It’s time for Wedding Week Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
Wow, that was incredibly rude of your son’s future mother-in-law and sister-in-law to not include you as a host on the bridal shower invitation! That said, it’s not worth making a big deal about despite your understandably hurt feelings. These people will be your son’s family — and, to an extent, your extended family — and it’s better to take the high road and try to retain a cordial relationship with them. You don’t want to let it completely slide, though, and you should make sure there wasn’t a misunderstanding on your part. Have you already paid for your 10 guests? If so, I might say something like, “I’m sorry if I misunderstood, but did I adequately cover the cost of my shower guests? I was confused by the invitation and just wanted to make sure I hadn’t overlooked my end of hosting duties. Please let me know if there’s anything I can help with. I’m really looking forward to celebrating the bride and helping to welcome her to our side of the family!” This will get the message across without being unnecessarily aggressive and will give the mother and sister of the bride a chance to apologize profusely if they have any tact whatsoever.
Short answer: yeah, kind of. I mean, your cousin knows you live abroad and presumably knows you have a boyfriend. If a plus one were welcome, an invitation for a plus one would have been extended. You don’t know what kind of shuffling might have to be done to make room for just one more. And anyway, the wedding is about the couple getting married, not about you introducing your boyfriend to the family. Use the days before and after the wedding for that and let your boyfriend use the 5 or 6 hours you’ll be at the wedding and reception to catch up on sleep (or sight-seeing on his own!) — I’m sure after 20+ hours of travel, he’ll be happy with either.
A gift isn’t obligatory to a vow renewal ceremony or even expected in the same way a regular wedding gift is often expected, but it’s always a nice thought to bring a gift to any function where you’re a guest and someone is footing the bill for your food and entertainment. If you have it in your budget, a bottle of champagne (if you know they drink) or a restaurant gift card would be thoughtful. A nice card with a handwritten message would totally suffice if your budget is tight or if the invitation specifically said “no gifts.”
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kerrycontrary May 2, 2014, 9:04 am
A Shortcuts where everyone is actually sane. I actually have a question on the “no gifts” comment on cards. We’re going to a wedding in 2 weeks where they said “no gifts” on the invitation. The couple has plenty of savings and this is the bride’s second marriage, so I understand. But I feel terribly awkward showing up empty handed. Any advice?
Christy May 2, 2014, 9:08 am
A really nice card. Like, that’s all I would do. You can get the most expensive Papyrus card and write something really nice in it. But my suspicion with people who say “no gifts” is that they really don’t want gifts. Like, they don’t want more STUFF around their house. So no matter what you get them, it’s still stuff. Do you know that they drink? Do you know what they drink? Because if someone got me a nice bottle of wine (assuming a world in which gf and I keep alcohol in the house, which we consciously don’t) I still might not like that bottle, you know?
kerrycontrary May 2, 2014, 9:18 am
It might be the space thing….They’re moving to CA for the summer and then not sure where (he has an internship with Google!). I also think she feels a little guilty that she already had her “big wedding” and now like 3-4 years after that she’s having another wedding.
JENN May 2, 2014, 5:39 pm
If you feel really odd, what about a gift card for something practical? Like Bed, Bath & Beyond with a note about “I know you’re moving”, etc etc”. Or a gift cert to an awesome restaurant in SF?
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:23 am
My suspicion with the “no gifts” thing is not that they don’t want gifts but that they don’t want people to feel like they have to give gifts and they maybe feel embarrassed if people feel like they must bring gifts, especially if it’s as second marriage or something and they think “shit, everyone already got me gifts before and now with this wedding they’ll think i’m expending another round of gifts but i’m not!” So they say “no gifts” but if you show up with a gift, really i can’t see anyone being let down. Because gifts are fun! And if you really don’t want more stuff you can always return the gift or re-gift the gift or you can always donate the gift or let your sweet mother use it because she actually needs a new toaster or … you know, there are just a lot of positive things people can do with gifts! … So if you can’t or don’t want to spend $ on a gift for the “no gift” people, that’s sooooo perfectly fine. But if you want to give a gift? I really don’t think it would be frowned upon. Except I’d maybe do it on the side or send it directly to their home or something so other guests don’t see because then other guests may feel bad and that is probably the precise reason the couple said no gifts please. …. Just my theory.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:25 am
I mean, the other guests who didn’t bring a gift b/c of the “no gift” instruction may feel bad … I’m rambling. It’s early still but I feel like i’m making zero sense today. Every conversation I’ve had this morning has been awkward and chalk full of “huh, wait, what?” Ok, I’ve had only 3 conversations this morning. Still.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:48 am
*expecting, not expending – god, communication is so hard!
kerrycontrary May 2, 2014, 9:57 am
I was just going to give them money. Everyone likes money right? Especially at weddings? That way they don’t have stuff, but we’re still giving them something. It’s my fiance’s best friend from college so I just feel odd giving them nothing. @Christy I always give people cards from papyrus or paper source. I’m a pro at wasting money on cards and wrapping paper hahaha.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 10:11 am
I think everybody does like money! Though, I do wonder sometimes if people think money is too easy and they secretly feel disappointed the guest didn’t give something meaningful? People, what do you think about gifts of money in that regard? I actually always give money at weddings (sometimes I give gift certificates, but 90% of the time just a check). My perspective on that is people would prefer money but feel bad asking for it so they make out a registry of STUFF but really no one, usually, needs more STUFF. And if they really do need the STUFF? Well they can take the money and get it! But…. now I’m wondering: do you guys think money is not as good as a gift?
kerrycontrary May 2, 2014, 10:15 am
I think money is a GREAT gift and I hope lots of people give money for our wedding. We do need to upgrade some stuff, especially since we’re moving in together, so the registry is useful.
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 10:37 am
I got about 50% money and 50% gifts at my wedding. I know people who have had 90% money (they had a “cheap” wedding and was actually gifted more than they paid for their wedding). I liked both. Money helped in a tight spot, weddings are expensive, but I love my wedding gifts. Especially the really unique ones like my mussel shell bowl that I always get compliments on. I try to give really cool gifts to a wedding or useful ones (nice chef’s knife, anyone?) but if I don’t know the couple well I give money.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:40 am
Money is always appreciated, but I do think some people feel it isn’t thoughtful enough (but then again how thoughtful is just grabbing a casserole off of the registry??). We where obviously happy with anything gifted, but we didn’t include anything on the registry that we would have bought (or saved to buy) in the first place. I didn’t add plates just because I was “supposed to”. I added plates because we had just combined households and had 15 year old mismatched junk. I didn’t put sheets on the registry, because we’d just bought some. So everything is great. (We did use the money to create an emergency fund, which has proved helpful since someone (ahem me) keeps getting in car accidents.)
Tax Geek May 2, 2014, 11:02 am
As they say in real estate: Cash is King.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:08 am
As they say in Wu Tang: cash rules every thing around me.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 11:32 am
your mom is in wu tang. (i dunno)
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 11:33 am
oh no no no this one: cash rules your mom.
eh, i’m off my game.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:43 am
This could be funnier. Let’s try again, ok?
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 11:50 am
Your mom should try again?
I give up
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:30 am
I could definitely see the no gifts thing as going either way – you say it because you’re embarrassed to get them or you just honestly don’t want to put people out to spend money on you. If I wrote no gifts, it’d be because I really wouldn’t want anyone to have to spend their money on me. I feel awkward getting gifts.
I guess its a nice out for people who don’t have money, but also fine to bring a gift if you want to.
Sara May 2, 2014, 9:11 am
When we went to a “no gift” wedding, we instead made a charitable contribution in the couples name – and put the “certificate” in the card. We knew the couple well, so we knew what types of organizations they were already supporting.
bethany May 2, 2014, 9:41 am
I love that!! My mom has done that for me for Christmas before, and I really liked it. Great suggestion.
theattack May 2, 2014, 9:12 am
Maybe a small experience gift instead of a physical gift then. Like a nice card with a gift card to go see a movie, or a gift card to a restaurant.
theattack May 2, 2014, 9:14 am
Or if there’s something cool to do around you, then a gift card to that. Basically just an experience gift that doesn’t take up a lot of room. I’ve gifted aquarium tickets for this purpose before.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 9:49 am
I love “experience” gifts!
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:26 am
I would feel awkward going to a wedding empty handed too. So I’d bring a card and some sort of gift certificate (experience, restaurant, Target, etc). Or a small but very personalized item like a monogrammed wine stopper or something along those lines.
Wendy (not Wendy) May 2, 2014, 11:03 am
I’m curious why you feel awkward showing up empty handed… traditionally, people aren’t supposed to bring gifts to a wedding, and it’s only in the last generation or so that that’s become common–gifts are supposed to be sent to the bride’s home. That way no one has to deal with transporting them after the reception, and also it doesn’t look show-offy or like a birthday party. But I recognize that bringing gifts is no longer considered a breach of etiquette. Still, LOTS of people do come to the reception without a gift because they’ve already sent it, out of convenience!
If I said “no gifts” I would mean “no gifts”. My cousin had a no-gifts wedding recently and one person brought something to the reception… that person probably felt silly. I’ve also been the one to take the invitation at its word and been one of few who didn’t bring a gift and then I felt silly. But I think people should say what they mean (saying “no gifts” because you’re embarrassed but you actually want gifts? that’s bogus), so I would act under the assumption that they mean it.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 12:09 pm
Well, traditionally it’s also rude to so “no gifts” sooooo.
And I personally don’t actually mean I would literally feel bad walking in the door with out a package, I more so mean I would feel odd not giving a token in recognition of the event. I typically mail my gifts (especially after having to figure out how to get all of our wedding gifts 900 miles, I’ll never bring one to a wedding again).
Wendy (not Wendy) May 2, 2014, 5:20 pm
I’ve never heard that it’s ever been rude to say “no gifts”! The most I’ve heard is some advice columnists saying that it’s rude ever to mention gifts on an invitation, including “no gifts”, but that’s never seemed sensible to me–and since including registry information is now common, at least as an enclosure, I don’t think “no gifts” could really be considered rude now OR “then”.
But, anyway. What it sounds like is that is the feeling awkward is more about you than about the couple, so maybe it’s time to let go?
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:14 am
Re LW2’s situation, could she (casually and tactfully and what-have-you) mention to her cousin something along the lines of, “So excited for your wedding, blah blah, my BF is accompanying me on the drive to the wedding and is looking forward to just chilling in the hotel room – probably much needed alone time after the long trip and meeting tons of new people – but of course if there are any last-minute cancellations and you want or don’t mind my boyfriend filling in, let me know…” …. Because aren’t there always at least a couple last minute cancellations? And assuming there was not a personal reason for excluding the BF – like maybe the bride slept with him, like Monica on Friends! – the bride and groom couldn’t possibly mind him taking the no-show’s spot. And if oops the bride forgot to expressly state “plus one”, then that could be her chance to say “oh I just assumed he’d be coming too!” …. I dunno. Weddings, they’re so hard.
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 9:20 am
I don’t know if there’s a way to do that without it being taken as pressure to extend the offer, no-show or not, for the BF to come.
I also have trouble imagining a world in which a person gets married and doesn’t take the 5 mins to read on the internet how to address an invitation to include or dis-include a plus one. I would bet that the cousin knew exactly what she was doing when she wrote the invitation to “Miss Letter Writer.”
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:26 am
But then what if there’s a cancellation and the bride finds out the cousin’s boyfriend was just sitting in the car waiting – or something. Wouldn’t she feel bad that he couldn’t have used the no show’s spot?
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:31 am
I think that’s why Wendy’s suggestion of saying “he’ll be traveling with me” is the closest thing that can be done. Otherwise I think it puts pressure on the bride to invite him, regardless of your last minute scenarios. (But I think he should have been invited in the first place so.)
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:35 am
I didn’t see that suggestion by Wendy. Are my eyes tricking me?
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:38 am
No, I’m getting sick and fabricating advice from Wendy.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:56 am
Haha well your fabricated advice isn’t so bad, imho.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:33 am
I mean, I for one would feel like a big ass if for whatever reason I couldn’t extend a plus one to my cousin but then I had a last minute cancellation or no show (i mean, don’t you day of always have at least one or two of those?!) but then LATER found out my cousin’s boyfriend had just been hanging out alone at the hotel but no one told me. I would have wondered, “Shit, was I such a sensitive crazy person that my cousin feared by simply telling me ‘boyfriend is hanging out alone at the hotel tonight but if there is a cancellation he could fill it but if not no worries at all’ i’d get my panties in a wad feeling pressure when of course i should have no pressure b/c we had to work within a budget and there’s no shame in that but now damnit we had this meal that went to waste and all because people were tip toeing around me….” If that makes sense.
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 10:40 am
There is so much going on for a bride in the couple days before the wedding that it really shouldn’t be on her to worry about what her cousin’s boyfriend is doing. He’s a grown man, he can handle his own plans. Personally I didn’t include plus ones for my cousin’s unless they were living together, married or engaged. I had 120 people at my wedding already and it meant cousin’s boyfriends of a few months or friends.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 11:29 am
I understand why someone wouldn’t be able to give Plus Ones to everyone; and I’m not judging that decision at all. In this particular situation though I’d want to know that my cousin’s boyfriend who flew with her from overseas and who drove with her the long distance was killing time alone in the hotel room. I’d want to know just in case there was something that came up that would allow me to extend the invite. And I’d just feel bad if the only reason I wasn’t told was because people felt the bride wouldn’t be able to hand perceived pressure – it wouldn’t be PRESSURE – it would just be a fact.
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 9:36 am
At most, if the LW has REAL reason to suspect that the cousin had no idea she had a boyfriend who might come with her, I would say she could call her cousin to excitedly talk wedding and mention something super subtle like “Boyfriend and I will be flying to [parents town] and then driving on Friday to [town wedding is in] and I can’t wait to celebrate with you!”
Then it’s all on the cousin if she’s the first bride in the history of the internet to not make a conscious decision about plus ones for her unmarried but adult guests to say “oh you should bring the boyfriend to the wedding.” But seriously seriously is such a long shot and in basically all cases will be construed as rudely seeking an invite.
Also, not every wedding is a pay per head in advance so might not even want to fill the gap for a no-show. If they are having the reception at a restaurant, they may just have a food and drink minimum and be paying based on consumption; in that case, a no show would save a bit of money.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 9:47 am
No I hear ya. And it makes sense that a no show doesn’t necessarily mean they can have the BF join last minute at no additional cost. I dunno, I just think if I were the bride and even if for money reasons I had to decide to NOT extend a plus one to my non-married guests (or whatever objective criteria was used), I’d feel like SUCH AN ASS if I found out my cousin’s boyfriend was hanging out at the hotel and I’d feel like an even bigger ass if people felt they couldn’t tell me that because I’d feel pressure or be ultra sensitive. I’d probably say fuck it, tell him to come this is silly! Even if BAM the wedding ended up costing an extra $100 or whatever. Uh oh, I think I agree with GG on this point! GG!!!!!!!!!!
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 10:42 am
I wouldn’t feel like an ass. I think it is on the grown adults to manage their own travel plans.
bethany May 2, 2014, 10:13 am
But what if the LW and the cousin aren’t close? I have 3 cousins whose phone numbers I don’t even know! I was invited to all 3 of their weddings, but I would NEVER call them. Like I literally cannot think of any situation ever where I would call them, because honestly, I barely know them.
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 12:47 pm
Definitely if not close, then you have no way really to contact her, and also no real suspicion that her cousin might want to include the bf so don’t do it.
Also really, if you’re not that close, maybe skip the wedding and bring your boyfriend home from afar on a different and more convenient weekend. I kind of feel badly for the boyfriend that the LW is using this family event as a chance to foist him on her family. If he has any sense, he’d be uncomfortable and worry about stealing the attention from the wedding.
othy May 2, 2014, 10:16 am
AP – I have an awkward ‘waiting in the car’ story! We had a really small, intimate wedding. We invited our 25 closest family and friends.
We decided not to invite aunts and uncles to the ceremony, because between the two of us, we have about 30 extra people (not including the cousins!). Othello’s grandma came down from Canada for the wedding. His aunt drove her down. We figured the aunt could visit her many brothers and sisters during the ceremony, and tasked Othello’s father with bringing Grandma. We invited all of the aunts and uncles for the for the big ‘Mormon style’ open house reception later in the day (where you invite everyone you’ve ever met and then some).
For years, this is what we though had happened. Then, we were at Othello’s cousin’s wedding about 5 years after we got married. And we were talking with the aunt and Othello’s mom. Othello’s mom started talking about our wedding, going on and on about it, talking with this aunt as though she was there. Othello mentioned that she only came to the reception half. The aunt then piped up “Yeah, I was car during the whole thing, because I drove Grandma to the ceremony.” This was followed by the most awkward silence ever.
It does explain why Grandma disappeared (we thought she had gone to lie down, but she actually left!) and isn’t in any of our family pictures.
TLDR – We had a small wedding and only invited very close people. We didn’t have any ‘plus ones’, and would have said no to anyone who asked.
othy May 2, 2014, 10:22 am
Oh, and to make the whole thing even more awkward, the aunt was staying with a different one of Othello’s uncles, while Grandma was staying at Othello’s parent’s place. So it’s not like they were even staying in the same location!
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 11:31 am
poor auntie, hanging out in the car.
othy May 2, 2014, 12:35 pm
I feel really bad about the whole thing, but she never told anyone that this was her plan. And if my FIL had driven Grandma like he said he was going to, none of it would have happened.
Jenn May 2, 2014, 5:42 pm
Or what about “My boyfriend will be at the hotel, would you mind if he joined us at the reception after the festivities”. I did that for my sister’s childhood best friend (it was her idea); it was a lovely way to join in, I had some cake and got a free cocktail (at their urging), but not require them to pay any real $$ extra.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 9:36 am
Weddings are really freaking hard but I agree with Steph that the boyfriend was probably meant to be excluded if the bride didn’t address the cousin’s invitation to Cousin and Boyfriend, or at least Cousin and Guest.
I’m having difficulty figuring out to do with my cousin’s kids and their SOs for my wedding. My cousin has 4 kids, all of whom live at home, although Second Cousin A (is she actually my second cousin? How does that work?) is 22 and engaged and Second Cousin B is 19 and in a long-term relationship. I was planning on addressing their invitation to Cousin and Husband and 4 Kids, although I realize that it’s definitely rude for me to leave out Second Cousin A’s fiancé. But no one in the family likes him and I really don’t want him at the wedding because he’s incredibly immature in addition to being racist and homophobic. Should I mail a separate invitation to Second Cousin A and Fiancé to my cousin’s house? If so, does that mean I also have to mail a separate invitation to Second Cousin B and Serious Girlfriend? I like my second cousins and I know they’re excited for the wedding, but they’re freaking kids and I was really hoping to get away with just inviting them as a family of six. Now I’m realizing that I should have submitted this as an actual question to DW but it’s too late so now you all have to help me. Please help me!
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 9:40 am
For the record, my husband and I agonized over plus ones at our wedding due to having a limit on how many people could fit at the venue. Weddings cost money, a lot of money, and it is unfathomable to me that a couple throwing a wedding didn’t spend time seriously thinking about how many people and which people to invite.
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 9:46 am
Oof as for your question….
Engaged is kind of a gray area (in which married people you should invite as a unit, but dating people you don’t have to) but I think that the benevolent thing to do is invite your cousin and fiance as a couple. I do think its ok to make the cut-off “engaged” and not invite the other cousin’s girlfriend, but you really need to keep that across the board.
If it’s not a question of either being completely out of room at your venue or over budget, then I think the most polite thing is to invite both couples.
Also, every person/couple over 18 should get their own invite, regardless of where they live. So you should really invite cousin and husband and younger kids; second cousin A and fiance; second cousin B and girlfriend and 3 separate invites.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 9:56 am
Yeah, the thing that makes this really tough is that the second cousin in the long-term relationship has been with his girlfriend all through high school and everyone assumes they’re going to get married because they’re a solid couple (I’ve never met her though). But my recently engaged second cousin’s relationship is rocky – they’ve broken up a lot and have already even briefly called off the engagement (it ended, of course, with her throwing the engagement ring at him, but then they got back together). We’re having a really small, intimate wedding with only close family – I’m only inviting the cousins that I keep in touch with, not all of my cousins, because I’m not close with my extended family at all. But I do like to err on the side of generosity so I’ll suck it up and invite their SOs as well.
SasLinna May 2, 2014, 10:01 am
I’d just do the same for all the 2nd cousins – i.e. invite all of them with their partners or none of them. But if you can I’d definitely go with the former.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:09 am
I’d go with all or none. Its not on you to determine whether the relationship will last. Plus if its really small and intimate, I’d go with none.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 9:51 am
If they’re adults (over 18), they get their own invitation, which needs to include any SOs. Anyone under 18 can be included on their parents’ invitation, and you can decided whether or not any boyfriends/girlfriends are invited. Hope that helps!
Also, your second cousins are the children of your parents’ first cousins. Your first cousins’ children would be your first cousins once removed!
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:54 am
I would mail an invitation to each person over the age of 18, no matter how many live in the house. I would invite anyone who the guest considers to be their significant other. 19 and 24 aren’t really kids.
Christy May 2, 2014, 9:58 am
I say invite them as a family unit. You don’t want the fiance there and you can kind of get away with it by inviting them as a unit.
Personally, I think the standard should include whether or not people live together. Like, are they actually engaged or just “engaged”? Because like, obviously kerrycontrary and her fiance should be invited as a unit somewhere even though they don’t live together, and obviously katie and Jake should be invited as a unit somewhere even though they aren’t engaged, and obviously my 22-year-old brother and his fiance/babymomma should be invited as a unit somewhere (they live together too), but like, if you’re living at home? Sorry, the standard is higher. Kerry, katie, and my brother are all independent adults. Your second cousin doesn’t sound like one.
And she’s your second cousin! Don’t spend a plus one on her fiance no one likes.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 10:05 am
Ha! This is the response I was hoping for but I realize that I need to suck it up and invite them just to keep the peace. I consider the 19-year old and 22-year old to be “kids” because they still live at home and are financially (and emotionally) dependent on my cousins, and I thinking of it as an invite to my cousins and their kids since my cousins will be booking and paying for the hotel rooms for them. It’s not an added expense for us because the wedding is going to be outside and the food is being prepared as a gift by family friends, I just don’t want the asshole fiancé there. But there’s a good chance he won’t be able to get off work or that they’ll be broken up at the time of the wedding, so it’s cool.
theattack May 2, 2014, 10:15 am
It’s not good etiquette, but I had to specifically exclude someone’s explosive S.O. because his behavior is always so terrible at places, and I knew he would get wasted and start a fight. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
If it’s not an extreme situation though, I think you should really go all or none. If he’s not just horrible to be around, and if he wouldn’t make your wedding less happy, it’s not worth the drama.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 10:23 am
He’s been banned from my cousin’s house several times already for yelling at my first cousin once removed and generally treating her like crap. I’ve actually only met him once but he regularly uses racist and homophobic slurs on his (public!) facebook page and I feel like acknowledging him in any way is condoning his behavior. But I’ll only have to say hello to him at the wedding, my cousins are the ones who’ll have to deal with him all weekend, and my cousin is a marine so he’ll be able to forcibly remove him if he gets out of hand. Oy.
rieux May 2, 2014, 3:20 pm
Ugh, I think you’re totally fine excluding him — and even inviting the Cousin B’s long-term boyfriend if you want to, despite that!
I believe “rude” is only a bad thing if the harm done by it is greater than the harm avoided by it, because otherwise what’s the point of etiquette? (Unlike moral rules, where I kind of think lying or stealing is wrong even if it helps people, something that falls merely under the heading of “etiquette” doesn’t *necessarily* have a moral aspect to it.)
And frankly I don’t see who is harmed by this fiance experiencing the consequences of his bad behavior, you know? It might be salutary for him, and it means you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money feeding someone you have good reasons to dislike. The only thing I would do is explain to Cousin A why you don’t feel comfortable inviting him (because he yells at her — perfectly good reason). That might also wake her up a little bit, too. The only harm that might be done is if he’s actually abusive — in which case not inviting him with her might put her in harm’s way — and then I would say invite neither…
No Pants May 2, 2014, 12:24 pm
I vote for just leaving out any troublemakers and inviting your llama’s llama friends and family instead.
shanshantastic May 2, 2014, 10:05 am
AP, I think that’s a great way to frame it. We had about 10 empty seats from last-minute cancellations and no-shows and it would have been nice to fill them. One of my sorority sisters even left her husband behind because she originally responded for just 1 and he ended up not working. I was like, “why didn’t you bring him?!”
Also, I’m big on etiquette but I guess asking about the plus-ones just doesn’t bother me the way it bothers others. I dealt with a few of those questions, and each time I was just like “sure, no problem”. And it was all fun and wonderful. But that’s me.
BecBoo84 May 2, 2014, 2:25 pm
Given that LW2 currently lives in another country, I’m thinking the bride just didn’t realize that he would be accompanying her on the visit. While generally rude, I actually think this is one time when it would be okay to ask. And honestly, even if it’s a little rude to ask, it’s certainly no ruder than neglecting to give your cousin, who’s coming from out of the country to your wedding, a plus one for her boyfriend.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:24 am
While I don’t think LW2 should actually do anything, I think it’s pretty rude to not invite the boyfriend. IMO, not inviting part of a social unit (which LW and BF clearly see themselves as) is pretty sucky, and “plus one” is more for people who don’t see themselves as part of a social unit (aka single) and means than can just bring whom ever.
But yeah LW, if anything mention he’ll be in town with you, but I don’t think you can ask for an invitation for him.
bagge72 May 2, 2014, 9:34 am
It doesn’t sound rude at all what the bride and groom did. It sounds to me like nobody in the family has met this guy, so maybe nobody knows how serious the relationship is. Just because the LW and her Boyfriend see themselves as a social unit doesn’t mean that everyone else does or even knows about them. Heck how many LW’s write in saying “oh my BF of a week and I are talking about having a baby blah blah blah” or “My BF I haven’t met in person yet Blah Blah Puke”
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:41 am
Well, I think it’s irrelevant if they haven’t met him or aren’t sure how serious it is. From my point of view, if LW and BF present themselves as a couple, they should be treated as such. When getting our guest list together, we asked/did some investigating to find out if people where in relationships. It’s just, IMO, the “right” thing to do. I don’t get to judge how serious someone else’s relationship is.
bagge72 May 2, 2014, 9:50 am
No that’s fine, but what if nobody new they were a couple? Just because she says they are a couple doesn’t mean people knew they where, so maybe she asked the parents, and the parents said well I know she started seeing somebody last week, but I don’t think they are serious.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:58 am
I’m saying the couple marrying should have asked. And yeah, if they started dating a week before invites went out it’s a grey area. But if there is discussion about traveling from foreign countries I am going to wager they have been dating for more than a week.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:04 am
Why do you think that just because you are half of a couple means you can never be invited anywhere again without that other person also being invited? (serious question in case this sounds snarky)
shanshantastic May 2, 2014, 10:09 am
IMO it’s not about not being invited “anywhere” alone, just to important events like a wedding.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:09 am
I don’t think anywhere. But I do think it’s appropriate for traditionally more formal events like weddings or a dinner party, or almost anything where an invitation is mailed (unless it’s specifically a ladies or men only event). If it’s like poker night or a weekend in vegas with the guys, by all means don’t invite me.
theattack May 2, 2014, 10:27 am
I agree, GG.
And can I just say that I really hate how guest list decisions have turned into some sort of love scale? It seems odd to me that on an occasion where you’re celebrating love, you’re also pushing it away and telling other people that their love isn’t as important or as official as someone else’s.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:30 am
Yes! That’s what I was getting at above…it’s not my job to judge the seriousness. It’s not my job to put a value judgment on your relationship.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:38 am
I totally agree with this. That’s why I don’t really like the cutoff “rules.” You either invite all couples or no plus ones at all. Who am I to determine whether you and your boyfriend will last long enough to be cool with him attending my wedding? Why does that even matter? You might be divorced in a year too and then be stuck with that ex husband in all the pictures. Ya know? However, I also get only inviting people you know. Why do I want Cousin Suzy’s boyfriend there who I don’t even know? If its a small wedding, I would totally get not inviting strangers.
theattack May 2, 2014, 11:21 am
I agree, LBH. I think it’s fine to not invite SOs if you are truly having to pick and choose people, but it needs to be a blanket rule in that case.
I just don’t think most people are really having to be picky about who they invite. I get it if your guest list is 20 people, but if it’s 100 people, I think it’s better to invite SOs and either narrow down your guest list or plan for a wedding you can afford more easily.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:24 am
Idk, I have a big family that I’m close with. Him too. I’m sure we’d hit 100 easily with just family. Then add on our close friends…I’d rather cut my cousin’s boyfriends that I don’t know so I could make sure all our close friends are there.
What I’m saying is just because the # is 100 doesn’t mean they don’t still need to be picky necessarily. Esp if you have a big family.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:27 am
TA, Yeah, I mean I really feel like in a lost (most?) cases it isn’t coming down to 1 person ruining the whole guest count.
I also think it’s wise to make the guest list as a first step to wedding planning (with a cushion for changes) and then start picking venue etc. Otherwise, you’re likely going to end up with a venue that doesn’t match the size, or a food cost you can’t afford based on the # of invites.
theattack May 2, 2014, 11:35 am
@LBH, I don’t necessarily mean 100 as a rule or anything. I had about 150, and I still had to cut some people from the list. I’m just saying that most of the time, if you can afford 100 guests, you can afford 110 guests. It doesn’t make a huge difference in the scheme of things.
And like GG said, it’s important to make the guest list first and then plan your wedding around that. There will always be things you have to cut out and sacrifice, but if you account for a fairly accurate number to begin with, there shouldn’t be a problem with all of this.
For me it was more important to have everyone I wanted there than it was to have really nice stuff. I made sacrifices in other areas to make that work. It’s fine if someone prioritizes something else instead, but then I don’t understand being mad about it when you can’t afford everyone you wanted when you literally planned it out that way.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 9:45 am
If you aren’t sure of someone’s status, just ask them and them address the invitation accordingly. It’s not that hard. Laziness is not an excuse for rudeness.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 9:46 am
Aaand GG beat me to it 🙂
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 9:55 am
Yea but no every bride and groom wants to up the cost of their wedding by giving everyone a plus one. I look at it this way – If I’m trying to keep costs down, you only get a plus one if you are married. To go a step further, if I only know you and not your partner, I’m only inviting you. I’ve been invited to tons of weddings without a plus one even though the bride and groom knew I had a partner. Its never bothered me.
I guess I think that just because I have a partner doesn’t mean you want/need/care to have my partner at your wedding.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:04 am
I think it’s really rude to not invite that people wouldn’t invite Peter. I mean really? I can’t believe that hasn’t bothered you at all. I would be very hurt if GGuy was invited to a wedding and I wasn’t.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:07 am
But what if, say, it was his coworkers wedding and they just wanted to invite coworkers and not double that amount by inviting all their partners? Things like that.
One of my closest friends didn’t invite Peter to her wedding when we had been dating about a year because the only plus ones were spouses. I was even in the wedding! haha.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:12 am
I would definitely be hurt if a coworker of his did not invite me to their wedding. And I don’t see it as “doubling”, when making the decision to invite, for example, a coworker I don’t see it as “coworker +1” I see it as “coworker’s family”. IDK, we’re not going to agree.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:28 am
Yea I think this is one of those things people only see one way or another and not in a middle ground.
I also think some people really do look at their partnership as a unit never to be broken and others, like me, don’t look at their partnerships that way. I actually think I might be a little on the strange side with this in that I don’t look at me and Peter as a unit but just two individuals who are together, if that makes any sense.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:32 am
Yeah, I didn’t want to be the one to bring that point up, but it’s definitely partially about world view. In 99% of instances, I see us as one (if that makes sense). I think in your relationships you operate more as two individuals. You know?
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:39 am
Yea, I definitely think that’s why we both see this in different lights.
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 10:46 am
I can see it both ways — I wouldn’t care if I didn’t get an invite for my boyfriend’s coworker’s wedding, but I’d want to be invited to his friend’s wedding. Unless you know the coworkers in social situations too? But, I love going to weddings so I’d just want to go anyways!
SasLinna May 2, 2014, 10:05 am
I’m fine with being invited without my partner as long as there are other people at the wedding who I know.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:07 am
Yea, that’s what I’m getting at. I don’t need to be invited to a wedding of people I don’t even know just because Peter knows them and was invited.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 10:37 am
Cost is a shitty, selfish reason to not invite someone’s SO. Seriously, wedding planning is not hard, certainly not harder than hosting any other type of event. Figure out how much you’re willing to spend, make the guest list (including SOs and some wiggle room for SOs who don’t exist yet or friends you might make before then), and plan everything based on the per person cost. If you’re old enough to get married, you need to be old enough to create a budget and stick to it.
It is astounding to me that as soon as something is classified as a wedding, people bitch about money like it’s never an issue any other time. Properly hosting your guests is not a for-every-other-party type of thing. I wouldn’t invite people to my house and tell some of them they can bring their partners, but some of them can’t, so MY choice to host it somewhere more expensive should not become their problem.
And I say all of this this as someone who has not problem actually attending events (yes, even weddings) without my partner, but that choice should be ours to make.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:44 am
Yup. I agree. And I was thinking the same examples through in my head. I wouldn’t invite my co-worker (but specifically NOT their partner) over for say a 4th of July BBQ. Why should a wedding be any different?
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:41 am
I’m so curious why the dislike of my comparison. Everyone (general) says weddings are put up on such a pedestal, when in reality they are really just another day/another party. So I guess maybe it’s that people would invite only one spouse to a BBQ?
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 10:52 am
Um wow. So I shouldn’t be able to invite my friend’s to my wedding because I should give my cousin that I haven’t talked to in 10 years the choice whether to bring her flavour-of-the-month boyfriend along? And that I’m a selfish, shitty person for rather having friend’s at my wedding than some guy she’s going to be whining all over Facebook about in 2 weeks? (Theoretical cousin btw) How about the choice of who to attend the wedding should be the bride and groom.
LadyinPurpleNotRed May 2, 2014, 10:55 am
don’t forget not to invite someone else you care about in case one of your single friends ends up in a relationship. Sucks for you if they don’t though!
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 10:56 am
…that’s not how I took what LL said at all. It’s obviously the bride and groom’s choice of who to invite, but I think she was just saying that you should figure out how many people you can afford to host then draw up your list assuming everyone gets plus ones? It didn’t sound to me like it was prioritizing people you “have to invite” over people you “want to invite” just for plus ones.
Also, everyone can just do what they want and their choices don’t imply that all other choices are wrong!
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 11:07 am
I also agree that everyone’s choices don’t imply other’s are wrong except LL said that my choices are shitty and selfish. To some people it is more important to invite groups (cousins, friends) than plus ones of people not in serious relationships. I would personally find it more insulting to invite half of my cousins and plus ones and none of the others.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:10 am
Would it be rude if I invited E and not you to my wedding?
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 11:43 am
It would be rude if you didn’t invite me either way. DW family, yo.
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 11:13 am
Yeah that part was harsh… I agree with you I’d rather have more friends that cousin’s gfs/bfs. But easy for me to say since I’ve never planned a wedding! My boyfriend has a million cousins though so I am sure I’ll have to deal with this at some point.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:16 am
Yeah, sorry I don’t really agree with calling anyone selfish and shitty. I think there are more diplomatic ways to express differences than that. So, I don’t think you (or anyone who has a similar view point) is selfish or shitty, just interesting to debate why one thinks X way is better, and I think Y way is better.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 11:42 am
I didn’t call anyone shitty or selfish. I didn’t even say that making that decision made anyone either of those things. I simply pointed out that one specific reason for making one specific decision was selfish, and I stand by that. But I don’t believe we can define people by one incident, so unless someone makes a habit of making selfish decisions, I wouldn’t hold one against them.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:47 am
I get what you’re trying to say, but I still think there are more diplomatic ways to get a similar and less “attack mode” statement out. People are going to be offended when you start saying words like “shitty” and “selfish”. Especially when talking weddings on DW.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:57 am
Just a question, why would the cousin that hasn’t been seen in 10 years be a higher priority to invite than the friend? If it was coming down to the two “final” invites, I’d personally invite friend (and partner, if there was one), over cousin I haven’t seen in 10 years and flavor of the month. You know? Not friend and cousin and neither’s partners.
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 11:01 am
Because we had 40 cousins invited to our wedding. I couldn’t invite some and not others and having our families at the wedding was important to us.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:05 am
I feel you on the cousin thing. In order in invite all of our family (even the one’s we hadn’t seen in 10 years) we had about 150. We had another 75 on the friends list. What we would have done was change the family list to only people we’re close with (and would like call) before we started cutting spouses/gf/bf (of anyone). But I can see in some families that would be frowned upon.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:07 am
This is surprising. I would think it’d be a lot ruder to only invite some cousins.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:13 am
Why? If I haven’t talked to you in 10 years, why would you assume you’d be invited? Just because there is some genetic connection? That’s odd to me.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:17 am
Its odd that you would happily invite a plus one who you’ve never even met over a cousin. I don’t really see how they are different.
I’m definitely closer with some cousins more than others, but I’d feel bad only invited the ones I’m really close to. I feel like that would be ruder than not giving them all plus ones.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:22 am
Um, well…like for example my friend started dating a guy in November. I have wanted to meet him, but I live 400 miles away and haven’t had the money to travel. Now I have a cousin who lives in Ireland who I really have zero desire to ever see again, and likely won’t. I would much rather invite new BF, than cousin.
And, I think so long as you’re diplomatic when not inviting family members, it’s cool. Like, I think it’s okay to invite cousin John and his family, because there is a personal relationship, but not cousin Sally and her family because there isn’t a relationship. I don’t think someone being logged on my family tree means they are owed an invite. (I do think it would be rude to say, exclude one of three of cousin John’s kids.)
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 11:29 am
I grew up across the country from my extended family so I’m not close to my cousins at all. I have 10 cousins total but I’m only inviting two (and their families) because they’re the only two I keep in touch with and see more than once every few years. The only family I really wanted to invite on my side was my parents and sister, but my aunts and uncles and only remaining grandparent all told me how excited they are for the wedding when we announced our engagement so I figured I’d include them in the celebration, too, since Llama Guy is close to all of his extended family and they’ll all be there.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 11:38 am
See, LP, that’s what I would have done too if we’d had guest count restrictions. Invite the people I’m closest too, be they family or friends. I’m not of the mind set that if we share DNA you have to be important to me (or vice versa).
muchachaenlaventana May 2, 2014, 11:49 am
@LBH you said yesterday not everyone is close with their cousins. My FSIL has cousins she has met 1-2x in her life and hasn’t seen in 10 years. I don’t think it is rude at all that her and my brother prioritized friends+significant others over those people who they barely know. It is all about family dynamics. I am lucky I have only 4 cousins, but people with huge families spread out all over the country, I can see not inviting cousins and having friends and their partners (even if you’ve never met them) come instead. In fact if it came right down to it, I would invite my friends I love and their significant others over 2 of my cousins, because they suck ha. That would not be okay in my family so it wouldn’t happen, but I’d rather someone I really love come with someone they really love because that would make me happy, even if I hadn’t met that someone they really love yet.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:52 am
mucha, Yea, I’m definitely thinking of my family here. I have a ton of cousins, so closer than others, but I can’t imagine excluding some. Obviously though, yea, not all of you even know all your cousins.
rainbow May 2, 2014, 4:57 pm
Man… I can’t get to a list of 37,5 friends even counting imaginary ones. Try maybe 20 if I invite coworkers I like but haven’t seen outside work and my sister’s best friend and his boyfriend so she doesn’t get bored. And my family list would maybe be… 10 if I invite my cousins I care about, their spouses and kids. This wedding week thing is making me feel lonely and confused. If I ever get married I’m going to need a lot of crash test dummies for my side of the isle.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 11:32 am
I think it’s possible for someone to make a selfish choice without considering them to be a selfish person overall, so I’m not sure why you’re jumping to that conclusion.
I also don’t know why people (not just you, this is more a general observation) always pit it as one or the other–inviting a random partner OR inviting a close friend. Because again, I would just invite both. If that means I have to hold it at a less expensive place, then that’s what I have to do.
And I don’t subscribe to the idea that the bride and groom should get to do whatever they want because it’s “their day.” Once you invite other people you become a host, and your guests’ comfort should be your priority.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:50 am
Sure you could just invite both, but then “you” would maybe feel like you have to invite all the plus ones, and that’s where it gets out of control. Its never just one more person (or so it seems).
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:50 am
And meh, it IS their day, that they want how they want it and they are paying for it, so…
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 12:02 pm
See, I agree it is “MY DAY” but once I invite people to my day, it to a degree becomes their day too. They are part of the event, even if the even is in celebration of me. You know? So I put some emphasis on pleasing them, since I decided to include them. I could have just had MY DAY all to myself, and done what ever I wanted. Does that make any sense?
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 12:08 pm
Sure there has to be a balance, but if inviting plus ones means people I actually want there can’t be invited, I’m not doing plus ones. I’ll still treat my guests nicely.
muchachaenlaventana May 2, 2014, 12:16 pm
and this is the shitty thing about how weddings have become. Like $ is the bottom line and throwing this big event, when it should just not be something so cost-crippling that a couple even has to make these choices. My wedding is going to be in someone’s back yard with delicious BBQ and some amazing other food, lots of delicious cheese, free booze, a live band, and whomever the F I want to invite will be able to come and they can bring their dogs, and even kids if I am feeling generous, because that is a priority to me.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 12:21 pm
I think this relates to what theattack was saying above, it IS about balance and sometimes in order to be able to include all of the guest some thing else like venue or lobster v chicken might have to give. It sounds like you would prefer the “give” being a bf you’ve never meant, when I would rather give on say premium liquor or higher quality paper products.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 12:47 pm
I agree, LBH, it’s NEVER just one more person. And LL, I’m not being selfish and cheap because it’s not always about money. Llama Guy and I chose to get married at his mom’s house for practical and sentimental reasons, and we’re keeping the wedding small because we’re paying for it but also because there are only so many people who can fit there. It’s not like we can find a cheaper place to hold the wedding so we can invite more people – our venue is already free. And I don’t want more people!
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 1:26 pm
Um, if it’s not about money, then what I said doesn’t apply to you, so I’m not sure why you’re suggesting it does.
I originally wanted just a small ceremony with immediate family and my closest friends, so I understand prioritizing numbers. If my husband hadn’t wanted to include my entire extended family, then we only would have invited about 30 people, tops. But I still wouldn’t invite any of my guests without their SOs. In fact, the more intimate your guest list, the less that makes sense. I love my family and friends, so if they’re with someone, I usually want to get to know them, which requires spending time with them. How could that happen if I only invited them places solo?
muchachaenlaventana May 2, 2014, 1:34 pm
Yeah I agree with this logic, like I actually *want* my best friends to be able to bring the s.o.’s because they are such a big part of my life and I want to get to know that huge part of their lives. I have a few friends I have never met their s.o.’s or they don’t have them now but if they were dating someone serious when/if I got married I would make sure to include them.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 9:41 am
I completely agree. If you can’t afford to invite someone’s SO, then you can’t afford to invite them either. Seriously, the concept that other people might want to attend a social event based on celebrating another couple with their own boyfriend/girlfriend/finace(e)/spouse/partner/forever train companion is not a difficult one to grasp, and there is never a good reason not to include them. I also think it’s shitty (although technically not against etiquette) to invite someone who would have to travel a long way without a guest, although that’s a personal preference.
LW2, you could mention that he’ll be coming with you to your cousin if you speak to her, but if it were me, I’d probably skip the wedding a plan another trip home to introduce your boyfriend to your family when he won’t be left out for a big chunk of it. Unless you can afford two trips, in which case go to the wedding solo and then bring your boyfriend next time.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 9:51 am
I also agree about the long distance thing, traveling is hard alone! But we also invited every guest over 18 with a plus one or their significant other. Although I don’t think anyone actually brought a guest, and half the people left their bf/gf at home too.
bethany May 2, 2014, 9:52 am
Eh, how do we know they’re a “Social Unit”? For all we know they could have only been together for like a month! Plus, the cousin getting married might not even know a boyfriend exists.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:00 am
Yea, this whole social unit thing is super strange to me. Just because you are half of a couple doesn’t mean everyone is now required to pretend you don’t exist without that other half. You are still only you.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:01 am
I’m saying the cousin should have asked. When I asked for addresses, I asked if there where bf/gf/fiances if I wasn’t 99.9% sure of the answer already. But I do agree if it’s a very new (like 2 months or under) relationship it’s a grey area about the invitation, since guests list could have been finished/sent to the calligraphers etc before the relationship was established.
bethany May 2, 2014, 10:25 am
When I got married I asked my mom for my random cousin’s addresses, or I had them from years before when I sent out Christmas cards. Asking my random cousin if they had a boyfriend would have literally been the last thing I would have thought of doing during my wedding planning process.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:34 am
My mom would have laughed if I asked her for addresses. I’ve lived at the same place for 3 years now and every time she mails me something she has to ask.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 10:46 am
If they consider themselves a social unit, there is literally no downside to treating them like one. I promise I’m not trying to be snarky here, but I truly don’t understand why people feel the need to use THEIR OWN guidelines to determine whether or not SOMEONE ELSE’S relationship is serious. If my cousin says she’s with someone, then I treat them as a social unit until i hear otherwise. That’s what makes the most sense to me.
bethany May 2, 2014, 11:47 am
But how am I supposed to know how someone is defining their relationship? Specifically a cousin who lives in another country? If the bride in question here knows that the LW considers this BF to be her life partner or something, then yeah, it’s not cool that he’s not invited, but based on the info we know here, that’s a big leap to make based on the into included in this letter.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 12:11 pm
We asked. If there was anyone on our guest list I wasn’t 100% sure about, it was really easy to call/text/email/facebook them and find out. For us, that was about 40 people to reach out too, and it took like 15 minutes.
bethany May 2, 2014, 12:23 pm
“Hey Random Cousin I barely know, but am only inviting out of obligation, are you seeing anyone, and if so, how do you define your relationship? Are you just dating or is it really serious?”
Yeah, sorry, there’s no way I would have bothered with that.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 1:43 pm
With some people we phrased it something along the lines of “hey cousin! We’re gathering addresses for our wedding, can you send yours along? Also is there a guest we should invite with you? Hope all is well!” Most people we reached out to via e-mail or FB. I figured a- that puts the decider on them and b- it was just something I could copy and paste to people.
Liquid Luck May 2, 2014, 3:24 pm
Yeah, that’s pretty much how we did it. Just confirmed we had the right address for them and asked if they were seeing someone they wanted us to invite. No need to give them the third degree on how serious it was, if they said they wanted someone specific invited, that person’s name went on the invitation. I don’t really get why that’s weird, even with the people we weren’t super close with.
redessa May 2, 2014, 10:03 am
No clue on how to address the invitations but I do know the kids are your first cousins once removed. Your second cousins are the children of your parents’ first cousins.
So basically, first, second, third… has to do with which generation you’re all in. All the grandchildren in a family are first cousins. All the great grandchildren are second cousins and so on.
Being “removed” is when you are in different generations. So your own first cousin’s kids are once removed because you are a grandchild and they are great granchildren. Their kids will will be your first cousin twice removed. If you share great-great-grandparents with someone, that person is your third cousin. Their grandchild would be your third cousin twice removed.
I hope that makes sense.
redessa May 2, 2014, 10:06 am
Ooops, that was supposed to post to LlamaPajamas.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 10:16 am
Thanks for the clarification! I actually took a kinship course in college (I was an anthro major) but have forgotten how all that jazz works. 🙂
Lyra May 2, 2014, 9:35 am
My cousin got married in February and she had accidentally forgotten to put “and guest” on my invitation, but at her shower she had been talking about how every cousin would be getting a plus one. I messaged her quick because I wanted to bring Navy Guy, and she said that yes, he was invited, it had just been an oversight on her part. I think there is a tactful way to ask, a simple “Hey, my boyfriend is in town too, would it be possible for him to come? If not, it’s totally cool, I just wanted to double check!” Especially if the LW is close to her cousin I don’t think it would be a big deal.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:02 am
Who is gonna say no to that though? Its putting someone on the spot to have to say yes. Even if I truly could not afford even 1 more person, or actively hated that person requesting an invite, I’d still feel like I would have to say yes if someone asked that. You know?
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 10:56 am
Yep, one of our friend’s asked the week before our wedding if he could bring his new girlfriend. I had to rearrange all the seating, make a new seating chart, blah blah blah. I couldn’t say no and he didn’t even bring her.
muchachaenlaventana May 2, 2014, 11:52 am
See maybe I am a dick, but I would say no in that case. My brother’s friend recently asked if he could bring a plus one-it would just be a random and my FSIL was on the spot all like umm yeah and my brother was like No dude, it didn’t say it on the invitation, so no. I think it is really rude to ask! If it’s not on the invitation, that is for a reason you know. Unless you *know* it was complete oversight by the bride/groom, like mind fart status. IDK I would feel SO uncomfortable being like “yo can I bring my boyfriend” when the invitation was solely addressed to me.
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 12:23 pm
Yeah well he isn’t exactly the most…. thoughtful dude. I had to rip out a page of our guestbook because he wrote “I love you guys so fucking much it makes my balls twitch.”
bethany May 2, 2014, 9:50 am
About letter 2– As we talked about the other day, some people are super close with their cousins, other people barely know theirs. In this case we dont’ know how close the LW and the cousin are. For all we know they’re not close at all, but the LW is just taking advantage of the wedding as a way to get to see all her family at once and make the most out of her trip home. Her cousin might not even know that she has a boyfriend for all we know! I would just leave it alone. He’s not invited.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 9:58 am
I like this a lot. He literally wasn’t invited. If they wanted to give everyone a plus one, they would have. They didn’t. It doesn’t matter why or if she knew he existed or anything. You’ll survive without him for a few hours and he’ll be fine too. This doesn’t need to be an issue.
Lyra May 2, 2014, 9:59 am
That’s very true. I know all my cousins pretty well and my family is really close so sometimes I forget that not every family is like our family. We can be up in each others’ business…in a loving way of course. Like over Easter when we grilled one of our cousins because he always has pictures of him with this pretty blond girl on Facebook all the time and we were all curious if she was a girlfriend or what.
theattack May 2, 2014, 10:04 am
I agree, bethany. I mentioned it on that thread, but I have 25 or so first cousins, plus many close second and third cousins. I didn’t give any of my cousins plus ones because it would have exploded my guest list in a really unaffordable way. If I had given a guest to one cousin, I would have had to do it for all of them. None of them cared at all, so it wasn’t a problem, but there was a clearly thought out reason for it.
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 10:05 am
25 cousins? Wow! I have three first cousins and only like one of them. Sort of.
Lyra May 2, 2014, 10:07 am
I have 25 first cousins on one side, about 12 on the other. I’m close to most of them. I love being in a large family that’s close.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:14 am
Yeah, I have a similar number that are all super close (So does GGuy- our families are enormous). I’m a big fan.
lemongrass May 2, 2014, 10:59 am
Yes. Between our families we had 40 cousins attend our wedding. I literally wouldn’t have been able to afford to invite my friend’s if I gave plus ones to all of the boyfriends. Hence yes, my “selfish, shitty” rules to living together, engaged or married.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:06 am
Yea, I don’t see how its rude to only want the people you want at your wedding. If you’re offended your boyfriend wasn’t invited, then don’t come. Its not their wedding, its your’s and you’re the one paying for it.
Unless you are Donald Trump, there are gonna be cost restrictions. If you have to not invite Cousin Suzy’s new boyfriend so that you can be sure that you will be able to afford inviting the people you actually want there, go for it.
No Pants May 2, 2014, 11:12 am
Your last sentence is exactly what we went through. In order to include most of my cousins, we couldn’t include my friends’ bootycalls. It sucks, I know, but we had to work within our means.
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 11:14 am
Right. And I feel like if I’m invited to your wedding, that’s because I probably love you and don’t want you stressed out by having to not invite your cousin because my boyfriend needs to be there.
No Pants May 2, 2014, 11:25 am
Exactly. I wish we had invited you to our wedding. Most of our friends who didn’t get a plus one were completely understanding, but I still have a few grumpypants that give me a hard time.
No Pants May 2, 2014, 11:07 am
We had similar rules for plus ones. There was just no way around it. I honestly think it seems like no biggie until you have to plan your own wedding while sticking to a budget and specific # of guests. I think it may also depend on your own experiences; I have been invited to a ton of weddings without a plus one and so I guess I was used to it and, therefore, didn’t have an issue with it. It really isn’t personal.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:06 am
I wish LW would tell us those questions. (But I do agree she should leave it alone.)
othy May 2, 2014, 10:28 am
I have it both ways in my family. Othello would definitely want to go to a couple of my cousin’s weddings, but he hasn’t even met some of my other cousins (Hell, I still haven’t met one of my cousins. But he’s 4 and lives 2000 miles away).
SasLinna May 2, 2014, 9:54 am
Another solution for LW2 is not to bring the boyfriend along to the town where the wedding is going to take place. She has at least 2 days before the wedding to introduce him to her family. Then she’d be away for one day. He could stay at her family’s house or at a hotel in her family’s town during that time. If I’m reading correctly the bf also lives in the foreign country where LW2 is at the moment, so it’s not like they’re only reunited for a few days and have to make the most of that time. If I were LW2’s boyfriend, I’d probably use the time during the wedding to do some exploring on my own. It’s not necessary for him to be constantly by her side.
SasLinna May 2, 2014, 9:57 am
And if I were newly introduced to the family I’d frankly be happy about getting some alone time after a few days (especially if they are staying with her family), instead of immediately meeting extended family as well.
Banana May 2, 2014, 12:42 pm
No kidding, meeting the entire family of an SO for the first time at a wedding sounds really stressful.
MissDre May 2, 2014, 10:03 am
Well, at the end of Wedding Week, I just have to say that I am so freakin’ grateful that I don’t have any extended family and everybody that my boyfriend and I care about lives right in town.
We’ve been talking a lot of about what kind of wedding we’d like to have, and I think we’re just going to get married in our favourite restaurant with maybe 14 guests between the two of us. And I don’t want a bridal shower, and I don’t want a bachelorette party and my best friend/maid of honour can wear whatever the hell she wants. I honestly don’t think I could mentally handle all the crap about plus-ones and destinations.
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 10:08 am
My sister had a situation sort of like the “cousin asking for a plus one thing” for her wedding. She was getting married in the state she lives in, but none of our family lives there as well, everyone else is in California. She invited my aunt, her boyfriend, and my two cousins in their early 20s. My aunt called her to ask for a plus one for my cousin’s girlfriend, who my sister had never met, and my sister said no, they wanted to keep the guest list to only people they’d actually met and to keep the list down. My aunt then called AGAIN to ask for a plus one for my cousin and my sister basically said “no, stop trying to make me feel guilty about this, the invitations were sent as we wanted them.” And then my aunt, who had already RSVPed yes, and her two kids, who didn’t bother to RSVP, didn’t come.
But that is only the tip of the iceberg of stories about how my aunt is horrible.
Addie Pray May 2, 2014, 10:14 am
Yikes, that sounds horrible! This also sounds a little familiar. Was there a LW who wrote in about how there was a whole empty table because an aunt who asked if she could bring the whole uninvited fam then didn’t show??
lets_be_honest May 2, 2014, 10:44 am
Good for your sister for sticking to her guns!
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 10:52 am
Definitely! It’s funny reading all the wedding stuff on here because my sister was so low-stress and organized about everything, planning a formal wedding for over 100 guests in about 7 months with none of the complications people talk about on here. It seems like if you want wedding planning to be a huge laborious process it can be, but it doesn’t have to be.
kerrycontrary May 2, 2014, 11:06 am
It really doesn’t have to be. It was stressful for me until I booked all my vendors, and since then it’s been pretty good. I think planning any large event has a certain amount of stress because you’re dealing with a lot of moving parts. It also really depends on how dramatic your family members are, which unfortunately, you can’t change.
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 11:15 am
Totally. There was no family drama or expectations besides my weird aunt in either my family or my sister’s fiance’s family. And my sister is super decisive and so they just did what they wanted and nobody else got involved.
bethany May 2, 2014, 11:51 am
It wasn’t stressful for me until a natural disaster hit. Then I almost jumped off the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 10:20 am
I don’t remember that but that definitely wasn’t my sister because she knew beforehand that my aunt and cousins weren’t going to come, even though she RSVPed yes and said she’d bought her plane tickets but obviously hadn’t. But, it turned out for the best because nobody wanted the aunt or cousins there anyways!
But yeah, she is a real piece of work, including cursing out my mom who is basically the kindest, most patient person on the planet.
Ella_ May 2, 2014, 10:21 am
Not sure why that ended up here but it’s supposed to be a reply to Addie above.
No Pants May 2, 2014, 10:20 am
I’m a little bit hungover so I’m just going to leave a comment and then read through everything when my eyes aren’t googly. Here’s what we did, if it helps: for plus ones, we included spouses, engaged, living together and long-term relationships (our cut off was one year). I have 32234832479324 family members and our wedding would have been insane if we didn’t create some sort of guidelines for the guest list. I definitely had people asking about plus ones the week of and the DAY OF the wedding, which I strongly urge everyone not to do, unless you want a cake topper shoved where the sun don’t shine.
bethany May 2, 2014, 10:30 am
What’d you drink after you got home?!
No Pants May 2, 2014, 10:33 am
I drank a beer that we had in the fridge that I apparently can add to my list of allergies because I feel and look like death today, which shouldn’t happen after 1.5 margaritas, 1 beer an 3 pieces of pizza.
theattack May 2, 2014, 10:35 am
Maybe you were just really dehydrated. The sodium content in the pizza combined with alcohol probably sucked all the water out of you. That’s something that causes such bad hangovers.
bethany May 2, 2014, 10:40 am
It was really salty pizza! YUM.
I also had a beer, too 🙂
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 10:46 am
mmmmmm pizzzzzza. I am excited for our meet up!
No Pants May 2, 2014, 10:48 am
No Pants May 2, 2014, 10:46 am
I think you’re right. I basically turn in to Al Bundy when He Pants is out of town, so I came home and drank a beer and ate 23480324098423 tostitos, which probably made me even more dehydrated. I’m so happy it’s Friday.
bethany May 2, 2014, 10:50 am
I would have eaten Tostitos, but Rudy ate them yesterday while we were at work 🙁
No Pants May 2, 2014, 11:33 am
I hope they weren’t the one with a hint of lime. I can go through a whole bag of those in one day!
muchachaenlaventana May 2, 2014, 1:10 pm
omg I had conveniently forgotten about the hint of lime chips. they are so delicious.
mylaray May 2, 2014, 11:14 am
I feel like the cousins must be close if she was invited the wedding AND planning to attend and travel from another country. I certainly wouldn’t do that for someone I wasn’t close with. So I guess there’s a reason she didn’t get a plus one. I think it’s rude not to get one, but I definitely wouldn’t ask about it, especially not so close to a wedding. And if the cousin didn’t know she had a boyfriend, then she doesn’t know you well enough and probably didn’t care to invite a plus one for someone she didn’t know well.
I invited people only that I really wanted there (and plus ones I may not know) so I only ended up inviting one cousin. I’m not close with any of my other cousins and in my family it’s not expected at all for extended family to be invited to a wedding so I have a hard time understanding that. Could be a cultural thing because it seems really common here.
Banana May 2, 2014, 12:38 pm
I was a lot closer with my cousins when I was little, and we’ve drifted apart a bit in adulthood — no hard feelings, just gone our separate ways. But in my family it’s standard for all first cousins to be invited to weddings. I don’t know if we’re representative of the entire culture, but my two cents.
mylaray May 2, 2014, 12:55 pm
That does make sense if you were close at one point. I recently got invited to one of my cousin’s wedding and since it’s not expected at all in my family, it seems like they just want more gifts. They’ve been dating for years so I have met both of them, but it’s also been several years since I’ve even seen or talked to them. I would have to travel 1000 miles to go (and my other cousins live in Europe). It’s not personal, but I don’t see the distinction in someone being blood family having an automatic invite.
bethany May 2, 2014, 12:23 pm
I’m so happy everyone is getting fired up about wedding stuff!!! We were so calm all week!
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 12:26 pm
I was thinking the same thing. Like shit hadn’t hit the fan, it was bound to happen. But I think getting sick is helping from me not getting too riled up. I just want to go to sleep.
No Pants May 2, 2014, 12:29 pm
We were just saying that to each other last night!
kare May 2, 2014, 12:51 pm
So last year I went to a coworker’s wedding and a group of is were all invited, traveled together, etc. One of the guys wanted to bring a girl he was dating casually. (Like they had been on 5 dates, he was still seeing other people). I had to explain to him that he couldn’t show up to a wedding with some random girl when he didn’t have a plus one. His logic was that he had a girlfriend when the couple got engaged, and she would have been invited, so there should still be a space for a date. His previous relationship ended 6 months before invites were sent. Multiple people in my office agreed that plus ones are often implied. It blew my mind. What would happen if people show up with random dates when they aren’t given a plus one?
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 2:32 pm
A seat is found, usually by the banquet staff. It’s fairly common for a few (maybe 3 or 5) guests to show who aren’t on the seating chart. This knowledge comes from my family owning a banquet hall.
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 2:25 pm
So I was reading the responses again and it reminded me of How I Met Your Mother where Lily has the photo album full of girls Ted dated and says “let’s play ‘who’s that bitch?'”
Maybe the cousin is totally afraid of who’s that dude? syndrome in her wedding pics if every pic of the LW and dance floor has this boyfriend of hers that nobody has ever met.
Confession: My husband took me to his brother’s wedding when we had been dating for about a year, and I remember being so worried that they’d look back at these pictures in 20 years and point at me and ask him who I was and he wouldn’t remember. His family does like a group photo at every wedding (their whole side of the family, like 50+ people) and he made me be in it but I was really resistant. I settled for standing at the side so I could be cropped out. I guess its ok though, since we got married and all… I assume he’ll remember me now, even if we’re not together in 20 years. (although I can’t be sure he won’t remember me as “that bitch”)
karenwalker May 2, 2014, 2:31 pm
LW 2 here, and I want to clear some things up – I’ll try to do it without sounding like a defensive jerk 😛
My cousin’s wedding isn’t until October, so a) I’m not springing this on her last minute, b) my cousin knows I have a boyfriend, c) invitations haven’t gone out yet so maybe I am getting a plus one and it will be a nonissue (though on just our side of the family there are 17 cousins and I’m not sure how many cousins she has on her dad’s side of the family so it’s very feasible that there will be no plus ones given), and d) yes, I realize that this is several months away so maybe I will be single by then & it will be a nonissue (though I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case – I’ve got a good feeling about this one!). Wendy was asking for Wedding Week questions so this seemed like as good a time as any to ask.
This trip will be my only time coming home while I’m in Saudi Arabia. I’m here until the end of the year, possibly longer as the bf and I are tentatively planning on staying until his contract ends in June 2015 and then moving to South Carolina (my family is from CT so I’ll still be far). I am trying to maximize my trip home and would love for that to include my boyfriend meeting my family and friends, I think especially because our relationship seems to be going towards a more serious path.
If I don’t get a plus one, that’s fine. I’ll still be happy to go to the wedding, but I’ll most likely leave my bf in Saudi. The time spent traveling to/from the wedding & the wedding itself will take up a 1/3 of my trip home so while I know he’d be ok on his own, I’d feel bad making him use his vacation time/money to either sit by himself in my parents’ suburban CT home (though that would mean free dogsitting…) or spend about 12 hours roundtrip in a car just to sit in a hotel room by himself somewhere in VA (I mean, he doesn’t drink so it’s not like he’s gonna get drunk at the hotel bar like I would in the situation).
Clearly, I was hoping the advice would be that it’s fine to ask my cousin for a plus one because of my oh so unique circumstances (though I bet anyone who has ever wanted to ask for a plus one thinks their situation is special and deserves it). I won’t deny it. But yeah, I realize planning a wedding is tough, and I don’t want to be an imposition hence I haven’t demanded a guarantee of a plus one from cousin. Most likely, I’ll just wait and see what my cousin decides to do and be fine with her decision. Though I’ll be tempted to keep talking about my boyfriend to her to give her not so subtle hints, I’ll try to refrain. Good thing alcohol is illegal here!
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 2:45 pm
Actually, based on your info I do change my answer a little bit. If you are close enough to call her up and chat, I think you can do that and casually mention that since you can only make one trip home for the next year you’re planning to bring your boyfriend with you and are excited for your family to meet him.
No pressure, don’t even mention bringing him to the wedding or wanting a plus one. But this way, if she was going to assume you would come alone and didn’t need a plus one, now she won’t. You still can’t outright ask if you can bring him, the best you can do is make known that he’s coming stateside with you and see when your invite comes if she found room for him.
Understand that weddings are a bitch to plan and that even if she very much wanted to invite everyone, she can’t; leave the ball in her court to allocate guest list how she feels is best.
LlamaPajamas May 2, 2014, 2:48 pm
This changes my opinion, too, especially since she hasn’t even sent the invites yet. I hope your bf is included and you guys have a blast at the wedding!
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 2:51 pm
Did you get a save the date? For people who are dating, we only sent save the dates addressed to the invitee and not the bf/gf, since the invitee would be invited regardless of their relationship status, and the bf/gf only because of being the partner. Does that makes sense? So if she sent you a save the date with just you, maybe that was her rational?
I assume you have to make travel arrangements months in advance right? I would probably call or e-mail and just ask. Say you’re making travel arrangements, and no pressure! but you’d just like to be clear before booking a ticket for him to fly half way across the world. So, yeah I sort of change my answer-ish.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 2:57 pm
Also, you should totally move to SC. Charleston? Do it!
karenwalker May 2, 2014, 3:07 pm
We’ll probably be in Myrtle Beach =)
I think my cousin tried mailing me a save the date (she asked for my address), but mail doesn’t always find it’s way to me in Saudi. My grandma sent me a Valentine’s Day card with a Starbucks gift card, and I never got it. Things function *differently* here.
GatorGirl May 2, 2014, 3:12 pm
Myrtle would suffice too, haha. Just another DW in the south!
So yeah, I would just ask. Be honest and sincere when you say that you’d understand if he isn’t invited, but you just need to know for travel arrangements. I think due to the international airfare, that’s a reason for asking. It’s not like you’re nagging for an invite for him, just clarity. Blame it on the Saudi’s.
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 3:09 pm
We did that with Save the Dates as well. Engaged/married couples got both their names on the postcard, everyone else got just the name of the person we actually knew/were related to. If they were getting a plus one, that was on the official invite only.
SpaceySteph May 2, 2014, 3:10 pm
Also, note to future LWs, this is how you clear up details and not be horrible.
LW you sound really nice and level headed, and I hope you have a great time at the wedding and that your BF gets to join you!