“My Family Stood Me Up at My Own Wedding!”

I got married back in June, and in addition to being excited about marrying an absolutely wonderful guy, I was happy that my dad’s side of the family would be there, since we don’t see them very much. Come the wedding day, 10 aunts, uncles and cousins were no shows. An entire TABLE was EMPTY. One of my aunts texted them to see where they were, and got no response. Another aunt messaged the no-show aunt the next day, saying they really missed them at the wedding, and got no response.

The real kicker was my no-show aunt’s Facebook status a few days later, complaining about how people should treat others the way they want to be treated. REALLY?! I so wanted to comment on that, but I showed restraint, just waiting for an explanation as for why they all didn’t show. It’s been six weeks now, and neither I nor my parents have heard from them as to why they didn’t show. And now one of my other aunts is organizing a family BBQ in a couple weeks.

So, my question is: how do I address these no-shows on the off chance that they actually do show up to the BBQ? And do you have any advice for moving past this? I’m usually a very drama-free person, but it really hurts that my family essentially stood me up, without explanation. — Stood Up Bride

First, congratulations on your new marriage! During what has been, I’m sure, a joyous time in your life, I can imagine how much it hurt to be snubbed by people you care about, were looking forward to seeing, and whose support you were counting on. I understand the temptation you might have to be like, “WTF? How could ALL TEN of you stand me up on my wedding day and then not even have the decency to apologize or offer any sort of explanation?!” But, resist that urge and take the high road instead.

Obviously, if all ten family members skipped your wedding, there was something going on in that particular family unit that you don’t know about. The Facebook update about “treating people how you’d want to be treated” is a clue, too. Something is amiss, and that something most likely doesn’t have anything to do with you. And even if it does — even if you did something to warrant the snubbing you got — you deserve an explanation.

What I would do if I were you is call the matriarch of that branch of the family tree — your aunt, in this case — and express concern (not anger) over their absence at your wedding. Tell her that you were surprised that all ten guests from her family missed your wedding and, without any explanation, you have been very worried about them. You could even say, “I was just so surprised that no one contacted me to let me know you weren’t coming, and seeing your empty table at my wedding reception made me wonder if I had inadvertently done something to anger you.” This way, you are expressing some of your feelings over their snub without going on the attack.

You may never get the explanation or apology you deserve, but if you express yourself now in a controlled way, the next time you do see each other, whether that’s at the upcoming BBQ or not, there won’t be an unaddressed elephant in the room. Even if your aunt doesn’t take your call or return your message, you can at least say, “Did you get my call? I’ve been so worried about you!” And in saying this, you are inviting an explanation of some sort without putting your aunt and her family on the defense.

What’s most important here, of course, is not focusing on who let you down, but remembering the love and support that surrounded you on your wedding day and now. There will always be people who disappoint you, but as long as they are the minority in your life, you are a lucky woman with blessings to count.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Love the advice – the high road is the way to go.

    I do wonder if there is more to the LW’s story, however – when she speaks about the “drama” that happened before the wedding, how she retells the story doesn’t seem that dramatic at all. The Aunt rsvped for 10, LW called, figured the whole thing out, and it was resolved. Maybe something happened on that phone call that upset the Aunt, but she didn’t address it with the LW on the call? I’ve had a few encounters with people that I thought went fine and ended fine, only to find out later that the person was really upset afterward. Sometimes people realize they were hurt only when they post-process the interaction. Could be worth re-visiting that conversation to see where it may have gone awry.

    1. Yeah it’s hard to tell, because you don’t know the tone the LW had when she called the Aunt to address this situation, but Wendy’s advice is spot on, and so hard to follow at the same time, because if that happened to me, I would be so pissed, and wouldn’t know how to react! Hopefully the family still sent gifts to cover the money they cost the LW.

      1. The cost is a frustrating part of the equation here. I am planning a wedding right now, and a final, ACCURATE headcount is vital to the reception. Depending on the amount she spent on the reception, she may have paid anywhere from $500-$1000 for the aunt’s family to attend. That is money she can never get back.

      2. Yep. We had 7 no-shows at our wedding, which was 500$. That’s non-trivial!

      3. I agree, I’m actually in the final stages of paying for my wedding, because we are getting married in less than a month, and I know if this happens to me, I’m going to be pretty pissed about it! So many things are planned on this like welcome bags if they are staying in a hotel, how big of a cake to get, meals, party favors if you got them or a late night snack, how many apps you ordered!

      4. @bagge72: I got an RSVP that was a question mark with a random explanation of why they may or may not attend. And my reply by date isn’t for 2 weeks anyway… it was my fiance’s relative so he gets to figure that one out;)

        And I’m actually coming under my minimum and was a little salty about it – but since I should just expect no shows anyway I have decided to look at the positive in that at least I know my budget won’t be any higher!!

      5. Haha that is a good way to look at it! I haven’t had any problems yet with the RSVP’s except two people asked if they were allowed guest, because it didn’t say it on their invitations. I’ve been surprised recently with how many people think they automatically think they get guest to weddings!

      6. sarolabelle says:

        I know! I guess it’s never been a tradition to just invite one single person to the wedding. I’m very surprised at how many people ask for an invitation to our wedding. I never know what to say.

      7. Avatar photo theattack says:

        sarolabelle! I was just thinking last night that I hadn’t seen you around in a while.

      8. Seriously! My SIL told me it was poor etiquette to not automatically include a plus one. I totally disagree – I have been to (and in) weddings where I didn’t have a plus 1, and it wasn’t personal, it had to do with size and space. For ours, we invited a +1 for folks who were married, engaged, living together, or had been dating for a year. And that somehow still wasn’t enough! And then people RSVPed for 2 (and in one case 3) WITHOUT ASKING. Come on!

      9. To our wedding, I did invite a plus one if I knew that the person didn’t know many other people there. Otherwise they’re alone all night. I’ve skipped weddings because I’ve been in that same situation and haven’t wanted to sit there all by myself, and I wasn’t given a plus one.

        The people who invite friends without asking are pretty horrible. It’s one thing if you’ve been dating someone awhile, and maybe the couple didn’t realize how serious it was, but actually they’re basically your significant other. This happened with my sister to one of my cousin’s weddings. Then it makes sense to CALL FIRST and explain the situation and ask if your SO might be invited as well (and be prepared to be turned down, and don’t be angry if you are). It’s another thing to just decide to bring someone who was totally not invited.

      10. My fiance’s friend moved and got engaged and moved between the save the dates and invite… had no clue… needless to say they aren’t the best at staying in touch (boys!) and we didn’t realize until the invite got send back… but that’s a situation I was happy to rectify. There’s really only a few legit outlying situations like that and the rest is just rudeness 🙂

      11. *eliminate one move – it wasn’t really that complicated, I just can’t edit.

      12. anonymous says:

        I see the feeling that it’s money she won’t get back. But at the same time, it’s a sunk cost — already paid for, water under the bridge, part of the overall wedding budget. At this point, she’s paying the same whether or not they come. She wouldn’t have bemoaned the money had they been in a car wreck on the way to the wedding. The money becomes a false premise for an argument in this case.

        Given that, I totally agree that Wendy’s advice is spot-on. Yes, it would have been more considerate to show. Or failing that, to call to tell LW what was going on. However, they may be embarrassed, they may be ticked off at the original tone of the earlier phone call, etc. But not everyone can be considerate. Assume they’re doing the best they can and act accordingly.

      13. I get that; the money is spent and gone either way. But is a valid issue, bc without a serious (family emergencyish) reason, the no-shows are okay with misusing/letting go to waste the resources invested in them out of love, and that is a indication of serious disregard. Letting someone go to great expense for you and not doing yr part (the money is for their enjoyable meal and presence for the bride to enjoy) is a hurtful part of the snub. Unless they live under a rock, they know receptions cost the bride money per person, and they didn’t care (assuming their absence was avoidable). That’s disrespectful to the time and resources of someone who was excited to see them, like, ‘let her eat the loss’.

  2. Wendy hit it on the mark. Dealing with family is so precarious because of the egos and personalities that are involved. I think you should say your piece and move on. Like she said, the right people were there to share in this moment and you also found someone to spend your life with. That matters more than some vague Facebook status from a branch of the family who obviously didn’t respect you enough to keep you abreast of things on your wedding day.

  3. I think there’s one more piece that is not being addressed here–aside from the fact that the LW’s feelings were hurt by her family’s absence, she and her fiancee (or whomever was paying for the wedding) probably had to pay for all ten people who did not show up. Assuming that she got married at a private venue, the loss was probably between $90-$170 per person–money that she seems like she would have happily spent to have a good time with them, but which is a lot of money in total ($900-$1700) to essentially throw away. With the astronomical amount that many weddings cost these days, she and her new husband could have put that money to good use by adding to their reception, upgrading their honeymoon accommodations or saving it for their future. For that alone, I think she (and/or the patrons of the wedding) are owed a huge apology, and should not allow this to pass undiscussed. Unless the LW is prepared not to invite these people to future events in which their presence is an expense (birthdays, christenings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc), she needs to be clear on the fact that she deserves the respect of a proper RSVP. For some reason, her assertion that she is a “drama-free person” makes me think that in her family, this is kind of an invitation for others to walk on her. It’s so immature that grown adults would blow off of a wedding because they were ticked off that the paying host of a very special event checked in on an RSVP for double the number of people who were invited, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Yeh, this is what would make it hard for me to “take the high road” if I was in the LW’s place. While I would try to address the situation as Wendy suggested, I would definitely be expecting an apology. If this happened in my family it would take a very long time for people to get over.

    2. A lot of venues require that you spend X amount on Food and Bev, so the LW (or her family) likely would have incurred those costs whether or not the table showed up (if this was the case).

      I also think you’re jumping to the conclusion that what they did was out of indifference, spite, or in some other way a deliberate act of defiance with their absence, and not giving them the benefit of the doubt that maybe something personal came up within that group of people that resulted in them not being able to attend. You’d like to think that they would have explained what happened, but if it was something really personal, coupled with the fact that they’re not extremely close to the LW (siting the fact that they don’t get together anymore as a family), then they may have just not been comfortable spreading their situation around the family. As Wendy stated, it may have had nothing to do with the LW. This is, of course, all speculation. But I would certainly need more information before calling them “immature” or claiming they should be ashamed of themselves. I think this is why taking the “high road” is the best way to proceed, because if you make all these accusations and it turns out something bad or embarrassing or really personal happened within that group, you come across as the asshole for being insensitive. I’m not saying that them ignoring the LW’s request for an explanation is the right way for THEM to proceed, but they could have a sort of “it’s none of her business” type of mindset, even if it was something as personal as her wedding.

      1. Some places might require a minimum for food and beverage, but for the most part people are well above that, because when you plan the wedding you plan for the amount of people you think are going to show not how many people you are going to invite, so most likely they did have to incur the cost of them not showing up.

        I agree taking the high road is the best way to go about things, but I think it is also ok to call them immature if they give you no explanation at all. If it was that personal that doesn’t mean you don’t even call to say sorry, or if they were close you only have to say some family matters came up that we had to take care of. If it was something so bad that happened then those are the best excuses to call and apologize for.

      2. It is very circumstantial. If I put my personal situation in the LWs, my above “alternative” can certainly apply, which is why I floated it since I could understand. The wedding I’m planning for right now has our preliminary head count of attendance right around the mark of “minimum food and bev,” so if we were to see a RSVP of 10 not show, we’d be stuck paying for them. If it was a smaller wedding, it’s a common situation, but I wasn’t at the LWs wedding so I don’t know if that was the case or not. But I do have a side of my family I am not particularly close with who will likely RSVP out of family obligation. Now, if they didn’t show, I would most certainly not be surprised if they gave no explanation. This is especially the case if it was something they didn’t want me to know about. Everyone’s family dynamic is different, and I don’t know the LW’s dynamic any better than I know another strangers, but there certainly is the possibility they RSVP’d out of obligation and then – as big or small as the reason may have been – couldn’t make it. If that group of people is not really close with the LW, I’m not all that surprised they don’t want to address it. I’m not saying that is the right thing for them to do, but I’ve seen enough situations in which I can see that happening. I would say it’s more being a selfish asshole than immature. Not involving people in your personal life, to me, doesn’t really make you immature. But if it was something in your personal life that directly affected a family member, however, it does make you insensitive if you don’t give them the common courtesy of at least a half assed explanation.

      3. But by not saying or doing anything… not even responding to a text the day of (how much more low-key can you get?)… they put themselves in the spotlight because people may have been worried about them. I know my first thought if an entire family unit doesn’t show to my wedding (in 5 weeks so I’m in the thick of it too!), especially if I had personally spoken to them instead of just reading a card, I would be really worried they were lost or in an accident somewhere. Just going AWOL after you have spoken to the bride is the very definition of selfish and immature, someone out of a group of 10 could have sent a very vague blow off text and at least eliminated the worry factor.

      4. You’ll get no argument from me that this side of the family should be off the Christmas card list (if they were even on it to begin with). I am essentially condoning their behavior because it happens and there are people like that in the world. The LW should move on. The allegiance within that group of 10 was obviously to the members within that group and not the LW. Even if someone’s dog died in that group, those 10 would feel more obligated to stay with that family member rather than attend the wedding. My original point was that taking the high road is the thing to do here because the LW does not know the situation. Kind of an “innocent until proven guilty” thing.

        There are two outcomes here: 1) the explanation was legit and there was a serious issue that prevented them from coming (which the group did not feel comfortable talking about), in which case, by taking the high road, the LW won’t feel guilty if she were to call them all assholes at the BBQ right before they explain. Or 2) the explanation won’t be legit and the only thing gained from knowing the explanation is more divide between the family because they were forced to tell the LW they just didn’t feel like going and were too much of an asshole to extend a courtesy text.

        The explanation doesn’t matter – the LW is still going to feel betrayed. She only wants to know “why” to satisfy her own curiosity. Making a scene or name calling or being all dramatic will only change one thing: the LW will be down at their level. For the people who matter to the LW, they know it was a dick move. They have their reasons, and at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what they were. The LW should do her best to write this off and move on because there is not positive end in her search for answers.

      5. I think we are all saying they should take the high road (well besides Miss T) I do think we have a right to call them immature though for the way they handled it.

      6. I think it is just the semantics of what constitutes “immaturity” that we are not going to agree on, and that’s fine. If the group had some sort of issue with the LW and RSVPed knowing ahead of time they weren’t going to make it just so they could fuck with her headcount, then that makes them immature. But if something happened that they couldn’t make it to the wedding, not explaining those personal reasons does not make them immature. Sharing your personal life with other people is a choice one makes that is irrespective of their maturity.

      7. For me its not an issue of explaining personal reasons – it’s absent some sort of tragic consequence or cell tower being struck down by lighting that they didn’t feel the need to update the RSVP.

        It’s all on the Aunt. downthread someone mentions and I agree that she may have taken it upon herself to RSVP for a table when the others couldn’t ever come. She RSVPd in the affirmative and needed to let organizers know – whether the event is a wedding, graduation or birthday – that that was no longer the case. No reason needed (though it would be nice) but if you managed to RSVP for people that weren’t even invited in the first place, you can somehow communicate “Unfortunately we will not be able to make it” before some other family member has to reach out during the reception.

      8. I don’t think the reason they may have for not making it to the wedding is immature, I just think them not making any effort at all to at least send any relative at the wedding a text saying the can’t make it as immature, or that they couldn’t eveny reply to somebody asking where they were.

      9. Also there are a whole lot of people in the DW community who either just got married, or who are getting married very shortly it seems haha.

      10. We need a support group. OK, that was projecting… I need a support group… Anti-wedding industry ‘R us 🙂

      11. The “Even if someone’s dog died in that group, those 10 would feel more obligated to stay with that family member rather than attend the wedding” hit the nail on the head of my family flake out at my wedding. The night before my wedding my husband’s family was hanging out drinking and being idiots and his uncle fell off a roof somehow. One dumbass falling off a roof (and he was fine, other than bumps and bruises) was apparently enough of a reason for ALL of my husbands aunts and uncles to skip the wedding – 6 adults and 4 teens/young adults that had RSVP’d. We had an entire empty table. Luckily for us, his grandmother and grandfather saw through the dumbassery and came anyhow, and even luckier, they were able to let one of MY aunts know and she talked the reception site into discounting us for the empty table due to the “family emergency” – we still paid a little, but they credited us some since no one at that table was able to partake in the open bar.

        Its 10 years ago that this happened and it still frustrates me that this happened. I’m still polite to them in person, but I don’t prioritize my life around them since they obviously don’t care to make us a priority.

  4. I had a very similar story at my wedding. My aunt, to whom I am not close, attempted to dictate my guest list by RSVPing for more people than we invited. I thought we cleared it up amicably, but on the day of the wedding, she and her husband, as well as her three adult children and their spouses, were no-shows. Their table also sat empty. I was angry, embarrassed, and hurt.

    A year later, I don’t care about the money it cost us, but I am still irked by their nasty little power play. You deserve an apology and explanation, but you may never get one. Your family’s absence was low, and their silence tells me that they are aware of how big of a dick move it was. I don’t think they will have any explanation that will be satisfying. All you can do in this situation is try to let go of your anger.

    1. I agree. I had a few no-shows at my wedding- one family of 3 because of an emergency, and another couple because the guy couldn’t be arsed to stop smoking pot long enough to be sober enough to come to the wedding. Guess which ones got our symparties and which is off the friends’ list? Each no-show cost us 145€. But it’s only the pot smokers we were mad about. Especially since they totally could have smoked at the wedding-hardly the strongest stuff that was ingested by guests that evening!

  5. Oh LW I can relate. I just had my wedding two weeks ago and 10 people who were in the final guest count and paid for didn’t come. It sucks and I’m sorry that it happened to you too. My advice differs from Wendy’s because unless I was really close with the absent people, I would let it go. Their absence most likely has nothing to do with how they feel about you, just that they couldn’t get their shit together to attend your wedding for whatever reason. The reason really doesn’t matter. It’s their loss because they missed a very important celebration in your life.

  6. My 1st day back after a long absence (Hi everyone!) and the first letter is a wedding one? Was this on purpose? 😉
    In LW´s shoes I would be royally pissed. I mean, first of all, inviting people who weren´t invited (the 2 BFs), then not showing up, and not answering the text. I mean no matter what kind of emergency, could not one single person out tof the 10 rsvps send a text to SOMEONE saying “we´re terribly sorry, but we´re not going to be able to make it, there´s been a personal/family/whatever emergency). all the best to LW and her husband”.
    But then the aunt seems to be the type of person that posts vague passive aggressive fb ststuses, so I guess we can´t expect that much from her.

    1. I’m glad you’re back! and yes I agree, I would be pissed.

    2. Addie Pray says:

      Welcome Back, Jack!

      1. Addie Pray says:

        Here’s what you missed: lots of fighting, then lots of nice, followed by Jackson clapping, and Lili getting her panties in a wad about creepy men and Bagge supporting creepy men (ha – kidding – I didn’t actually read all the back-and-forth so ignore me).

      2. As long as I didn´t miss out on any to be deleted open threads I don´t mind too much. 🙂

      3. Addie Pray says:

        Actually, this thread is going to be deleted so feel free to divulge your deepest darkest juiciest secret. Like, right now. Go. Really, go for it. Don’t hold back, this thread is getting deleted I swear on my step mother’s grave. … Spill it. Something preferrably dark and/or juicy. I don’t need it to be deep.

      4. I´ve got nothing. Except for the fact that I´m really pissed at my FIL, but what else is new?

  7. I think, assuming your aunt’s family isn’t financially struggling, that if they sent a gift or not (after 6 weeks) would be a good indication about the nature of the “snub” here. If they rsvp’d, but didn’t show up and didn’t send a gift after 6 weeks I’m wondering if they feel off-put/indignant about something….

    In my family an entire family unit not showing up IS a statement…I find it hard to believe that after 6 weeks of your wedding that not one person has come out to tell you what happened and has flat-out ignored you. I just don’t see how this isn’t a snub.

    1. Addie Pray says:

      That reminds me, I’m two wedding gifts in arrears. It’s on my “to do” list this week.

      Also on my “to do” list is say “in arrears” at least once a day all week because it makes me smile.

      1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I had a friend who managed to use consubstantial three times in one day.

      2. Addie Pray says:

        Impressive. I have read your reply 4 times now and I still don’t know what consubstantial means because I keep forgetting to Google it. I feel like I should be able to figure it out by analyzing “con” and “sub” and whatnot … but no I still don’t know what it means. My goal for this week, in addition to saying “in arrears” at least once each day, will be to figure out what that word means.

      3. Addie Pray says:

        Alright, I just looked up consubstantial in wikipedia and I still can’t use it in a sentence, except this sentence: “I just looked up consubstantial in wikipedia and I still can’t use it in a sentence.” I’ve been stupid all day. This week is off to a bad start.

      4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        Consubstantial – of the same substance. The Catholic Church recently started using consubstantial to say that God the son is of the same substance as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Since no one knew what it meant everyone was trying to figure it out and it sounded so odd that our friend wanted to use it as much as possible just for the fun of it.

        If my floor and my table are both oak maybe they are consubstantial.

      5. Yeah, the only way I could think of using “consubstantial” three times in one day is if I went to mass 3 times and said the creed. Really not a common word

  8. lemongrass says:

    I love that you used a pic from your own wedding, Wendy!

  9. Yes, high road is probably best.

    With that said, I would confess to some secret admiration should she post lots of pix of the reception that “just happen” to include some of the empty (and labeled!) table.

    Hmmm, maybe she could ask the aunt if she would like the table favors ….

    1. Empty table picture + tagging everyone who was supposed to have been sitting there. I like it!

  10. Honestly, after shelling out money for no-shows at my own wedding (one year ago today-woo!), I completely understand why you’re upset. I had to pay for a 125 people minimum but had to pay extra per person after that. Well, 8 of those extras didn’t show and didn’t reach out, so it was $700 completely wasted coupled with rudeness on their part.

    It takes ten seconds to text/call someone and let them know you’re not coming. It’s the courtesy and care that they didn’t show and money/shape wasted. I wouldn’t reach out in anger, but I would let them know you were disappointed they didn’t come. Since they had no problem RSVPing for 10 people when they weren’t even invited with that many in the first place and after you accommodated them, they didn’t even show, I’d have no problem letting them know how you feel in a calm, rational way.

    1. Happy Anniversary!
      And totally agree with your 2nd paragraph.

      1. Thank you!

    2. I would also have no problem with not inviting them to things in the future 😉
      If they don’t care why should you? sounds very quid pro quo and spiteful… but I prefer to think of it as sanity.

  11. LW, update us after the bbq! Good luck =)

    1. Addie Pray says:

      Yes, definitely need an update after the bbq! And preferably RIGHT AFTER when your emotions are really raw and you spill everything without time to process and phrase it in a more positive light, haha. (I have high hopes for a dramatic bbq.) But, really, WWS here. Take the high road is easier said than done, but really try to take it!

      p.s. lookit, it’s Wendy’s wedding picture! Nice.

      1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        Definitely take the high road. If you don’t, in five or ten years you’ll cringe when you think about the things you did or said. You’ll only make yourself look bad and you’ll always regret it.

      2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        So what I’m saying is don’t become your aunt. Don’t become the rude person who makes everyone angry or uncomfortable. Don’t become obnoxious trying to make yourself feel better. It won’t work and it will only make everyone dislike you and avoid you.

  12. “Even if your aunt doesn’t take your call or return your message, you can at least say, “Did you get my call? I’ve been so worried about you!”

    This is exactly what Miss Manners (Judith Martin) would recommend. And be very dramatic and concerned about it. “I knew something really bad had to have happened, because otherwise you would have told me that you couldn’t come! Everybody was so worried about all of you! What happened!” or something like that.

    One possibility here is that the aunt took it on herself to RSVP for a whole bunch of people who weren’t really committed to coming (the grown daughter and her family? the boyfriends?). I think she’s lost the privilege of RSVPing for other people.

    This auntie has 1) no manners 2) no consideration for other people and 3) is thin-skinned. You were probably lucky not to have her come.

    1. I think you may be onto something with the Auntie RSVPing for everyone when she no longer speaks for them… Still no reason why someone can’t text and let people know they aren’t coming tho

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I wonder if you aren’t on to something here with the aunt RSVPing for the entire family. Maybe they weren’t planning to go and never knew that she said they were going. Maybe it was a powerplay on her part to force them to go. Maybe she was trying to control them. Maybe they refused to allow her to force them. All you know is that she replied for a large group and you didn’t hear from the rest. In the future I wouldn’t invite the aunt unless it’s a potluck so she brings her share of food. Also, in the future, if she tries to RSVP for more than herself tell her you’ll need to hear from them personally, that is, if you ever bother to invite her again.

    3. I really like the explanation that the aunt RSVP-ed for everyone without their knowledge. Imagine how embarrassed she would have been showing up by herself after finding out all the cousins were in vacation that weekend or something. She might have not gone out of sheer Embarrassment.

    4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Honestly – I hate miss manners’ advice. I feel like she invented passive-aggressive behavior. She reminds me of a snotty old immature Grandma with too much time on her hands.

      1. Really? I think we’d be better off if we all knew the “rules” and followed them. It would make what’s expected of us by society much clearer. Of course you’d still have the people who choose not to follow the rules, but then you’d know for sure that they were being jerks on purpose. There wouldn’t be all this ambiguity.

      2. Throw the “rules” out the window. I’m sorry, but I hate them.

      3. Maybe you hate those specific rules because they’re old-fashioned, but I think you can agree that as a society, we need rules about how to behave. It makes everything go smoother.

        Anyway, I find Miss Manners interesting. She’s a feminist, which is cool for someone her age. She’s also clear on the purpose of etiquette – it’s just to help us interact with each other without constantly pissing each other off. She once said that if you’re alone, you can eat ice cream right out of the carton with no spoon, if you want, because it only affects you and no one else. But to do it in front of someone else is not nearly as acceptable, unless I guess that person eats ice cream the same way. 🙂

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I hate her because she suggests making a grand show next time you see them like “OH MY GOD ARE YOU OKAY?!? WE THOUGHT YOU’D DIED IN A CAR CRASH. THANK GOD YOU’RE ALIVE!” When really they know they’re not dead and just want to ask them what the deal is. Then ask them what the deal is! Stop with the dramatics. That’s why I hate her advice. I’m all on board with the rules. I am not okay with encouraging dramatic passive agressive behavior.

    5. I guess it is possible that the Aunt RSVP’d for everyone without them knowing, but then wouldn’t they have sent in their own RSVP’s with the regrets?

      1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        Many people only RSVP if they are attending. I don’t know why but it happens alot where I live.

      2. That is very odd to me, because around here if somebody doesn’t RSVP to something on time, you get calls and emails from 12 different people asking what you are going to do.

      3. You’re supposed to reply, but a lot of people don’t. If you were the cousins, and didn’t know your mom had replied, and didn’t reply yourself, you’d have no reason to believe that the couple thought you were coming. And since they never got a call from her asking about the RSVP, they’d figure she just took their non-response as a “no”. So they could actually be innocent (although a bit rude, since you are supposed to either accept or decline an invite).

        Anyway, having people say they were coming and then not show up is better than the opposite – people not responding and then showing up. We had a couple of those at my wedding, which was annoying. We tried to follow up with them beforehand but could never get a hold of them, so we assumed they weren’t coming, then they did. We had a bunch of no-shows too, so at least we got to use a couple of the no-show dinners on the ones who did show. But if everyone who RSVP’d had actually showed up, there would have been nothing for the 2 extras to eat.

  13. the only thing i would suggest, for your own sanity, is to just tell yourself and believe that what they did had nothing to do with you (whether it did or not). just believe that even though it was *your* wedding, the snub was their thing, their own emergency, their particular family drama for whatever reason, and it had nothing to do with you. just keep telling yourself that when you start to get angry about it.

    if you do want to reach out to them, definitely do it like wendy suggested. its wonderful advice.

  14. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    WWS X1000

    Your Aunt is incredibly rude LW. There is no legitimate reason I can think of that the entire group of 10 would be unable to attend AND unable to explain why they didn’t attend. (unless of course they are all secret CIA agents…..)

    In all seriousness though, you deserve an apology or at least an explanation. I realize there is huge temptation to call them out in the most accusatory way. After all, I’m pissed at them and I don’t even know them so I can imagine how mad you are. Going about it in a classy way as other commenters and wendy suggested is really your best bet though to not come off as the one in the wrong in this situation.

    1. The only reason is if someone died or was seriously hurt. Hopefully that’s not the case though, and you likely would have heard about it by now. But that’s really the only excuse for a party that large to not show up.

  15. landygirl says:

    Personally, that’s the kind of family that I could do without in my life. I’d totally freeze them out. I hear it said that family is important and you should try and maintain a good relationship with them but if your family sucks, then what’s the point? If they don’t even care enough to apologize then I don’t see the value in having them in your life.

    LW, you handled it with class but not responding the your aunt’s FB message.

    1. I thought about that, but the problem is that the LW can’t avoid them at family events. And if she says “them or me”, the rest of the family might just choose them! The aunt is older and has been in the family longer, and it might be easier for everyone to exclude the LW and her husband than all 10 of that side of the family, who have already proven to be passive-aggressive pains in the asses!

      1. landygirl says:

        If that’s the case then good riddance to them. She said she didn’t see them all that much anyway. I guess it depends how much she desires to have this family in her life. The problem being is if you let people get away with bad behavior, then they’ll never improve it.

      2. BettyBoop says:

        It is so very easy to stop associating directly with family. You just have to maintain a polite demeanor and interact with them as little as possible. I avoid speaking to my uncle’s wife and we’ve had plenty of pleasant parties together. It’s just making your decision, doing it with dignity and not engaging in anything negative. It can be hard to maintain the balance on occasion, but it’s really worth it when you can’t stand a family member.

    2. As for the family dynamic argument – is it possible that this actually had nothing to do with the LW and her husband at all, but rather a disagreement between the aunt and one of her parents or other aunts that she is being stuck in the middle of? Two of my aunts declared war on each other for a while and did horrible things to the other’s children (like this instance) in the name of “getting back” at the other one.
      Not saying its right, just saying LW might have gotten thrown in the middle of an argument that wasn’t even hers.

  16. Wendy's Dad says:

    Hey, I just noticed my own picture on Dear Wendy! How cool! The other good-looking woman in the picture (besides Wendy) is her mom. I am the old guy with gray hair.

  17. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    Also just a question for the fellow DWers. How do you respond to an invite for 5 with 10? Doesn’t the invite come addressed to the exact people that are invited (ie if boyfriends were invitied it would say plus one and if the grown daughter’s invite was included her name would be included). I just seems incredibly tacky to add on extra people. Does this happen a lot? Is there some sort of hidden nuance included in the invitation that could lead to a misunderstanding

    1. From the amount of times I´ve read about people doing this, I would guess it is pretty common. I think it has more to do with rudeness/ignorance of social etiquette/thinking one can do WeverTF they feel like.

    2. Well, the LW says the aunt responded for others in the family who had their own invitation– still weird, but not as rude as adding on extras who weren’t even invited.

      1. They added two extras – two boyfriends of daughters. The other 3 had their own invitation.

    3. Some people think weddings are big ol’ free for all parties and honestly assume it’s ok to bring their own posse. BUT those people are the exception. Most people know better, but they’re hoping that they can sneak in a plus one and you won’t confront them about it.

      I thought I was a step ahead of my guests by addressing the invites to specific people only, and also by having them RSVP online, on a website that would not let them add extra people. One grown, educated, well-mannered guest was invited by himself, and he still left a message on my mother’s voicemail letting her know he “couldn’t get the RSVP website to work to add his own guest, but his guest one will be having the steak.” I do not for one second believe he thought the website was broken, he was just hoping I would let it go and let him bring a guest.

      1. No doubt that guy was tacky, but I also think it’s tacky to not automatically give adults a plus 1, especially if it’s a long term significant other, even if they’re not engaged/married.

      2. We only gave +1’s to the people in relationships to our wedding, because if we included one for every adult who was single, it would have been a huge cost, so I guess we are tacky, but I’m ok with that.

      3. Same here! When you’re limited on space/money, I’d much rather invite people I know to my own wedding, and let my single cousins hang out w/ each other, as opposed to filling the guest list w/ relative’s dates that I’ve never met before, and probably will never see again.

      4. That, and if you give everyone a date, then you don’t have those awesome drunk hooks up at weddings!

      5. temperance says:

        Eh, we’re paying for it all ourselves, so I’m okay with tacky. 😉

    4. the invite i got to my friends wedding did not have anything along the lines of X amount of seats have been reserved for you, ect.. also, i got an invite and my mom did, and i did RSVP for all of us- me, mom, sister, dad, and my boyfriend… i did, however, write a little note on the back of the RSVP telling her that i didnt know if they had sent theirs as well or if they were relying on me to do it for all of us, so our plan for for all of us to go and to let me know if that was ok.

      i think it depends on how the invite and the RSVP is worded- some of them are very explicit, some are very vague.

    5. landygirl says:

      My cousin couldn’t find her invitation so her Dad responded for everyone but he indicated it on his RSVP and she did show up.

    6. I think some people know the etiquette and the manners, and just disregard because they think they are special and it doesn’t apply to them ;(

  18. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Wow I’m in the minority here for sure. This is how I see it: At the time you ordered the food/told caterers the amount of people coming – that cost was sunk. So by the day or your wedding you had already spent what you would spend. That is the cost of having a wedding. People cancel – people no call/no show. Don’t get me wrong it’s rude – especially from family – but not something to get hopping mad all over.

    As someone above stated – you’ll never get an explanation you will find satisfactory. Because what they did was rude. Even if there was an emergency they could have spent 3 minutes calling to explain that. So I’m not sure what you’re looking for. For them to call you and say how rude they are? You already know they’re rude. For them to apologize? Why – that won’t change the events of that day.

    I say you get over it and move on. If you treat them differently in the future because you don’t feel the same way about that family – so be it. That’s your choice and I would feel the same. But I just don’t see how it is helpful for you to demand an explanation/be dramatic about it. You won’t get the answers you crave. Move on.

    1. I´m with you on the money factor, my anger would be more at the rudeness of both rsvping for more people and then the no-show.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah I think it’s rude too – but I mean what’s she going to do about it? She can’t go back in time and make them not be assholes. She can’t change anything about their behavior. And after 6 weeks an apology is worthless – they obviously aren’t sorry or they would try to have made it up to her weeks ago. She is going to get nothing from confronting them.

      2. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

        In another life, I’m going to be able to get over grudges and anger as well as iwanna

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Haha. I’m not the best at it either – but I think you should always be selfish with your emotions. Meaning don’t worry about the other person – what is going to make you the happiest? And it’s usually not dragging these things out.

      4. Addie Pray says:

        oh i’d be pissed about the money too. b/c they caused the LW to spend the $$. it’s not as if they were going to feed a table of 10 regardless…. so, i’d be pissed about that too. i’m not saying that i’d do anything about it but it would definitely be both about how rude they were *and* the money. basically, i’m not above it.

    2. Ah the lion king- “you gotta out your past behind you”

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ha funny this made me think of the car impound scene in liar liar. “So what I’m gonna do — is piss and moan like an impotent jerk and then bend over and take it up the tail pipe!”

        But your example is a lot more on topic and applies to this situation much better.

    3. iwanna- I agree with you and I’d probably do the same thing. But I wonder, if rude people never get called out on their rudeness, maybe that is not a good thing? People don’t change overnight, but if you have enough people over time giving you the same feedback that your behavior is rude, maybe you start some introspection and everyone wins?

    4. I guess I just don’t get this. It’s like buying 10 tickets to concert, and then all of the people who said they would go, just didn’t show up, didn’t call to tell you why, and then never spoke to you again after. Yeah I already spent the money on the tickets to go to the concert, but now I spent $1,300.00 on what amounts to one ticket with lots of extra elbow room. If I knew before hand I would have saved that money, or could have gotten people to go in place of the original 10. Yeah maybe the LW might have been stuck with some of the costs, even if somebody from that family called to say they weren’t going at some point, but they could have offered somebody else a plus one, or could have saved on othere things that you have until the last week to pay for.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Well two thoughts.

        1. It’s hard to compare going to a movie (a group event) and throwing a wedding (an event for the bride and groom). You’re not expected to front the cost, no matter how large or small, for mutually beneficially group activities. You are expected to front the cost for YOUR WEDDING.

        2. By sunk cost I mean the second you ordered the caterer – which is normally what? 2 months in advance – and give them a head count you are locked in. Meaning that at that point you’re paying the exact same amount whether people come or not. You’ve agreed that that is an acceptable amount to pay for a wedding. I’ve always hated how caterer’s will give you a “per plate” dollar amount. I get that that is essentially how it boils down with certain caterer’s, but I still think it will lead people into the territory of – well my wedding was $75 a plate so my guests need to each bring a $75 gift. I just don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.

        3. Ultimately I get what you’re saying. It’s rude. She wasted money on them. But now what is she going to do? She can’t go back in time and make them not be assholes. So the cost is sunk. It’s too late. If she wants to cut them out over this – then by all means do it. I’ve cut toxic people out of my life for far less – but why bitch about the cost? It was over even before your wedding even started.

      2. Ok I see what you are saying, but I was using a situation where the person was fronting the cost of the concert, I was saying that they were expecting to even get paid back, just that the people couldn’t go.

        For the sunk cost it doesn’t really work that way down payments are made early, but most everything you pay for is not until the week of the wedding especailly for somebody like the caterer, because you don’t get a final head count until you get all of your RSVP’s back, plus a list of all your vendors you have to feed. Your aren’t locked into an official amount to pay until a very short time be for it all goes down, and if something happens in that time and you are stuck paying for things, if you know about it, you can at least maybe offer somebody else a plus one that didn’t have one before, or something like that, or save on things like wedding bags for the hotels, or other things.

        I’m not saying there is anything can or has to do about it, I’m saying she has every right to be mad about it though. It’s like finding out you were over charge thousands of dollars by a dealership to fix your car, most of the time there isn’t anything you can do about it, but you sure as hell can be mad about it. For that matter why bitch about anything that you can do nothing about? I say bitch about it, because it might make you feel better.

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I agree that she has every right to bitch about it. But I’m not a big complainer. Complaining about things is actually more stressful for me. Like that feeling of a weight being lifted off your chest people get after venting? I don’t get that. So I guess if she’s like me it would be more productive to look forward. It’s over. This happened 6 weeks ago. She should have had plenty of bitching time. Now it’s time to move on – and she was writing in about a bbq in the future. Presumably a good 2 months later. I just can’t hold drama in for 2 months. Not because I don’t think they deserve to be yelled at – but because I can’t care about something for 2 months. I can cut people out of my life or limit the amount of interaction I have with them (which I have had to do with my MIL) but I can’t actively be pissed about something for 2 months. That is way more energy than I care to spend on something I can’t change.

      4. weren’t expecting.

  19. Something similar happened at my wedding, but it was my father! My parents are divorced, and my dad is an alcoholic (and probably in diagnosed bipolar), after I was about 14 or so he started to do I kind of slow fade out of my life, but I still saw him a few times a year. When it can time for my wedding, I didnt have him as a participant, but he was invited as an honored guest, seated up front, buttoniere (spelling?) for his lapel, etc. I spoke with both before and after the ceremony, everything seemed to be fine. Then comes the reception, the DJ is doing the introductions of family members, and when he says “father of the bride” everyone looks expectantly at the entrance and…nothing, nobody there. My dad stood me up at my wedding reception! On top of being pretty hurtful it was embarrassing, both that it happened and having people feel sorry for me. I have come to terms with my dad and that our relationship will never be what I would want it to be, but that will just forever sting.

    1. temperance says:

      I am so, so sorry that you had to go through that.

  20. Moneypenny says:

    Definitely WWS. A similar thing happened at my cousin’s wedding a couple of years ago. My uncle RSVP’d for 4 people (him and his wife, his daughter, her friend) to come to my cousin Dan’s wedding. None of them showed and they never heard a word. Also my other uncle (the father of the groom no less) failed to show as well, but at the time he was having alcohol/substance abuse problems and was afraid to show up. Needless to say, my immediate family took up a third of one otherwise empty table.
    The result of this added to a big blow up at a family get-together at my mom’s about a year later. None of us are speaking to that side of the family (the no-show’s). My uncle is doing better although he’s losing his house.
    Needless to say, don’t do this. Do what Wendy suggested!!

  21. Laura Hope says:

    I don’t know if this is helpful, but my husband and I play the “$10,000 game” when we’re trying to figure something out that we probably know deep down. It goes like this: Quick! For $10,000, why didn’t they show? Since the LW said there was drama in the RSVP phone call, it probably has something to do with that. They probably felt slighted in some way. Still, no-showing at your wedding was a HORRIBLE thing to do. If you can take the high road, you’re a better person than I. But Wendy’s right– focus on being a newly wed right now. They’re not worth spoiling your joy.

  22. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    There must be more to this story… There simply must be.

    1. i agree, the little drama she mentions isn’t really drama. seems like there is definitely more to the story.

  23. There must have been more drama than what the LW said…if all it was was the RSVP mix up, why even mention it? or call it “drama”? that part is really weird.

  24. There might have been some sort of embarrassing crisis in the aunt’s family. Maybe the uncle got caught with child porn on his computer, or a girl cousin killed somebody while DUI, or the couple with kids lost custody due to substance abuse and neglect or the aunt was arrested for embezzling, or they’re all being foreclosed on and going through bankruptcy–you know, the sort of stuff you don’t want to publicize before a major family event. Or maybe they’re just thoughtless. Either way, not offering some sort of explanation or excuse gives everybody else license to let their imaginations run wild.

  25. asking the aunt is the wrong move. She is the troublemaker. She’s the ringleader who organized the boycott in the first place. She won’t tell you the truth.
    Ask one of the others who did a no-show. Surely, if you know them well enough to invite them to your wedding, you know them well enough to ask why they stayed away?

  26. My guess? You slighted the aunt, and don’t know it. She invited you to something a long time ago, and you forgot all about it. This is her revenge.

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