From a recent Dear Prudence:
At the start of the reception, she stomped over and said very loudly that she couldn’t believe I had worn her color. It was really embarrassing, but it was her wedding day so I apologized, said that I had no idea, and that the whole day was beautiful. She stomped off in a huff, and eventually her husband came over and said that she was really upset and that seeing my dress was detracting from her having fun. He wanted to know whether I could change. A friend loaned me a long black sweater and I put it on over the dress. Later, the bride pointed me out (while using a microphone) and said “she’s not invited.” Later in the night, she came up to me AGAIN to tell me how this had shattered her day. At this point, my patience was wearing a little thin. We said our goodbyes. This morning, I woke up to being tagged in a rant about guest etiquette on Facebook and an email from the groom asking me to apologize again. I responded, copying his wife, reiterating my original message in a bland way (sorry, I didn’t know. I appreciated them letting me know and hopefully wearing the world’s largest sweater had mitigated it. It was a lovely day. Have a nice life). This woman has gone from generically fine to totally unhinged in my book. We’re going to see them again at a BBQ in about a month (it’s at our house, otherwise I’d skip it). I’m wondering how to handle this situation, especially since I just got a call from a mutual friend saying that she called her sobbing about how this had really cast a pall over her day. At this point, I don’t want to fuel the fire or ever engage again, but I’m stumped—because she seems excited to have a dead horse to beat.
Here’s how I’d have answered:
Disinvite the bitch to the BBQ you’re hosting, by simply saying: “I’m going to be present and also wearing clothes at the BBQ my husband and I are hosting this month. I would hate for either of those things to offend you and ruin your day in the way they did at your wedding, so please accept our heartfelt invitation to no longer attend our BBQ.” Such a message will almost certainly end whatever expectation of cordiality exists between you, so win-win in my opinion.