth salvaging (based on what we know — like others have mentioned, there’s probably more to the story). I mean, the LW even says her sister isn’t worth knowing anymore, so why go through with the charade of going to the wedding and pretending to be happy? My mom’s family is a lot like this — a few of her siblings walk all over the others, and they will never be able to be reasoned with or admit that they have problems and are assholes. The ones who get treated like crap just have to take it and suck it up for the sake of “family harmony,” and what’s the point of that? They just go through life hating themselves and their siblings for treating them like doormats.
And even if Melissa is a giant slut, so what? That’s no one’s business but Melissa’s.
dandywarhol April 10, 2012, 6:20 pm
Wow my mom’s family is the same way! A few of the sibilings are just total narcissistic a-holes and like to pick on everyone else. Some put up with it, but I got so sick of it (mainly because they like to pick on me) that I stopped going to anything. I’ve been to weddings but that’s it. I can’t stand them and i just get anxiety about going. My mom tries to go “because she has to” but I still don’t see why. I hate rude families.
Stephanie April 10, 2012, 10:16 am
Is Dana the same person as Dawn? I found myself getting confused…
_jsw_ April 10, 2012, 10:20 am
I think so. Maybe she has a split personality.
Wendy April 10, 2012, 10:21 am
Oops, sorry. That’s the hazard of having a lot of names to change…
kerrycontrary April 10, 2012, 10:21 am
Who insults someone for having bulemia? It’s a mental illness. Dana seems like a real quality person who is going to have a very successful marriage.
MsMisery April 10, 2012, 1:00 pm
“My cousin had horrible self-esteen and made bad decisions in her teens so she can’t come to my wedding!!” Srsly, what horse shit.
LSD April 10, 2012, 10:21 am
Weddings are stressful for everyone involved. Don’t let a wedding get in the way of your relationship with your sister. Everone has their moments.
a_different_Wendy April 10, 2012, 10:29 am
I feel like there’s probably two sides to that story. Yes, Dawn sounds like an entitled brat, but very few people jump straight into insulting someone over the phone, and it’s entirely possible that Melissa was demanding and rude about her not-quite-fiance being invited to the wedding. Just feel like it’s wrong for people to jump all over how awful Dawn and her mother are when there’s probably plenty of blame to go around.
amy April 10, 2012, 10:51 am
Agreed, we have no idea what happened in that conversation. All we know is that a character assisination occurred, but what did Melissa say to Dawn? Demanding an invite for a guest that the bride has probably never met is really rude. Weddings are expensive, and although Melissa is “almost engaged”, Dawn has probably never met the guy, and it is common to nix the plus one’s with the prices of today’s weddings.
Such unnecessary drama. Be the bigger person, suck it up, and go. And make sure YOUR daughter is ok after being “assassinated”.
ReginaRey April 10, 2012, 10:33 am
I’m actually slightly surprised that the consensus seems to be with the LW. While I think her sister and niece did NOT behave tactfully at ALL, I think that’s also a bit separate than the original issue at hand.
Honestly, it’s really not for the LW to call her sister up and ask for her daughter’s boyfriend to be invited to the wedding. We’ve had these kind of debates on DW before, and I think we’ve usually agreed that it’s up to the bride and groom to decide where to draw the line. Maybe they wanted to keep it at a certain number, and so excluded any plus-one’s who weren’t spouses or fiances. It sucks, but it’s not YOUR wedding. You really don’t get to have a say (and I definitely can sympathize with WANTING a say!…it’s just not your place).
And honestly, being “engaged to be engaged” is NOT the same as actually being engaged, and it irked me a little that the LW tried to justify it that way, like “Well, they’re as good as engaged, so what’s the big deal?” Weddings are stressful, expensive affairs. And if they were truly sticking to a hard-and-fast spouses and fiances only rule, then he simply doesn’t fall in that category. Nothing personal, he just doesn’t!
Now, if excluding him WAS personal, then that’s a different story. If he was purposefully excluded to spite your daughter or something, then I wouldn’t blame anyone for choosing not to go. None of these hypothetical situations give your sister and her daughter license to be completely bitchy and immature and inappropriate; but regardless of how unfortunately they behave, it’s their call whether or not a non-fiance gets an invite. And it’s not for you to try to call and change it.
ReginaRey April 10, 2012, 10:37 am
And honestly, if your daughter and your niece don’t even like each other to begin with, why on Earth did you even expect an invitation for her boyfriend? It seems to me that if they don’t get along, the niece wouldn’t exactly be trying to do any favors for her cousin, your daughter.
That, and it just strikes me as slightly presumptuous to call someone and try to invite another person to a wedding. Maybe I’m more fond of etiquette than I would have thought, but I consider that to be pretty rude, even if the wedding is of a family member.
savannah April 10, 2012, 10:50 am
I think the LW called up the mom because she knew there was tension between their daughters. I don’t mind that she was trying to avoid drama in the lead up to a wedding. Plus at the end of the day people often invite family they don’t get along with because well it would be a bigger deal to exclude them than see them for a few hours. I also think people are more inclined to side with the LW in this case because it seems like money or a budget is not a consideration for the niece.
amy April 10, 2012, 10:54 am
I wouldn’t be surprised if the character assassination came from a stressed out bride who someone she doesn’t even like called demanding a plus one for someone she hasn’t met.
Doesn’t excuse what was said to the LW’s daughter, but there is no excuse for calling someone and my guess is demanding a plus one for a future fiance’.
PFG-SCR April 10, 2012, 10:54 am
I don’t think it was wrong of the LW to ask her sister – not a coworker, not a friend but her sister – if the boyfriend can go. First, there may have been discussion before about the invitation, where the sister gave the impression that John would be invited. Even if she didn’t, asking your sister a question like that doesn’t seem rude. Second, the wedding is a long-distance one for the LW and her family, and they are possibly tying that into a vacation of sorts. If the sister is expecting the LW and her family to spend a considerable amount of money and time to travel to her daughter’s wedding, it’s rude not to invite the “entire family” (including John).
Francine April 10, 2012, 11:07 am
I can see maybe inquiring, if you’re particularly close to whoever is issuing the invitations, if they’re going to invite someone else but I’d say after the invitations have been received that question has been answered whether it was specifically asked or not.
PFG-SCR April 10, 2012, 11:26 am
Even if that was the answer that was to be derived from the lack of a +1 invite, I don’t think it’s wrong to ask your sibling a question because you feel like it wasn’t the answer that was fair under the circumstances. If it was a friend or a co-worker, I’d agree, but this is family.
FireStar April 10, 2012, 11:40 am
I agree – you can ASK – but asking doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a yes. You ask – the answer is no – at least you tried and you should move on – none of this outrage that your request was granted. Expecting a particular outcome is the nature of a command – not a request. I think Wendy is right – these are grown ass women – each is capable of navigating her own relationship with her relatives. Why the mothers are getting involved is beyond me.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 11:44 am
I agree that they are grown ass women – but I think for the LW this is the straw that broke the camels back. “My sister always gets what she wants, is selfish and really not worth knowing anymore.”
If say the reverse occurred and someone called my mom a TERRIBLE name (Really? we’re still calling each other sluts? Awesome) I would cut them out immediately. You can’t un-say those words – so deal with the consequences.
ReginaRey April 10, 2012, 12:09 pm
I agree that I think this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the LW. I get the strong impression that THIS particular issue is just the front for her REAL feelings — that her sister is entitled, always gets her way, is selfish, etc. I think her anger at her daughter’s boyfriend not being invited is a bit misdirected, because she feels she can’t say what she REALLY thinks.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 12:38 pm
Yeah I find it funny that everyone is upset that the LW would cut off contact with her sister – but yesterday people (I know you weren’t!) were defending the guys right to only financially support his kid and never have contact. Interesting. The baby in that case is completely innocent – here the aunt – not so much.
FireStar April 10, 2012, 12:25 pm
Life for me is very simple. If you don’t want to do something – then don’t. Be okay with the consequences and act however you see fit. I have no problem cutting people off in my life – and living with the consequences of it. It is the consequences part that people tend not to like. Given the history of bad blood between the daughters it is unlikely the name calling happened in a vacuum but if that is the position the LW wants to take and wants to terminate the relationship with her sibling/niece then have at it. It sounds like to me though that she wants a relationship with her sister AND she wants to avenge the affront to her daughter. You can’t have both – choose which one means more to you – the relationship or the affront to your daughter and then go with God.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 12:30 pm
Totally agreed. I wrote somewhere below that she has to really think it through. If she truly has no problem never speaking to her sister again then she shouldn’t bother going. But not many people are as heartless as me. I am lucky in that my family is awesome so I have never even come close to ending contact with a family member (including very distant cousins) but I know if someone treated my mother that way I wouldn’t even give it a second thought.
I have done it with shitty friends in the past and every single time it has gotten to the point where I know I will be better off without them – I am. I don’t regret it and I never look back. Maybe that’s just me though. The LW needs to really consider this, it’s not for everyone.
Brad April 10, 2012, 1:23 pm
I’m very similar to you and it’s not heartless; it’s self defense. I don’t like wasting my time and I don’t allow toxic people in my life. Doesn’t matter if there’s a blood relation or not. I don’t feel guilty or remorse for cutting people out of my life if they’re bad for me, or for any number of other reasons.
Francine April 10, 2012, 11:52 am
I see your point. But I do think that once we received the invitation we know that the issuer does think it’s fair and questioning it is probably going to result in a disagreement rather than another invitation.
That said, family members should be able to discuss this stuff. Doesn’t seem like that was ever going to be a possibility with this group though.
FireStar April 10, 2012, 12:32 pm
I agree with you. A typical family – it is a quick question and whatever answer you get is what you get and everyone puts on something pretty and calls the bride beautiful. If it is a question of numbers and logistics then maybe allowances can be made (if others send their regrets) so I don’t think asking hurts if you are close. My sister-in-law asked if she could bring a girl friend to my wedding – we ended up having room so totally cool with me. And if I told her – sorry girl all the tables are already full – it would have been cool with her. But you are right – the issues are with the players and not the actual etiquette in this case.
bostonpupgal April 10, 2012, 1:04 pm
Thank you for this. I was thinking that exact same thing as I read through this letter. We are a few months out from our wedding, and going through this whole “who to invite/not invite” thing. We instated the “no ring, no bring” rule (engaged or marrieds get a plus one), and if a relative of mine, whom I didn’t care for all that much, called me up asking to invite her boyfriend, I would be a little steamed.
Of course, we don’t know the specifics of what was said and why the boyfriend was excluded, but asking in the first place was rude. It is also the bride’s job to tactfully and respectfully deal with guest’s sometimes rude behavioir, it’s just part of wedding territory. I have a feeling both parties were at fault here.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 10:50 am
I dunno, if it was someone I was close to like a good friend or family member, I would probably just make a phone call and say, “Hey it wasn’t clear on the invitation. Do I get a plus one?” And then whatever the answer is, go with it. I don’t think that “John” should have been extended a formal invitation, but plus ones are pretty common. Right?
amy April 10, 2012, 10:55 am
Plus one’s aren’t common too much any more. Weddings are really expensive and I’ve attended a few where plus ones were not extended, unless married or if the couple knew the person who would be the plus one.
A future fiance’ that the bride and groom have never met PROBABLY does not fall under a plus one category if this is the case.
_jsw_ April 10, 2012, 11:10 am
The impression I got from the letter – which, granted, could be far from the reality of the situation – is that the cost of adding another person to the reception would not have been an issue for the LW’s sister. In that case, and given that expensive travel was required, it seems like the decent thing was to add the +1. Of course, though, it’s not required.
My main issue was that – again, going by the letter – the LW’s niece, after spewing insults, told the LW’s daughter that she’d let her know within a week or two. This wasn’t a case of “we have a family and spouse’s only rule” – it was a case of “I’ll leave you hanging for some indeterminate amount of time just to show my power over the situation.”
Again, grain of salt and all, because none of us were in on that conversation. But – front he letter – it seems like the LW’s sister and especially the niece could easily have added a +1 (or skipped the invite) but opted not to, and then the niece justified the decision not with a rule or whatnot, but by calling the LW’s daughter a slut.
My anger isn’t about the invite, although I think it should have been a +1. It was about the apparent punishment of the LW’s daughter and the condescension involved.
Again, that’s taking the letter as the whole story, which of course it rarely if ever is.
_jsw_ April 10, 2012, 11:12 am
“but from the letter”, not “but front he letter”
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 11:14 am
Yeah, it seems like they’re just being spiteful.
Brad April 10, 2012, 11:24 am
Which is why I don’t get why they even want to go. Why spend several hundred dollars to fly some place to see some people that don’t like you just because you happen to have the same grandparents??? I don’t know maybe I’m just a scrouge-in-waiting but I just don’t get why some people allow and accept extended family drama and let it affect them so much. You only have but so much time on Earth so go spend it doing what you want to do with people that like/love you. I’d hope you’re a decent enough person that you can have the self confidence to know you’re a good and fun person to be around, so if someone else doesn’t see that then you should have the attitude that it’s their loss. Getting upset or insulted about it is just negative energy and isn’t productive. Just let it go.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 11:29 am
Well, she said she’s close with her sister even though the two daughters don’t get along. And she said it’s a small family. I dunno, some people put more value on blood family than others. I can see where she’s coming from.
PFG-SCR April 10, 2012, 11:22 am
I agree with this, and the LW briefly mentions a missed engagement: “I apologized to my sister that my daughter wasn’t there for Dawn’s engagement.”
Possibly the LW’s sister and niece are holding a grudge about that, which is really what is behind all of this.
amy April 10, 2012, 11:25 am
And what does a missed engagement even mean??
I’m sorry I didn’t fly to florida to see your daughter have the question popped to her? Or, I’m sorry I couldn’t fly to florida to participate in an engagement party?
If the missed engagement is on the part of the LW’s daughter, the two cousins aren’t close and don’t even like each other.
If the bride and the LW’s sister hold a grudge against that, they need to get over it.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 11:30 am
Engagement party, perhaps? I wasn’t really sure either.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 11:23 am
Personally, I think it was incredibly rude of the LW to make a comment about the supposed wealth of her sister. It’s of no consequence in this situation. It’s inappropriate for anyone to ever make assumptions about someone else’s financial situation. With all the people “keeping up with Jones'” these days, who’s to say her sister doesn’t spend loads of dough to make it seem like she’s well off but is wallowing in tons of debt? And so what if the sister has lots of money? It’s her choice how to spend it, not the LW. I 100% agree that the boyfriend should have been invited, but not because of their supposed monetary situation.
amy April 10, 2012, 11:24 am
They could just be being spiteful, you are right, we don’t know that.
I am getting ready to plan my own wedding and will probably not be able to afford to give plus ones to many people which is probably why my opinion on this is biased.
Also, she might not have responded after the initial phone call because the bride is busy planning the wedding, and her and the cousin are not that close to begin with.
Not to mention the immaturity of the bride if she trully did call the LW’s daughter those things. We also don’t know how the LW’s daughter behaved on the phone, I doubt she was a perfect angel, especially if she was feeling insulted.
Muffy April 10, 2012, 12:12 pm
Yeah actually now that I think of it that makes sense
Lili April 10, 2012, 12:31 pm
I agree. I mean I don’t go to a lot of my cousins weddings, but the ones I do go to I’m close with and I would totally ask to bring a plus one. Not even a SO, but most of the time just a friend. I mean they can always say no if it would be disruptive to their guest lists, planning etc. and I’d understand. Sure I’d be a little disappointed because its always fun having a plus one to be ‘on your side’ at these events to giggle with over crazy uncle joe’s sexist rants or the funny way my cousin and her husband dance. Oh wow. I think I just had an epiphany about why I So rarely attend any cousins weddings. It isn’t normal to feel like one needs to come ‘armed’ with a friendly face when attending family functions. Right?! Ugh, I don’t like my extended family. At all. Jerks. Ok rant over. LOL.
Brad April 10, 2012, 1:19 pm
Sounds to me like you need to stop feeling obligated to go to them then. It’s YOUR time so spend it how YOU want to and with those that aren’t jerks. If anyone trys to guilt you into coming tell them you don’t appreciate them trying to manipulate you. If they press on then show them how well the ignore button works.
Lili April 10, 2012, 1:28 pm
Yep, you’re right. I’ve def cut out a lot of people in my extended family and I don’t regret it. I do get upset when said family members whine and complain to MY parents about my lack of contact with them thus putting my kind (and socially awkward) parents in an uncomfortable position, but I think everyone needs to learn boundaries at some point. Just sucks that I’ve learnt this lesson before my poor parents.
Brad April 10, 2012, 11:03 am
While I would agree in general with the notion that those getting married get to decide who’s there, I don’t get the impression Jason was being rejected for monitary reasons. The LW said her sister is rich and is bank rolling the wedding so I think it’s a matter of the bride simply not liking her cousin or her BF and simply not wanting them there.
I personally feel the LW needs to either get over the fact that her daughter and daughter’s BF were not invited and go and try to have a good time regardless, or just stay at home. I feel like the LW is more upset about image and how she assumes other’s will judge her at the wedding if her daughter or husband aren’t there moreso than anything else. I could be completely misjudging the LW but that’s what my gut told me (especially when I saw their family has money).
And the LW shouldn’t be too shocked about her husband not wanting to go. Weddings don’t mean as much to [the average] men as they do [the average] women #1 and #2 the sister’s daughter rejected the man’s daughter. Most fathers are protective over their daughters so it wouldn’t surprise me if it hurt his feelings or pissed him off so I can understand him wanting nothing to do with them over it. Not saying I agree with it mind you just that I get it.
Muffy April 10, 2012, 12:10 pm
Yeah i never really understand why it’s a big deal if your boyfriend or girlfriend is not invited to the wedding. I don’t mind attending family functions on my own. I really don’t understand the rationale for feeling entitled to bring someone who is technically not a part of your family (yet)
Francine April 10, 2012, 10:34 am
Wow, lots of family drama going on there.
I can’t imagine asking if I could invite another person to someone’s wedding. I do understand your daughter wanting to bring her bf however, but upon him not being invited she only had to consider whether or not she’d like to go without him and respond to the RSVP accordingly. That decision couldn’t be too difficult given that Dawn and Melissa are not close.
At any rate, both Dawn and Melissa are adults so neither you nor your sister need to run interference for them.
If you would still like to be at this wedding then go. If you’d rather not attend without your husband or if you think it will cause further drama then send your regrets.
I think the big issue here though is contained in your last line “They are always right.” it sounds like there’s a power struggle going on. It’s time now to accept that the only person you have control over is yourself. Simply conduct yourself in a manner that you can be proud of and let others live their lives as they see fit. Base your decisions not on whether or not your sister is once again getting her own way but rather on what is best for you. And let Melissa and your husband do the same.
MissDre April 10, 2012, 11:15 am
I love this response. “The only person you have control over is yourself. Simply conduct yourself in a manner that you can be proud of and let others live their lives as they see fit. Base your decisions not on whether or not your sister is once again getting her own way but rather on what is best for you.”
FireStar April 10, 2012, 12:02 pm
Exactly. Life does not need to be so complex and angst ridden. How exhausting to try and deconstruct all of your actions to ensure that you (and not your sister or anyone else) benefit the most from each one. Who cares what goes on in the minds of mice or men? Make whatever choices are best for you – full-stop.
Lili April 10, 2012, 12:54 pm
I hate to say it, but I feel like all this angst people get over weddings are a true sign of just what #firstworldproblems are.
FireStar April 10, 2012, 1:58 pm
jlyfsh April 10, 2012, 10:35 am
I agree with Wendy that you should go. And let your husband decide on his own what to do. As far as your daughters go BOTH of you need to let them deal with whatever issues they have on their own. Neither of you should be badmouthing each others children. Especially when the children are adults who can deal with their own issues!
Also, I might have casually mentioned noticing that John’s name wasn’t on the invite rather than asking if you could invite him. It might have gone over a little better to begin with. Considering that the two cousins aren’t close its not surprising that a boyfriend was left off of the invite list. Unless you all had talked about it before, it’s best not to assume that someone is going to get an invite.
amy April 10, 2012, 10:42 am
How old are you, LW? You seem like you cannot be older than Junior High age which is not true, given that your daughter is 27.
Putting on a wedding is incredibly expensive, it’s not unusual to send out invites without plus one’s. Your daughter might be planning on getting engaged over the summer, but she’s not engaged yet, and her cousin probably doesn’t even know the future fiance’.
As for the drama between your sister, your daughter, yourself, and your husband? Puh-leaaaaaaaase. Be an adult, go to the wedding, excuse your daughters absense in a polite way and move on.
Seriously… such needless drama. All you need to do is just grow up, get your head out of your butt, and be the bigger person.
amy April 10, 2012, 10:44 am
Also, I have a mother AND a sister with munchausens and personality disorders etc. I am learning how to suck it up, walk on eggshells and just live a happy drama free life.
Family is forever but they don’t have to make your life miserable. Suck it up and be there. Pick your battles and don’t create a major issue, especially over a wedding.
Sally April 10, 2012, 10:43 am
Yuck, this letter ignited some dormant PTSD leftover from my own wedding. I didn’t invite any second cousins, and one family took great offense to it. They initiated a campaign to have their grandson (my second cousin) issued an invitation and bullied my father (their brother/ brother-in-law) about it for months, even though the invitation list was not under my father’s control, but mine and my fiance’s.
They pulled the same stunt as the LW, as well, by RSVPing yes, then rescinding, then after the response date, saying they would come after all. Ultimately, they no-showed.
The result is that this family caused us a great deal of stress and money, and my relationship with them is strained still, months after the fact.
LW, neither you nor your daughter should have asked for John to be invited to the wedding. You and your family don’t have to attend, but do yourself and your sister a favor and don’t be so petty about it. The lingering resentment is not worth it.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 10:45 am
While I subscribe to the belief that everyone, including those that are single, should be permitted to bring a +1 to a wedding, it’s not a requirement and thus Joyce and Dawn were well within their rights to deny John and invite. Was it crappy? Absolutely. But so was the manner in which it was handled.
Your daughter feels slighted, and probably like her very serious relationship isn’t being validated. I get that, and I have known people who have not attended weddings because of this same emotion. They are well within their rights and I, for one, certainly do not fault them. That said, I still think you and your husband should go, and not just because you’ve already made the travel arrangements. Weddings always bring out unpleasant family dynamics, but once the wedding is over, things tend to settle back down where they were. If you make a big deal out of this situation, you’re only asking to further divide your families. It’s just not worth it. Be the bigger people. Go and spend time with relatives you haven’t seen in a while. Celebrate the happy couple. Don’t bring up the specifics of why your daughter isn’t there, should she not go. It’s no one else’s business.
kerrycontrary April 10, 2012, 11:53 am
I totally agree that everyone should be permitted to bring a plus one. My sister, who was 25, was not permitted a plus one to our cousin’s wedding because she didn’t have a boyfriend at the time. But my 16 year old cousin could bring her boyfriend (who she is no longer with). It’s not like my sister couldn’t have secured a date at the time! Most weddings are thrown for the family and the guests of the people getting married, so if you want them to have a good time then you should let them bring a spouse/partner/friend.
Budj April 10, 2012, 10:05 am
Nothing to add except….I could not imagine talking about my hypothetical neice like that. My bro and his wife just got pregnant so I will actually be an uncle soon (weird), but yea…thinking in my head…27 years from now…I could never do that… What is wrong with people…
Tracey April 10, 2012, 11:09 am
I think I may be opening myself up to some criticism here, but I think the LW started this whole mess when she called her sister on behalf of her daughter to invite someone who was not invited to this wedding. It was out of place for her to do so, not just because it’s presumptuous to ask for an invitation for someone who was not on the guest list, but because she was intervening on her adult daughter’s behalf. If LW’s daughter wanted to find out why her boyfriend was not invited, she should’ve made the call.
That said, all of the bad behavior that followed was equally out of line. The LW should go to the wedding, but not before apologizing to her sister and the bride (before any of the wedding festivities) for asking to invite someone not invited in the first place. It’s hard to swallow, but it is the right thing to do. Hopefully, the bride and the LW’s sister will apologize for their bad behavior. Asking to bring an additional guest should not lead to character assassination, and no one deserves to be berated in such an ugly manner for such a thing. When asked why the LW’s daughter and husband aren’t attending, the LW should do one of two things: 1) Offer the explanations provided by DW, and 2) Reply, “Why do you ask?” if the person asking persists, before changing the subject or excusing herself from the conversation.
I hope they all can get past this and that the LW and her sister can keep their close relationship after all this has happened. I hope the LW can get her husband to do the right thing and go to the wedding without holding a grudge, so that this family can try to learn to get along again. If he refuses, I hope the LW doesn’t hold it against him. I also hope that the bride and the LW’s daughter find a way to get along, or learn to be civil toward each other at the very least. They have a lot of work – and growing up – ahead of them, but hope springs eternal.
Francine April 10, 2012, 11:15 am
“I think I may be opening myself up to some criticism here”
Well, I personally wish I had the option to like your comment twice.
Moneypenny April 10, 2012, 4:07 pm
I agree! Well said Tracey!
Lucy April 10, 2012, 4:29 pm
THIS. Well said.
It is really never ok, and IMO is somewhat rude, to question a couple’s choices over who’s invited to their wedding. I see this kind of nonsense all the time with friends planning their weddings, and the presumption that certain people ‘should be’ invited, or that guests are ‘entitled to’ a +1, never ceases to amaze me. Everyone planning a wedding has to draw a line somewhere on the guest list; it’s not the guests’ place to question where it’s drawn.
Fabelle April 10, 2012, 11:14 am
Plus-ones are definitely the polite (& right, in my opinion) thing to do, but the LW made the faux-pas by calling up to ask why John was left off the invitation list. That’s just awkward and rude.
Francine April 10, 2012, 11:21 am
Plus ones are very nice but rarely are they just a plus one. Even if money is not an issue, space can be. Allowing each single person to bring a date could mean changing venues or excluding people you know in favor of allowing others to bring dates that that you may not know as well or at all.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 11:27 am
This is why a guest list should be determined before you ever step foot into venues. Besides, the whole argument about not knowing the date is bogus in my opinion. So what if you don’t know them? You’re lucky if you get to spend a full minute with guests before you get pulled off in million other directions. The purpose of a +1 is so that the guests you DO know have a higher liklihood of enjoying themselves. There were lots of people at my wedding that I did not know (either they were friends of my husband or guests of our guests). I got to meet some new people that I barely was able to spend any time with, but meanwhile, our guests had a better time not being there alone. No big whoop.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 11:31 am
I’m nowhere NEAR planning a wedding, but plus ones would be a must for me. Also, open bar. 😉
MissDre April 10, 2012, 11:42 am
Yeah… plus ones are a definite must for me too!
amy April 10, 2012, 11:47 am
The plus ones are a definite until you realize that your guest list of 150 people just turned into 300 because of the plus ones…
It’s easy to know what you want for a wedding until you sit down and look at the cost
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 11:50 am
Absolutely true. Plus ones, an open bar, and choice entrees were on my list of “duh, of course I’m doing these things!”. Then I realized that while I could still do +1’s, choice entrees and open bars added about $8000 to our budget. Def did not have that. Luckily, my in-laws paid for open bar during the cocktail hour, but we had to do a cash bar during the reception. Spent hours trying to figure out how to come up with the money, or move stuff around, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t something we could swing. Oh well. There was still booze available and there were still plenty of drunk people by the night’s end, so no big deal.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 11:51 am
I looked at the cost and still chose to allow plus ones. It was worth it for my guests to have fun, and I figured it was selfish to allow that to be the area where I cut costs. Just sayin.
Francine April 10, 2012, 12:03 pm
Not being someone who needs to have a date to have fun I hadn’t considered that.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 12:32 pm
Ha me too – I can have fun no matter where I am and who I’m with. But I understand other people are less outgoing than I am and would want a date. I considered my actual ceremony the selfish part where I can do what I want – and the reception the party where friends and family can celebrate. A big part of celebration is everyone having fun – and if they need a date to do that I am more than willing to accomodate.
Francine April 10, 2012, 12:53 pm
I didn’t have any coworkers, friends or relatives at my wedding who didn’t have any of their friends, relatives or coworkers already on the invite list that they could have a good time with.
All husbands and fiancées and significant others were included but if there had been a guest on my list who would not have had anyone to party with I would’ve given them a plus one to bring a date. But I have to admit that I did not give plus ones to all of my single guests, assuming that they would be socializing with the other guests they knew. It never occurred to me that they might not enjoy that without a date.
My wedding was a loooong time ago but I’m feeling kind of bad about that now.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 12:13 pm
Yeah. I understand. I guess it would be easier for me because I have a small family. My ex and I used to talk about what our guest list would be, and even with plus ones it would have been under 150.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 12:17 pm
Actually I watch so many of those silly wedding shows that I started to look at the costs of venues, caterers, etc. I couldn’t fathom the budgets on some of them, but then once I started looking into it, I realized how easy it is to spend a shit-ton.
My best friend had a modest wedding – and it was still around $10,000. My other best friend’s was about $30,000 (in Chicago) and that was with a private ceremony, so basically reception only.
Lili April 10, 2012, 12:58 pm
I hate that. WHY do men do this. I mean my ex and I named our future kids. A month before we broke up. Douchecanoe. Oh well, they are awesome names and I’m keeping them.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 4:05 pm
Yeah, we were working on baby names too. Whatev.
Rachel April 10, 2012, 4:38 pm
LOL at douchecanoe
Brad April 10, 2012, 1:32 pm
I disagree about the open bar. It should not be the financial responsibility of a new couple to pay for their friends to drink. There are a million other things for newlyweds to buy. I think a cash bar is a far better idea.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 2:03 pm
Yes and no. I believe that if someone is hosting a party, guests should never have to open up their wallets so they can attend. Part of hosting a party is providing food and beverages. I don’t think people should get offended if there ends up being a cash bar (for example, in my situation, it was way more expensive than we thought it would be and would have meant a lot of other things being cut, so at least we had it available), but I also think that hosts should do everything possible to provide as much as possible at their own expense for their guests.
FireStar April 10, 2012, 2:24 pm
Unless your budget is limitless something is going to have to give. Everyone has their own priorities. I agree with you evanscr05 – I think a host/ess should provide for guests. Food and drinks are important in my culture so we splurged on 6 courses including filet mignon and top shelf open bar for our guests – but then we only had 75 people. (Which I loved) All this talk of weddings makes me want to go to one now. I want wedding cake. None of my friends are engaged or seriously dating… Everyone is either single or married. Sucks.
Brad April 10, 2012, 2:25 pm
Well by the same logic, people don’t NEED cocktails or liquor to enjoy the party. I can see providing guests with say a glass of wine or champaign for the dinner at the reception but a full bar with liquor and mixed drinks—no. I’m sorry but if you want to do that kind of drinking you can do it on your own dollar. BYOB is a lot more acceptable these days than in the past. Now an average BBQ/house party I can see maybe providing everything as there’s no other expenses, but weddings are on a whole other level. When the couple is paying for all the other stuff at the wedding then an open bar is not a requirement.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 2:36 pm
I don’t think it’s a requirement, and I certainly couldn’t say that I do as I would be a big ole hypocrit. If you’re budget allows for it, then it should be something the hosts should consider taking on. If your budget doesn’t allow for it, then a cash bar is fine. I’ve only ever been to one or two weddings with an open bar and it was fun, but I’ve never been offended when I’ve been to a cash bar (though, I know people who do get offended). Just stating that while it’s perfectly acceptable to not have a host bar, I do think, from an etiquette standpoint, that it’s important to remove as many expenses from a guest as possible up to, and including, all alcohol. But I will say that FireStar is correct. A lot of it is depends upon the families involved.
honeybeenicki April 10, 2012, 2:27 pm
At our wedding we didn’t have an “open bar” but we did have free beer (2 kinds), free wine (1 red, 1 white) and free soda. If the guests wanted something other than beer or wine, they were on their own. We did this because I do feel kind of like evanscr05 – it was our responsibility to provide the food and drinks, but only to an extent. We had unlimited beer, wine and soda and if that wasn’t enough for guests, then they were more than welcome to open their wallet up.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 2:40 pm
Our reception location had a very similar dollar amount per person for open bar versus open beer and wine, so unfortunately, we couldn’t afford either. We provided a full open bar during the cocktail hour, and for the reception we had to do cash, which I hated doing. For our families and friends that couldn’t participate in the cocktail hour (or not for very long, at least) because they were in the bridal party, dates of memebers of the bridal party, or getting pictures taken, we gave them each a couple of drink tickets during the reception to have whatever they wanted on us. I think, in a perfect world, everything would be covered by the hosts since it’s their event, but I know it’s not always feasible so I always appreciate when there is, at the very least, the OPTION to have drinks. I went to a dry wedding last year (that also did not allow dancing) and I’ve never been more bored at a wedding in my life.
honeybeenicki April 10, 2012, 3:19 pm
Thankfully ours wasn’t a per-person (actually, if it had been then it might have been cheaper) we paid for the beer by the keg and the wine by the bottle with a certain number allocated and if we needed more, they were supposed to come find me to ok them to add another keg or more bottles of wine.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 3:23 pm
Yeah, the per person really gets you. Your way sounds way more feasible!
Lucy April 10, 2012, 4:33 pm
Cash bars are appalling. You don’t invite people to your wedding (or any party) and then ask them to pay for the privilege. If you can’t afford an open bar, serve wine and beer only.
CG April 10, 2012, 5:28 pm
ITA that cash bars are incredibly tacky. I also hate dollar dances.
Giancarla April 10, 2012, 11:18 am
Wow, some of you are WAY too nice.
If someone insulted my daughter that way, even my niece or nephew, and my sibling did nothing about it there would be a blood bath. In my book, if you have children (and/or husband) they take first priority above all other family members.
Why go to a party you obviously have no enjoyment with the thought of going? Go through with the travel plans but don’t attend. Enjoy other parts of Florida!
Weddings need to stop being about a lavish party and more about the actual marriage. I’m going to elope so I don’t have to deal with all the BS and family politics.
amy April 10, 2012, 11:30 am
It’s the family aspect and getting over useless drama.
A 27 year old said nasty things to another 27 year old. They are adults, not children. That is their business, not the LW’s. The LW needs to get over it and uphold the “close” relationship she’s always had with her sister.
It’s always a political game with family because it’s easier to suck it up and be the bigger person than create a free for all, full fledged war over something stupid that one adult said to another adult
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 11:37 am
I don’t know…blood runs thicker than water in my book and I completely agree there is no recovering from some situations. If you call anyone in my immediate family a slut (and this includes if it’s true) all bets are off and good riddance. When you get married and have children those people become your immediate family and your sister an extention of that.
LW I would feel no need to go. But if you make that decision make sure you understand that you and your sister will most likely not be able to recover from this fight and your relationship (if it exists at all) will never be the same. You have stated that you don’t care to know her anymore – but make sure you really think it through and are confident you will not one day want to reconnect with her because at that point it will be too late.
amy April 10, 2012, 11:49 am
You really contradicted yourself there. If blood runs thicker than water, shouldn’t the LW forgive her sister and the daughter for the nasty comments and move on?
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 11:52 am
No – as I explained once you have a husband and kids those are your immediate family.
amy April 10, 2012, 11:58 am
So you forget about your siblings when you get married?
Good to know that blood doesn’t run THAT thick.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 12:01 pm
No – again as I said (read my shit first!!) they become an extention – so when offensive as all hell shit occurs and they are the perpetrators – well they made their bed so now they can lie in it.
amy April 10, 2012, 12:08 pm
I read your “$hit” and don’t agree with your logic.
I am about to get married and still consider my (mentally ill) sister and (mentally ill) mother as blood. I accept them for who they are, protect myself against their insults and lies, and live a peaceful life.
Blood lines don’t cut to your “original” immediate family when you begin your own. You protect your “new family” but don’t sever ties with your “old” family.
Doesn’t make sense and seems to cause a lot of unneccessary drama when you can stand up and say “kids (or hubby), what so and so did was not right and not true. We still love them for who they are because we are the bigger person. We are the bigger person for getting the hell over it and moving on and living peaceful drama free lives”
THAT is the example that I would like to show my children when I bring them into my insanely disfunctional “old” family.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 12:23 pm
AS I SAID – you don’t cut ties – but they do become secondary.
My biggest concern here is this – are we really so de-sensitized as a society that calling someone a “slut” just isn’t that big of a deal? Really? I’m sorry some things are just unforgivable in my book. Even more freightening – the aunt in this case seems to think that it was okay. It’s not on the LW to be the bigger person. If my (hypothetical) daughter called someone (especially her cousin!) a slut I would be so embarrassed. But the aunt and cousin here didn’t even apologize and feel totally justified in their actions.
To me based on the totality of their actions – being cut off IS the drama free way to go. These aren’t people I would want to associate with.
amy April 10, 2012, 12:33 pm
Name calling is disgusting but it is forgivable. It’s not a reason to throw someone away.
The mother does not want to stand up for the niece who called her daughter a slut etc. That’s the mother of the niece’s business, if even! The “kids” are 27 years old.
Coming from someone who has had far more than name calling happen to her, I guess I see bigger issues to worry about than just name calling.
Maybe we can’t see eye to eye because this wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar from things that I’ve been through with my family.
The bigger picture is not starting an unnecessary war over stupid, senseless drama. If my mother or my sister called my children something terrible, would I be pissed? Yes. But I can’t control them. I can control what I say to my children and that would be that what happened is wrong, but let the anger go.
Living with anger, resentment, and grudges just destroys your life. Why live that way?
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 12:36 pm
You don’t live with anger, resentment, and grudges – to me she would be doing that if she faked happiness on the wedding day. She will decide how she wants to proceed – if it were me I would cease contact and never look back. Then my peaceful, drama free life would begin.
amy April 10, 2012, 12:39 pm
You would be cutting off a lot more than just the sister. There are going to be people that side with the sister over you and get mad at you and don’t speak to you and blah blah blah blah blah.
The bigger person, going to a wedding for a few hours then enjoying a vacation, in my opinion, lives the better life, and avoids the war in the future.
Next thing we will hear from this LW is about how pissed she is that her sister and her neice won’t attend her daughter’s wedding.
iseeshiny April 10, 2012, 2:37 pm
I threw out my aunt for what she said to my mom.
Thing is though – is this mom perhaps glossing over actions on Melissa’s part?
“God, Dawn, don’t be such a bitch! Just because you’re getting married first doesn’t mean you get to be such a fucking bridezilla! John is my boyfriend! We’re practically engaged! You’ve always been jealous of my boyfriends!”
Dawn: “What? All four hundred of them? Does John know what a slut you were? Tell me, you still throw up all your meals like you did in high school? Does he like the smell of your puke?”
Melissa: “Christ! All I want is to bring my practically-fiance! You don’t have to get so fucking personal!”
Dawn: “I’ll get back to you on that.”
We really don’t know how the conversation went. Neither do the mom or the aunt, for that matter.
iseeshiny April 10, 2012, 2:41 pm
Er, posted that too soon. All I’m saying is there are unforgivable things family can say and do, that absolutely merit cutting them out of your life. But a catfight between two cousins that haven’t ever really gotten along? I think if the moms were going to step in, the time would have been when they were kids. Now that they’re grown, the best thing to do is stay out of it.
JK April 10, 2012, 2:48 pm
Thank you for making me laugh so much. Ipm feeling like crap today, so it did me good. 🙂
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 3:10 pm
Well if that’s the way it went down then fine – the problem is we have no idea what went down besides what’s in the letter. And honestly if two women really bring out the worst in each other to the point where they’re dropping S and B bombs like a bunch of teenagers then maybe they really are better off without each other. But that doesn’t change the fact that I think the mom can choose to cut that side out over it. I don’t think she just has to “get over” the fact that her niece called her daughter a slut and made fun of her bulimia.
Frankly I’m getting pissed about how much the slut word is thrown around. It is meant to hurt – so you know what? You call me a slut I’m going to be hurt. There. You win. And now I’m never talking to you again. So now everyone wins.
iseeshiny April 10, 2012, 3:47 pm
Oh, I totally agree that slut is a terrible thing to call someone. (I was sooo pissed with the Rush/Fluke bullcrap. I felt sick to my stomach I was so repulsed.) If we’re trying to shame people into behaving it shouldn’t be over something as stupid as sex. I want to make up a new offensive word that means lacking in empathy and integrity and that can also double as a verb that means kicking puppies and other small defenseless creatures. Like kirmbickel. “I can’t believe you’re twenty eight years old and trying to cheat at Risk. What a kirmbickel. Quit bickeling, you krimbickel.”
In other news, I played Risk last night and one of my friends was trying to cheat.
silver_dragon_girl April 10, 2012, 11:24 am
Slightly unrelated thought, and definitely on the petty/immature side, but if I had been insulted that way by someone, I would definitely GO to the wedding. I think if you’re NOT going to “make a point” or “punish” the person who insulted you, you’re probably mistaken. If they really feel that way about you, your presence is probably far more objectionable than your absence…
amy April 10, 2012, 11:39 am
Never thought of it that way hahahahaha.
Also, going would make you a bigger, and better person than boycotting family.
CatsMeow April 10, 2012, 11:47 am
I like your style.
Lili April 10, 2012, 1:05 pm
I would hog 3 pieces of cake, comandeer as many drinks, take one sip and throw it out and take way too many food plates and find something wrong with each one. Nothing bothers people more than waste at their expense.
Francine April 10, 2012, 1:25 pm
I’d wear the most gawd awful dress and garish makeup then jump into every one of the wedding pics. Then I’d request the band to play polkas like I Don’t Want Her, You Can Have Her, She’s Too Fat For Me. 😉
Lili April 10, 2012, 1:40 pm
Oh oh And bring tupperware to pack up your ‘favorite’ foods right after they exit the kitchen. Like you know, the pricey shrimp apps th at go bad after 1 hr. I’m so evil minded. I scare myself sometimes. TEEHEE.
Brad April 10, 2012, 1:45 pm
Vindication might temporarily make you feel better, but it’s a bad idea in the long run. Having a grudge or being mad at someone for any length of time is a waste of energy. Not to mention could be shortening your life due to extra cortisal levels in your blood from the stress hormons. Far better to remove yourself from a toxic person (be it an overall toxic person or someone that is toxic to you) and move on with your life. The time you’ll save from not being angry/stuing over a grudge is time that you can instead spend being happy. Not to mention it makes you look like a more mature individual.
Lili April 10, 2012, 2:00 pm
Maturity PSH. Who needs it. Amirite?!
And seriously Brad, stop telling people how to live longer. This planet is overpopulated, and since we live in the first world we need to come up with ways to help instigate the fight or flight responses and adrenaline, and nothing does it faster for women than WEDDINGS *cue scary bridal music* (I hope its obvious I’m joking lol I asked for a extra shot in my latte this am and my silly side is coming through now thanks to it, plus all the more so since I feel like I can joke with you since we’re fb friends now :D)
Brad April 10, 2012, 2:34 pm
No I intend to live until I’m 120 so I can be around to irritate the young people, and that will be more fun if I have some old fart friends around to do it with.
I mean just think about it, when I’m like 90 and no longer need to care what people think about me, I can run outside and chase squirrels off the bird feeder in nothing but a pair of tightie whiteies. And yell at kids to get off my lawn. And you can get a perscription to just about any drug on the planet. How’s that for studying the fight or flight response of braty children or teenagers. Becoming that creepy old guy is one of my life’s ambitions. When I was a kid we had at least one at any given time on my street. Someone has to carry on the tradition!
amy April 10, 2012, 2:21 pm
Removing them from your life just solidifies the grudge.
Learn how to get over it and let it go.
Brad April 10, 2012, 2:44 pm
I disagree. A grudge comes from a place of vengence and resentment. Having a grudge means your still actively feeling those negative things about that person and holding it against them. On the other hand, deciding not to associate with someone that isn’t good for you anymore comes from a place of self improvement. All the people I’ve ever cut out of my life don’t affect my feelings any. It’s about reccognizing when someone isn’t a positive force in your life and setting firm boundaries on how you expect and reqire people to treat you. And rather than constantly dealing with the drama and conflict that arises, I’ve made the decision to walk away. Same advice you give to kids when they’re getting bullied. Walking away is letting go.
Now does it mean they’re cut out of your life forever, no not neccessarily. People are capable of changing and if they’ve changed and want back into your life it’s totally find to give them another chance. You just take it on a case-by-case basis. But I’d also say there’s a limit to how many chances a person deserves and that limit is different for everyone.
Brad April 10, 2012, 3:56 pm
Bossy Italian Wife April 10, 2012, 11:37 am
This family has more issues than Vogue! Holy hell…. what a mess.
I agree with Wendy that you need to suck it up and go. In my opinion, you shouldn’t have inquired about your daughter’s boyfriend in the first place and had you not done that, none of this would have happened. Sure, it would have been NICE for her to include your daughter’s serious boyfriend, but for real, weddings aren’t cheap and guest lists have a way of creeping up and up and up.
For my own wedding, we pretty much stuck to spouses only for our guests, and I will say that more than a few people wish their boyfriend, girlfriend, FWB had been able to attend. Too bad. I had a guest list of nearly 200 and a budget to stick to.
Look, your sister and her daughter sound rotten, but now is not the time to start a back and fourth. Weddings are stressful and the best thing you could do is to have as little contact as possible with them before the wedding. You say she isn’t worth knowing? Then fine, go to the wedding, drop the gift, peace out after dinner and enjoy a vacation with your husband. GO FOR THE FREE DRINKS.
Don’t entangle yourself in a family drama by overcomplicating the already complicated and further agitating things. You guys can sort it all out once the wedding has long blown over.
Iwannatalktosampson April 10, 2012, 11:40 am
Yes weddings are stressful – but somehow I managed to plan one without calling anyone a slut.
If she has no intention of keeping a relationship with her sister over it why doens’t she just use the tickets that have already been bought and go on a vacation with her husband?
Maybe I’m biased because I cut people out of my life all the time that treat me (and my family) but still. There is no way I would be able to go to this wedding and put on a happy face.
amy April 10, 2012, 11:41 am
Sue Jones April 10, 2012, 11:42 am
Family can be bizarre since you don’t get to choose them. I would suck it up, go alone, try and have a good time, and if people ask where your daughter is, tell the truth ” Melissa and Dawn had a falling out” and leave it at that. IF they ask about your husband, say he had an important business trip or something, or he can go to the beach, or he can just stay home. Weddings are different, but I for instance, NEVER bring my husband to high school reunions… he would be bored, miserable, and I would have to babysit him since he does not know anyone. In this situation you should be able to go alone, make your appearance for politics sake, try and have a decent time and spare your husband and daughter the misery.
Skyblossom April 10, 2012, 11:46 am
The bride and groom have the right to their own personal guest list. They have the right to choose their guests and their reasons are their own for who makes the list and who doesn’t. The invited guests have the right to attend or not attend. If the LW doesn’t wish to spend the vacation time and the money to go to Florida if she can’t spend that time with her entire family, including daughter’s boyfriend, she can decline to attend the wedding. Weddings are expensive for both the couple getting married and for their guests, especially if the guests have to travel a long distance and pay for hotel rooms in an expensive location. If you’re the guest and the trip doesn’t work for you, whatever your reason, decline graciously. 1/3 to 1/2 of all invited guests don’t attend anyway. The LW doesn’t need to give a reason for being unable to attend, she just needs to be gracious. If she is the only member of her family to attend she still doesn’t owe anyone a reason for the absence of the rest of her family.
anonymous April 10, 2012, 11:52 am
LW, I feel for you that you still feel the need to rescue your adult daughter. She’s 27 years old, for pity’s sake! And, no, “planning to get engaged” does not an engagement make. They’re DATING. There’s no other intermediate status, regardless of what you try to make it. It’s kind of like “trying to get pregnant” –so that goes for nothing.
You should NEVER call to find out if you’re invited. That’s just rude. Period. My niece will be undergoing a religious rite after which one usually holds a party. The problem was that my sister & I are on the outs. And I didn’t know if we were invited, but if I called her, then what can she say? “No, you’re not invited.” Really? Kind of puts her on the spot. The point here is that even in this spot, I did not/do not plan to call to find out. I later found out that she’s having a small dinner the night before. I’m her Godmother, so I “should” be invited, but you know what? It’s not going to hurt my feelings that I’m not.
Other thought — you say that you & your sister are close, and then you launch into the diatribe about how awful they are and how it’s not worth seeing them again. I think you need to get it clear in your mind how you really feel about them.
If I were you, I’d go to the wedding and be kind but not overly effusive. Then the slow fade-out can happen.
And — just because they “appear” to have plenty of money doesn’t mean they do. Many people live well beyond their means. And even if my sister has “plenty of money” do take me out to a nice restaurant/buy me something I want/whatever does NOT obligate her to do so, much less to do it for someone she doesn’t even know.
anonymous April 10, 2012, 12:06 pm
Another thought — you are WAY too emotionally involved in your daughter’s life. I agree that the character “assassination” is unfortunate, but you were not there and did not hear the conversation so are in no real position to judge what happened. And, frankly, bringing that to your niece’s mother is ridiculous. Just as you are not in a position to control what your daughter does or says, your sister is not in that position with her daughter. Both of you need to accept the fact that your girls don’t get along and decide to care about each other regardless and not to enable the pattern of dislike between your respective daughters.
NicoleMarie April 10, 2012, 1:06 pm
“…’Planning to get engaged’ does not an engagement make. They’re DATING.”
JK April 10, 2012, 1:09 pm
I totally agree. I will never get this “pre engaged” crap. Either you´re going to get married or you´re not. LW says “planning to get engaged this summer”… why wait? Get engaged already! For that matter I don´t really get those long drawn engagements, with announcements, parties, etc. But I know that´s a cultural thing.
Francine April 10, 2012, 1:29 pm
I don’t get the whole engaged to be engaged thing either. Have they decided to get married? In my book that makes them engaged, with or without a ring. If that decision hasn’t definitely been made then they’re just a plain old couple like any other, dating and seeing where it leads.
Addie Pray April 10, 2012, 3:40 pm
Hey now, JK, I’m technically “pre-engaged.” Granted, I’m not dating anyone. But assuming at some point in my life I become engaged to marry, then this phase is technically pre-engagement. Stop trying to take that away from me, it’s all I have going for myself! 😉
FireStar April 10, 2012, 3:54 pm
You can be pre-commitment…and that gives you some flexibility – if you don’t find a boyfriend you want you can always find a nice inpatient facility somewhere…
Addie Pray April 10, 2012, 4:25 pm
JK April 10, 2012, 4:03 pm
OK AP, just for you I´ll make an exception.
FireStar April 10, 2012, 2:10 pm
YES. Pre-anything is irritating. Pre-engaged is dating, pre-med and pre-law is some other undergrad major. Soon women will be pre-pregnant I’m sure.
Francine April 10, 2012, 2:30 pm
LOL Love it!
Addie Pray April 10, 2012, 3:41 pm
I’m already pre-pregnant! (Assuming I get pregnant one day – one day, that’ll be nice.)
FireStar April 10, 2012, 3:49 pm
Don’t forget to throw a party for yourself to celebrate it..with a register somewhere asking for all the things you never knew you needed.
Lili April 10, 2012, 3:55 pm
Oh Addie, I’m pre-buying you a fabulous pair of Manolos!
Brad April 10, 2012, 3:52 pm
well if you get to be preengaged then I’m pre-retired!
and i guess we’re all pre-dead. now i’m depressed.
Brad April 10, 2012, 4:36 pm
That’s what alcohol is for.
Rachel April 10, 2012, 4:43 pm
Yes. I’m pre-drunk right now!
Morgan April 10, 2012, 5:21 pm
But pre-pregnant ladies shouldn’t drink, Addie. Are you really willing to give up wine? I’m with Rachel, pre drunk sounds like the way to go.
Brad April 10, 2012, 8:38 pm
I can work with pre-drunk.
Flanagan.er April 10, 2012, 8:52 pm
Too late, we’re all already pre-pregnant
The most relevant quote “The seeds of this initiative were planted in 2006 when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its “Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Heath Care” as part of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. One of the goals of the recommendations was to “assure that all women of childbearing age in the United States receive preconception care services,” and the CDC pushed implementation of the recommendation as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s “Healthy People 2010″ objectives.”
AmandaToo April 10, 2012, 12:03 pm
While there is an amazing mess of issues going on here- I do kind of get where the LW (and her daughter) are coming from. Last year my fiance’s cousin got married. At the time invitations were mailed we had been dating for 3+ years, I had attended multiple family functions and weddings, and we were a well established unit in their family. His sister was in a year long relationship with a gentleman who had gone to one family event. My now fiance and I received an invitation with both of our names on it, the sister received an invitation with only her name on it (and now guest or +1). She was pretty upset and her mom ended up calling the bride and explaining the situation. At the time I found it to be very rude, who asks for a +1? But about a month later (and two weeks before this wedding), the sister’s BF proposed. Luckily the bride was nice enough at that initial phone call to extend an invitation to the then BF because it would have been a very strange situation for my now fiance’s sister to go to a wedding with out her finace! (The bride gave the reasoning that she didn’t know how to spell the sister’s man’s name, which I think was a BIG white lie. She figured out how to spell my 15+ letter name after all!)
It’s a very sticky situation when you have people in long term, commited relationships; “pre-engaged” so to speak. I definitely agree that “engaged” and “pre-engaged” are NOT the same thing…but where do you draw the line and what happens if they become engaged between invitations being sent and the wedding? It sounds like all parties in this letter handled themsleves poorly.
anonymous April 10, 2012, 12:43 pm
What happens if people become engaged? Guess what — engagement does not create a conjoined pair. The invited one goes alone and has something to talk about at the wedding! (“It’s so romantic — I think it inspired honey to propose at last — I can’t wait for you to meet him!”) (“I’m getting so many great ideas here…”)
This is practice for when you have a kid and have to cope with the fact that your baby is not welcome everywhere despite the fact that he/she is the ONLY perfect one in the universe and everyone should be happy to host him/her at ANY occasion.
All of this is to say…if you are not the host, you do NOT decide whom should be invited. The only change between invitations being sent and the event could be caused by a funeral…for the invitee.
AmandaToo April 10, 2012, 1:18 pm
I agree with what you’re saying. My point was if the cut off was “couples who are engaged” and then you get engaged…it gets messy. I whole heartedly agree it is up to the bride and groom who is or is not invited to the wedding, but it’s never cut and dry. I don’t think the LW or her daughter were TOTALLY in left feild to inquire about the long term BF. Did everyone involved handle themselves like 12 year olds? Yes. But asking for clarrification is fine in my book.
And, FWIW, I’m planning my own wedding now. I get the no +1 arguement…our guest list is skyrocketing out of control due to them. But if someone we invited called to ask a question- I would not jump all over them for inquiring.
mandalee April 10, 2012, 12:05 pm
Yay family dysfunction and weddings- two topics I am extremely familiar with. I come from the world’s most ridiculously petty family. I can’t fathom that are more petty people in anyone else’s family than in mine, but this family gives mine a run for their money. The letter was so all over the place *as family drama usually is*, but I’ll try to navigate it.
First, your daughter’s boyfriend is under no means someone that the bride “needed to invite”. It would be nice to include everyone’s non-engaged or married significant others, but sometimes the budget just doesn’t allow it. Given the fact that your daughter and the bride don’t get along, I’m not really surprised he wasn’t invited. They are not close, and some budgets don’t allow for dating couples. So, calling and asking was out of line.
It seems that not only is there dysfunction between these two girls, but also you and your sister. Believe me when I say, the younger generation usually learns it from somewhere. You are both the older grown ups, so you both need to knock it off and try to be sisters towards each other. Without the finger pointing, without the blaming, without the score tracking. This isn’t the playground! If you try and she’s incapable of doing so, well at least you tried. Holding a grudge will sink you forever. Believe me, I’ve watched it.
Finally, if you don’t want to go to the wedding then don’t go, but please don’t make it some over the top “point” of not going. The situation has already gotten dramatic enough that any more name calling is going to push your family antics into Springer territory. If you want to have a relationship with your sister, then go. If you want to cling desperately to this messed up dynamic you have between both you and her and younger generations in the family, then by all means, stay home.
JK April 10, 2012, 1:12 pm
I <3 you, mandalee.
mandalee April 10, 2012, 1:51 pm
LOL thank you! I have such little tolerance for this topic! I could write about ten DW letters about my family that would put a soap opera to shame, but I removed myself from their antics many years ago.
Brad April 10, 2012, 3:22 pm
Calle April 10, 2012, 12:27 pm
Your daughter is 27 and engaged to be engaged (you mention several years ago she had some problems, so I doubt she was with the boyfriend at the time). Now, I may be wrong and she may have dated this guy since she was in college or a teenager, so if I am then I apologize…But, she’s not a lesbian whose been dating the same girl since she’s 18. She’s not someone whose been divorced and simply won’t marry again. She’s not 30 and with the same guy for six plus years because she doesn’t believe in getting married. If it was one of those cases, I can see maybe, and that’s a big maybe, calling your sister about an invite. However, your daughter and your niece clearly don’t get along. It’s pretty ballsy, and tacky, to demand an invite for your daughter’s boyfriend when the bride can’t even stand your daughter. Miss Manners would not approve. Did your niece cross the line? Yes. However, I suspect that your daughter crossed the line also and you are not getting that side of the story.
Calle April 10, 2012, 12:33 pm
Also, I was engaged after dating my fiancee for a little over a year and a half. If he had a family member that I had never met before we were engaged, I would not be insulted if I was not invited to that family member’s wedding. If it was a family member I had met and it had been four or five years, maybe…but I still wouldn’t have done anything about it.
Morgan April 10, 2012, 12:58 pm
Rich as they may be, if it’s a huge wedding already, adding one “almost fiance” plus one, may either offend 50 other people or add an additional 50 other plus ones,” which might put them over the size limit for their venue, or up the catering costs significantly, or add another 10 tables, or….generally make things even more huge than they are. Just because they have money, that doesn’t require them to add to a massive wedding, or even to have a massive wedding. John is the boyfriend of a cousin. My boyfriend and I are pretty serious, but my cousin has never met him and I wouldn’t hold it against her not to invite him if she got engaged tomorrow. She has a ton of her own friends, and three sides of the family to make happy. I’m sure that would be a difficult endeavor, regardless of how much money her parents contributed.
I can understand your husband not wanting to go, especially if he and your daughter are close. It sounds like she’s been through a lot, and he doesn’t like seeing her get hurt.
I’d either send a nice gift from the whole family with apologies that traveling to Florida will not be possible this year after all, or suck it up and go to the wedding, with or without husband. (Or bring him along but leave him to go have fun while you attend the actual wedding but skip the other festivities. This could be awkward if you’re already booked for the same hotel as the rest of the family though.) What I wouldn’t do is drag this whole thing out and continue this cycle of drama.
Morgan April 10, 2012, 1:27 pm
I’m not really sure what’s up with the bizarre punctuation here. I’m home sick, so I’ll blame it on my fever.
NicoleMarie April 10, 2012, 1:13 pm
I’d just like to clarify the etiquette here, because I really don’t know what the rules of +1’s are. I always thought that if you knew both parties, you just addressed the invitation to them both by name (‘Mr. & Mrs. Blah’, or ‘Mr. John Smith & Miss Jane Doe’, etc.) and that you only gave a +1 (‘and guest’) to a guest who was single or whose partner your didn’t know personally. Not really talking about the LW situation, I just hadn’t given this topic a ton of thought and would like to know what the consensus is for the future, if/when I get married.
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 1:59 pm
You are correct. Though, in my opinion, you should seek out the name of the person someone is dating even if you don’t know them so that you can add them specifically to the invite.
honeybeenicki April 10, 2012, 2:35 pm
For a lot of mine, I put “and guest” since I wasn’t sure who they were going to be dating at the time of the wedding anyway. For large families I put “LastName Family” (we have a ton of huge families in our extended family). I don’t think I had any invites that were just one person though, since I let everyone invite a plus one (but not everyone did – actually very few did other than boyfriends/girlfriends and a few of the teenagers brought friends).
evanscr05 April 10, 2012, 2:44 pm
I had friends break up with their SO’s or their SO’s not be able to make it last minute so who they brought (if anyone) was sometimes very different than who was specifically invited by name. But as far as the timing of invite addressing, I went with the status quo at that point in time. If things changed, I was very flexible. I didn’t want there to be any question, or any hurt feelings, that I invited someone but not their SO specifically, but I also didn’t want people to think that just because the SO was specifically listed, that they couldn’t bring someone else instead.
Guy Friday April 10, 2012, 3:11 pm
Generally speaking, I’d say you’re correct. My personal opinion — and I’m not saying this is echoed by advice columnists worldwide, though I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere — is that you name the person you actually WANT at the wedding. Put another way, if you’re friends with Bob, and Bob has been dating Jane, would you still invite Jane if Bob broke up with her? If you would, put her name down. If not, don’t. So even when my fiancee and I were friendly with the long-term girlfriends of some of the guys I went to college with, I still put “And Guest” down because, honestly, were they not dating my buddies I wouldn’t be inviting them. And I think most people get that the implication is that they should come even if they’re not named, and they don’t generally get offended (and, really, anyone who would get offended by that might be a little too sensitive, in my opinion.)
bittergaymark April 10, 2012, 1:39 pm
Okay, playing devil’s advocate…
The only plausible explanation here for any of this is that “unstable” Melissa used to be a total bitch to Dawn back in the day and that Dawn still has hard feelings over it… It also sounds like there was a man involved… Petty, I know. But it does always rather amaze me how people can treat you like total shit for years and years in high school and then you are simply supposed to simply get over it an move on because suddenly they think they are a better person and, besides, all that was YEARS ago… Especially when they want to come to your big fabulous party…
honeybeenicki April 10, 2012, 2:36 pm
I wondered about if there was a guy fight in the past because of the slut comment. I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time.
SweetsAndBeats April 10, 2012, 2:49 pm
That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking — the only way I can see the bride bringing up the “slutty” comment was if the LW’s daughter’s supposed sluttiness had somehow affected the bride in the past. The bulimia comment was especially unnecessary, though.
2_J April 10, 2012, 1:45 pm
If what i am about to say has already been brought up then excuse me 🙂 i didn’t read every comment, but i wanted to point out, the LW said that her daughter was included in the invite from the get go , although the bride does not like/get along with her cousin, she still included her. Did she know about John? If they don’t like each other then i would bet that they don’t communicate very often, so maybe she didn’t think much about her having a boyfriend, a serious one anyways, considering her mean comment about being a slut..But nonetheless she was still invited, so i think that A. Having your mother or letting your mother make the call to ask if John could be added was possibly not the best way to go about it. Your daughter, LW, is a grown woman and if she is 27 and on her own and really wanted John to be there, then she could have picked up the phone or facebooked her cousin to ask straight up if he could join in, if not, go without or move on. After all, maybe they could reconcile and put the things going on 10 years ago behind them and be happy they got to share that day together.
Brad April 10, 2012, 3:21 pm
More likely than not knowing about a BF was the bride denying her “slutty” cousin from bringing some loser guy and ruining her wedding. That’s what I assumed was going on when I read it.
bittergaymark April 10, 2012, 1:52 pm
Also, I can’t imagine ever asking my mother to call somebody up so she can then demand a plus one for me to… Not for some dude I am just dating. Planning to get engaged? Whatever. So many plans don’t happen. Especially when it comes to romance…
ReginaRey April 10, 2012, 2:30 pm
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I was “planning” to get engaged to at least two different boyfriends at one time. I mean, if you’re in a serious relationship, it kind of comes with the territory! Saying that you’re “planning to get engaged” doesn’t make you more legitimate, somehow. Whoever said above that it’s the same as saying “we’re trying to get pregnant” was totally right. Until you’re pregnant, you don’t get the “perks” of being a pregnant person (tough to me, the perks are few! haha). Same with engagements, in my book.
ReginaRey April 10, 2012, 2:31 pm
**though, not tough.
amy April 10, 2012, 3:00 pm
I agree, might sound petty, but maybe the daughter wants an engagement and the boyfriend is putting her off hahahahaha
My fiance’ and I talked about getting engaged for a long time, but we weren’t engaged until he put the ring on my finger. We both knew that we wanted to be together, talked about it, etc. but I NEVER called him my future fiance’, he also never said he would propose at a certain time.
Sounds fishy, but I am feeling rather bitter today.
amy April 10, 2012, 3:01 pm
And, why would we stay in relationships with people that we don’t see a future with? Of course she thinks she will marry this guy, it’s her boyfriend.
bethany April 10, 2012, 2:59 pm
“So many plans don’t happen. Especially when it comes to romance… ”
Kristina April 10, 2012, 2:22 pm
Stuff like this is why I could care less about planning a wedding. I’ll show up, but I don’t want to plan it.
Brad April 10, 2012, 3:55 pm
Hey that’s our line!
Giancarla April 13, 2012, 10:52 am
Amen sister! It’s too much about EVERYONE ELSE rather than you and your SO. Courthouse or Vegas, done deal! Have a house party later!
MarkD April 10, 2012, 3:52 pm
As someone who has been on the paying end of a wedding, with another in the works, lines have to be drawn somewhere. Most likely it was not personal, but it sure is now.
Having said that, have some class. Not invited is not invited. Don’t beg. If you won’t attend because your intended intended isn’t invited, don’t go.
RMM0278 April 10, 2012, 5:19 pm
“Like it or not, family is forever, and since you are “close” to yours, it’s worth putting this incident behind you and moving on.”
I don’t get this. Coworkers, family members, in-laws, friends of friends, etc. are groups of people that we don’t CHOOSE to be with. So why are we so surprised when we discover that we don’t get along? Yes, it’s nice if you can get along with a BIL, but it shouldn’t be a surprise if you don’t. You’re connected by chance, not by choice so why ponder any conflict further?
I’m not saying they should become estranged, but I am saying they shouldn’t force a close relationship where there is none. That just makes things worse. How about just simply co-existing on this planet with no false niceties and no knock-out fights?
Hell, my brother lives 0.3 miles away from him, and I only see him once a year in another time zone. It’s not good; it’s not bad; it’s just nothing. I don’t care, and neither does he. We both have enough people we CHOOSE to be close to so it doesn’t feel as though there’s anything missing.
RMM0278 April 10, 2012, 5:21 pm
Hell, my brother lives 0.3 miles away from ME…
I meant me.
bittergaymark April 10, 2012, 8:46 pm
Damn. What waste. I’d KILL to live that close to my sister…
call-me-hobo April 10, 2012, 11:08 pm
Me too! My brother and I only started to get close after he moved away, and now I would kill to have him just down the street.
L April 10, 2012, 7:27 pm
Whenever I see these wedding letters I always wonder why oh why oh WHY weddings are so stressful! I mean, it’s a celebration of love! That’s really what it should be all about. Not “why didn’t so-and-so get an invitation?” Many of my college friends have gotten married in the past couple years and I wasn’t invited to a few of those weddings. But I never took it personally. I knew money was tight for the couples and honestly, it wasn’t the end of the world that I wasn’t there. I’m happy for all my friends who have gotten married and I wish them all love and happiness. Why must things be so dramatic? It’s really all about a couple starting a new life together. That’s it. Even though there is probably a big party, it *should* be all about the couple’s love.
Meredith April 10, 2012, 8:09 pm
Weddings always bring out the best in people, don’t they? Anyway, I’d suck it up and go and it would be supportive of your husband to join you so you don’t have to go be miserable all by yourself. Just ask him to go to be your support system so you aren’t so stressed out. I’d try to stay as far our of your daughter and niece’s drama as much as you can, like everyone else has said, they are grown women and they need to handle their own drama. If they have a history of not getting along as you say, it shouldn’t be surprising that the bride would use her wedding as a way to stick it to your daughter by not inviting her boyfriend. People are petty, but such is life. To me, it doesn’t sound like you really get along with, or like your sister either. If this is true and not just a result a wedding stress, feel free to take a vacation from your sister after the wedding. Even the closest of sibling relationships can benefit from a break every now and then.
MiMi April 10, 2012, 9:08 pm
LW, this is what you’ve done wrong: 1. Trying to invite someone to someone else’s wedding. 2. Not allowing your adult daughter to handle her business, ie, the request to have her boyfriend included in the invitation. 3. Acting now as ring master to your part of this little circus – you’re not helping by keeping things stirred up. Maybe your sister and her rotten bridezilla child are not the only drama-lovers in this family? Ask your daughter if she is okay with you attending the wedding. She was hurtfully insulted and reviled by her cousin and a thoughtful, loving mother should be on her side. If she doesn’t mind, go to the wedding to support your sister if you really want to. Just don’t use the occasion as a springboard to hint at or tell your whole family how crummy the bride’s behavior has been. There can’t be any long-running drama if you don’t help write new scenes as you go along, so no meaningful looks and mysterious explanations. A simple “He/She couldn’t be here” will do to tell folks why your husband and daughter are not there. It’s too bad that spankings can’t be wrapped up in a pretty box – that’s something the bride could really use…
Jakdrake April 10, 2012, 10:09 pm
People usually encourage people to bow down to family member, even they are an ass. Because family is unique, they have your blood, think the memories your have, you cannot live without them, yadda…yadda…yadda… well you don’t! If you doesn’t want any more bitchy response from your sister and niece, don’t go to the wedding. maybe this gonna alienate you from your extended family, but so what? in this age, I think the most important relationship you have is your own family (husband and daughter) and your friends, not some snobby sister/niece who hundreds miles away. Don’t go, especially you will be alone and gonna get scratchy remark from the might bridezilla & bridezilla mother.
painted_lady April 10, 2012, 11:33 pm
*panting* Hi guys! What’d I miss?
Everyone else covered stuff better than I did – stay out of your daughter’s adult relationships with other adults and certainly don’t go to the other adult’s mother to fix what that adult did, don’t ask for plus-ones if they aren’t listed, go to the damn wedding and be a mature adult while you’re there, then take a good long break – during which perhaps you get a good therapist to look at your boundaries – from your sister, her spoile daughter, and all of your shared drama. Just one thing no one else seemed to touch on:
If you have the cojones to put someone on the spot for something as pushy and classless as asking for a plus one for someone else, for someone else’s wedding, and she doesn’t give you a straight answer, have the good sense to understand THAT MEANS NO. There is zero excuse for Dawn’s calling Melissa a slut and telling her she’s unstable, but had her excuse been simply less than polite and slightly unkind, that would have been completely understandable because you two can’t seem to take a hint.
painted_lady April 10, 2012, 11:34 pm
katie April 11, 2012, 10:55 pm
Wendy, you should change that to say when you write in you are giving *express* permission to have the letter published. how do these people think you get the letters you publish? you make them up!? lol… i cant believe she asked to have it taken down … haha…
rachel April 11, 2012, 11:28 pm
Yeah, that’s crazy. Her letter was one of the more sane ones too!
katie April 11, 2012, 11:33 pm
i know, right? it really wasnt that bad! pretty normal family drama, from what i have heard about people who have that problem. i dont have an extended family, so ive never experienced it first hand…
odd. but it makes me laugh!
Trixy Minx April 13, 2012, 11:41 pm
I can’t believe the LW had you take it down.
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