It’s time again for 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, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
My boyfriend and I are both 20 and have been together for a year and three months. He’s met my dad but hasn’t really gotten to know him, and every time the chance comes up, he always makes up some sort of excuse. We live in a border town and my dad lives in Mexico, so he uses the excuse that he doesn’t like to go to Mexico. I see this as a bit odd. I mean would it kill him to go for two or three hours with me so my dad can get to know him better? — On the Border
Have you considered that he may be an undocumented immigrant and may not be able to easily get back into the country once he crosses the border into Mexico? Can your father come visit you? If your boyfriend avoids your father even when he comes to your town, then it’s time for a discussion about how important it is to you that your boyfriend make an effort to know your family.
Next June, my fiance and I are getting married. I just got off the phone with my grandma to tell her the date, and she started asking a million questions about where I’m registered, who’s doing the shower and the bachelor party, all the stuff that I never thought about. I didn’t think they were necessary. At this point, my fiance and I live with my parents as my mom’s caregiver. This arrangement isn’t permanent, but at this time I don’t need or want dish sets or wine glasses or towels. To be honest, I don’t want anything other than for people to come and enjoy themselves. My fiance feels the same. His side of the family will be spending enough as it is just getting here. The thought of people spending money that really could go elsewhere for things they may need doesn’t sit right. I know it’s considered tacky to mention gifts at all, but is there any way to say that we don’t want presents? — Practical Bride-to-be
You could say in the invitation: “Your presence is present enough.” But understand that people will likely still want to give you something as a token at least, so you could make it easy on them — and you! — by registering for a few low-cost items that you’ll actually use and enjoy. In that case, don’t include registry information in the invitation, but alert a few people, like your mother and grandmother, who can get the word out to those who think to ask. Better still, you could include in the invite a link to a charity you really like and re-word the note on the invitation to read: “Your presence is present enough, but if you wish, you may make a donation to our favorite charity, X.”
I dated a guy for about five months. We were not exclusively dating, but we were very close and were best friends. He started dating another woman, but he keeps in contact with me constantly. I’m the first person he tells everything to — like when he got a job transfer, when his son, who has cancer, has his medical testing, when he’s going to be in my area, etc. He tells me things before he tells his girlfriend. He gets a hold of me almost daily. I can’t figure out why he keeps me so close, when he’s now engaged to another woman. I still have feelings for him. He knows this. Can you help me understand why he keeps me so close? — The Other Woman
The better question is why you keep him so close when he has decided to marry another woman. If it were you he wanted to be with exclusively, he’d be with you, especially considering that he knows you have feelings for him. He does not want to be with you so MOA.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
Kay February 1, 2013, 9:02 am
Is LW2 the first sane shortcut letter we’ve had?
JK February 1, 2013, 9:10 am
LW1 reminded me of the LW a while back who had a problem leaving the country for having taken the blame for her ex BFs marijuana. The BFs excuse just doesn´t ring true to me.
LWs 2 and 3: WWS
csp February 1, 2013, 10:13 am
There are a lot of reasons that someone doesn’t have the ability to have a valid passport. He might have issues in Mexico as well. Like a warrant or something.
bethany February 1, 2013, 10:15 am
Yeah, this guy might not even have a passport at all! I know there are a lot of people that don’t have them yet at that age.
JK February 1, 2013, 10:16 am
Yes, there are so many reasons he might not want to go, I esp. like firestar´s theory of him not being that serious in the relationship yet.
Taylor February 1, 2013, 10:30 am
He also might be afraid of Mexico. My husband (who granted is from the NE) thinks going to a border town will get him arrested and stabbed. Mainly because he had a friend who was arrested in Tijuana, and I have a friend who was stabbed in Nogales. Of course, visiting your gf’s dad is likely going to be much smoother than being an idiot in a bar.
EscapeHatches February 1, 2013, 10:54 am
I’m from AZ, and given the border violence we get to hear about all the time, I would be extremely hesitant to go to Mexico.
Particularly if the border-town the LW is referencing is El Paso/Juarez…
Anecdote/Aside: A company I worked for as a design engiener designed and built a Wastewater Treatment Plant on the AZ/Mexico border (near Nogales) that, in part, treated sewage coming up from Mexico. Towards the end of commissioning the employees were issued bullet-proof vests and ordered to stay indoors at night unless the equipment issue was immediate and pressing. Doesn’t exactly build confidence in your safety when a company, who wouldn’t buy us fall harnesses, issues flack vests.
SweetsAndBeats February 1, 2013, 11:28 am
I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint.
I cannot speak about El Paso or Juarez, but I am someone who drives through, and goes to rest stops and restaurants and clubs in, Nogales, Santa Ana, Magdalena, Hermosillo, and Guaymas by herself at least once per season for the last 5 years. There’s isn’t random gunfire and kidnappers and whatever-crazy-shit-the-news-is-clutching-pearls-about lurking behind every corner. I follow in Mexico the same rules of caution as I do in the states – MINUS carrying my gun, actually – and have never, ever been subjected to or seen any violence, or have had any of my many acquaintances who also travel through Mexico multiple times each year experience any problems.
The violence in Mexico is mostly media hype. It IS safe to travel as long as you don’t go to anywhere that looks sketchy – which is good advice no matter where you are.
Matcha February 1, 2013, 4:29 pm
Exactly. I currently live in a border town, and my family lives in a different border town (on opposite sides of the US). Depending on where you are, it’s not safe. My cousin and her son were riding a bus and there wasn’t enough room for them to sit together, so he was near the bus driver. They made an unscheduled stop and he was almost abducted by cartel members because he looked like he was unaccompanied. He most likely would have been forced into the cartel or shot if he resisted.
Plus, although there haven’t been recent violence other highlights around my area include: an entire casino was set on fire and innocent people were shot as they escaped; police found a mass grave (illegal central americans who didn’t want to be impressed into ‘service’); and an entire town was run off. Granted some extended family still lives there, and I have plenty of friends who go visit. But to call it ‘safe’ is not being completely honest.
Matcha February 1, 2013, 4:33 pm
To add: my hometown university was shut down last year because of grenade and rocket blasts across the bridge–and there were actually stray bullets that hit the building. And the feds got into a fight with the cartel in the middle of the city. Places that I had actually been to before when visiting my family. So yes, very location dependent. It’s not hype, but obviously people don’t want to leave their entire lives behind and give up. We had lady who came and cleaned our house biweekly and she told our mother she was considering illegally immigrating because it was getting so bad in her area.
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 12:29 pm
Some border towns right now are actually rather dangerous… Not all. But some — especially Juarez, which is notoriously so, are NOT places I would personally like to venture into presently myself. And I truly LOVE Mexico and have been there well over sixty times…
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 12:34 pm
EDIT: There are many, MANY places in Mexico I would presently go without hesitation. Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Tulum, Coba, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Mazatlan, Ixtapa, Ziahuatanejo, Guymayas/San Carlos…
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 12:50 pm
LW1) Ask him WHY he won’t go see your father… Seriously, just ask.
LW2) You are CRAZY if you don’t go for at least SOME gifts at your wedding… Why? You will undoubtedly spend a LIFETIME of buying wedding gifts for everybody else. (Believe me, I know. Boy, do I know…)
LW3) To quote one of the rare people smarter than me… Learn. To. Say. Goodbye….
“Your heart is not open (So I must go)
The spell has been broken (I loved you so)
Freedom comes when you let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no
You were my lesson ( I had to learn)
I was your fortress (You had to burn)
Pain is warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
I want to go higher
There’s nothing left to try
There’s no place left to hide
There’s no greater power than the power of goodbye.
Slamy February 1, 2013, 1:43 pm
Jesus. BGM, “learn to say goodbye” seems to be a big lesson that life is trying to teach me over and over again. I really needed to hear that today. Serendipity.
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 2:21 pm
Giving proper credit where proper credit is due… Go Madonna! (Who else?!)
Sue Jones February 1, 2013, 3:54 pm
Madonna! I LOVE Madonna!
kerrycontrary February 1, 2013, 9:10 am
LW1: My BF was living in a border town for a short while. Because he’s in the military he wasn’t allowed to go to Mexico. Nor would I go to Mexico when I was visiting him. It may sound alarmist, but there are a lot of people being killed close to the Mexico/US border. Your boyfriend may be looking out for his own safety (or he could be an undocumented immigrant/living in the US on an expired Visa).
JK February 1, 2013, 9:16 am
Why undocumented immigrant? It doesnt say he´s not from the US. Just curious, since Wendy said something similar.
kerrycontrary February 1, 2013, 9:20 am
Just trying to think of legit reasons why he wouldn’t go to Mexico. But honestly, I’m an american citizen and I wouldn’t go to Mexico right now (even on vacation). Judge away masses, judge away.
JK February 1, 2013, 9:23 am
We will, don´t worry.
JK February 1, 2013, 9:25 am
Kidding. Partially at least. I mean there are parts of any country in the world where it´s not safe to go, but there are also plenty of beautiful, safe places.
JK February 1, 2013, 9:33 am
SweetsAndBeats February 1, 2013, 11:29 am
Love that article!
kerrycontrary February 1, 2013, 9:38 am
Meh, I still can’t go as I go on vacation there with my boyfriend (and right now he is who I vacation with) and as far as he knows, he cannot go to Mexico since he’s in the military.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 9:25 am
Same here, not sure why anyone would judge that though. Sounds very dangerous. Mexico is a lovely place, I’ve been there, but I wouldn’t go any time soon.
LM February 1, 2013, 11:56 am
Nor would I. It’s been a dangerous enough place for many years now. At some point, the CMC from the ship I was on said that we were no longer allowed to go across the border, even with a pass… to my knowledge, it hasn’t changed and that was almost 7 years ago.
Regardless of that… LW, maybe your boyfriend has some sort of fear of “leaving the country” or (just a stretch) maybe he isn’t as comfortable with different cultures as he could be or maybe he just has a genuine dislike of Mexico for whatever reason. Have you ever just sat him down and point blank asked him why not?
Lynn February 1, 2013, 9:48 am
Haha no judging. My family owns a home in Mexico, and we haven’t visited in a long time because of the mess there. I remember one time an officer pulled over my mother and made him give her money for no reason… but I’m thinking it had something to do with the fact we’re American. Who knows.
Lynn February 1, 2013, 9:49 am
Damnit. Made her give him money.*
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 9:49 am
I’m sure its an error, but you wrote that your mom made the cop give her money. Pretty funny that way. Must’ve been scary though.
JK February 1, 2013, 9:53 am
I´m thinking it was probably so he wouldnt write her a ticket for a traffic violation (not that that is OK wither)
Lynn February 1, 2013, 9:58 am
I’m not really sure why he pulled her over. I was in the car with her, and I was sick and puking, and I have no idea what he was saying to her because I don’t speak Spanish (my mama is from Mexico originally, my dad is white guy) and then she got upset and was yelling back at him… it was a mess. And it was really scary. I honestly don’t like going over there.
Temperance February 1, 2013, 5:04 pm
I know someone whose work takes her to an area near Tijuana, and her company gave everyone cards to give to cops who shake them down telling them not to bother and that the company will pull out of Mexico otherwise. It’s common.
katie February 1, 2013, 10:03 am
i was very worried about going to mexico last year, but i talked to some coworkers who are actually from mexico, and they told me that the tourists spots are very safe, because they have to be safe because thats the only way mexico makes any money anymore. so, yea you could get robbed or something, but the cartels arent active in tourists towns, and then especially so if you just stay in your resort, which we mostly did. one guy told me that the military even protects those areas a little bit more then the rest of mexico. so, i went, and it was fine.
however, the border is super super dangerous now! the same coworkers who told me that tourist spots are safe told me that they wont even go to certain places anymore… one even said he couldnt visit his family anymore, which i thought was especially sad.
also, one of my chef’s in college was from mexico, and he married an american -blonde hair blue eyed, very obviously not mexican- and his daughter looks just like her mother, and when they would go to mexico city to visit his family he would hire a security team and a bulletproof car. that was crazy.
pinkjellyfishy February 1, 2013, 10:10 am
No judgment here, kerrycontrary! My entire family is from Mexico (my parents became U.S. citizens before I was born) and about 2 years ago I stopped traveling there out of fear. It breaks my heart to not visit anymore, when before I would go every few months since I was little. The tipping point for me was the last time I went there with my family, and we were stopped at one of the many military checkpoints on the roads. Some of the soldiers got a little too close and friendly with me and made me really uncomfortable. They didn’t touch me, but it doesn’t help when they’re all holding machine guns and are trying to “flirt” very aggressively. They took way longer than they needed to search the car. My dad was furious, but what can he do?
My parents are from a small town outside of Monterrey (they also own a house there), and now my dad goes on his own to visit friends and family there. He comes back with some scary stories, like how all of the wealthier business owners in the town are controlled by the cartel – they have to pay them to be left alone – and how most of them fled to the U.S. with their families. My dad gets very emotional about it, it’s just not the place it used to be.
I’m sure there are a lot of places that are perfectly safe, but maybe not so much where LW1’s father lives? LW1, if the reason your boyfriend does not want to visit your father with you is because he is wary of traveling in a non-touristy part of Mexico, then I think that’s a legit and understandable reason.
Oh I just remembered, I did visit Cozumel while on a cruise. I felt very safe there, since I was traveling with 10 of my closest friends – 3 of which are built like grizzly bears – and it’s so touristy and overrun with Americans and passengers from cruise ships. So it’s the driving through the non-touristy parts of the country that really scares me.
Matcha February 1, 2013, 4:37 pm
Hey, I’m from a similar area! Most of my extended family is from Tamaulipas but I do have relatives from Monterrey too. Yeah, it’s really quite sad the area has become. I used to go across and have lunch with my grandma all the time.
Taylor February 1, 2013, 10:31 am
My husband agrees with you.
bethany February 1, 2013, 10:01 am
In border towns there are probably a lot of people who are in America that aren’t properly documented… Also, I’ve been to border towns in AZ/Mexico in the past, but even as an American Citizen I wouldn’t go right now.
JK February 1, 2013, 10:04 am
But border towns are a tiny part of Mexico, there are some beautiful totally safe (with lower murder rates than some parts of Canda, for example) places. Writing off a whole country because of one part of it just seems weird to me.
And aren´t all the illegals in LA? Thats what BGM says.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 10:07 am
I think its a better safe than sorry mentality. I’d rather just vacation somewhere that also has a beach and a nice resort or whatever that isn’t guarded by military or requires extra security or bulletproof glass windows, etc.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 10:09 am
Also, whether its actually safer or not, I’d rather FEEL safer than have to stay at a resort the entire time, or clutch my purse for fear of a robbery on my way to the airport.
katie February 1, 2013, 10:14 am
well, to be fair though, a whole lot of beach countries that americans “resort” in are actually very dangerous to venture out in… most of mexico, pretty much all of the Caribbean, a lot of southeast asia, central america.. even partly in europe.
its the whole “tourist trap” thing. if you out yourself as a “stupid american tourist” you are automatically a target… and if you stay at those resort-heavy countries, thats what happens.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 10:18 am
Oh sure. Even still though, I’d probably feel safer.
JK February 1, 2013, 10:21 am
I´ve never heard of anyone not going to Jamiaca (spot 3) because of fear.
katie February 1, 2013, 10:39 am
oh ill never go to Jamaica. i know a Jamaica guy and he has specifically told me and jake not to go there. lol
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 10:41 am
Yea, I’ve been told the same.
JK February 1, 2013, 10:48 am
I stand corrected, hahaha. Apparently Belize, Brazil, Bahamas, Trindad and Tobago, St. Kitts, South Africa etc. all also have higher murder rates than Mexico.
I´m not saying people should go to plaes they won´t feel safe. I mean I wouldnt´t go to Rio de Janeiro, for example. But I would go to pther parts of Brazil. But it seems that people are “Oh no, Mexico is scary”. I´m sure someone living in other places of the US wouldn´t like tourism to stop because of the crime rate in Detroit (it´s dangerous there, right?)
katie February 1, 2013, 11:05 am
oh yea, definitely JK.
and im sure that people from other countries do sterotype the US because of places like Detroit, maybe even new york city, LA and miami.. even chicago! lol.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:06 am
lol, I don’t think Detroit is a vacation spot.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:08 am
hey JK, funny (or not) you mention Rio. My brother just called a little while ago and told me he is planning to go to Carnivale there.
JK February 1, 2013, 11:08 am
@LBH neither are the mexican border towns.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:12 am
right, but I don’t know of anywhere you would vacation at that you would ever have to go near Detroit to get to your vacation spot, as opposed to border towns in Mexico.
JK February 1, 2013, 11:13 am
@LBH since Rio doesnt get the bad press Mexico does,you don´t find out as much about the bad stuff. AT least in the US I guess not, here we find out plenty. And Carnaval is probably one of the more dangerous times to go.
JK February 1, 2013, 11:14 am
@LBH Detroit was the first dangerous spot in the US that came to mind, but like Katie said, there are plenty of others. Miami for one. ANd that is def. a tourist spot.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:18 am
I admittedly know next to nothing about Rio, but my brother travels to some strange places that are dangerous, so hopefully he’s learned how to do it safely. Hopefully! Wish he’d just stop going to scary places all together.
And that’s true about Miami, or even NYC. I’ve never heard of someone not travelling there bc of safety, but I’ve been to both several times and they don’t strike me as dangerous at all. Like, I’ve never seen armed military people there.
JK February 1, 2013, 11:20 am
The armed military people are a cultural thing. Here you´d see them as well, especially in banks, for example (although admittedly not in touristy spots). It was a total culture shock coming from NZ and seeing gendarmes with machine guns.
katie February 1, 2013, 11:21 am
LBH, this is what perception is.
you have perception of US cities, youve been there. hell, i LIVE near the south side of chicago, which has the worst gun violence rates in the country. but, i feel safe. i know im fine. but, someone from another country who has never been here will lump any bad thing about the US that they hear with the whole country- which is the exact same thing that you do when you say you will never travel to mexico (even the nice parts) because of crime.
and, you dont see military in mexico. at least, i never did. i vacationed in cabo san lucas. it was amazing and i would absolutely go back. i never felt unsafe there.
JK February 1, 2013, 11:23 am
Thank you Katie!
It´s nice to agree for once. 😛
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 11:24 am
I only know one story about Rio. My SIL is from Rio originally, her parents still live there and they go back to visit once every other year or so. Her father owns a shop, I think. And he refused to pay this gang or police or some force that rules the neighborhood so they shot him in the leg to scare him. Now he pays. …. SCARY.
JK February 1, 2013, 11:27 am
@AP right now theyre in the middle of a huge clean up because of the Olympics and the World Cup that are scheduled for there. And it´s not pretty.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:28 am
@katie, yea, that was my point about “feeling” safer and how much that makes a difference. In reality though, from being in touristy areas in both Miami and Mexico, I def would feel much safer in Miami and I think rightfully so.
Interesting though you never saw armed guards in Mexico. I did when I went and I was at a place similar to what 6napkin describes. The place was amazing, and I’d love to go back, but not any time soon.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 11:28 am
From the way they decribe it, it’s like the mafia rules, except it’s very open and upfront about it – you have to pay them for protection from them. Also, she says Rio is very beautiful and they have a blast – they just don’t walk places, they drive always, and they… I dunno, they take certain precautions that I would never think about.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 11:38 am
Hey, speaking of Brazil, who has seen CITY OF GOD? Oh my god that is a good movie. I highly recommend it! One of my favorites.
JK February 1, 2013, 11:40 am
I saw it! Arturo loved it, I didnt as much haha.. Carandiru is another good brazilian movie.
Lucy February 1, 2013, 5:07 pm
The same thing has happened to me numerous times in Mexico. (Also in India, Morocco, Italy… corruption is everywhere.) I’m a pretty sedate driver and in no cases was I speeding or otherwise breaking the law – I’m just obviously a white tourist driving a nice rental car. Fortunately my husband speaks Latin American Spanish. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that situation by myself.
ktfran February 1, 2013, 10:12 am
But this LW has to cross the border to get to her dad. I’m assuming she is driving.
I would actually go to a resort town and visit Mexico. But those are places I would have fly to get to. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t drive across the border to get anywhere. I think that makes a huge difference when deciding whether or not to visit Mexico.
bethany February 1, 2013, 10:18 am
I’m assuming that since the LW says it would only take 2-3 hours that the dad also lives in border town. Unless they have some super speedy way of travel that I don’t know about yet!
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 10:20 am
lol, that reminds me of the Will Ferrell movie where he’s telling a therapist about some new special underwear he doesn’t know exists.
JK February 1, 2013, 10:31 am
Yeah, thats why I was replying more to the people saying they wouldnt vacation in Mexico because of fear.
ALthough LWs BF didnt say he wouldnt g because he was scared.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 11:20 am
But the LW is talking about a border town…
I have been to Mexico on vacation no less than 12 times (and I’m from the NE), going once a year for about 8 years straight, with no real worries about safety because I was going to tourist spots, where I stayed “where tourists should”, or because they were incredibly high end. But I wouldn’t go now, even to those tourists places. I went to Acupulco in 2006 on spring break, and did not really worry, as I always stayed on the “strip”, but by 2007-2008, tourists were being told not to go to Acuplulco anymore because of real safety issues. That is now being said about Cancun now too. Shit’s getting bad in Mexico, more so than it was a year ago, or a year before that. There’s no question that there are beautiful places, but I don’t think its stereotyping or racist to believe the state department that there have been real, bad changes in the safety of mexico in recent years — for mexicans as well as tourists.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 11:26 am
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 11:27 am
I retract my statement about the state department having a warning about Cancun. But I still wouldn’t go right now.
Matcha February 1, 2013, 4:39 pm
Yeah, but the LW is from a border town. It’s not like her boyfriend would be going to Oaxaca or Cancun. And the illegals are everywhere 😉
Lindsay February 1, 2013, 1:41 pm
Yeah, it’s kind of an odd jump. I assume if he were an undocumented immigrant, he’d be Mexican, due to the proximity to the border, which I assume the LW would have mentioned. As in “It’s weird that he doesn’t want to go since he used to live there” or something.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 11:50 am
kc this isn’t a direct reply to you but replying to the other posts was confusing too.
I would go to Mexico right now. I went two years ago to Cancun and had a great time. I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe and we left the resort fairly often. I have a whole branch of my family who lives in Mexico City and I would go visit them too. I went to Mexico City about 9 years ago and while there were some weird differences (armed gaurds at the bank) I did not feel unsafe. I’ve been to Nogales, Sonora in Mexico (about 15 years ago) and it was scary then. I love Mexico and will be back as soon as I can afford to get there!
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:53 am
My girls name is Sonora, I tell you friends, I adore her.
Sorry, couldn’t help it 🙂
muffy February 1, 2013, 9:12 am
LW3: watch the episode of How I Met Your Mother where they talk about how Ted is on Carrie Underwood’s “hook”. Your role in this man’s life will suddenly become clearer. He keeps you so close because you let him, because it’s nice to get attention from someone who adores you. But he is not interested in dating you. Or else he would be dating you.
Firestar February 1, 2013, 9:25 am
LW2 – I know the rule is to never mention gifts but we put something similar on our invitations too. Your presence is all we need – no gifts please. And we still got gifts – mostly money – it was just our loved ones way of showing us their happiness. Accept whatever you get gracefully.
LW3- Why does he do this? Because you let him. Cut ties. You aren’t “special” to him. You are convenient.
LW1 – different people have different time lines for meeting family. Talk to him about his. For me, I was only interested in bringing home who I was going to marry. And 20 might be too soon for that determination for him so maybe that is why he is uncomfortable.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 9:30 am
Firestar, I know there no specific normal amount received at a wedding, but would you say you still got near the same amount you would’ve received had you not said no presents?
Firestar February 1, 2013, 9:47 am
With our friend circle I’d say yes. But most of them are in their thirties are very well off ….and would feel bad if they didn’t give something I think. I know I’ve gotten invitations that said no gifts and we still gave money. If there were people who were tight for money though I would hope that they would know showing up was all we really wanted and saying no gifts would free them from any addition burden.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 9:52 am
Hmm, that’s good. I prob would give also, but it is a nice thing that if you really can’t give, there is no guilt about it.
ktfran February 1, 2013, 10:09 am
I’m pretty sure I would give something also. Probably money. But I also bring a gift when someone invites me over for dinner or has a party. Usually flowers or wine or really delicious craft beer.
Fabelle February 1, 2013, 9:27 am
LW1: I mean, none of us can really say WHY your boyfriend won’t go with you, so maybe you should ask him? Like others said above, maybe he doesn’t feel safe there? (which I think is a legit reason)
LW2: WWS. And it’s nice that you’re being sane about your wedding plans.
LW3: If you’re wondering so much about why this guy still keeps you so close, then I’m imagining you want us to say “He’s totally still in love with you!!” But things don’t actually work that way—he’s with someone else now, & getting married. You’re are his sounding board now, for whatever reason, & if you know you still have feelings for him, you should just stop answering his calls/texts/e-mails/whatever & wish him a nice life.
MaterialsGirl February 1, 2013, 9:33 am
LW2, instead of on your invite, you can always post something on your wedding website, especially since it will be a nice place for all the out of towners to see any extra events you may be having, or to coordinate hotels etc.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 9:35 am
LW1 how have you framed this meet and greet with your father to your bf? Is it an intense I’d like to take you to Mexico and spend a weekend doing nothing but making sure you really get to know my Dad. I feel like that might be a bit intense for a 20 year old. It would seen since you’ve been doing for a year and a half this is his first time as an ‘adult’ meeting the parents. It can be scary. Maybe back off on the intensity and talk to him about how important your Father is to you rather than pushing a relationship between the two of them. There’s also the chance that he sees getting to know your father as a big step he’s not ready for. Whether it be one of these things or something Wendy mentioned, you won’t know unless you talk to him.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 11:32 am
LW2 Please don’t mention anything about gifts on your invite. Even saying “your presence is present enough” is considered rude because it tells your guest you’re assuming they would be buying you a gift and that you don’t want it. You could make a small mention on your website. Depending on your area, guests might lean towards all cash gifts anyways. (Physical gifts are very common in the south, cash gifts are more common in the north. I think the midwest is more physical gifts and the west coast more cash but don’t quote me on that.)
If you do not want physical gifts decline any offers for showers, create a VERY small registry (you know you want some new towels or a little luggage), and have your parents spread the word discretely that you’d apprecaite cash gifts. They should word it something like “Oh they have everything they need, but if you really want to give a gift they are saving up for a new house/car/elephant” when (ONLY WHEN) someone asks where you’re regestered.
You’r grandmother is probably asking all of these questions because it is very traditional to have all of these pre-wedding parties. I was hesitant to have the pre-wedding parties too, but so far they have been very fun and very enjoyable. One other note- do not ask anyone to host a party for you. Someone will either offer to host, or you won’t have the party.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:35 am
GG, if you truly don’t want gifts though, but its assumed if you don’t register that you want cash, how do you suggest going about saying no gifts, no cash, just you?
This lw sounded like she wasnt hunting for cash at all and literally wants nothing but the people to come.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 11:44 am
You can’t. It’s considered rude to reject a gift (cash or physical) and stating ahead of time that you don’t want a gift is the same as rejecting a gift.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:49 am
Well that’s dumb, in my opinion. If the assumption is no registry=send cash, you should be able to say you don’t even want cash. I think its almost polite, dare I say, to say you don’t want anything but “presence.”
And I don’t think its the same as rejecting a gift. If someone handed me an ugly sweater they picked out because they thought I’d love it, I’d keep it. But I see nothing wrong with saying no thanks ahead of time. For example, someone I’m close with went way overboard this christmas in gift buying for my family and I said so, that while everything was awesome to get, it was too much so please don’t spend that much next year.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 11:55 am
But really who doesn’t want/can use/doesn’t appreciate cash? Seriously? If you don’t want it for your own personal use donate it and let the giver know in the thank you note what you did with it.
Saying you only want the presence is rude because the means it’s assumed they would give a gift and one should never assume a gift is going to be given. Weddings are not really gift giving occassions, even though most people do give a gift.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:58 am
Sure, there’s no such thing as “extra cash,” but some people actually really do not want their loved ones to spend money on them, regardless of whether the recipient could use it or not.
Weddings really are gift giving occasions, just like birthday parties or whatever else. Of course they are.
So seriously, you of all people must know how to make it clear you literally want nothing. Fill me in!
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:08 pm
This Emily Post post sums up what I’m saying more consisely.
When you mention gifts at all, you make gifts part of the focus. A wedding invitation should keep all of the focus on the fact that two people are getting married. You also can’t dictate what someone gives you as a gift. It’s up to the giver. If you really truely don’t want a single thing, have it spread word-of-mouth when someone asks about a registry or donate and money/goods you receive. It’s impossible to stop someone from giving you a gift.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:11 pm
Haven’t read it yet, but am about to, but it seems to (just by the title) focus on how to get cash instead of gifts, which is obvious to me: don’t register.
How did you let people know where you were registered?
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:16 pm
It’s on our website. We’re not putting any mention of the registry in our wedding invitation but the website is listed on an enclosure card so guests can see it there.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:23 pm
So if you’re asking for gifts on the website, why couldn’t you ask for no gifts on the website?
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:26 pm
Yea, I said on here somewhere that a website might be the only acceptable place to put no gifts. But really I beleive it should be spread word-of-mouth and hinted to with a very small registry.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 12:15 pm
I never once doubted that you were accurately quoting Something Official on Weddings. But…. like…. who cares? I mean, really, if you just sit back and think about it – who cares? And if YOU care, why? Because the Rules say so? It just all seems circular.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 12:54 pm
True, but I really like etiquette and I don’t think it’s dumb. I like having a set of rules for everyone to follow; I have no problem with the concept that there is a way things should be done. We all keep saying that no matter what you do, someone will be offended. Well, no, not back in the day; if you followed the rules of etiquette — no one was offended. They were created to avoid causing offense.
Now, some people might not care if they cause offense, which is fine. You CAN put anything you want on an invitation. And then you can ignore the people who are put out by what you put in it. Or you can be hurt. But you shouldn’t really be confused by it. And if you’re lucky, no one will care, but some might. If you are trying to avoid that, there is a set of rules you can follow that do not cause offense.
Lindsay February 1, 2013, 1:55 pm
I’d have to agree with you, Addie Pray. I usually try to follow etiquette and stuff, especially when it comes to formal events like weddings. But I don’t think that telling people not to buy you gifts on an invitation is rude. Perhaps against etiquette, but the act in itself doesn’t seem that bad. I realize that the argument is that you shouldn’t focus on gifts, but I think it’s sort of silly to assume based on one line (and ignoring what you know about a couple) that they are make their wedding all about gifts.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 2:57 pm
Why, Lindsay, you’re a breath of fresh air. You should comment always.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 11:54 am
“You can’t”? But you can. Like this: please no gifts or cash. And if that is so offensive, then honestly you have bigger problems, but I can’t imagine you will make it far in the day without something offending you. That must be an exhausting way to live!
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:14 pm
Yea, I gotta say, I’m all for manners and such, but if someone’s offended that I don’t want them spending $ on me, then you live a sad life.
LadyinPurpleNotRed February 1, 2013, 12:16 pm
I agree. And the people that you invite to your wedding know you and know what you’re like. They shouldn’t be shocked by things you do. Pretty much any decision you make in a wedding people will find fault with, and potentially offend. Stop worrying about everyone else and do what’s right for you (the you being the couple.)
theattack February 1, 2013, 12:42 pm
I’m completely with GatorGirl on all of this. There should be no attention to gifts at all. It’s not offensive to say “no gifts please,” but it does draw attention to the fact that you expected gifts. If you want to do your wedding that way, do it. Don’t tell GG she has problems just because she wants to follow a widely accepted set of rules.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:45 pm
I agree with your last part, but here’s where I’m lost…you guys say you can’t mention gifts, but you mention a registry on your website, the website you are directed to by your invitation. So just bc it doesn’t say it on the actual invite, the actual invite points you to where it is said that ‘Hey Friends, I want gifts, and its presumed I’ll get ’em.’
I’ m glad you think its not offensive to say no gifts.
JK February 1, 2013, 12:47 pm
YES! I fail to see how that can be OK, but saying you DON´T want gifts isnt.
theattack February 1, 2013, 12:53 pm
I don’t think you should say ANYTHING about gifts on the invitation, whether it’s a registry or a “no gifts” request. It’s perfectly acceptable to say no gifts on the wedding website, IMO, because it’s fine to say where you’re registered. Same thing.
I personally always kind of roll my eyes at people who say no gifts though, because in my experience, most of them do want gifts, and they’re just trying to come across as really sweet and angelic when it actually just makes it difficult for their guests who are polite enough to know they shouldn’t go to a wedding without a gift. That’s just a personal thing though. In reality, it’s fine to say no gifts.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:57 pm
Lol, do people really do that? That is dumb. I hope they end up with 1,000 toasters!
theattack February 1, 2013, 1:09 pm
I know people who do, and I totally agree. It’s like they want credit for being above gifts, but they’ll probably snub you later if you don’t bring something anyway.
Either way though, almost everyone will bring gifts or cash no matter what you say, so I think it’s best to just make a small registry and accept that you will receive gifts. If someone wants to genuinely ask for no gifts on a website though, more power to them.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 1:09 pm
Plus, according to the rules, it ISN’T ok to put the registry (or website) ON the invitation; it is on a little piece of paper tucked into the envelope. May seem stupid and like a technicality, but ettiquitte is a nuaced beast. (and one that I spell differently every time I write it).
And let’s all remember WHY registeries were created, shall we? A couple would register for a China pattern, and type/series/”pattern” for silver. Because people would get China for the new couple to set up their new home with so the couple would “register” with the store for the set they wanted. The only way most people ever got china or silver was from their wedding. That’s why people would ask “where you were registered” so they knew where they could find out the china pattern. Eventually, the store kept track of what was purchased so the couple wouldn’t get duplicates. Then people strated indicating things other than type of china and silver. .. and that custom is what blew up into why I bought my friends a video game they wanted from their target registry for their wedding.
So registries were originally set up to help guide guests in their present buying, but were not a list of presents people wanted. So it was far less gauche to indicate where people were registered, but it couldn’t be on the invitation. Now that it is a list of presents, rather than just the name of a store which knows what kind of china you have, it seems more arbitrary.
Amanda February 2, 2013, 12:37 pm
My husband and I didn’t register or have a wedding website. We circumvented this etiquette “problem” by including a small insert with our invitations and response cards. Back in the day, people would make charitable donations for weddings instead of giving gifts, so on our insert it said:
“In accordance with tradition, the bride and groom request that you please consider a donation to charity instead of a gift. A few worthy choices are listed below.”
We listed three of our favorite charities. This approach worked out REALLY well for us. We only got two physical gifts and a few checks. The majority of people donated to the charities that we listed or to their favorite charity. I’m so thankful that our wedding is over and I’m really glad that we did this.
JK February 1, 2013, 12:51 pm
Have you just started reading AP? I donpt think I´ve ever read a comment of hers that wasnt at least a little tongue in cheek.
Also, it´s not that GG wants to follow the rules, but that she tells everyone on here that what they wantto do that isn´t strictly EMily Post approved that they´re wrong, and rude.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:53 pm
Oh I don’t take it as that. I feel like she almost always adds a disclaimer of ‘the rules say…’
JK February 1, 2013, 12:58 pm
Not today at least. I can´t be bothered c & p -ing though.
theattack February 1, 2013, 12:58 pm
Obviously I’ve read plenty of AP’s comments, but I think saying someone has problems because of something like that is mean, tongue-in-cheek or not.
GatorGirl never said anyone was rude. She’s saying that actions are rude, which, in a discussion about etiquette, is perfectly fine.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 1:37 pm
GG did say it was rude – she said it’s rude to mention gifts. And I just asked why. I never said it’s rude NOT to. The only answer I can ascertain from you guys it’s it’s per se wrong to put the word gift on an invite but it’s ok on an website or verbally. …. And.. I just see no reason for that, except for “because the rules of etiqutte says so.”
JK February 1, 2013, 1:42 pm
Seriously WAPS. How can it be OK to expect gifts as long as you announce it in the right place, but it´s considered rude to ask that people not give you anything???
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 1:47 pm
It’s not okay to expect gifts. I never said that. Registries are for the convience of a guest who choses to give a gift so they know what line of place settings or linens the couple has chosen for their home. Registries are by no means a summons for gifts.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 1:49 pm
The best answer I’ve heard is “just because.” #$%#$
It’s the most honest anyway. Because it’s really dishonest to say “oh gosh because we don’t want our guests to think this wedding is about gifts – we are polite – so instead we’ll just put it all over the website and have friends tell them verbally”. I mean, let’s call a spade a spade. You’re instructing guetss about gifts. So don’t say it’s rude to… instruct guests about gifts!
katie February 1, 2013, 1:55 pm
yes, please, tell the people that are the intended target of saying “that action is rude” to, and see how they feel after that…
again, thats just a really polite way to say that you are rude. oh, your *actions* are rude… your *actions* arent following etiquette, you are fine… bless your heart.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:25 pm
Personally, I enjoy Bless your Heart. Having not grown up in the south, I didn’t fully appreciate the passive-aggressiveness (some may call it phony, but it really isn’t meant that way in my experience, just a dodge from saying something really nasty) but after lawschool in the SEC… well “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil” took on a whole new meaning for me 🙂
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:58 pm
I usually say “it is rude to do X”..not you’re rude. Etiquette exsists for a reason, because it is the most widely accepted set of social and office “rules” that make the widest range of people comfortable. If a person choses not to follow etiquette that’s choice.
I almost always preface my posts (I realize I did not today) with “From an etiquette stand point” or something of the like. If you don’t want to follow the etiquette advice I share, then don’t.
katie February 1, 2013, 12:56 pm
well, honestly- look at it from this perspective. you etiquette guys are “allowed” to say that what you are doing is proper, and if people dont follow these rules, they are tackly/rude/whatever. so really, all etiquette does is allow others to look down upon people who dont follow it.
how is that ok?
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:58 pm
I think there’s a HUGE difference between saying “etiquette says” and “if you don’t follow it, you are the rudest person eva”
katie February 1, 2013, 1:16 pm
what a great example! saying, “etiquette says” is just a polite, etiquette driven way of judging someone for making a choice that goes against imaginary rules.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 1:23 pm
But they aren’t imaginary. You might think they are arbitrary, but all rules are arbitrary as you get closer to the bright lines that define them — its what makes them rules.
They aren’t imaginary because they are designed to avoid offending people. People got offended by the assumption that they should give a gift if they go to a wedding; so it became considered rude to do so. Things that were rude were eventually collected and written down so as to create a nice clear list of rules to follow that derived from common sense wisdom and cultural norms. That isn’t imaginary.
katie February 1, 2013, 1:30 pm
well, yes, they are imaginary. they are not gravity or math. they are imaginary. mentioning gifts is offensive because….. someone said so. thats the only reason.
and, honestly, the only people who are ever offended are the people who follow them. so really, what is that accomplishing?
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 1:41 pm
I disagree. It’s not like the world is divided into two categories: scientific non-imaginary things (e.g. gravity) and imaginary things (everything else). Plus, math is often imaginary (literally: imaginary numbers).
Mentioning gifts isn’t offensive because someone said it was offensive. To some people, mentioning gifts on an invitation means that the writer of the invitation expects to get gifts. To those people, they are offended by the fact that someone who just invited them to a celebration automatically assumed that the guest would bring a present; they were offended by the idea that the guest is “supposed” to bring a gift. (“What if I don’t want to bring a gift? By virtue of the fact that you are getting married, you are telling me I am obligated to give you a gift and now you tell me that I don’t have to? Thanks, but who said I was going to in the first place! I want to give presents because I want to, not because you think I should. Argo fuck yourself”) They believe it is presumptuous and, well, rude.
It was because so many people felt this same way that it became a convention — don’t discuss gifts on invitations . When compiled with all the other things you do so as not to offend people, and streamlined to create a consistent set of social behaviors, it became the “rules of ettiquite.”
Of course, NOW, breaking the rules itself is considered rude. But the rules themselves were grounded in what was already considered rude, not just arbitrarily decided on.
theattack February 1, 2013, 1:24 pm
Wow, Katie. I think you’re being pretty defensive about it. If that’s the case, there’s no possible way to even talk about etiquette without it being judgmental. Think about it. If you can’t say “Etiquette says…” in a conversation ABOUT the most polite way to do something, what can you say without coming across as judgmental? Seriously, please tell me how.
katie February 1, 2013, 1:35 pm
thats exactly my point! etiquette is just a *really* polite way to be judgmental, because there is an arbitrary right and wrong way to do stuff.
its like the stereotypical southern insult “bless her heart”. very nice, but ultimately judgmental.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:42 pm
But its a discussion about etiquette! If we were discussing how to eat properly, and you said ‘no elbows on the table’ when I had elbows on the table, I wouldn’t think you were saying I was rude, I would think you were still in the discussion of eating properly. Now, if we were talking about Jeopardy and you came out of nowhere to tell me its rude for me to have my elbows on the table, that’d be different.
theattack February 1, 2013, 1:46 pm
I know you and I will never agree on etiquette issues. To try to explain it more broadly though, etiquette is just a set of social courtesies that have existed for years and years and years. If etiquette never existed, none of this would matter. Because it does exist though, it’s a very easy way to keep everyone happy and to let everyone know you’re interested in treating them with courtesy. If I avoid putting my registry info on my invitation, how is that judgmental to you? It’s not. Honestly, if a wedding guestlist ONLY included young people or people who don’t know any etiquette, this wouldn’t be an issue. If your guests know any etiquette though, you might have an interest in following it, especially in the age of bridezillas who don’t care about anyone else. Following it takes minimal effort and barely affects the couple, so I don’t see a good reason to not follow it.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 1:51 pm
But there is a “wrong” and a “right” way to do something.
If someone sent an invitation out that said:
Attention friends and family. Miss Jones is getting married on March 5, 2014 to Mr. Smith. You are expected to attend. You are expected to wear a brand new long gown or a tuxedo, but rentals are not allowed. You are expected to send a present equal to or above the cost of your and your date’s dinner, which will be $120 a head. Gifts to a charity in their name do not count towards the cost of the dinner. You are expected to arrive on time, guests will not be permitted to enter the hall after 6:00 sharp. If you miss the ceremony, you will not be admitted to the dinner.
You will be having the beef. No substitutions may be made.
You must rsvp by January 1, 2013. If your RSVP is not received by then, you are expected to come.”
I think we can all agree that this is the WRONG WAY to send an invitation. Is that a judgment? Yes. But is it accurate? Hells yes. Everything else is just matters of degrees. As you get closer to the lines, it seems more arbitrary, but just because you think that mentioning presents should be on the other side of the ettiquette line of ok v. not ok on invitations doesn’t mean that there aren’t any lines at all.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:29 pm
What? That’s not what I meant at all. Its just informative.
theattack February 1, 2013, 1:05 pm
I don’t think it does that at all. I don’t look down on people who don’t follow etiquette. My extended family has probably never heard of Emily Post. But if you know that there is a generally accepted social rule, isn’t it a courtesy to your friends and family to follow it so that they feel like you care about them enough to show them respect by following social courtesies? It is not hard at all to follow etiquette. It takes about twenty minutes to learn most of the basics of wedding etiquette, and most of it takes minimal effort to follow.
I’m going to steal 6napkin’s comment above and paste it here, because she said perfectly what I’ve been trying to say all along:
“I like having a set of rules for everyone to follow; I have no problem with the concept that there is a way things should be done. We all keep saying that no matter what you do, someone will be offended. Well, no, not back in the day; if you followed the rules of etiquette — no one was offended. They were created to avoid causing offense.
Now, some people might not care if they cause offense, which is fine. You CAN put anything you want on an invitation. And then you can ignore the people who are put out by what you put in it. Or you can be hurt. But you shouldn’t really be confused by it. And if you’re lucky, no one will care, but some might. If you are trying to avoid that, there is a set of rules you can follow that do not cause offense.”
JK February 1, 2013, 1:08 pm
OMG Katie, agreeing on 2 things in the same day? That has GOT to be a record for us.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 1:46 pm
I’m going to lock you two kids in a closet until you come out best friends. I love you both. So deal with it!
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 1:31 pm
But do you see the complete bullshit in this? You want to pretend you’re being polite by not putting the word “gifts” on the invite, but you’re ok with it on a website or telling people – it’s the same damn thing – you’re instructing guests about gifts. And why? Because of the HUGEASS PINK ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM – and that is, with weddings, comes an expectation of gifts. You can pretend all day long that your wedding comes with no such obligation …. but it does. So, if you want to just be upfront about it, where’s the problem? I don’t have a problem with doing it the way you or GG do it. My problem is that you and GG are saying it’s WRONG to do it our way. And the reason you’re saying it’s WRONG is because it’s impolite to mention gifts…. So I just want to point out the irony that you ARE mentioning gifts too – just not on the invite, but there’s absolutely NO logic there what so ever.
theattack February 1, 2013, 1:38 pm
I’m not arguing the logic of it. I’ll admit that logically it doesn’t make sense on its own, but combined with years and years and years of tradition regarding courtesy, there’s a very valid reason to do things that way.
And NO I’m not saying you can’t do things your way. I’m saying (and I’m almost certain GG is saying as well) that if you’re interested in following etiquette (the LW is), there are specific ways you’re supposed to do things. If you’re not interested in following etiquette, go for it, but realize that you’re risking offending someone, especially if your guestlist includes multiple generations.
Caris February 2, 2013, 10:22 pm
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 10:28 pm
Caris where have you been?
Caris February 3, 2013, 12:25 am
Lurking 😛 but I couldn’t resist that one. Reading this just made me think of that demotivator.
Eagle Eye February 1, 2013, 1:40 pm
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 1:44 pm
I’m saying it is wrong from an etiquette stand point. Not that you’re a bad person or something like that for chosing to not follow the rules of etiquette.
Also, there is not really any established etiquette for wedding websites. They are too new. You are only supposed to tell people where you are registered if they ask, and the registry info on a website is for the convience of a guest who choses to give you a gift. Mentioning gifts on an invitation, in my opinion, eludes to the gifts being a ticket or entrance fee into a wedding. IMO, that is NOT okay. I hope that anyone who gives a gift at our wedding does so out of kidness or excitement for our wedding or generosity- not because they feel obligated to give us a gift. Making gifts the focus (which I beleive listing the info on your invitation does that) makes it seem like guests are obligated to bring gifts. And I never want my guest to feel that way.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 1:53 pm
But… this whole discussion is about adding “no gifts please” to the invite. How does that make guests feel like they are obligated to bring gifts? Unless it’s opposite day. Which then I totally get you! 😉
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 2:11 pm
Because saying no gifts implies gifts are expected. And they aren’t.
rachel February 1, 2013, 2:16 pm
But gifts ARE expected at a wedding! Otherwise no one would have a registry at all. I don’t get how it’s rude to elude to the fact that people assume that wedding = gifts. It’s not like you’re saying that YOU expect gifts…in fact it’s saying exactly the opposite.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 2:18 pm
Oh. But … why then is it ok to put a registry or whatnot on a website? If you say because etiquette rules are dated and have not yet been revised to address websites yet, i’m going to poop on my chair. … It’s like peope who say no sex before marriage but they’re ok with butt sex b/c the bible doesn’t mention anal sex. (There’s logic there, I swear to God!)
If you think it’s rude to mention gifts, then don’t mention gifts – and don’t spread the word. … Right? I mean, at least then you’re being consistent.
JK February 1, 2013, 2:21 pm
@AP apparently there are no rules about the websites yet, so all is fair. In 10 years when etiquette catches up with modern technology I wonder what loopholes people are going to have to invent!
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 2:41 pm
@AP I fail to see how the buttsex argument is relevant. There was no etiquette regarding e-mails for a few years when they were brand new, and then etiquette caught up. With changing technology there will always be a lag in commonly accepted social rules.
And when I say spread the info word-of-mouth, I mean when someone calls the mother of the bride/groom and asks about the registry or gifts, it is 110% acceptable for the mother to say they are registered at X, or are saving for a home so a contribution would be greatly apprecaited, or that presence is present enough. I’m not saying make a phone chain to spread the word.
And I stand by that gifts are not expected at a wedding. They aren’t! My registry is primarily for my showers- which by definition are gift giving occaions.
Paki February 1, 2013, 2:56 pm
@AP – I love in argument about wedding invitation etiquette, throwing in Butt Sex…. wonder if that can be worked into the inviation? no, gifts that don’t involve butt sex.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 3:03 pm
GG, ok, next quetion – honest etiquette question here. What is the etiquette with giving gifts at weddings these days? My mom used to say $50-100 per person but I think she’s stuck in the 80s. I think it’s more like $100-200 now, right? Or it could vary from location to location. What’s your rule of thumb?
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 3:04 pm
paki, if you say that, you know inevitably some jerkoff will try to weasel in oral sex. some people are just rude!
rachel February 1, 2013, 3:09 pm
But if the gift is given to you at your shower…it’s still a gift for your wedding! I don’t get the distinction. You still made a wedding registry at BB&B or wherever, because people are expected (at some point, shower or whenever) to get you a present because you are getting married.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 3:14 pm
GG, really what is the Rule about giving gifts. Because I still owe presents from two weddings in the fall – I know I’m late. They were both super nice weddings but of friends that I am not super close to. What would be an acceptable gift at this point? I’m thinking $100 per person (so $200 – me and my date). Right?
Wendy February 1, 2013, 3:21 pm
When I got married three and a half years ago, friends who gave cash gifts gave an average of $100 total (usually from two people). That is more than enough and typically what I/we give as a wedding gift. We might even give $75 for people we aren’t so close to.$200 for a not-so-close friend seems excessive, but maybe that’s typical in the culture of your social circle, I don’t know (for reference, we and most of my friends are comfortably middle class).
Wendy February 1, 2013, 3:25 pm
Now I am remembering that I was really surprised by the friends who gave more (like in the $200-$300 range), and that it was super generous but totally unnecessary to spend that much on us!
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 3:17 pm
@AP I don’t think there is an official amount (so to speak) I used to go by the “cost of your plate” thing but I think thats dumb now. We usually give a $50 gift at the shower (well every shower if we’re invited to multiples, but you’re not really supposted to have cross over guests if you have multiple showers..I digress) and a $100 to $150 gift at the wedding. We usuallly give physical gifts for both but try to mail the wedding gift ahead of time so the couple doesn’t have to figure out transport post wedding. I would like to give more along the $150 to $200 range but our finances don’t allow for that right now.
And rachel, while the difference is minute, there is one. A wedding shower traditionally is the closest most intimate friends and family of the bride, a wedding is usually a much wider group. An invitation to a shower is to and event that is designed to help the bride set up to care for her soon to be husband, an invitation to a wedding is an invitation to watch the couple marry, and the reception is a thank you to guests for being whitness to the ceremony. A registry is often set up for the shower and many brides who do not have a shower don’t register. (yes I realise this is all slightly nuts, but it truely is the best way to not offend the largest number of people)
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 3:26 pm
And BOOM! So you admit there’s a certain amount that’s expected! (Ok, my trap didn’t work as well as I had hoped.) Here’s my point – on the one hand, you say, the rules say it’s rude to expect gifts. But then you must admit there are rules that say you must give a gift. And even if no rule says it, you have to admit there’s an expectation of gift giving! So if someone wants to realy discourage gifts so their guests don’t want to give gifts, why is that rude?
Oh fuck it. I’m going to eat a late lunch. I think we’ll have to just agree to … that I’m right.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 3:26 pm
For whatever polling you are doing AP, I generally give $100 per person invited, so $200 for me n bf, $300 for me, bf, child. I can’t think of a time where I would give less for people I don’t like much or know well, only bc I’ve never gone to a wedding for someone I’m not pretty close with.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 3:34 pm
My pollling was more so for GG to admit that it’s hogwash to say she doesn’t expect gifts (which is her logic for not putting “no gifts please” on the invite) when THERE IS AN EXPECTATION OF GIFTS – about the cost of your plate, at least. Or $100 a person, or WHATEVER. The point is, there *is* an expectation of gifts so why is it rude to let friends know no gifts are required if you want your friends to not have to worry about it?
Seriously, i’m 3 hours overdue my sandwich. C R A N K Y!
rachel February 1, 2013, 3:36 pm
Yeah, I dunno, it’s all the same to me. If I weren’t invited to a shower, but were invited to the wedding, I would still feel obligated to give a gift. And honestly, most weddings I’ve been to, there wasn’t any shower. It all just seems so arbitrary to me.
Also, sorry, but this phrase “event that is designed to help the bride set up to care for her soon to be husband” made me want to puke.
CatsMeow February 1, 2013, 3:42 pm
@rachel – ditto on the hurling. WTF? I think it goes to show how outdated the “rules” surrounding weddings are.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 3:43 pm
Sorry I didn’t fall into your trap AP. I just searched around Emily Post and came up with this
“If you are invited to the wedding ceremony itself, and not just a reception, you should send a gift, whether you will attend or not. Generally, gifts are sent to the bride in advance of the wedding. In some localities, gifts are brought to the reception and placed on a special table. If you hear from family that the couple would prefer a charitable donation — William and Kate are a perfect example — please respect their wishes. Ask the couple, their attendants or close family where they are registered. It’s fine to buy a gift off-registry, but take a look first to get an idea of their style and needs. There is no price range you must hit for your gift to be “acceptable”. When considering price, think of your budget and your relationship to the couple. What you spend on your sister will likely differ from what you spend on a gift for a colleague or old college roommate.”
So apparently if you are invited to the ceremony it correct to send a gift. If you’re only invited to the reception you do not need to give a gift.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 3:49 pm
@AP… I was thinking around $200 per couple, but I also recognize that there is great regionality throughout the US in not just gifts but what is expected at weddings. (Where I grew up in the NE a sit down dinner was the norm, I’ve now discovered that isn’t the norm everywhere – heck I had to teach my husband’s friends what to do at a wedding in Philly because they had never been to a wedding with assigned seating and a sit down dinner). I sometimes because of financial concerns might make that higher or lower depending on the travel costs, number of pre-events, etc. because I’m not made of money. Oddly enough I also tend to overcompensate for weddings that I can’t attend.
Random examples… Folks in the NYC area might be used to larger sums handed to them in cash (think typical Italian wedding with the bag like in Goodfellas) whereas folks in Birmingham might go more traditional and get a place setting or serving pieces. I’ve also heard that people from Ohio tend to be cheap… but I don’t know if that were specific family related gripes, or just that the expectations for the event are lower in the midwest.
ele4phant February 1, 2013, 1:17 pm
Agree. It’s not like this is a law of gravity. It is only rude if people perceive it to be rude. Undoubtly, there are still social groups that would be majorly put off by any mention of gifts – but there are lots who aren’t bothered by it at all. There are even some people (like me!) who would prefer things to be made more explicit. To me it’s too much left unsaid/ me having to intuit what the couple would prefer when they could just tell me.
I guess what I am saying is any engaged couple should look at their guest list and do what will make those closest to them happy. Obvisouly there will be a diversity of opinions and some people may get offended, but honestly do what will make your closest friends an family comfortable even if that means offending your stuffy great aunt Mildred who you’ve met twice.
wendykh February 6, 2013, 12:57 pm
Etiquette in general can indeed vary. I’m always baffled when I hear Miss Manners claim there’s no obligation on the host to serve the wine a dinner guest brings. The hell there isn’t. And worse, that if unserved, the guest cannot take it home nor ask for it. I can tell you if my friends brought the wine to my dinner party, it would be utterly foul and talked about for months if I did not serve it. Further, it would be gasp worthy to show up without it. Additionally, if it wasn’t served (we didn’t get to it!) I’d probably not be spoken to again should I not offer it back. Finally, oddly, once I offer it back they would be considered utter oafs for not telling me to keep it (provided they brought nothing else to the meal). I’d be a social pariah if I followed Miss Manners’ rules on bringing wine….
Lucy February 1, 2013, 5:14 pm
This isn’t accurate actually. You can’t mention gifts in the invite at all, but you can spread via word of mouth or your wedding website that you’d prefer no gifts. I looked into this pretty thoroughly for my wedding as we already had a well established household, and of all our friends and family we needed cash gifts the least. We put on our website that we were unrgeistered because we would really prefer not to receive any gifts, and suggested a couple of charities that we believed in that people could donate to if they so desired.
We did receive a few token gifts anyway, which was nice.
Eagle Eye February 1, 2013, 11:47 am
I actually think that just mentioning “no presents please your presence is gift enough” is acceptable because my grandmother (who is a stickler for good manners) has repeatedly added it to her various invitations for the various parties she’s thrown over the years. So, I think that a small, discreet note at the bottom of the invitation is fine.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 11:57 am
It should definitely not be on the wedding invitation. It’s never acceptable to mention gifts on a wedding invitation. You could put it on an enclosure card or on a wedding website, but I still think saying no gifts is rude.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 12:03 pm
“It’s never acceptable”? Says who?! I mean, I feel like you’re so deep in wedding rules that you’ve lost the forest for the trees. I would find it acceptable. So, boom! Clearly it’s not “never” acceptable.
But sass aside, what then is the best way to say you don’t want guests to feel obligated to give gifts/cash without violating a wedding rule? Like LBH asked above? I’m actually curous. Because I am not (obviously) up to speed on all the wedding rules, and there must be a way to let friends know they really truly need not feel pressured to bring a gift. How do you say that?
Eagle Eye February 1, 2013, 12:04 pm
I don’t know, like I said, my grandmother has used it repeatedly, and she’s from a particular elite class where offending someone is just about as easy as sneezing, so I think that it wouldn’t be a big deal to make a small note.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 12:04 pm
According to the Rules of Etiquette, GatorGirl is right.
Which is why websites make the whole thing easier. Others might disagree, but I think all couples should do a website for their guests (through one of those sites) – as opposed to being bridezilla-y or “another part of the juggernaut wedding industry”, it makes things SO easy for your guests. A centralized place to post directions and links to surrounding hotels and what time things start and what time people really should get there and if they should not wear heels if its going to be on grass, and if the church requires shoulder covering? SO USEFUL!
AND there is no formalized etiquette!! So post THERE that you don’t want presents, or links to a registry or a charity, or one of those registries for money for for furniture, or for day trips during the honeymoon. And include a slip of paper in the envelope with the invites with the website, or on the same sheet as directions. IT ISN’T GAUCHE TO DO THAT! YAY! EVERYONE WINS!
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:09 pm
I also have found those seriously helpful.
Eagle Eye February 1, 2013, 12:10 pm
I actually had some friends forgo the wedding invitation and just email everyone the link to their really beautiful wedding website, they saved a ton of money (to be spent on cake, dresses and other lovely things – the wedding was beautiful) and it was so much easier than trying to wrangle pieces of paper.
They also had tabs for everything like gifts and the like.
katie February 1, 2013, 12:11 pm
problem, though- if this bride (LW2) is a really low key, i dont even want presents or pre-parties kind of bride, do you really think she would make a website/wedsite/whatever?
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 12:22 pm
That’s kind of my point — I don’t care how low key you are, I think every couple who invites more than 10 people to a wedding should make a website. It’s just so much easier for the guests and if everyone means what they say about “hating the ‘its my day'” bullshit, then making life easier for the guests by doing something that can take like, a half an hour if you really don’t care that much, should be something they do.
AND the added benefit is that you can say things that you can’t/wouldn’t put in the invite.
Firestar February 1, 2013, 12:55 pm
I wouldn’t dream of having a site and we had 70 guests. Everyone was literate and figured out where they had to be for what time from the invite. I’m not offended by someone telling me no gifts. I’d be offended if someone said cash only. You need to look to the spirit behind what is said before finding offence. If something is worded nicely and isn’t obtrusive then I have no problem. Then again we don’t have etiquette police friends so it wasn’t an issue for us.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 1:00 pm
etiquette police friends, hehe. me either firestar! well i do, but i know who they are and they’re never offended by me, haha. at least not to my face 😉
Firestar February 1, 2013, 1:24 pm
How exhausting to be so prim all the time…especially with loved ones. We could have emailed an invite to our wedding and no one would have cared because they would have been too excited about the two of us getting married and the prospect of eating wedding cake!
Which reminds me…I’m so sad I have no wedding invite prospects in the near future…everyone is either married or definitely single….so no cake for me. 🙁
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 1:39 pm
yeah i was thinking about that while reading through these. no one i know is getting married any time soon. and wedding cake really is the best!
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:08 pm
You need to look to the spirit behind what is said before finding offence.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 2:09 pm
Why “wouldn’t [you] dream of having a site?” I get that you didn’t and it worked out great for you, so yay, but what’s up with the judgment about having a site where people can go for info?
I’d consider myself fairly literate, but incredibly absentminded, and I lose almost everything I touch. If they don’t have a site, Iwill call up the bride or another friend, so it’s not like I don’t go, but I don’t love having to bother the bride about stupid details that were on the invitation.
It’s just that my side of this debate keeps getting slapped with the “judgmental” label as supporting an argument for why we’re wrong, and this seems very judgmental about people who have websites. My point is that i do not believe they should be considered part of the “high strung” bridezilla culture, but as a very convenient, guest-friendly, easy-to-set-up information conduit.
Firestar February 1, 2013, 3:45 pm
I think every couple who invites more than 10 people to a wedding should make a website.
And that’s not judgey? You want a website go ahead …but don’t tell someone they SHOULD if they invite more than 9 people. FWIW, It might be all the “should-ing” that is bringing on the judgemental labels you are talking about.
I wouldn’t dream of it because we weren’t having a WEDDING – complete with bridal shows, bachelorette parties and bridesmaids. We were getting married in an intimate ceremony in front of friends and family. And everything everyone needed to know could be communicated in the invite. If someone lost the invite then they could have called us – we only invited people we speak to on the regular. But if you are scared of losing the invite, the fix isn’t someone hosting a website with all the information already provided to you – the fix is you buying a magnet and putting the invite on your fridge.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 4:50 pm
No, saying that everyone with more than 10 people invited to their wedding should have a website actually isn’t judgy. I also think that everyone should eat their vegetables because it’s good for them. If you don’t eat your vegetables, ok, well, you know how I feel about it in general, but I can hardly be said to be judging you for not doing so, just because I think that everyone should. And that doesn’t make me a hater for saying so in the first place.
I think that it is a nice convenient thing to do for the guests of a wedding with minimal effort, and I stand by that. You didn’t want to because it was needed in your case, cool. Your call.
Not that responding to my “I lose everything, so I find websites convenient and I take it to be a nice gesture to those who have trouble keeping track of things” with “then don’t lose it” wasn’t appreciated.
Firestar February 1, 2013, 5:11 pm
Eating my veggies benefits me to no one else’s detriment. Going through the time and expense of hosting a website because you might lose your invite benefits you at a cost to me. Is it nice? Sure. But you aren’t saying I appreciate the gesture when someone does it. You are saying “I don’t care how low key you are” everyone with more than 10 guests SHOULD do it – and that, my dear literate friend, is totally different …and just speaks of your sense of entitlement as far as I’m concerned. I’m bad with invites therefore you should spend time and money hosting a site for me also.
I wonder if Emily Post has a section on that.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 5:58 pm
It isn’t a sense of entitlement — I don’t think they should do it because it benefits me to their detriment, I think it is a useful thing that has a minimal cost to the couple by using a free site that one does not need to update and is appreciated by many guests.
You’re right, I wasn’t just saying “It would be lovely”, I was saying “people should” and i didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. Just like I think weddings during the winter should have a coat check (or at least coat racks), and there should be a vegetarian option — those are all things that benefit guests to the detriment (i.e. planning or paying) of the couple, but those detriments are outweighed by their usefulness to the guests. I was also saying that couples SHOULD have one to avoid the mess that we’ve been talking about because they are a win-win-win for couple, easily offended guest and ms. manners. I think it is way ruder to look at it like “if my guests can’t get their shit together not to lose the invitation, then sucks to be them, they can call me” as a hostess, instead of looking at the easy, available convenient options to help your guests out. Not that I think that all people who don’t have one think like that. Some might think that they just don’t need one, like I think you did when you didn’t make one. I am saying that you might have had guests who would have appreciated one, and for other couples, they are invaluable, regarding appropriate footwear, attire, hotel accomidations, weird conditions that travellers might not be aware of, not having to ask the bride who the bridesmaids are if you thought you were going to be one, etc. etc. As such, because of the (possible) benefit, and the small detriment, I think that couples who have more than 10 guests should have one. If they don’t want to, cool,I just disagree with the wisdom of that decision in the abstract.
Plus your counter to my argument was inapt. Whether or not it is a benefit or a detriment (and to whom it benefits or hurts) does not affect whether or not I was a judging you by making a blanket “should” statement before you offered that you did not have one.
Firestar February 1, 2013, 7:15 pm
Given all your “shoulds” then you should be under no illusion as to why you have been called judgemental. A cursory glance at the definition might help. And maybe one at entitlement too.
To each their own I guess – I just have a sudden overwhelming appreciation of my friend circle after this exchange though.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:46 pm
Hopefully she’s considering that people are travelling so at least she’s putting out some information about places to stay, things to do, etc. That’s what I had to do for mine. You can go crazy with the websites, or you can just select 3 tabs to fill out with some quick and easy info.
FWIW – I also put in an info card with my wedding invite, and used word of mouth. And at the end of the day it was just easier to register for some things because people kept asking and asking… and I’m not having that argument with my FMIL’s great aunt who can’t attend but wants to send “something”
Also, It’s so weird/hard trying to be a low-key bride because nowadays people seem to expect bridezilla or a bunch of pre-parties, etc. so if you are not down with all of that it’s like it’s your fault for creating drama when you are just trying to be mellow and not add to the national debt for one day!
theattack February 1, 2013, 12:49 pm
What 6nap said. It’s not for you. It’s for the guests. It’s for everyone who lost their directions or needs to find a close hotel or wants to know what else there is to do in the area, etc.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 12:11 pm
i guess this is happening less and less but there are many people (like my grandparents) who refuse to use a computer. they would never go to a wedding website and they would be HIGHLY offended if you told them they had to in order to get details.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 12:25 pm
I totally agree. While I get why some would go all online, if we are playing by the rules of ettiquette, I think there should be a formal invitation with the date/time/location, and personally, I am ok with an enclosure with directions and/or hotels in the area. That would be enough for grandma. BUT, I also think that the couple should have a website with all the other details AS WELL AS the same details in the invitation and enclosed directions, but for idiots like me who lose them. again, everyone wins that way!
Plus, you wouldn’t put in an invitation “don’t wear heels, it is all grass” — that’s something that got spread around. It can still get spread around through family and phone calls, but if it’s on the website, it stands a better chance of reaching everyone.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:28 pm
I totally agree with everything you’re saying, btw.
Our ceremony and reception are outdoors and while I would never put on our invitation “don’t wear heels, it’s all grass” I surely did on my website! It was also helpful to know for two weddings we went to recently that they were outdoors (which was listed onthe website) so I could plan my outfit accordingly.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:47 pm
They could get those heel cover thingys. They work really well, in case anyone’s wondering.
theattack February 1, 2013, 1:14 pm
I was wondering actually, so thanks! My bridesmaids are all in a tizzy over whether they should try those things or just wear flats, and one of them is concerned she’s too “fat” for those things to support her.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:37 pm
I know heavier set people who’ve worn them and they are fine. They’re only a couple bucks, tell her try em out.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 12:29 pm
yeah i guess my point was more, no matter what you’re going to do, someone is probably going to be offended.
i actually like the websites more than invitations.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:48 pm
I also put on my website info about shoes – my wedding ceremony was on a beach and I wanted people to be prepared because that would have sucked if you weren’t expecting it. Some brought extra flip flops, some embraced barefoot, some stayed on the deck with their nice shoes on 😉
ele4phant February 1, 2013, 3:44 pm
Why wouldn’t you put details like its an outdoor wedding and they should dress accordingly in the invite? Is that pertinent information guests would find important. Personally I find it a little rude and irritating to be made to hunt down details like that. Tell me what I need to know when you invite me, don’t make search that kind of stuff out myself.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 3:57 pm
Well in my case I actually did, I worded the invitation to state something along the lines of “X and Y invite you to the beach wedding of…” or something like that. Hasn’t even been 6 months and I’ve already flushed so many details from my brain!! Then I reinforced on the website with a picture of my venue, also stating that there would be regular seating for those who wished, since I knew there would be some questions – and my attendees were scattered all over (and over half of them I didn’t know because they were family of my fiance).
Firestar you’re lucky you knew everyone at your wedding – I had over 50 people (all family on my fiance’s side) invited that I had never even met much less be close enough with to communicate on the regular.
Firestar February 1, 2013, 5:56 pm
But your fiancé would be able to communicate with them – no? Between the two of you you would have it covered.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 7:02 pm
That’s what I thought in the beginning. Ha ha ha 🙂 Silly me.
My fiance knows them well, mostly from family events and Christmas because they are scattered, but communication is not a strong suit in his large family… it took weeks just to get all the addresses and 3-4 of them were still wrong. Those were good times.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 11:47 am
Wedding rules and etiquette make me want to throw up. New rule: no more wedding rules. I think of people had ZERO expectations about what the bride/groom/MIL/bridesmaid/family/guest/etc. is supposed to do or not do or say or not say or give or not give, then no one can get their panties in a wad when the opposite happens. Ta da, stressless weddings for all!
JK February 1, 2013, 11:50 am
I totally agree. I don´t get all the “that looks wrong, you´re not supposed to be thinking about presents”.
Who are we kidding, we know a lot of people will want presents (namely those that register, or have multiple showers,etc). How can that not be frowned upon, but a little note saying “your presence is our present” be wrong?
Eagle Eye February 1, 2013, 11:50 am
Hah, I know! My loving family be damned when it comes time to get married, I’m eloping! In an awesome dress though, because that pretty much seems to be the best part of being a bride, plus cake, I really like cake…
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:02 pm
Seriously elope. I am up to my eyeballs wedding planning and seriously wishing I had eloped.
JK February 1, 2013, 12:04 pm
If you really feel that way (judging by several comments along the same line) why dont you just cancel everything and elope? No point in going through something you wont enjoy
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:07 pm
So true. I feel like she answered once before that its the fiance who wants a big wedding. But seriously, if I were that miserable, I wouldn’t go through with it and I’d just elope. Save your $ for something would will enjoy!
JK February 1, 2013, 12:10 pm
Weird that its the guy pushing for a big wedding. Seriously, if a coupoe cant compromise on what wedding they like, how will they manage with other stuff? No one should be made miserable to please the other person.
katie February 1, 2013, 12:12 pm
jake’s brother was the one that wanted the traditional wedding too.. lol maybe that happens a lot… his wife just wanted to elope- and she spent most of the week before with me drinking wine while jakes brother and mother stressed out majorly about everything.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:15 pm
I’m not miserable, I just have a lot on my plate (and yes my fiance is very involved in the planning/organizing/decision making). I want a bigger wedding too. His family is very traditional and from the South so there are certain expectations, from both my fiance and from his parents who are helping to pay for a substantial chunk of the wedding. We’ve actually compromied a lot during this whole process and are having the wedding both of us want, but it’s still a lot to plan from over 900 miles away.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:53 pm
GG- someday we will have to start a thread about marrying into southern families 🙂
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:53 pm
My guy comes from a big family and also pushed the wedding, I don’t think it is as unusual as people think, especially since they also tend to have no clue about what goes into it 😉
Caris February 2, 2013, 10:33 pm
I don’t want a wedding. My bf does. I’m still trying to convince him of elopement. Thankfully I have many years ahead of me to convince him.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:11 pm
Well, we’re less than 4 months away, non refundable deposits have been made, guests have been sent save the dates and made hotel/travel accomodations. It’s not really an option to cancel right now, it would create even more of a headache.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:12 pm
What if it were easy and free to cancel? Would you?
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:24 pm
No, I wouldn’t. I want to have the wedding. I just don’t want to plan it anymore. And there are still decisions that have to be made, meetings that have to be held, dress alterations etc. I’m really looking forward to the actual ceremony and party but I don’t like planning it.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:29 pm
Ok, good. I’m happy again 🙂
katie February 1, 2013, 12:14 pm
GG, its always an option. sure, non-refundable deposits are gone, but you wont have to pay the remainder of the bills, and all it takes is an afternoon of phone calls… it does happen. people do it. its totally an option.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:21 pm
I would feel terrible since I know of quite a few guests who have made non-refundable hotel and airfare reservations.
I realize I could cancel, technically speaking, but it’s not an option in my eyes.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 12:30 pm
The only good reasons to cancel a wedding at this stage would be: (1) if one of the couple no longer wants to get married; (2) a sudden illness or death in the family (g-d forbid); (3) natural disaster (but this far in advance, it would have to like, take out the city).
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:36 pm
Yup, I agree. Being a little stressed about details and a little overwhelmed with decision making is not a valid reason. I signed up for this, I have to deal with and get through to the awesome event.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:55 pm
The event will be awesome GG!!! Drink heavily, but not too heavily, and you will be amazed at how much you have even forgotten about by the time it’s over.
JK February 1, 2013, 12:20 pm
4 more months is a long time to be miserable over planning a PARTY. I just dont see the point. Scale things back if you dont want to elope.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 12:32 pm
I don’t beleive I said I was miserable. I’m a little overwhelmed and a little stressed, but I am by no means miserable. A lot of planning process is fun, but it is a lot of work.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 12:35 pm
LBH used the phrase first, because she was worried that you WERE miserable, which made her sad.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:51 pm
Oops, sorry. For the record, I’m glad you explained that you hate the planning, but love the results. I totally get that. And I hope no one is offending you for thinking the whole no gift thing is weird. I know you know all there is to know about etiquette, so just bc some parts of it seem weird to me, its not me insulting you or thinking you’re strange.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 1:03 pm
I’m not offended. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I like to follow “the rules” more closely than others. I get that. I did break a rule though. We listed Ikea gift cards on our registry section- which is “rude” in the etiquette world. So even I don’t follow all the rules all the time!
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:58 pm
@JK – have you gotten married or planned a wedding? you seem to think switches can just be flipped and it’s not that easy… I know, because I lived through it.
I think another issue, and if I remember correctly GG was in a similar position, is that my engagement was too long to be thinking about a wedding, and the minutiae you can get into with that much time (but that’s just the way it had to be with us because of schedules, etc.) just started to grate on my type A planning OCD personality.
JK February 1, 2013, 1:04 pm
Yes I am married, luckily I live in a country where there isn´t such a huge pressure on weddings, brides, etc. SO it can be done.
In my case we had a simple wedding, and then lunch at a restaurant with our nearest and dearest. Everyone was happy, nobody got offended (except for one coworker that wasnt invited, not that she would have been even if wed wanted a big party).
We don´t do engagements here, either. And seriously, life is so much less drama filled.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 1:44 pm
Gotcha – didn’t realize. Now I’m jealous of whatever country you come from 😉
mandalee February 1, 2013, 2:00 pm
I don’t know, I live in the US, and I kind of think all of this OMG WEDDING PLANNING! that bride’s get into is kind of silly. I had a 130 person wedding that I planned from four states away, and that I paid for myself and wrote the ceremony too… and I don’t know, it was just a big celebration, and I didn’t have a wedding website and no one missed our “how we met” bio. I can’t remember ever stressing about it. Details don’t matter, feed your guests, give them booze, get married, the end. lol All these rules and requirements, I just don’t get it.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:33 pm
Bless your heart mandalee 🙂
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 1:07 pm
I also think that JK being from another country/culture also plays into this discussion quite a bit. What is expected varies greatly.
We’re having a 14 month engagement when it’s all said and done, and what you describe is exactly the problem. A decision that I thought was made 6 months ago is rearing it’s head again and now has to be rediscussed. Basically every decision other than my dress is being rediscussed. It’s exhausting. We’re at the crunch time now where shit has got to be figured out.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 1:08 pm
JK has been married for like 10 years 😉 but she had a small courthouse wedding if i remember correctly. (i apparently know way too much about her, haha ;))
i think the implications of how hard it is to cancel a wedding are why so many people go through with them when they realize it’s not the right thing. yes, you lose money, yes, you piss some people off. but, if you realized it really wasn’t going to work and you had to cancel, people would understand. or at least i’d hope they would. if they wouldn’t i’m not sure i’d want to be friends with them! even if it was because of money or stress or whatever.
JK February 1, 2013, 1:09 pm
<3 ya jlyfsh
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 1:18 pm
Definitely. Not wanting to get married to the person you are marrying is not only a GREAT reason to cancel a wedding, but if you feel that way, it is a reason you SHOULD cancel a wedding, no matter how close it is. I hope no one thought I meant you shouldn’t cancel a wedding if you no longer wanted to be married. I just think you just shouldn’t cancel a wedding once it’s 75% of the way planned and paid for (and others have scheduled around it) because you are second guessing your choices re: the WEDDING. If you are second guessing your choice re: the MARRIAGE, hells yes, cancel!
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 1:42 pm
actually in my opinion even if it was because the bride and groom got 75% of the way there and then suddenly realized they had to scale back/change things in some way i wouldn’t be offended. i might be sad or disappointed, but not offended. i’m going to guess i’m in the minority on this one, and i’m ok with that!
JK February 1, 2013, 1:46 pm
I´m with you jlyfsh. WHy go through with something you don´t want to to not risk offending someone that has nothing to do with your wedding?
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:52 pm
Easier said then done once your parents money has started going to vendor contracts…
JK February 1, 2013, 12:54 pm
Which is why people should pay for their own weddings, imo.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:59 pm
Oh, I paid for half of mine… my father wanted to pay for certain things – and I wasn’t about to tell him that he couldn’t walk his only child down the aisle.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:39 pm
Ok, serious question here that might come across very bitchy, so hopefully you don’t take it a bad way…
How is your saying what to do (people should pay for their own weddings), any different that GG saying etiquette says you’re not supposed to put X on the invite? I mean, at least GG’s comes with a caveat of sorts.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 1:48 pm
YEAH lbh! I was thinking the same thing…
I also love how I’ve read many MANY threads on DW where people have leveraged etiquette rules to criticize LWs who asked to have showers put on for them, or had family members give a shower, or who had a second baby shower (EGADS!), etc. etc. but somehow trying to use some etiquette rules to govern planning a wedding — something the majority have never done, have no clue how to go about, and feel enormous pressure and responsibility for (at least in the US) — is bad or leads to judgment. Why is that???
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:54 pm
What a good point! How can most of us say its rude to ask for a shower, but etiquette rules are dumb. That IS an etiquette rule!
JK February 1, 2013, 2:00 pm
It´s usually the same etiquette people that throw a fuss about those things too.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 2:20 pm
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 1:52 pm
JK February 1, 2013, 1:53 pm
If people complain about having to do things because their parents say so, when their parents are paying for something, then they should foot their own bills and do what they want. Common sense.
Also, I added imo. In MY Opinion. And Dan Savage´s, if I might add.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:59 pm
Ok, so what about judging people for not wanting to go to Mexico, bc anyone who thinks the entire country is unsafe is just dumb? How is that different than judging someone for not following etiquette?
I’m just trying to point out that everyone on here says things like you can’t, you should’nt, etc. to different LWs all day long, and really all of it is judging and saying you should play by my rules or live by my decisions or believe what I say is right and you are wrong.
finally, I think its presumed that imo comes before any comment. maybe not tho.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 2:00 pm
yeah i think this applies to more than just weddings too. once you start accepting people’s money, they expect to have an opinion. which is why in general if you don’t want to deal with their opinion, or repercussions from not doing things their way, it’s better not to accept the money. i don’t really think it’s etiquette more like a life lesson of, with money comes strings attached.
JK February 1, 2013, 2:02 pm
Wow LBH thank god you don´t want to come across as bitchy. you could have fooled me.
katie February 1, 2013, 2:06 pm
to me, the difference is that a lot of what we talk about can be reduced down to: is this right/wrong? is the behavior acceptable? is this justifiable? ect- things having to do with real moral/ethical dilemmas.
wedding etiquette is literally there because some people said it should be. it has no basis in reality, at least not in morals, ethics, ect. its just there.
katie February 1, 2013, 2:10 pm
and so, to take that a little farther, people are then judged by imaginary, not really relevant, not really practiced rules vs. being judged by actual moral/ethical codes or behavior (which can even still vary, of course- im not trying to say that morals/ethics are hard and fast)
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:11 pm
Sorry JK, thought we were all having an amicable discussion. Didn’t realizing questioning you would lead to me being called a bitch. Have a nice day.
JK February 1, 2013, 2:14 pm
YOU said you didn´t want to come off as bitchy, I was just pointing out that you did.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:17 pm
So pointing out hypocrisy or even questioning it, or you, is bitchy? Ok, noted.
JK February 1, 2013, 2:18 pm
It´s not what you say it´s how you say it. My 5 year old knows that.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 2:18 pm
kaite I think you’re wrong though. Morals are “made up”, ethics are “made up”…they are matters of opinion. Etiquette is too so to speak. American etiquette rules are different than other countries just as what is considered moral or ethical to one culture can be seen as immoral or unethical to another.
And JK, a lot of people don’t want to just “do what they want” and risk offending a lot of people. Etiquette exsists to make the widest range of people comfortable. If a person choses to ignor it, they risk offending. It is almost impossible to offend someone when the rules of etiquette are followed.
theattack February 1, 2013, 2:18 pm
Wow, that was totally unnecessary, JK.
Katie, I think you just said something that REALLY shows a big difference here. “people are then judged by imaginary, not really relevant, not really practiced rules….”
In my social circle, these rules are definitely followed. Besides my extended family, pretty much everyone I know does things this way, and it’s widely considered basic courtesy. GG has said the same thing before, as has Lili. If everyone you knew operated socially by the rules of etiquette, you would probably be more inclined to yourself.
But about the rules being arbitrary…. They were created because enough people believed them, not followed because they were random rules scribbled down. There are several social rules that even non-Emily Post fans follow that aren’t necessary though. Etiquette is not the only set of social guidelines. It’s just targeted so much because it’s written down.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 2:21 pm
See, you think that ettiquette is a bunch of rules that are arbitrary and have no basis in people’s lives, and I disagree.
Most things aren’t rude/shouldn’t be done JUST because they break an ettiquette rule; they are rude and shouldn’t be done AND they break an ettiquette rule on the same subject.
The reason why it is a rule of ettiquette not to ask for someone to throw you a shower is that many people consider it rude to ask for gifts. Not just because ettiquette says its rude, but because they actually think that it is rude. Which is why it became a rule of ettiquette in the first place — because a lot of people think its rude.
Some ettiquette rules are enforced now simply because “emily post says so.” But many others are independently considered rude to a lot of people by themselves. Now you might not consider people asking for presents rude. Which is great, yay! But others do, and it isn’t just because “emily post says so.” So they really aren’t as imaginary as you keep saying!
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 2:26 pm
HEY, THAT’S MY JK, SHE DIDN’T CALL ANYONE A BITCH! AND PEOPLE, LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:36 pm
Well, I don’t think I said anything in a bitchy way, and actually went out of my way to not call you a flat out hypocrite. I genuinely was curious about why you thought it was different.
Honestly, I think you’ve been exceedingly nasty on this thread to a handful of commenters, including the part about Mexico. Its a shame, really, bc I don’t find you to be that way normally. Basically, I was quite surprised that you would call me a bitch for no reason and then tell me your 5 y/o is smarter than me. Live and learn I guess. I don’t want to argue.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:39 pm
So I shouldn’t take my father’s wishes into account at all? the man who raised and supported me wonderfully his entire life? I wasn’t trying to say that my parents made me do anything… I was trying to say that respecting my parents wishes in this moment was important to me. Being able to acknowledge my deceased Aunt who gave me her ring which was my engagement ring.
Seems like you are now titling towards the “It’s my day” mentality and not thinking as a hostess… Common sense in that case would have been rude, no?
iwannatalktosampson February 1, 2013, 2:44 pm
Gotta go with LBH on this one. I’m really sad I missed this clusterfuck. At least the Mexico discussion. I have nothing to add to wedding etiquette because I couldn’t give a shit less. Except when I do. And today is not that day.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 2:47 pm
i think taking your parents wishes in to consideration is different than doing something because you accepted money from them and they think you should do things a certain way.
often when money is accepted it becomes a thing where people feel they have to do it the way x wants to because they’re paying. which is different than saying, i want to do this because this person is so important to me and i want them to feel appreciated in some way.
i don’t even know if that makes sense in writing, but it does in my head.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 2:54 pm
HEY I SAID LOOK AT ME – I’M NAKED – I FARTED – I’M STANDING ON MY HEAD – MY HAIR IS PINK
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:57 pm
Addie, I had pink hair once, a lifetime ago. I think it’ll look good on you!
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 3:01 pm
LBH I had pink hair too once!!
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 3:11 pm
I actually have never had pink hair. My hair is too dark. I can usually only turn dark brown into…. dark brown.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:06 pm
That makes me sad to hear GG.
jlyfsh February 1, 2013, 12:11 pm
i don’t know people shouldn’t have to elope because they don’t enjoy parts of the wedding world. as long as you’re not requesting guests bring certain gifts (like we only accept cash donations in $100 increments) or do crazy things for your wedding, then really do whatever you want. on your invitation or whatever.
confession: i’ve never fully read any wedding invitation. which has gotten me in trouble when talking to a friend about a wedding. oh i didn’t realize i needed a black or white dress, well it says so on the invite. i didn’t freak out or get offended i just wore a black dress. traditions are great, but weddings are whatever you want them to be.
and no matter what you do someone is going to be offended even if you elope.
that’s people for you.
Fabelle February 1, 2013, 12:18 pm
Ya, I don’t read the wedding invitations either, except to burn into my brain the date & time. I’m sure this is a terrible thing to admit, because people do put a lot of thought into their invitations…
I’d probably notice something really egregious, though. Like if they’d printed “BRING ALL THE CASH!” or something. I remember my one friend’s wedding had it written, on the invite, that everybody should bring a piece of ribbon (they were gonna do this “symbolically tying everyone’s ribbon together” thing during the reception, but it actually never happened. Probably nobody brought any?)
mandalee February 1, 2013, 2:24 pm
I don’t really need wedding invitations either. I usually write down the address or something and then throw it out or misplace it (sorry to all you DIYers out there with your glue guns! I’m sure it was beautiful) I’m terrible with keeping tracking of paper products.
I also have never read a wedding website, with the exception of leaving a friend’s reception so drunk that I forgot what hotel I was even staying out so we had to pull up the site to get back to our place. I blame my friend’s uncle for feeding me vodka on the rocks lol
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:51 pm
AMEN GG, I almost killed my fiance when we were over a year into the planning and he finally realized how much it sucked and wanted to rethink the elope idea. UMMMM too late anyone!?! Oy. I now recommend elopement and courthouse weddings to everyone I know.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 12:50 pm
“I think if people had ZERO expectations… ”
Live the dream AP!!! Someday, maybe if we start small with birthday parties and graduations we can bring normal back to weddings 🙂
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 12:54 pm
God can you imagine how bad it’ll get when the kids who have ponies at their 5th bday parties start getting married?!?!
MMcG February 1, 2013, 1:02 pm
Yes I can lbh and it’s terrifying… having attended a 1 year old’s birthday party that included a face painter, bouncy castle, interactive gaming time (for 1 YEAR OLDS – REALLY!?!) and a smash cake because apparently you should encourage your child to get the biggest sugar high ever by giving him his own little cake to shove his face and hands into. I remember asking his mother “um what do you do for future birthdays, if this is the bar you set when the kid couldn’t even remember anything!?!”
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:23 pm
What you describe is the norm, maybe even low-end, party for kids where I live. Its awful.
I will admit to a smash cake though. Come on, those pictures are priceless!
MMcG February 1, 2013, 1:52 pm
What’s crazy to me is that I used to associate these types of “fancy” things, add-ons, whatever you want to call them with Bat Mitzvahs or a Sweet 16… what in the hell happens at those these days? [Don’t answer, I’ve seen the MTV ads for the Sweet 16 parties and it was mind-boggling] And proms, OMG prom invites and parties have apparently gone crazy too… and then we wonder why people are so disappointed with the real world!?!
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 1:52 pm
Fabelle February 1, 2013, 11:49 am
I don’t know, I always thought “no presents, just your presence!” was fine. I mean, it wouldn’t even be a well-known, cute little saying if it was poor form, right?
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 11:55 am
Go fuck yourself is a well-known, cute little saying too if you ask me, and that I’ve heard is in poor form 😉
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 11:58 am
no, say, “argo fuck yourself!”
Fabelle February 1, 2013, 12:00 pm
Haha, good point. Or else, I guess it’s just time to put “go fuck yourself” at the bottom of all invitations 🙂
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 11:57 am
Ah well that’s because you clearly have not read the Book of Weddings! Discovered 150+ years ago burried in a hillside in upstate New York and translated by the Angel Moroni! Praise jebus.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 11:58 am
The all-american prophet.
Nutella February 1, 2013, 2:28 pm
Dear Wedding Etiquette Gurus, can one of you please explain to me, and I’d presume many others on this site who are having trouble following all these rules as to why we are still today following rules created so long ago? If you look at everything else, it all changes over time in order to stay current. Art, culture, media, laws, medicine….literally everything, so why can’t this too change?
I’m asking seriously, I am not trying to be funny or snide…thank you.
(I’m posting this as a reply to AP because she sort of touched on it with her “Discovered 150+ years ago burried in a hillside in upstate New York and translated by the Angel Moroni!”)
Fabelle February 1, 2013, 2:37 pm
This is what I was thinking, too. I think the reason why a lot of the more detail-oriented etiquette rules (i.e. put the ________on a separate piece of paper in the envelope, but never on the invitation! NEVER!!) seem arbitrary is because the times are changing? And a lotttt of people aren’t even aware of these rules nowadays, so it’s not always a big deal when they’re overlooked.
I do think etiquette has a place, & some things are ALWAYS tacky (asking guests to pay! telling somebody to throw your shower!), but how is it truly an outrage if someone prints their registry information or whatever on the invitation? At that point, I feel like the rules just become confining and, yes, arbitrary.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:37 pm
What would you think should be changed to fit the times (wedding etiquette-wise)?
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 2:43 pm
Let’s collectively draft the New Rules of Wedding Etiquette:
1. If you would like to do somethign special to celebrate your legal/religious/whatever union, go for it!
2. Do what you’d like – have a dinner, have a party, go somewhere, make it a potluck, who the fuck cares.
3. Invite whomever you’d like – your mom, her friends, your friends, me
4. Remember they might not want or be able to come, especially if it’s not convenient for them, money-wise or time-wise or whatnot.
5. Don’t get your panty in a wad over it.
6. Have fun!
7. Tip your server 20%.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 3:29 pm
The crazy thing is AP that everything you mention, other than the potluck, is totally following etiquette!!
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 3:37 pm
Except for apparently my new No. 9: if you’d like to let friends know they don’t have to bring a gift by saying as much on your invitation, go for it.
And new No. 10: beware GG and 88 year olds may think No. 9 is rude, but they never got a copy of the New Rules.
BOOM! I really need to eat my sandwich.
Nutella February 1, 2013, 6:54 pm
@LBH, I’m not totally sure what I’d say really needs to be changed. I asked because although we interact differently now in social situations than we did when the majority of these rules were created, it seems that most of these rules have not evolved at the same pace as the rest of our social interactions. I totally agree that etiquette has its place, it just feels to me that there is no room to grow or breathe with it. My observations might be wrong or skewed, which is why I asked.
Addie Pray February 1, 2013, 2:38 pm
Who knows, Nutella, who knows. I wish I had a jar of you and a spoon. Come to me.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:40 pm
Ignore Addie, come to meeeee!! Ok, ok, we can mail her some nutella so she’s not totally left out.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 2:38 pm
We are still follow the rules because they are conventions designed to instruct a difficult process and create a well-defined structure for participating in society without inavertently hurting or offending people for no reason.
theattack February 1, 2013, 2:39 pm
Etiquette does change! I have a small collection of etiquette books through the years. My mom’s etiquette book from the late 90s is VERY different from my etiquette book from about 2006, and both of ours are worlds apart from the etiquette books we have from the 80s, 70s, and 50s.
theattack February 1, 2013, 2:44 pm
I shouldn’t say it changes too much. I mean, it’s updated with the times. For example, there’s cell phone etiquette now when that wasn’t an issue a long time ago. A lot of etiquette has been subtracted because it’s no longer applicable, or people don’t care about it anymore. A good example of that would be how engagements used to be announced. My Amy Vanderbilt etiquette book from the 70s says that engagements should only be announced by the father of the bride at a party. We definitely don’t follow that anymore, and it’s not included in any of my books after that.
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 2:46 pm
Because if we don’t STICK to hard and fast rules — people will immediately descend to being the tackiest level humanly possible. And yes — I truly mean that. Honestly? Most of the rules that people go out of their to complain about make perfect sense to me… (And any one with a brain, I might add.) It’s just that… Well, most young people today are so obnoxiously self absorbed they think they (of course!) somehow know better. Hah! Trust me — they don’t. It’s all so very classless.
“Why can’t I throw my own shower?”
“Why can’t I say we PREFER cash on the invitation over gifts?”
“Why can’t we dance down the aisle lipsyncing Beyonce’s Single Ladies…”
Ugh. I rest my case.
theattack February 1, 2013, 2:51 pm
hahaha, I’ve never loved you so much before, BGM.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:54 pm
unfortunately, this is a very valid point!
MaterialsGirl February 1, 2013, 3:22 pm
etiquette is tricky, but I think it’s important because its shows guests that you care about them and their feelings. there is nothing rude about being thoughtful!
LadyinPurpleNotRed February 1, 2013, 3:26 pm
Depends on your definition. To me, having registration information in the invitation makes it easier and doesn’t have me running around having to ask people or find their website and that’s thoughtful.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 4:07 pm
Don’t forget the invites that come with the price of admission – I mean the contribution you are supposed to give to the wedding party!!
Now, Dammit it’s after 4 and I am still here… must escape.
Nutella February 1, 2013, 7:01 pm
@BGM I agree that it has a place and that people would sink to new lows. At the same time if you knew people who were that terrible, would you want to be around them and be at their wedding? I know I wouldn’t and if they truly were so awful, I’d probably have told them off long before their wedding invitation would have ever been sent to me.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 2:49 pm
Etiquette does change and evolve. 30 years ago it would have been completely unacceptable for a mother to host a shower. Today it’s commonly accepted in most circles. 30 years ago a Maid of Honor had a totally different meaning then it does today. 30 years ago it was totally unacceptable for the groom to see the bride before, now it’s incrediblly common. There is an entire section on the Emily Post site entitled “new times, new traditions”
Etiquette is ever evolving (especially in regards to how communication is changing to be more via the internet then traditional post).
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 2:57 pm
If the only person WILLING to throw you a wedding shower is your mother, well, then you clearly haven’t been living right in my opinion… Talk about NOT having any friends…
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 3:06 pm
I don’t think that is fair. Some people can’t afford to or have too much on their plate to host a shower. Some parents love doting on their children. There are a myriad of reasons why a parent would be the “best” person to host a shower.
theattack February 1, 2013, 3:16 pm
In addition to that, location is a big issue. I have plenty of people in my life who wanted to throw me showers, but they lived out of town from everyone else, so the most they can do is drive in to attend one. My mom isn’t throwing me a shower, but I could easily see how that would happen by chance for someone who does have several friends.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 3:24 pm
I totally agree. My fiance’s mom hosted a shower for us in his home state. We don’t live there, my family doesn’t live there, and my closest friend is over 4 hours away. She was the best person to host out of convience. Same thing goes with my shower where my parents live. My best friend there is 8 months pregnant with her first child, she has enough going on and even though she is helping host the shower, my mom is doing a lot.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 3:03 pm
Here’s the thing: I feel like a lot of the pushback on ettiquette is similiar to pushback on tradition.
Personally, I like traditions. I like that there is a pre-established way to do things that connects me with my heritage and with those that came before me. And, to be completely honest, I like that there is an expected procedure for doing thing things which means I don’t have to start from scratch and come up with everything completely on my own. My family always has brisket for the first day of Seder and Turkey for the second. Guess who doesn’t have to pick what’s for dinner on those two nights ever again? ^^ this girl.
Same with etiquette and same with weddings. I like that there is a set of rules that governs a very complicated, very stressful time, both because I like being polite, and because– by following the rules, you don’t have to make some annoyingly and stressful choices, because you can just defer to socialconventions, i.e. ettiquette. Need to cut the guest list? Ettiquette says that you don’t have to invite an entire generation of cousins you could give a shit about! Why? Because it just does! Thank you emily post and Ms. Manners!
I know that there is a current trend (hasn’t there always been) towards rejecting established conventions as arbitrary and denying the existence of intrinsic social boundaries (do whatever makes you happy and tell everyone to shove it). But imagine how annoying that would be if we did that everywhere. Americans walk up the right side of a staircase and down the left side. We try not to fart (loudly) in public. We cover our mouths when we yawn. We say please and thank you. We eat to the left and drink to the right. Are these moral imperatives? No, they are social conventions which makes life easier. If the right side of the staircase is blocked, we go to the left. If our hands are full, we make a weird gesture towards covering our mouths with our shoulder or we say argo fuck it. They aren’t set in stone, but we don’t just out right reject them as serving no purpose.
Etiquitte serves a purpose — it isn’t imaginary or completely arbitrary or pointless. And it isn’t immutable. It changes with the times and it can be ignored or suspended when warranted. But that leads to complications that one needs to be aware of. If you go to the left side of the staircase because the right side was blocked, you are going to be swimming upstream and need to watch out for the others who may not expect you. If you don’t follow the socially establish standards for wedding protocol, know that some people may be offended or your actions may be perceived differently than intended. Absolutely go for it if you feel that you need to (or even just want to). But don’t be mad or confused — or deny the existence of the social protocol altogether — when people react to your breach of social conventions.
MaterialsGirl February 1, 2013, 3:24 pm
katie February 1, 2013, 3:38 pm
yea, see, if it all was just rainbows and butterflies of everyone getting along so well, i might agree with this… but. its not. people who dont follow etiquette are called names. they are rude, tacky, thoughtless, ect. people BOYCOTT others weddings because of etiquette. i know specifically on this website someone said that they would just “not attend” a wedding that breached some stupid rule.
its easy for you, as a person who looks up everything before you act, to think its great. your not the one being judged. your not the one who is going to have people they love boycott their wedding. your not the one being called tacky, rude and thoughtless. its easy to be in your spot. but, if you pick any other course for you life (wedding, baby, even walking up the stairs, apparently…) its all of a sudden its a free for all to judge people.
theattack February 1, 2013, 3:54 pm
I said I would feel like not attending someone’s wedding who specifically asked for gifts on their invitation. I’ll own up to that. Receiving an invitation like that feels like there’s an admission price to me. It might not feel like that to you, and that’s fine, but it does to some people. I wouldn’t avoid a friend’s wedding for that reason, but I might be tempted to stay at home from an acquaintance’s or a coworker’s wedding in that scenario. To me it’s similar to the conversation a few weeks ago about not wanting to go to an adult’s birthday party who insists that everyone pays to do lots of crazy things.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 4:00 pm
I said I was offended by a cousins invite that came with 4 registry cards stacked on top of/in front of the actual invitation. We went and gave them a nice gift, but I definitly was put off.
mandalee February 1, 2013, 4:13 pm
But if it wasn’t implied in their invitation, would you buy said coworker or acquaintance a gift for the wedding? If yes, then to me etiquette stops being something that is important that *you* maintain and then turns into something you judge someone else by.
I am always honored to be invited as a guest at someone else’s wedding and to celebrate their union with them. I can assume that maybe their mother made the invitations and did the planning and they had no say over the invites? Or maybe that’s the norm in their circle? Or that they are a young couple and they are just doing the best they can? I would rather be invited to someone’s “tacky” wedding then be judged by someone to the point that they don’t come to my wedding purely based on a sentence attached to an invite that is implied as a custom (gifts are given at weddings) but is not allowed to be spelled out.
katie February 1, 2013, 4:28 pm
WMS. so, so much.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 4:37 pm
Haha, everyone would rather that!
But you mention the young couple who doesn’t know what they’re doing, that is the reason for ettiquette books/websites/rules!! Because no one knows what they are doing the first time around and they provide guidance so you DON’T accidentally make someone feel how GG feels. I get your point that maybe GG shouldn’t feel that way, and that is all well and good, but IF she does feel that way, and IF you didn’t mean to make her feel that way, AND your response to her feeling that way is “oops!! I didn’t mean to!” and not “well then don’t come” then that is the justification for following the ettiquette rules!
mandalee February 1, 2013, 4:47 pm
I’m not saying young couples get a pass. I’m saying that when someone extends an invitation to something as important as a wedding, I don’t take the time to consider the etiquette rules they did and did not follow. That is not important to me. What is important to me is that I was invited to celebrate, knowing the cost of weddings and knowing how intimate of an experience they are.
And for the record, I did not put my registry information on my invites.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 5:06 pm
I guess I wasn’t saying that you said they got a pass, I was saying that the young couple is the counter to “following ettiquette rules are unnecessary and outdated.”
Because most offended people aren’t going to be like “damn, they violated ettiquette rule X, shame on them for not consulting ms. post — I hereby judge”; most offended people are gonna be like “damn, that was rude — who puts that on an invitation? do they have no manners?” But if they HAD followed the rules, there would be almost no chance of the latter. You see my point?
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 4:08 pm
I guess I can see why you feel that way, but I don’t think anyone means to make you feel that way.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 4:14 pm
Also, it sucks that in following etiquette bc you don’t want to insult people, you end up insulting other people. I think following etiquette is nice, but not mandatory.
And of course, if you choose to have whatever wedding you want, whichever way you want, that’s fine too. I plan to have a wedding the way I want, while trying to not insult people. Some of the rules are crazy, but most are good and should be followed. I wouldn’t think you are rude for not following most of the rules, but I would if someone outright asked for cash, for example. BGM made a great point above about how most etiquette rules are just being polite.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 4:23 pm
I really don’t understand you point about it being easy for me.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 4:24 pm
I really don’t understand youre point about it being easy for me.
AliceInDairyland February 1, 2013, 3:47 pm
“My family always has brisket for the first day of Seder and Turkey for the second.”
But surely you don’t expect everyone to eat brisket and turkey in that order if it doesn’t make sense to them?
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 4:09 pm
Nope; my point was that I like that tradition gives a set of norms you can use which allows you a predetermined course to follow which both connects you to your history and family and culture AND can make life easier. I mean, this was not handed down on Mt. Sinai; my mom started doing it one year, and the rest, as they say, is history, but it is now a tradition to me.
And I think people should do what they want and/or need to do. Do I think putting “no presents please” on an invitation is tacky? Nope. Do SOME people? Yup. Is it a breach of ettiquette? Yes. Would I put it on an invitation? Probably not, especially as it is so easy just to put it on the website without breaching ettiquette. If I felt REALLY strongly about something, so strongly that I felt it was worth breaching ettiquette, would I do it? Of course. But I would accept that some people would think it was rude or offensive, and I’d take those lumps. I can imagine being so fed up with my family that I would actually put “No children please” on the damn invitation because I really don’t want kids at my imaginary wedding. Believe you me, would I hear it then. But I couldn’t be surprised that people took offense and I couldn’t really be that upset with the ones that did. I understand that to some people, that is offensive, and if it means they don’t come, then they don’t come. But I wouldn’t say “ettiquette is stupid and doesn’t exist” — I would just say that my personal desires won out over my desire to be polite and not offend.
Eagle Eye February 1, 2013, 3:53 pm
So, first of all, this is wonderful and the best defense of the sometimes-antiquated etiquette rules I’ve seen thus far.
HOWEVER – as a lefty whose water glass had a tendency to consistently migrate from the right to the left, only to have my grandmother yell at me to once again move it to the right (only to have it accidentally move it back to the left again) Can we all decide that the water glass is okay on the left? Can we just give up on that one? Please? I’ll even be good about my registering/ not registering/ gifts or no gifts on my invitation – I promise!
MMcG February 1, 2013, 4:11 pm
Here’s to the tradition of STAY RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS!!
I really need people to live by the rule, especially on Metro escalators and the left lane of I95.
bethany February 1, 2013, 4:18 pm
People also need to live by that tradition when going through a set of double doors! I can’t stand when people mess up the flow by using the door on the left. WTF, people?!
(this rule does not apply when there are no other people around. I don’t care how/where you walk when you’re all alone)
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 11:51 am
And while I don’t think the LW was complaining about it, I just want to point out that asking all those questions as soon as you tell them about the engagement/date is a way for someone to express their excitement about your engagement, and is usually incredibly well-intentioned. I know I do that — tell me about the ring, how did he propose, have you chosen a date, where are you registered… etc… I feel like the act of asking a ton of those types of questions shows that i am interested and so happy for her and want to hear all about it, and want her to feel like she can tell me all about it, because people tend to like talking about things they are happy about. (Also that they are pissed about, but that’s another story). If I say “ooo tell me about the ring!!” and they are one of those non-ring couples, so she says “we didn’t do a ring and there was no proposal”, I’ll respond, “That makes so much sense” etc., it’s about the excitement, not about whether they are doing all the thing they’re “supposed to”.
So newly engaged people who don’t want to do a lot of the crap that is now “normal”, awesome, do what you want, but don’t get offended if people pepper you with questions about the traditional stuff– it isn’t judgment, it’s excitement.
John Rohan February 1, 2013, 1:08 pm
Thanks, for another reminder of how men and women live in different worlds. If a friend tells me he’s getting married, I’ll ask him when it’s happening, and maybe I’ll ask him if he’s going on a honeymoon or having a bachelor party. It wouldn’t even occur to me to ask about any of those other things. Expanding my mind is one of the reasons I read this site sometimes!
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 1:26 pm
My SO’s mom called me to ask if I’d gotten the save the date for my SO’s friend’s wedding. I didn’t even know they chose a date yet! So I asked my guy about it (I presume he’ll be the best man in the wedding). He’s like ‘oh I think Tom asked for our address, not sure why.’ So being the curious creature I am, I ask maybe 3 more questions (did he ask u to be best man? where is it? when is it?) and my SO looked drained just be hearing my questions, said he had no clue about anything. Guys are strange sometimes.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:06 pm
Yet another reason why the burden of wedding planning falls on women, even if they don’t want it because the expectations and questions are almost always directed towards us. That’s something my fiance just couldn’t get, because he wasn’t dealing with it… I wish I was only asked 2-3 simple questions!!!
theattack February 1, 2013, 2:13 pm
Omg, this is SUCH a good point. My fiance intended on being involved in the wedding planning process, but last night I was being kind of bitchy and explaining how I’ve ended up doing almost all of it. His response was that he helped plan by visiting the venue, going to the catering tasting, and going with me to hire the cake baker. He just doesn’t understand that being the bearer of all the information is the hardest part of planning, and maybe it’s just impossible to spread that out between two people, I don’t know.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:46 pm
And then try responding “I don’t care” — people thought I was either crazy or manipulative… whereas it was REALLY I DON’T FUCKIN’ CARE MAN!!!
theattack February 1, 2013, 2:53 pm
Oh god, same here! At Thanksgiving my fiance’s aunt asked what kind of catering we were having, what time of day, etc., and I told her I had no idea yet. Everyone got really quiet and looked at me like I was insane.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 2:58 pm
OMG, i can’t handle any more wedding questions. That is the bulk of the reason I’m so overwhelmed! I can handle making the decisions (jointly most of the time) and the DIY project I’ve decided to tackle…but if one more person asks how my napkin decision is coming or what song we’re walking into or what flavor of cake we’re having I might burst! Everyone assumes Allen knows nothing and the only thing I’m capable of talking about is the damn wedding.
And, MMcG I’ve met so much resistance to the “I don’t care” or “it’s not a big deal” statement. Like, “what do you mean you don’t care how many forks there are!?” Because I really really don’t care and do not want to make another damn decision about something trivial!! Could someone ask how our premarital course is going or any other detail in my life is?
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 1:59 pm
I totally agree the questions usually come from a place of excitement or joy, but I’ve often felt really overwhelmed by them. I’ve also felt a little disappointed or pushed to the side when I talk to someone and all they want to talk about is my upcoming wedding. Like, hello…still a person here who thinks about other things…
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:09 pm
“I’ve also felt a little disappointed or pushed to the side when I talk to someone and all they want to talk about is my upcoming wedding. Like, hello…still a person here who thinks about other things…”
THIS x A TRILLION!!! It’s like when did I all of a sudden become nothing as a person, because apparently my true value only exists now that a man has put a ring on it!?! I was begging people for details of their lives… of course one of the funny moments came with a friend who was pregnant — and she was so burned out on pregnancy that all she wanted to talk about was my wedding, and all I wanted to talk about was her pregnancy.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 2:21 pm
Ha, I am in the exact same situation! I’m wedding planning and my bff is pregnant with her first baby. We’re both totally burned out. So we talked about finishing their basement in our most recent chat.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 2:34 pm
I am mainly referring to the first time someone tells you they are engaged or have set a date. After that, I’ll usually ask about the wedding up front in a convo with a friend I don’t talk to often but I’ll let the conversation steer away from that — definitely not the only thing to talk about. But if they say: I’m engaged! my response is not usually “cool, congrats”; it’s YAY! WHERE WHEN HOW LET ME SEE!
SweetsAndBeats February 1, 2013, 3:27 pm
“So newly engaged people who don’t want to do a lot of the crap that is now “normal”, awesome, do what you want, but don’t get offended if people pepper you with questions about the traditional stuff– it isn’t judgment, it’s excitement.”
Definitely agree with this bit especially! Also worth mentioning is that, for most people, you’ll only experience this barrage of questions once in your life. They won’t be asking about it constantly for the rest of your life, so find a way to enjoy the time while it lasts!
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 1:18 pm
Hell, I think I might to to even Juarez right now over Chicago. What the heck is going on in Chicago? When did it so spiral out of control? 42 murders in January alone… WTF? How is this not a bigger story?
katie February 1, 2013, 1:24 pm
its crazy- just this morning a lady was shot, in her van, like multiple gunshots all throughout her van, and she crashed into a pole and died, on the freaking on ramp of a very busy section of downtown, right near the big convention center.
JK February 1, 2013, 1:29 pm
The other day I saw a Chicago woman over the years lost all 4 of her children to gunfire, the last being like a week ago. So sad.
MaterialsGirl February 1, 2013, 2:49 pm
oh THATS why the southbound LSD was closed. yikes
Firestar February 1, 2013, 1:26 pm
Can’t you guess?
bittergaymark February 1, 2013, 1:31 pm
Some big Oprah cover up? (Sorry, I just loathe and despise Oprah… So Phony. So Fake. So Boring.) Truthfully, I have no idea or guesses as to why this isn’t a bigger story…
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:11 pm
True looking at the color and socioeconomic class of those getting killed.
If a white girl from Alabama disappears while vacationing, it’s front page news… if 20 black kids kill each other, well that’s just life in the big city.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:14 pm
And don’t get me started on the coverage of the girl who was recently killed who had been in the inaugural — why isn’t it all covered like that? Why have over 1000 people in the US been killed by guns since Newtown? Why did cable news have to emphasize over and over and over that the poor 15 yr old girl had a future and wasn’t a gangbanger, etc. etc. — because the assumptions are that she would have been, or was a troublemaker, and therefore her life wasn’t as valuable. Someday every child might be viewed equally, as having value and potential, someday 🙁
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:25 pm
I actually thought that was covered a lot. I agree that’s its more than sad that every child isn’t viewed as having potential and value. Just beyond horrible.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:50 pm
Yes, I agree it was covered a lot, that’s what I was trying to get at though — why was her murder covered so much more than the others? I mean part of it is the connection to the Inaugural and the President… but how would you feel if you were the mother that had a child killed and no one cared!?! She wasn’t even the only person shot in that incident but I haven’t heard anything else about any of the other injured victims. they must not have been worthy
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 2:54 pm
Oh, half awake I guess reading your comment. Yes, its f’d up and very sad.
John Rohan February 1, 2013, 1:20 pm
LW3: the answer is simple, he enjoys your friendship. That’s all.
Now, realistically, odds are that he is also keeping you on the side, so he has someone else he can sleep with when he needs to, a FWB basically. That’s helping him cope with his pre-wedding fears about being “trapped” with one person for eternity. I have seen that a million times. That’s still speculation since you don’t say much about him, but I would bet money on that if I could.
If you can deal with being a friend and nothing more, then be a friend. Otherwise, yes, MOA.
MMcG February 1, 2013, 2:27 pm
Nothing like a wedding question to get the comments flowing… we’ll be up to 300 before I leave for work early on this Friday!
MMcG February 1, 2013, 3:32 pm
312 – I can go home now!! Thanks DWers 🙂
Kate February 1, 2013, 2:49 pm
Can I just say how refreshing it is to get married a 2nd time around and not give a sh!t about convention / etiquette or making other people happy? It’s awesome. I could not have pulled this off the first time, at 21, because who was I to know what I even wanted, and my mom basically planned everything. This time it’s all us, and we’re doing whatever we want to do, which is have a destination wedding and let the resort wedding planner do everything. It’s totally affordable too. If people can make it there, great, if not, well, see you soon. The stress level could not be lower. Not quite eloping, but close. I would highly recommend this to anyone who can get away with it. It’s your wedding day and it should be your style and you should do / have whatever you want.
ktfran February 1, 2013, 2:51 pm
I’m sad I missed such a heated conversation on etiquette today. For the record, I follow the etiquette rules because, as GG and theattack and mmcg have stated, it usually offends the least amount of people. Also, I like that there is a correct, socially accepted way to do things. It makes life a lot easier.
GatorGirl February 1, 2013, 3:08 pm
join in! there is still time! Haha. We need more on the right side!! (I kid, I kid everyone, please don’t attack me.)
bethany February 1, 2013, 3:08 pm
I’m so glad I missed that whole wedding fight… It makes me really thankful to know that I will never have a wedding ever again 🙂
Lili February 1, 2013, 3:12 pm
WOAH, not sure if this was anyone’s intention but saying blanket statements about foreign countries not being as safe as your own has a large hint of racial condescension. Saying specific areas are not safe because of various crime lords (and this is usually more poverty stricken villages than actual towns), now thats another thing. But basic muggings of tourists, that happens anywhere.
Also, a lot of the so called crime-like murders and stuff, its all due to turf wars and targeting specific opposing ‘families’ etc. For example, New Delhi had that horrible rape happen, but I don’t think people are out and out shouting that India (all its parts, not j ust new delhi) is NOT SAFE FOR AMERICANS bla bla bla. And the poor girl who got raped and eventually died, all she did was take a freakin bus. WITH a male companion. But if anyone here was all, India is unsafe for travel and I won’t go there, I’ll get super offended because of the implied racism that somehow, my ‘motherland’ is not ‘good enough’ for someone to visit because of a publicized crime.
IDK, shit happens everywhere. Its all luck whether it happens to you or not. So I guess what I’m saying is, generalizations are never ok, and esp when its in regards to another country. An implied judgment of another culture and their laws is just a cover for racism on some level. Being uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. I’ve been to Kenya, around the time the nairobi riots happened, and other than the normal rational fears of being a female traveling alone, I was not afraid just because i was ‘surrounded by scary africans’ there is a difference, and I think people need to be aware of how they present views–and even examine if there IS a racial reason behind their view, its ok! America has a long way to go to shed its xenophobia!
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 3:22 pm
Had someone said ‘I’m afraid of those crazy Mexicans killing me,’ I’d agree with you. But no one did (at least I don’t think so).
I’m very curious to see what others think of your comment Lili, but I have to disagree with the main argument that saying a country is unsafe, which is backed by facts, is a racist comment.
Lili February 1, 2013, 3:38 pm
its more about the implied racism. Which is more subtle and obvious only for people who have had to hear comments about their native countries in derogatory ways. IDK, its hard to explain to someone unless they are in fact from another country or share that heritage. What I said about America and Xenophobia, its a real reality.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 3:50 pm
While I might feel the need to defend America to someone who is bashing it, I wouldn’t say that person bashing it is racist, implied or otherwise. They are bashing a country, not the people in it. Also, I’m not from Ireland, but I am Irish and if someone said they wouldn’t go to Ireland bc its unsafe, I wouldn’t be offended or think they are racist. Then again, if someone make a drunk irishman joke, I wouldn’t be offended either, so what do I know 😉
In fact, you saying its hard to explain to me, a lowly American who couldn’t possibly understand heritage because America just isn’t like other countries with real heritage, is kinda racist in a way. No? (I realize that’s a bit of a ridiculous claim, just trying to make a point. I don’t think you are in any way racist whatsoever).
Lili February 1, 2013, 4:06 pm
Well, its a really personal line. And one we can’t know of on others, like who are the people that tie their identity to their patriotism, and those who don’t. I’m not at all saying you’re a lowly American with no right to be pissed if someone said things about America. Hell I do all the time (get pissed when people just carte blance critize Americans and our culture), and I’m of a varied background but born here. I’m just presenting how it looks to SOME people on the thread about Mexico. I think its better to be aware of not being hurtful when we speak of countries not our own.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 3:32 pm
Could not disagree with you more!
When it comes to choosing which other countriesto travel to as a tourist, I think it is totally acceptable to take recently calculated “stereotypes” (i.e. heuristics and statistics) into mind. And all will be generalizations — everything is a generalization. Saying that “a specific area is not safe because of crime lords (and this is usually more poverty stricken villages than actual towns)” is a generalization. Doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Heuristics are how people protect themselves. Are they are a good basis for a criminal justice system? Not at all. Do they factor into why someone crosses the street when they feel that they might be in a precarious situation? Yup. Should that person still cross the street? Yup.
I have put off many trips to Israel because I was scared. Is there a very good chance of me getting blown up in a mall in Israel? Not at all. Is it crazy for me to think there there a much bigger chance of me getting blown up in a mall there than here? Yup. Am I allowed to factor this into my decision without being racist/antisemetic/culturist? Yup.
It might not be fair to say that India is not safe for americans. But it is fair to say that I value not being gang-raped on a bus, and because I think there are more incidents of bus gang-raping in India than here, I choose not to go because I would not feel comfortable. There is absolutely NOTHING racist about that. It might be mathematically incorrect, in that it isn’t a correct calculation of my actual risk. But there is nothing racist.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 3:34 pm
(ha, nope* to the second question in paragraph 2)
Lili February 1, 2013, 3:45 pm
But isn’t there an implied belief in this and this country is not able to protect me? And that belief is more a abstract than anything. sure you can decide not to go to isreal, but what is the reason, because Isrealis and Hammas are still fighting? Because you don’t trust Isrealis to be able to counter attacks?
rachel February 1, 2013, 4:11 pm
In a country/city/region/whatever where a lot of murders happen, it is clear that whoever is in charge is NOT able to protect people. And yes, it is rather abstract, but I don’t think anyone is saying “Mexicans can’t protect their people” It’s more like “I know there are is a lot of drug-related crime there so I want to avoid it.
Lili February 1, 2013, 4:23 pm
Its ok to make that decision for yourself to not visit somewhere! But IDK, the way people talked about Mexico rubbed me the wrong way. And it had a undercurrent of racism. We ALL DO, I think its better to admit to it and open the dialogue than continue defending it, but thats just me.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 4:29 pm
But even if I didn’t trust Israel to be able to counter attack, that still wouldn’t be racist. (Do you mean counter attack as in “Attack back” or “stop suicide bomber on the street”?) And even if I thought “Dammit Mexico, get your shit together and stop letting these cartels keep murdering your citizens” that STILL wouldn’t be racist. And if I thought that India, while certainly making a good effort now, didn’t do enough to protect random bus riding women, or to prosecute bus-rapists, that STILL wouldn’t be racist.
Any of those might not be ACCURATE, but they aren’t racist.
Lili February 1, 2013, 4:40 pm
Agree to disagree. I know people all have their own points of view on how they construct their own personal definitions of what defines such hot button issues and if you don’t feel racist in making those assumptions, i can’t change your mind. But I just wrote how i perceived things. I just wanted to stick up for all the people who might have been offended at any generalizations and taken them personally.
6napkinburger February 1, 2013, 5:01 pm
But I really don’t get it. If I didn’t think Israel’s army or police were competent to stop a suicide bombing and that dissuaded me from going to Israel, where is the racism? That a jewish state can’t defend visitors? is that the implied racism? Because that isn’t where that would be coming from; it would be “it does not suprise me that an army/police can’t stop someone who is willing to blow themself up in the middle of a city street.” It would be “Mexican police and army are so outflanked and outgunned by the cartels that they currently don’t stand a chance, which makes me not want to go.” I truly do not see how those could possibly be racist statements?
Lili February 1, 2013, 5:17 pm
I think writing out the reasons you just did–“Mexican police and army are so outflanked and outgunned by the cartels that they currently don’t stand a chance, which makes me not want to go.” is how we should approach these discussions. Not just sweeping statements like Mexico is unsafe and I won’t visit. Its not much longer to write and it goes a long way in explaining reasoning. FWIW, I don’t find anything racist in your reasons, but I’m thankful you wrote them out. It changes the context.
Fabelle February 1, 2013, 3:37 pm
I enjoy your point of view Lili, but I think this is KINDA stretching it— like, it’s just coming off as very Racism & Sexism 101 to me. It’s important to be ~aware~ of these things in every day life, for sure, but applying critical theory to everything is…for lack of a better word…distracting? Especially because personally, I didn’t really see any ethnocentrism prevalent in the comments above about Mexico. People were basically just citing their personal travel preferences (& were careful to avoid disparaging the entire country). I mean, on an individual level, it makes sense to be wary of certain places where crime is high.
Lili February 1, 2013, 3:54 pm
IDK, I just read the comments like what if someone said that about India, or the Middle East (i’m part Arab) i’d be offended, and can’t explain why other than a general feeling of always fearing the negative opinions of people on my native areas.
Lili February 1, 2013, 3:56 pm
IDK, I just read the comments like what if someone said that about India, or the Middle East (i’m part Arab) i’d be offended, and can’t explain why other than a general feeling of always fearing the negative opinions of people on my native areas. There is an underlying feeling like these people are criticizing the way my native land rules itself.
katie February 1, 2013, 4:12 pm
all of my info i got about mexico (except for my week in cabo) was from native mexicans. how do you feel about that?
Lili February 1, 2013, 4:28 pm
Who said members of a minority can’t hold racist views on ‘their own’ culture? Where is Savannah to explain all these constructs about race, implied constructs vs ! I miss her!
Matcha February 1, 2013, 4:54 pm
How is it racist? Wouldn’t that be nationalist (or something to that affect), if I considered Mexico unsafe but other countries (ex. Chile, Argentina) safer? They’re both Latin American countries, so considering portions of Mexico unsafe doesn’t come off as racist to me at all.
Lili February 1, 2013, 5:02 pm
It was the general view of the whole country as being inferior, not parts of it being unsafe that irked me. It isn’t racist the way you frame it at all.
Matcha February 1, 2013, 5:09 pm
Ah, okay. 🙂 I do understand being peeved about that, having family from Mexico.
katie February 1, 2013, 5:10 pm
oh, well then if it makes you feel better, i told them all about the trip and how i was scared to go to mexico, and all of them said something like, oh no you will be fine in cabo- theres nothing wrong with cabo. now, if you were telling me that you were going to X other town, then i would caution you not to… my family lives near that area, and i cant even go back there now because its so dangerous for me as an american.
Lili February 1, 2013, 3:46 pm
But isn’t there an implied belief in your statement saying this and this country is not able to protect me? And that belief is more a abstract than anything because we never have proof of real crime stats anywhere. sure you can decide not to go to isreal, but what is the reason, because Isrealis and Hammas are still fighting? Because you don’t trust Isrealis to be able to prevent attacks as well as America can?
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 3:58 pm
What if the reason is bc I’ve heard the place is not safe, period.
Can you even be racist toward a place?
Fabelle February 1, 2013, 4:09 pm
Elements of xenophobia COULD be interpreted into the comments, because 1.) saying a place is dangerous is a generalization, & 2.) it can also imply the place is backwards/less than one’s own country, which yeah, is ethnocentric.
But I *don’t* agree with Lili where she’s applying this^, I’m just explaining, haha
Lili February 1, 2013, 4:10 pm
1-Sorry for all the random double posts! Not sure what is up with my internet/ dw loading 🙁
And to answer your question, but its not the PLACE (like the physical dirt) that people are really afraid of is it? Like Damn that scary mexican soil. its the ‘native population’ right? and yes I think it is possible to be racist towards a place because of the population. But debates on race are not something we will ever see eye to eye on, so I think it might be better if we agreed to disagree.
lets_be_honest February 1, 2013, 4:17 pm
🙂 Ok, agree to disagree.
“I think its better to be aware of not being hurtful when we speak of countries not our own.”
Certainly true. Can’t hurt to be sensitive to how other people may take something, even if its not intended to upset someone. I just piped in bc I was vocal about the Mexico Unsafe thing and didn’t want anyone to think I’m racist against Mexicans bc of it. I just based that opinions on the fact that it sounds dangerous, not that all the people there are dangerous.
iwannatalktosampson February 1, 2013, 4:30 pm
Yeah I really don’t get the confusion here. It is not racist to say I have heard this place is unsafe, period. I have heard compton is not safe. I won’t be hanging out there. When I was little and we went to DisneyLand we got trapped in the wrong part of LA and it was sketchy as hell, my Dad locked the car doors. Was that racist? How is protecting yourself not okay? The fact is I am not willing to go to Mexico at the moment, which is a shame because I love it there and used to go every year with my grandparents. Or the dominican republic, but that’s from a personal experience, not the news.
Lili February 1, 2013, 4:57 pm
It is if the reason you are afraid of those areas are because of a overabundance of minority groups who reside there. Wrong part of LA aka the Mexican part? Compton–large population of Blacks? Etc. IDK, those are just random examples. I’m not trying to generalize, but make a point on how deep these issues of race constructs are. Saying you don’t go to the Appalachians because of Meth heads would also be the same, but no one is making that example…also, this fear of stranger crime is so misguided. People we know are always the bigger threat. But we still trust don’t we?
CatsMeow February 1, 2013, 5:26 pm
I agree. I think more people are more likely to believe an area is unsafe if it’s heavily populated by an ethnic or racial minority, and that people of color are more likely to be arrested and convicted of crimes which can affect crime rates. And I also believe that the US probably exaggerates the “unsafeness” of other countries simply because they are other countries, and ‘murrica, blah blah blah. I’m just not sure that avoiding a place when we’re constantly told that it’s violent is necessarily racially motivated. So basically, I see your point, but I see others’ points as well.
Lili February 1, 2013, 5:45 pm
I just said that I saw some undercurrents of racism in their reasoning, but when like 6napkin wrote it all out, I saw her side and appreciated it. I think its always good to state reasons, not just I avoid mexico because its unsafe, I avoid compton because its unsafe. Because often, the blanket statements are used as a well blanket for racist views. But when people explain things, its always clear. Hell my first sentence even says that. Blanket statements with no reasoning behind it SOUND RACIST, but thats all. IDK why people are treating what I said like some major insult. It wasn’t it was basically a explanation on why we should always be thorough in our explanations. Actually all these comments telling me i was wrong for thinking what I do on race i find most offensive and upsetting.
CatsMeow February 1, 2013, 6:08 pm
Yeah. I get what you’re saying. Sometimes people will assume a place is unsafe simply because it is heavily populated by minorities. (I have been advised to stay away from “dark” neighborhoods, and it had nothing to do with lack of light). Poor areas tend to have higher crime rates, and minorities are more likely to be poor (because of racism), so often stuff gets blamed on the race rather than on the other underlying social issues…. which perpetuates more racism.
Moneypenny February 1, 2013, 5:47 pm
I can see your point Lili. I would say that, yes, if you were driving through Compton or east Oakland and you were afraid because -omg- black people, yes, that would be a racist and ignorant thing to say. However, if you were afraid because, -omg- this area has a high number of drive by shootings, gang warfare, and carjackings, then yes, I would say that is reason enough to lock your doors. I don’t walk around the housing projects in my city, because, well, there’s a reason they have bars on the windows. That’s not because the residents tend to be black, its because it’s generally not a safe neighborhood.
I see what you are saying, and I do think that whether or not you are making a racist comment or judgement on a place really has to do with whether it’s coming from a personal bias, or from facts (ie, crime stats, the easiest example).
Lili February 1, 2013, 5:53 pm
Agreed, its the added explanations that adds context. But I didn’t find it really in the mexico thread, and then people made me feel bad for having a view on this one too 🙁 Once people explain the things about not feeling safe because of an overabundance a crime despite the city’s effort to curb it, its respectful, but without any backup, there is some implied racism is what I’m getting at.
Although your comments about the projects make me want to almost visit them! Haha I don’t think there is anything scary for us there really, most of the murders and rapes have nothing to do with us, and people would respect that we were there not to intrude on them. Even ‘hardened criminals!’ But thats a topic for another day.
CatsMeow February 1, 2013, 6:11 pm
Yeah, but if I can, I’ll stay away from a place where I’m more likely to be hit by a stray bullet.
Lili February 1, 2013, 8:00 pm
Best tip to avoid stray bullets–avoid areas with high % of gun owners who like to target practice in their backyards! amirite?!
iwannatalktosampson February 1, 2013, 6:00 pm
MoneyPenny – yes it was because of the bars on the windows. And there were clusters of guys with their hoods up and street lights were broken. Also other cars – looking lost – were actually running red lights to avoid stopping and being approached.
quixoticbeatnik February 1, 2013, 8:01 pm
My goodness. I think the whole etiquette debate has made me decide to either elope or have a very small ceremony followed by a much larger party. I just want a big party and to celebrate! But honestly, I hate planning. I hate planning huge things and I’d be perfectly happy and fine with a large backyard party with good food and an open bar. However, I will admit that I am really not very traditional when it comes to weddings. Right now, I have no desire to get married because I feel like I’m not ready for that big of a life change. I know that I don’t really want an engagement ring or a wedding ring because I don’t LIKE wearing rings. Why have rings I’ll never wear?
My friend was like “But if you don’t have a ring, how will people know you are not available/taken??” And I was kinda offended by that statement, actually, and I said – “Well, I’ll tell them….”
Honestly, I don’t see why so much focus is on the wedding. To me – in MY opinion – the wedding is one day. One day that you need months to plan for! And it just seems a little ridiculous to me! I’d rather plan the honeymoon and spend more money on the honeymoon or spend more money on the house. I don’t know. That’s how I am – not traditional at all.
I will say though that the South is much more concerned with rules of etiquette than the North is. My mom grew up in Chicago and never really learned about etiquette or anything because it just didn’t matter as much up there. That was one of the sources of tension between her and my paternal grandmother, who was very much the typical Southern debutante woman. My dad does care very much about politeness, so I am very polite but I don’t care too much about etiquette. However, I take care to send thank-you notes to those who I know DO care about etiquette.
It’s just so interesting to see everyone’s view points on here. It’s nice that we can all express our opinions, freely! Maybe not without judgement or anything – but still. 🙂
You Go Girl February 1, 2013, 9:21 pm
LW2 needs to ask why her boyfriend is so against going to Mexico. Is he an undocumented immigrant? Is he afraid to go to Mexico because of the high crime rate? Does he have an abnormal fear of germs and refuses to go to Mexico because he is afraid of getting sick. Or he is self-centered like my late husband, who just did not want to make the effort to talk to anyone? Once she has more information, she can make a decision about their relationship. If he is an undocumented immigrant, his reluctance is quite understandable. But other reasons many indicate a lack of compatibility.
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 7:04 am
394 comments today?! Well only 30 or so were from me.
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 7:05 am
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 7:05 am
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 7:05 am
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 7:06 am
399! …. [Should I stop now?]
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 7:06 am
BOOM! 400. (Sorry, 394 was such a crappy number; it needed to be 400.)
Wendy February 2, 2013, 7:43 am
You’re up so early! Yoga?
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 8:26 am
No, I just get up early, for no reason. But since you asked (sort of)…..
Here’s what I’ve done this morning already: Woke up to Snow! Took over the DW side bar for a second; made coffee; gathered up all the wine glasses and rinsed them (had two friends over last night but there were somehow 5+ glasses here and there); ate a slice of cold pizza; shoveled the front side walk (like, all 3 feet of it); read through my loan documents to figure out how escrow and property taxes work – screw homeownership, but I’m figuring it out.
Here’s what I still have to look forward to: The delivery of my new boyfriend, at some time between 8 and noon:
And There Will Be Yoga – but not until this afternoon. Have you tried Bikram yet?
Wendy February 2, 2013, 8:57 am
Oh yes, I’ve done Bikram. First tried it about eight or nine years ago and have flirted with it a few times since but decided it wasn’t for me. I don’t particularly like yoga in general — I find it tedious — and feeling as though I’m suffocating for 90 minutes straight makes it even less enjoyable. I would love to try pilates some time, but finding the extra money and especially the extra time is difficult. One day.
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 12:23 pm
Pilates is fun – and really good. A good friend of mine is a pilates instructor and she’s got a killer body. Bikram doesn’t seem to give me a killer body … as much as it makes me feel good. But I know that heat, humidity, the poses, and 90 full minutes are not for everyone!
Attention attention, my chair is here. I am watching dumb movies now – currently No Strings Attached. Everything is making me think of my dumb boyfriend. Ex. Or whatever.
S I G H
Happy Saturday all! It started so well but is turning south.
Ammie February 2, 2013, 10:03 am
That chair is beautiful.
Ammie February 2, 2013, 10:16 am
Whoops, sorry, meant to respond to Addie there. Still am not quite adept with the comments. 😛
Addie Pray February 2, 2013, 12:25 pm
Thanks! I’m liking it.