Wedding Invitation Etiquette
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Wedding Invitation Etiquette
I'm in a sticky situation, and I hope you all can give me
some advice. My best friend and her boyfriend are talking
about getting engaged and she has discussed wanting to have
a destination wedding in Hawaii, possibly this winter. She
has repeatedly asked me if I could come and although I said
yes once, I have beyond that been pretty evasive. I don't
want to string her along, but in reality I really don't want
to go. I looked up trips to Hawaii, and it would cost
minimum $1,000 for flight and hotel for only two and a half
days. Adding in food and misc costs, I could easily spend
$1,500 to go to this wedding. My husband and I are ok
financially and technically I could afford it (and she knows
this), but we have made a recent commitment to start saving
for a potential baby, and that is very important to us.
Honestly, the whole situation with her choosing a
destination wedding leaves me pretty upset in that I feel
forced to spend money to go somewhere and do something I
really don't want to.
To make things more complicated, my friend and I both went
to another friend's destination wedding in St. Thomas last
summer and I'm afraid she would be hurt that I went to
another friend's destination wedding but not hers. She is
very sensitive and my closest friend, and I don't want to
ruin this friendship. Should I just bite the bullet and go
to her wedding because she is my best friend? If not, what
can I say to her without damaging our friendship?
conflicted maid of honor
Your lack of enthusiasm is what I noticed more than
anything. This is your closest friend? I'd think you'd be
thrilled to be there for this big event in her life.Maybe
you don't approve of the fiance?
I'm in one of my oldest friend's black tie wedding this
summer in the Hamptons (they live in CA, but all their
family is back east). So we're paying for flights for my
whole family, hotels, car rental, the dress, shoes, tux,
etc. etc...it's a hunk of change and yes, there is a huge
list of things we should spend that $$$ on. However, she's
my best friend and so I am putting on that satin floor-
length lavender mermaid dress in 100 degree heat & I'm going
to suck it up, because I love her. When I got married 2
years, she was there for me (though she was broke and in the
middle of a break-up, etc.) and I wouldn't have had it any
Honestly, if you have the money to go, you should go. If you
don't have the money, you should talk to her about that.
Perhaps she can help with the expenses as part of the
wedding budget. I think if a couple chooses a destination
wedding, they should understand that if they want certain
people to be there, they should offer to help a bit. But, if
this is your closest friend, then you should ask yourself
why you don't want to go...
My best advice to you -- as a woman who also has a very
sensitive best friend -- is to suck it up and go. You said
she is your closest friend. Money is replaceable, and
although a good for you! is in order for saving for a child
up front, I gather you are not pregnant right now. Don't
miss out. You will have a great time, and it means a lot to
her. When times get tough, and they inevitably will in any
family, you will be so happy to have a close girlfriend to
Also, I completely understand the resentment over her
planning a wedding in an expensive, exotic place, but it is
her wedding, her day, and hopefully this will be her one and
only marriage ceremony.
Every woman needs a best friend
Honesty is the best policy. I would share your feelings with
her, especially the reason why you are having reservations.
But tell her now and not later when the planning is really
under way because your initial availability might affect her
I felt compelled to reply with a post to you because I was
the maid of honor in a wedding with a best friend and we're
not even friends anymore. We had a big falling out and we
don't even speak anymore. Also, I was a bridesmaid for
another best friend and after kids we have totally lost
touch. I guess what I'm saying is, in the end it is your
decision and you should not have regrets about it. Follow
It would be a sad situation if you spent the money against
your better judgement and then didn't have a good attitude
about it and couldn't be there 100% for your friend. That
would be a lose-lose for everyone. Be honest with your
closest friend. She might react, but then again she might
surprise you with an understanding response.
You can afford to go to your best friends' wedding in
Hawaii? I'd go.
Start now putting some money away every month to go
towards the trip. And maybe she will decide not to go to
Hawaii for her wedding. It IS many months away. With all
you describe, I don't think you can justify not going
because you just don't want to spend money going to her
There is really no way to get out of it without hurting her
feelings and damaging the friendship. I think you should just
suck it up and go, unless you really don't mind creating a rift
between you. That said, I find destination weddings totally
annoying. In fact, I'm not crazy about weddings period!!!
If she's your best friend, and you can afford it, you should go. Is it worth losing
your friendship over? Or is there something else going on? Maybe you are not as
close as you think.
I would go to the wedding. It is a short time, but maybe
you could extend it for a few days and make it a romantic
trip with you and your husband (and even start trying for
that baby you want...) Then the cost of the airline ticket
will feel a little more worth it to you.
You say she's your best friend. Would she do it for you?
Is this a friendship you value and want to keep for the
long term? If yes, I would as you say ''bite the bullet''
-Wish I had an excuse to go to Hawaii!!!
The short answer is no, you don't have to go. And when I
first read the title of your question, I was ready to tell
you about the wedding in Europe of a couple of our best
friends, to which we didn't go. But the circumstances were
very different. We could not afford to go, at all. And
they chose Europe to be with family there. So we wished
them well, and celebrated at their California reception.
But your situation is different. Maid of Honor? Oh dear,
that would be hard to back out of without sending a very
strong message. And you just went to St. Thomas? Oh dear.
Precedent. I think if I were in your shoes, I'd bite the
bullet and go.
Why? Because weddings are symbolic as well as logistical.
Your friend set the bar pretty high in the logistics
department. But it's the symbolic that will last you both a
life time. Act the way you want to be remembered.
Yikes - this does sound complicated.
I think a decision sooner rather than later is better.
Personally, I believe in following your gut with regard to
money. It sounds like you might have enough money in the
bank for the trip, but that doesn't necessarily mean that
you have enough money for childcare until school,
afterschool care, college, retirement, etc. If you actually
have money for all that and you just don't feel like going,
part of me thinks you should just go for the friendship.
(but that's a pretty big threshold and part of me doesn't
think so) Being ''conventional'' is putting a lot of people
in less than ideal financial situations.
And I think that you'd have to explain why things are
different for you now than they were a year ago.
And I think it would be nice to host some kind of party for
her here (bridal shower or a bachelorette etc)
And give a nice gift.
For me, It would be pretty awkward to say these things if I
wasn't also following a generally frugal path in other ways.
not a fan of convention
It seems to me that your friend has been asking you
repeatedly b/c she is looking for assurance that you will be
able to attend if she chooses this option. You have the
perfect opportunity to kindly say NOW something like ''You
know how me and insert hubby name have been wanting to have
a baby and we really need to save right now. I REALLY want
to be with you at your wedding but couldn't go to Hawaii if
you decide to do it there BUT I also want you to have the
wedding you want so I fully support whatever decision you
make. I love you and want you to be happy and if you get
married there, we will just have to have a great big night
out to celebrate after you come back and you'd better take
lots of pics.''
If you hedge around and let her think you can go b/c you
have no backbone to tell the truth to YOUR FRIEND, and then
she decides to have it there , you have only yourself to
blame when she's pissed off later.
I hate destination weddings too! It seems very self-
centered to ask people to spend so much money to prove
they love you enough to go to your wedding.
I would tell your friend that you and your husband are
going to start trying for a baby and since you don't know
what the future holds, you can't commit to going to her
Just suck it up and go. Once you have a baby you'll have all the
excuses (and reasons) not to travel anywhere, so if you're planning to
start trying for a baby soon (that's the impression I had, anyway) your
freewheeling days are numbered!
And for comparison and context: one of my close friends and her
soon-to-be fiance came to my destination wedding abroad; 18
months later I did not go to her wedding across the U.S. -- because it
was the morning after my grad school graduation, my parents had
flown in from another country to be with me, and I had an 8-month-
old baby. But still, I think that decision -- she was kind of sad and
annoyed -- was a bit of a death blow to the friendship. We didn't have
a falling out of any sort, but she faded away and I did too and now
we're basically no longer in touch. And it's really too bad, because she
and her husband were great friends of ours.
So, yes, you'll probably get replies telling you your friend needs to
toughen up, but if you want to keep the friendship, go.
How much flexibility do you have on vacation time? Can you get
airline tickets on hotwire.com? Can you fly in or out on a cheaper day?
Do you have to stay at the wedding hotel? (I'm assuming it's a pricey
one and that jacks up your cost estimate). There are a lot of ways to
squeeze more out of a destination wedding trip.
Been there and regrettably didn't do it
You're not OBLIGATED but it's not clear why you are so
negative about an opportunity to be present at one of life's
most significant moments with people who matter to you.
Should you skip the wedding and alienate your friend by your
coldness & rather lame excuses, or go grumpily, pretending
to be happy for her, inside seething at how selfish she is
and how hard it's going to be to have a baby?
I'd say skip both options if your goal is keeping this
friend. Ordinarily I would just say, she's your friend, so
be honest and say you can't afford it. But your posting
hints that there is something else going on with you, and
you should sort that out ASAP first.
--You don't want to go because you want to start saving for
a baby but it's not as if you have to choose between the
wedding and the baby, is it? Is the wedding that
significant a roadblock to your own plans?
--You went to another, more expensive destination wedding
but it's not clear why that one was fine with you and this
one is not. And you know your friend will think that, too.
So I have the impression you're upset about something beyond
the destination wedding. Write it and sort it out as best
as possible, then be honest with your friend, and soon.
P.S. We have been to 2 destination events in Hawaii when we
were completely broke & unemployed. Totally worth it, IMHO.
I hate destination weddings. I think they are the ultimate in selfishness. The
idea that your friends and family will spend huge sums of money, use
vacation time, deal with childcare issues (for people with kids) for your
wedding is ridiculously self centered and insensitive. No one really has an
extra 2,000 (or more if you are bringing your spouse) laying around,
especially in this economy and people want to plan their own vacations if they
can afford to take one. I feel the same way about ''destination'' bridal
That being said, this is your closest friend and that really makes it difficult. I
don't think I would be able to go through all the planning and wedding
discussions with her, much less the actual wedding, without being resentful. I
would talk to her about my feelings in the most sensitive way possible. There
is a Buddhist rule for right speech - is it true, is it kind, and is it necessary.
Using these three factors - is it necessary to talk to her about this to keep
your friendship honest and free from resentment? If so, talk to her in a way
that is honest and kind (to yourself and her).
The short answer is (IMHO) - no, you don't have to go, but whatever you do,
do it in a way that honors your friendship and your own feelings.
If you can afford it right now, go. There's no way to refuse to go without hurting
her feelings. You are going to need her support when the baby comes, so look at
it as an investment. Besides, HI is awsome and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful
I really hate destination weddings and the dilemma that
they force on potential attendees. The bride and groom are
being selfish by making such a choice!
My husband's business partner had an out of the country
destination wedding at a very expensive resort. We spent
more than $2,500 on plane tickets, 4 nights at the resort,
meals, etc. Not to mention, in our case, we had to arrange
childcare for our son for several days, which was no small
feat (in the end, we had to fly my mom out and she looked
after him in our house).
I was resentful of being put in this situation, even
though we could afford it, because I felt like we were
obligated to attend and that they were dictating to us how
to spend our money! Not attending simply wasn't an option
given the professional connection that my husband had to
his partner. With the possible exception of my best friend
or a close relative, as a rule, I would never attend a
destination wedding. And if it was someone I was close to,
I would attend only begrudgingly, again not wanting to
feel forced into paying a lot of money to see my friend
But in your situation, as this is your best friend, I feel
like you really should attend if you can swing it
financially AND if you care about keeping this person in
your life. Not going will hurt your friendship. If it was
anyone but a best friend or close relative, I would
completely support you not attending. (I also say this
because you referenced going to another friend's wedding
last year in St Thomas.)
My final advice to people who think destination weddings
are cool: please be more considerate to your guests. Even
those who can afford to go, might be saving for something
else or may wish to go somewhere else. You will almost
certainly cause resentment among some friends and family,
even if they don't show it.
Been there, done that
I really don't understand destination weddings. Why would
anyone want to make it so difficult for a friends to attend?
The tradition of a honeymoon, going someplace AFTER the
wedding, makes more sense to me.
So you say that your friend has asked you repeatedly about
this wedding. Seems to me that she is trying to get at the
truth, and you are withholding it. Your friendship is being
hurt by the lack of honesty. If you can't be honest with her
about it, are you really friends? Just tell her the truth.
Due to budget considerations, you prefer not to go on an
expensive trip. If that damages your friendship, there is
something wrong with the relationship.
I think you should go. This is your best friend, and she is
(hopefully) getting married only once. Although there is a
somewhat selfish component to holding a destination wedding
and expecting people to go, you are not just ''people'' - you
are her closest friend. If your sibling were getting
married, you would go where you needed to go and be there
for him/her, unless the cost were a totally insurmountable
obstacle (which it's not in this case). There's a short list
of people in your life that you need to make this level of
commitment to, but I would put a best friend on that list.
You have to decide if you would, as well, but I can't
imagine that you could say no to this without it hurting
This may put it into perspective: we are going to a wedding
in my husband's family this summer. It is in the mainland
US, not a destination wedding, but in another city because
that's where the bride's family lives. So, not ''selfish'' in
terms of location, but still far away and expensive. We will
probably spend at least as much as you will to go to Hawaii.
My point is, you might have spent that much to go to her or
other friends'/family members' weddings if they were in
other cities. But we are paying it, and temporarily
postponing other financial priorities, because it is family
and we need to be there. Again, the list of people we would
spend this much money on is not long, but when the time
comes, we need to spend it.
One issue though: it's a bit concerning that you're not able
to talk to her about this directly. Why is she your best
friend if you can't confide in her, or at least ask her more
questions about her plans? If she's not even engaged yet,
nothing is finalized about the wedding plans. You should at
least try to have an open conversation with her if you can.
(How set is Hawaii? Why Hawaii? How many guests does she
expect to have? What role would you play, if any?)
Saving money (for your future child) is a worthy goal, but
so is maintaining adult relationships that you'll rely on
for the rest of your life.
First - if you really can't afford, don't want to spend
the money -- You have to be honest and just tell her that
you would love to go, but that you and your husband have a
financial agreement/budget plan and no room for additional
expenses and then buy her a nice gift.
But I will tell you that I go to Hawaii often and do not
spend the amounts you are speaking of...but it is still
cash out the door.
I have fare alerts set up with travel websites and buy my
tickets when I get an airfare alert below $350 RT. Or I
use Priceline which I love and bid about $250-$300 RT.
Second. I either use priceline for my hotels ($90 a night
waterfront 3* hotels) or ($70 not waterfront 3 or 4*).
These are the rates I typically get....
Or I use VRBO and rent a condo or apt. for much less. My
last trip to Maui I stayed one block from the beach in a
master bedroom suite for $65 a night. Basically it was a
vacation beach house split into two apartments with
separate parking and entrances. The room also had a mini
fridge and microwave and king bed with access use of nice
backyard and BBQ.
So for me and my husband we had a 4 night trip to Hawaii
for about $1000 total.
If you have never tried Priceline, check the website
Biddingfortravel which trains people how to use Priceline
if they are timid about trying it.
I could not have traveled to Europe twice and Australia
twice without Priceline.
yes you have to go. She's your best friend.
a simple answer
No, you don't have to go, but you give up the maid of honor thing and you have
to tell her the truth, it's too expensive for two days. Tell her sooner than later. I
didn't go to my cousin's wedding in Mexico. My husband doesn't get paid
vacation so between the 4 days total(1 day for travel each way and two days at
the wedding) airfare, couples only resort and loss of income would have been
about $7500. I sent our regrets and dropped about $250 on her wedding gift off
her registry. No guilt.
not a fan of destination events...
Best friends are hard to come by. I say go to her wedding.
friends are nice
I think you should bite the bullet and go to the wedding.
Your friend will be really hurt if you don't, esp since
you went to your other friend's wedding in St Thomas. I
didn't invite certain people to my wedding, and they never
forgave me, and in retrospect I wish i had. I think you
need to just do this for your friend-and maybe think about
you'd feel if it were reversed? Would you be upset if she
didn't come to your wedding? Some things, like weddings
and funerals, are just really important events, which
people remember forever.
What were the circumstances of your wedding? Did you
friend spend above a thousand dollars to get there, and be
a part of it? Plus, the present? Plus, the dress? If you
had a low key wedding, and she didn't have to shell that
much out, then maybe you could have a heart to heart with
her. I mean, with this economy, it's understandable that
you would want to save to have a baby. However, if your
friend shelled out a ton of dough for your wedding, then
maybe you had better suck it up, and go.
If she really is your closest friend, I think you have to
go. 10 or 20 years from now are you really going to miss
that $1500 (you said you could afford it)? If you had not
gone to that other destination wedding you would have a
reason saying no, but since you went to your other friend's
wedding it makes hers seem less important. If that's how
she sees it that could really hurt your friendship.
I had a destination wedding, but didn't tell anyone until I
got home (we eloped). Maybe you could convince her to do
the same. We liked the intimacy of our wedding being only
about us. But I know others choose destination weddings for
the exclusivity, knowing that only the people they are
closest to will attend. That makes your attendance all the
I say this as someone in my early forties, who has slowly
drifted away from my closest friends. Marriage, babies,
being on the other side of the country, all have taken a
toll on my friendships. We still speak on the phone, but we
don't have the freedom to just hop on a plane and do
something impulsive and life-changing together like in our
20s. This time of your life is special. Spend your money
with your girlfriends while you can. There will be plenty
of time to spend it on babies.
I have a friend who hopped on a plane to come visit me and
cheer me up when she heard I had broken up with my college
boyfriend. That was expensive for her at the time, but it
was the most generous thing anybody has ever done for me and
pulled me out of a dark place. She will forever be someone I
consider my truest friend, even though I hardly see her
anymore. The money she spent on that trip is a gift I will
carry the rest of my life! (plus she brought me a gift,
which was so not needed, because to me SHE was the gift) So
yes, sometimes a trip is more than a trip, and you might not
know at the time how important it is.
How much is your friendship worth? Seems since you went to
St. Thomas for a lesser friend it is hard to not go to
Hawaii. See if you can't find some package deal to stay at a
cheaper hotel with air included. Could be by Fall the
wedding plan will change so don't get stuck with tickets. If
it were me and I had the $1500 I would just go and enjoy the
time in Hawaii as a romantic get away if nothing else-maybe
start on the baby plan while there?? We got married in
Hawaii and it was a lot of fun.
She's your closest friend, and your best friend, and you
can afford it, and you went to St. Thomas last year,
and... what? You hate Hawaii?
Yes, of course you have to go. And you have to enjoy
yourself. You can go to Hawaii on vacation this year, what
a great thing to do to support your best friend.
Seriously, I hope she doesn't read this.
You'll have fun, come on. Do some bargain hunting for
flights and places to stay. You CAN do it for less than
Are you this way with all your friends? No, just with your
best friend, right?
If you genuinely think the $1K or $1.5 K is going to kill
your opportunity to save for a baby, you might as well
shoot yourself now, because you'll need to have a vacation
after the baby too. And honestly, you'll have more fun
with it now, pre-baby. Seriously. I suppose you can ask
her if she really wants to have it in Hawaii, if she is
your best friend. Or if you're really her best friend (do
I sound doubtful?), you could tell her that of course you
will go to her wedding. You would rather go to her wedding
here in California, but you will go and have a great time,
and you're wondering why you spent that money on that
other friend in St. THomas, you would have skipped that
had you known that your best friend was about to get
married in Hawaii.
Your best friend wants you there. Figure out a way to be
I would say go to the wedding if the friendship is important
I also think you can travel for less money and go to the
weddign but also save some moeny. I'm pretty sure you can
get a ticket for about $250-$300 if you get it well in
advance (I just traveled Honolulu San Francisco in March for
$360, but only bought 2 weeks ahead of time). If you sign
up with Hawaiian airlines, they send you offers all the
time. You can also stay at a decent hotel like Queen
Kapiolani at the end of Waikiki (a little more quiet than in
the center of Waikiki) for about $100 or if you want to stay
in a less crowded place, you can go to the Windwards side
and stay in a vrbo. There are places for couples starting at
99p/n too. So, the total for flight and hotel could be about
$500 for 2 nights, and then try to be conservative with the
meals and miscellaneous spending. If you go to a vrbo that
sleeps 4 with another couple and has a kitchen, you may be
able to stay within a $700-$750 budget for your whole
trip... If you go this route remember to bring your Safeway
card (the other supermarkets, Foodland and Times, are local).
You may also want to stay 2 more days and make a vacation
out of this, Waikiki is a busy place (I still like it,
though, the waves are awesome for newbie surfers), but there
are awesome places to visit in Oahu (Turtle Bay, Kailua,
Sandy Beach, North Shore/Haleiwa, the Botanical Garden in
Kaneohe... and in Honolulu there are cool places to go like
the Bishop Museum, Shangri-La,and the museum of Modern Art).
Since your friend is not even engaged yet, NOW is the time
to backpedal about what she may have heard as your
commitment to attend her hypothetical wedding in Hawaii.
Just start saying, ''it might be too expensive for us, we'll
have to see, and hey, have you looked at some nice places in
Oakland?'' (j/k) The bottom line is, if your ''best''friend has
a destination wedding and you don't go, the friendship will
be damaged. (Speaking from experience on both sides, I know
that a friend who doesn't attend your wedding - regardless
of what they consider to be a very good reason - falls much
lower in your esteem. Weddings are a very big deal to the
two main players.)
If you bluntly say you need to save money for your
hypothetical baby, she will be hurt that you are choosing a
nonexistent person over her (which you are, of course). It
sounds to me like you may not value this friendship as much
as you once did, which is okay... people change. Just
realize if you don't go, the friendship will likely be over.
Personally, I would go, stay longer, and make it my annual
vacation. What's so bad about an excuse to go to Hawaii?!
I WANT to be invited to a destination wedding!
I know you got a lot of advice, but I was surprised by the number of people who
said you should go if you wanted your friendship to last. I don't think that way
at all. I have missed the weddings of many close friends because at the time I
didn't have the money to fly to her or his wedding, my work schedule wouldn't
allow it, or I'd just had a child. I also made it to the weddings of other friends.
Looking over my current friendships I find no correlation between how close I am
to a friend and whether I was present at her or his wedding and I am shocked
that so many people think that way. Weddings are nice and fun to attend, but
they should not be considered obligatory. Many of my friends are now having
destination 40th birthday parties and I am missing many of these too. If it
doesn't fit your budget or work for your family I urge you not to stress about not
attending. Talk to your friend -- if she is a good friend, she will understand.
like to save my travel for vacations
i'm posting from the perspective of a person who HAD a
destination wedding. the short answer is: no, you don't have
to go, but you better tell her soon! i should note that i'm
not a wedding-obsessed person, perhaps even unconventional
by some. i refused to allow my now-hubby waste his money on
an engagement ring, paid $55 each for our wedding rings, got
married in sport sandals on a beach, etc... however, the
wedding was very, very classy, approved by our
to all the haters of destination weddings, i had one because
my hubby and i lived in two different cities (LA and SF bay)
while our families lived near sacramento area and NY, with
my brother in chicago. since at least half the family and
friends had to travel anyway, we decided to have a
destination wedding in hawaii. we also specifically stated
in the invitation that we understood if they couldn't come.
we did not want anyone to experience huge financial burdens.
i asked my closest female friend to perform the ceremony,
and she was happy to do it. (i played the piano at hers,
btw.) besides not alerting people in advance far enough, i
unfortunately booked our wedding during peak travel time, so
the flight cost was outrageous. since making a family
vacation for 4 out of the wedding was expensive for her esp
when her family was in hawaii the year before, she decided
that only she'd fly out for a few days. (btw, they're
financially successful.) i told her that while i truly
appreciate her effort to be at the wedding, i do not want my
wedding to be a burden on her in anyway. given that she's
one of my best friends, why would i ever want to
inconvenience her so much? so i ended up talking her out of
coming, and my hubby's sister performed the ceremony instead.
our wedding had maybe 35 people, most of them family
members. yes, it was inconvenient and expensive for
attendees, and i faced lots of grumbles. however, everyone
ultimately had an awesome hawaiian vacation on many levels
that i won't get into here. sure, maybe it would've been
nicer if a few more of our best friends made it, but a
wedding is really a family affair while many guests are
there for obligatory reasons. (be honest - i know many of
you moaned about having to attend another wedding.)
if your friendship is as strong as your claim, you should be
able to speak to her honestly about your hesitations. i
guess there's a chance that she's in full bridezilla mode,
but if your friendship ended by this episode, perhaps you
two weren't as close and solid as you assumed. if you're
willing to suck it up and go, enjoy it but don't be
resentful. make a fun vacation out of it. otherwise, talk to
- aloha bride
Slightly different situation, as mine was not a
''destination'' wedding, but I have friends from far flung
places. Those that made the trek mean a lot more to now
than those that didn't. I know this is mean and petty, but
there's something about not going to wedding of a best
friend that puts this friendship on dry ice. I offered to
pay their way, so perhaps that is a bit different, but it
still seems crazy not to go to a best friend's wedding.
(It's one of the most important days of their lives).
That said, you MUST be honest with your friend about your
hesitation. It's a lot of money to spend and while you will
bite the bullet if she insists on destination wedding, if
most of her family and friends are in one place, and she
cares about having them at the wedding then she think about
I know you already got a ton of responses, but there was an
aspect of your post that didn't seem to draw much attention
that I wanted to comment on. You say that you went to a
destination wedding just last summer (of someone less close
to you than your best friend), and that you are financially
fairly stable. What has changed is your recent commitment to
start preparing to have a baby. Of course this is a huge
milestone for you and your husband. On an emotional level,
it may feel to you as if going to this wedding will get in
the way of you having a baby, or as if your friend is asking
you to choose between her and your future child. Neither of
these things are actually true. It's great that you and your
husband are thinking about how you can be as financially
ready as possible to start a family, but you don't have to
put your entire life on hold--in fact, doing so might just
stress you out. If you can afford it, I would encourage you
to go ahead and be a part of your friend's wedding in Hawaii
(she is your best friend after all) and have a great time:
maybe you'll get pregnant while you're there, a lot of
people do conceive while they're on vacation!
I recently received a wedding invitation from a good friend/ex coworker. She had
mentioned in the past how hard it was to think about who she could invite due to
financial concerns. My question is the invitation was addressed to me only, I do have
husband and child so does this exclude them? I'm fine with it one way or the other
because I certainly don't want to stress her out financially. I'm just not sure about
rules of the invitation and I don't want to ask her because I don't want her to feel
The invitation was only addressed to you, so only you should attend the wedding.
For formal occasions (weddings, bar mitzvah, etc) the people
invited = the people addressed on the envelope. If your children
are not listed, it means they are not invited. I do believe it
is proper, when inviting an adult, to include their significant
other or a guest. But, if your friend is financially strapped, I
would just let it go. If you ask, she will probably feel bad and
offer to let you bring a guest.
I am a wedding photographer and am fairly familiar with wedding
etiquette. This is what I found on The Knot about the subject:
''Most guests will understand that without ''and Guest'' or another
name on the invitation, it's meant for them alone. Especially if
you are having a small wedding, you probably aren't going to
invite everyone to bring an escort, unless it's a fiance(e)
and/or a serious significant other...''
Since you have a family, I would give her a call to confirm,
because most couples do not leave off a spouse from the
invitation, only boyfriends/girlfriends if there isn't enough
space for extra people.
Hope this helps :)
If the invitation is addressed to you only, it is probably meant
for you only. Your co worker sounds like she needs to limit her
guest list for financial reasons, as she mentioned. This was
probably her way of saying, ''I wish I could invite your family,
but unfortunately I can't afford to.'' She probably would be
mortified if you asked her about it. If you feel like you would
be comfortable there without your family, go. If you don't, rsvp
that you're sorry you can't make it, and send a gift. Please look
at it this way- it's nice that she wanted to include you.
I know How She Feels!
If yours is the only name on the invitation, then you are the
only one invited. I think she was probably trying to warn you
of this in your earlier conversations. Up to you whether you
want to go as a single or not.
Emily Post says:
'' Respect your invitation.
Do not ask your host or hostess if you can bring a date or your children. The invitation
will be addressed to the people invited. If you may bring a guest, your invitation will
read "Mr. John Phelps and guest." If your children are invited, they will either
their own personal invitations or their names will be listed under yours on the
envelope. This is not the time to question your host's decision, to argue or to beg for
an exception. And, please, do not add their names to a reply card or show up with
-A Posting from Post
How are they requesting RSVPs? Simply reply with ''1 person
attending'', or ''I'll be there solo!''
Nice of you to be considerate of her finances.
I was very recently invited to a wedding shower for a woman who
I know, like and admire, but we're definitely not
yet ''friends''. I was invited by someone who works for her. The
bride-to-be founded and directs a non-profit for which I've
been doing a bit of volunteer work. Being clueless about
wedding showers, except for a couple I attended in my early
20's (eons ago), I looked up online the etiquette behind them
and saw freqeuntly mentioned that they're really for folks who
will most likely be invited to the wedding. Well I know I
won't be invited to the wedding and I have absolutely no
problem with that at all. The primary reason I declined was
that I didn't want to feel awkward as I really don't yet feel
part of that social circle and I didn't want her to feel
awkward as we're not friends. No doubt this probably sounds
pretty neurotic and I'm definitely feeling that way about it,
besides being on the shy side. What would others have done?
Kind of second-guessing myself.
No need to second guess yourself. Your decision was
reasonable. The guest of honor won't even hear about your
declining the invitation, at least assuming the hostess has
I don't like awkward situations either
I would say that I already have plans on that day (eg: mom's
75th birthday or some other compelling family function) but I
would get a gift and give it to the person that invited you, and
ask her/him to give it to the bride at the shower.
It is not good etiquette to invite people to a shower who will not be invited to a
wedding. You should not feel bad about declining any invitation to a shower you
feel comfortable attending, or that you cannot attend because you have plans.
Respectively say, ''good luck'' and ''thank you for including me but I'm afraid I
make it'' and leave it at that. I wouldn't attend a shower where I wasn't invited
wedding unless it was very special circumstances. You are under no obligation to
attend that or anything anyone invites you to unless you want to
I think wedding showers are totally obnoxious and refuse to go
to them. So I don't think you are rude at all! (BTW, I have
totally different feelings about baby showers, as long as it is
for the first child only.)
the primary reason for wedding and baby showers is to give
presents to the bride/mother. Unfortunately. I personally don't
believe in it, and would feel uncomfortable having a shower for
that purpose, but that's reallly the purpose, particularly if
you barely know the person. I would have done the same thing.
There is a school of thought that says an invitation obligates
you to give a gift, which also annoys me, but if you want to
meet that etiquette in a way that doesn't break your budget, you
can either just decline the invitation, and don't worry about
it, or if you would like to give a gift, you can do so, or you
can ask the host if there is a group gift. Then you can give
whatever you feel comfortable with. Sometimes in those awkward
situations I think what you did is best. Definitely don't go if
you feel uncomfortable. Frankly, for people I don't know at all,
I think it's annoying to receive such an invitation, although it
may be that they're just inviting everybody at work and
everybody is pretty chummy. But you'd know if that was true for
Well, what you say about it being for people who will be invited to the wedding
may have originally been true, but nowadays, friends from work often give a
shower to congratulate a co-worker, even if they know they will not be invited
to the wedding. So this may have been a secondary shower to the one with life-
long friends, relatives, etc. If that is true, probably a lot of the other guests
would have a similar relationship to the bride-to-be.
If it's not a ''hey we'll invite all the girls from the office'' thing, then the
usually consulted about who she wants to have invited, so she may have
thought of you especially. Either way, you would have fit in, I am sure. It sounds
like you are downplaying your relationship with this person. She probably likes
and admires you, too. At the times in my life when I was lucky enough to be the
guest of honor (wedding and baby showers) I definitely felt like my
relationships with some friends were deepened, just because it was an occasion
to bring us together. This is how friendships are made!
But don't feel bad about declining! People decline invites for all kinds of
reasons. I trust you told the hostess that you had a prior engagement and not ''I
don't really think I'm friends with her''!
This may sound rude but I personally don't go to wedding showers
if I'm not invited to the wedding. I think it happens because the
person throwing the shower hasn't gone over the guest list with
the bride. For that reason I wouldn't feel bad about not going.
You could just send a card to the bride that says something like
'Sorry I missed the bridal shower. Congratulations on your
wedding.' You can be invited to the wedding but not the shower
but not the other way around. Don't feel bad at all.
If you are correct in your assessment that you would not be
invited to the wedding, then it sounds like the woman you work
with (who I'm sure made up the guest list) was using the shower
as a way to reach out socially to some people she likes and would
like to know better--perhaps a lapse of good judgement on her
part, but you might as well take the underlying, positive message
that ''she likes you''. There's nothing wrong with declining to
attend the shower, but if you'd like to cultivate a friendship
with her, maybe you can find an opportunity to do something
social together at another time. It's always nice to make new
I have experienced physical, emotional, and verbal abuse since I
was young. This was mostly carried out by my two alcoholic
stepfathers, however my mother is also responsible. These
stepfathers are out of the picture now but my mother and sister
are the issue here.
Last year, my younger sister (20), who is unemployed and high
school educated, moved in with her boyfriend of 4 months. She
showed no sense of responsibility (drinking herself to sickness,
drugs, leaving home for days without notice, driving without a
license, and accruing $200+ phone bills for my mother to pay,
etc.). A few months later she became pregnant and married a
When I expressed concern over my sister’s situation (alcohol &
drugs a month prior to becoming pregnant), my mother only
questioned why I wasn’t married yet (I am 27). My mother had me
at a very young age (followed by 5 other kids, poverty, abuse,
etc.) and I am concerned that my sister is repeating the cycle.
I am a college graduate with a stable income, yet my mother said
I was “not nothing” compared to my sister’s decisions. I tried
for years to get along with my family but it is simply not worth
the pain. I separated myself from them in order to keep my
sanity and have been much happier as a result.
I don’t want to invite my family to my wedding. They have not
made a positive contribution to my life and I see no reason for
them to be present on my special day. However, my future
father-in-law strongly advised me to not ‘close any doors’. My
fiancée’s parents would like to meet my family, even if just
once (my fiancée’s has a big family and they are very family-
oriented). I have shared with them the abuse that has occurred
and my reasoning behind not inviting them but they still insist
that I give it more thought. I have a lot of respect for my
future in-laws and so their opinions hold a lot of weight for
me. While they have told me they will respect whatever choice I
make, I feel very pressured to do as they suggest.
And, if I don’t invite my family, I’m afraid I’ll be asked where
my family is on my wedding day. How do I deal with this
question (which is a complicated and painful topic) without it
spoiling my day?
I think there is wisdom in your statement about not wanting your family there
because they haven't made a positive contribution to your life (and, in fact, a
negative one). I don't think you are closing doors by not inviting them because a
wedding is only 1 event on 1 day - it's not forever. If people ask why they are
there you can say something simple like ''we're not close.'' No doubt you'll have
some sad feelings about it but I think being upfront about it is better than
it as if it's something shameful. Weddings can be stressful and I question whether
that would be the day to add more stress. If you want to be in touch with them
and it feels right then you'll make that choice. I get that your in-laws are
people whom you admire but perhaps they are seeing the wedding day as too
important when it comes to your difficult family situation. I can imagine they do
want to meet your family and perhaps they will someday when it feels right to you.
The simple answer: No. My take is as follows. This day is
about you and your future husband and the joy of finding one
another and beginning a new married life together. It is not
about your family and it sounds like the cost of their meeting
one another on this days outweighs the positives of their
participation and presence. I'd throw a smaller party that
would satisfy the need to have them meet one another while not
running the risk (likelihood) of having them detract from your
wedding day. And at your wedding day, I'd come up with some
simple way to handle the inevitable questions without a lot of
information (''We're having another private reception for family-
only at a later date''... or something of the sort).
Our daughter's Bat Mitzvah takes place in November and - while
certainly not the same as a wedding - it is an important life
cycle ritual loaded with sentiment and meaning. I've made the
difficult choice of not inviting my dad for a set of reasons
perhaps equally as painful as yours. If he were to come, he'd
no doubt make the event about him. He's played no positive
role in my daughter's life, couldn't pick her out of a crowd,
and in fact has not even met five of his nine grandchildren.
He's deeply narcissistic and has caused a great deal of sorrow
among his four adult children. My three sibs are coming from
far and wide for this event, and I'm choosing to protect their
feelings and - more importantly - allow this day to be about my
daughter's significant life passage. My dad, sadly, has not
earned an invitation to this special event.
It would seem the same can be said of your family. You seem
very well put together and have transcended a lot of grief and
tough circumstances. Here's to a happy wedding and a long and
wonderful married life. Wishing you well,
I can understand why you don't want to invite your family on
your special day. I can also see why your future inlaws want to
meet them. Why not get everybody together for an ''engagement
party'' so they can meet each other. Then, have a small wedding,
and only invite those people who know about your family
situation, so you can avoid questions about why they are not
Sounds like a very difficult situation. There were things I was
adamant about for my wedding too, but an older friend reminded me
that a wedding is a charged time, and even small decisions can
seem big made for a wedding. He urged me to leave room for other
people's feelings. I made some changes to include my family more,
and now am very glad I did. But I can certainly understand your
not wanting to have the joy of your wedding disrupted by
difficult family relationships. Can you strike some kind of
compromise? Can you have your wedding as you envision it, and
then a later reception of some kind at which you include your
family? You could just say that it was a small private wedding,
but that you wanted to share your joy with them. Your in-laws
sound really great. And speaking from experience, there is much
healing to be had in those relationships.
Congratulations to you
Here is my advice: Don't invite them. If you invite them, you're
opening the door for them to hurt you again. The same thing
happened to me when I got married. My wife's family insisted that
I invite my family so that I not close any doors. Some of my
friends also said the same thing. I was told that ''I should be
the bigger person'' and that ''I would have bad karma'' if I didn't
invite them. I was told that I should ''forgive and forget'' and
''let bygones be bygones''. I gave in and I'm sorry I did. When my
estranged family showed up, they put on a smoke and mirrors show
pretending they were a loving family. Also, one of my relatives
got on the microphone during the reception and said things I
would have rather not have had said at my wedding. Finally, some
of my friends and members of my wife's family questioned my
integrity after the wedding. Because of the smoke and mirrors
show my estranged family put on, some people thought I had made
up how during my childhood I had endured physical, verbal, and
emotional abuse and alcoholism. Also, my mother-in-law suddenly
wanted to get closer to my parents despite my wishes and this
became a problem. My advice is for you to tell your in-laws and
fiancee's family that you understand their curiosity, but since
it's your special day and you were the one who was abused as a
child, not them, you don't want your family there. Period. Don't
let anyone guilt trip you or use ''spiritual reasoning'' to
manipulate you. There's a reason you separated from your family.
Don't let them back in
Sorry I Invited My Family
Wow. Tough situation. I can appreciate that your
future-in-laws' opinions hold weight with you as I'm the same
way. I can also see your point of view. I say this - plan on
inviting your mom and sister and just move on. Enjoy your
wedding planning (no need to include them) and focus on the happy
future ahead of you. Plan on getting dressed with other women in
your family/future family that you treasure. Just send them an
invitation in the mail, order a corsage for your mother and call
it a day.
I was upset at an aunt during my wedding planning and got very
pissy about her attitude possibly ruining ''my day'' but in the end
she could not have ruined my day if she tried -- it is such a
busy day and when you are surrounded by people you love all the
BS just slips away. Really. I'm glad I didn't do anything
drastic like uninvite her (I was tempted to). My sister's
friend uninvited a mutual lifelong friend of theirs because of
who knows what (''don't want her to ruin MY day!'') and she really
regrets it and she realizes that she was just swept up in the
stressful throes of wedding planning which magnified everything
This is not to minimize all that you have suffered. You have
some major wounds and your mom's reaction to your sister's
pregnancy? Priceless. But I agree with your future
father-in-law -- do not close any doors. People can change.
Your sister may get her act together five years from now and want
to have a relationship with you in the future. Unfortunately,
exclusion from once-in-lifetime events is hard to get over. If
you exclude your mom and sister then you should consider that
door 99.9% officially closed. Not sure if you really want that.
Tries to see the big picture
First, don't you dare make this decision based on what you
think would please your future in-laws. You know your family
better than they do and you are in the best position to make
this decision. I had a similar situation when I remarried. My
family was very upset that my ex-husband and I divorced and
were very resentful of my new husband. We were barely speaking
when I got married and my future father-in-law spent much time
trying to convince me to do whatever it would take to get them
to come to the wedding. My husband likewise came from a big
family and believes that family is the most important thing.
What you need to keep in mind to make your decision is this:
it is your day - what would make it enjoyable for you? it is
your family - how likely are they to show out and embarass you
on your day? You cannot let this decision be made based on
concern for whether your in-laws may be disappointed. You need
to heal the scars of your past in your time; don't force it and
create additional stress on what is supposed to be your
happiest day. It could create an even bigger wedge in your
relationship that truly will permanently burn a bridge.
Ultimately, my parents didn't come to my wedding, and it was a
great time. Months later, we we able to have the very serious
talks, etc. that we needed to heal and have begun to rebuild a
new relationship. Why don't you set up another occasion in
advance of the wedding to allow your future in-laws to meet
your family (not a good idea to have such an important day be
their first meeting)? That way you can use it as a test run.
But make it clear to everyone in advance that you will be the
one to ultimately decide whether or not your family attends. I
did a lot of soul-searching and excessive prayer over this
issue before I reached my decision. My father-in-law later
realized that I know my parents better than he does and that my
way was best. Yours will, too. Best of luck no matter what
you decided - and I'll keep you in my prayers
I strongly advise you against inviting your family to the wedding. Your
instincts are right here. I was just at a big family event, not a wedding,
and I saw how such high stress events can bring out the worst in people.
You should be able to enjoy your wedding as much as possible. Your
in-laws may be wonderful, but they should respect YOU on this. If you
feel inclined, perhaps you could set up a dinner at a more neutral time
and place. My best wishes to you
This is your decision to make, and there isn't a right or wrong
answer. Keep in mind, though, that a wedding isn't just your
special day and about what you want, or about the private
commitment between you and your husband. A wedding is a public
celebration, and about your friends, family and community coming
together to witness and acknowledge your commitment, and
(hopefully) to support it. It's really as much for your
community as it is for yourselves. Otherwise you could just
elope, or throw a party. So I think any decision to exclude
your family is a big one--not just because it's a big event, but
because of the very nature of the event. So I think the
question to ask yourself is not ''do I want them there?'' (clearly
you don't), but ''are they my family?''. If you really can't
forgive them and don't consider them to be your family anymore,
then don't invite them, and be prepared to accept the
consequences of that. But if not, you should invite them,
because they're your family. Forgiveness is always a good thing
to try for.
easier said than done
Inviting your family seems so uncomfortable to you, and you even
said clearly that you don't want to, so don't do it! Please!
It's stressful enough. Work w/ your future inlaws on
alternatives. Maybe have a get-together now, if it comes down
to it, so they can see how awful it would be. Or just tell them
how much you respect them and would like to please them, but you
can't find any way to feel comfortable w/ your family at the
wedding. Your in-laws are probably healthy enough that they just
don't understand what it would be like to need to cut off a
family member. Keep in mind that if you were much older, this
would not even be a question-either that it's your decision or
that it's the right thing to do. I have a friend who recently
married at 50+, and she has been trying all her adult life to
have a decent relationship w/ her mother, who in my opinion is
just plain awful to her, and I can tell you I was relieved that
she didn't invite her mother to her wedding. She did invite
family members who would have no problem being happy for HER and
her spouse, on their special day. So if you have family members
that you'd feel comfortable with, and that you know would be
happy for you, invite them, or invite them to meet your inlaws.
Try to imagine individuals in your family, and how they would
truly react to your invitation, and to being there, and if it
just doesn't feel good, then don't do it. Go with your gut. I'm
sorry for you that it's not the Norman Rockwell kind of family
you've got, but please be assured that there are more of us out
there! Find love and nurture it. Do give it more thought. If you
can find that w/ your family in some way, go for it. If you
can't, then go with your gut, and sit down with your inlaws and
ask them to help you through your difficult decision, if that
seems right. Don't worry about answering questions at the
wedding. Just say your family couldn't be here today. Most
people know the score anyway, and hopefully most of them won't
be rude enough to ask. Be good, be strong
Your wedding day is supposed to be about you. You should be
surrounded by people how love you and who are happy for you. It
would be cruel to put yourself in a siutation where you cannot
celebrate the glorious present (being in love, making a new
family, joining a wonderful family) and start to plan for the
future because you have to deal with a painful and difficult
If your future in-laws could discretely share that your family
won't be there because your history with them would make the
celebration more difficult, you shouldn't get too many
questions (your friends already know, right?) You have a right
to have your wedding reflect who you are, who you choose to be,
and how you are choosing to plan your future. I know the sense
of obligation pulls hard on people during these critical
events, but in modern society, weddings are no longer about the
families exchanging property and making ties--they are about
the couple, how they have chosen one another, and a celebration
of the commitment the two are making to one another. ANY
suggestion about your wedding celebration that doesn't
contribute to that in a positive way should be eyed with
suspicion. You have a right to draw a line across this point
in time and say, ''This is who I am and how I choose to live.''
Surround yourself with people who support that.
--Making future family count
As I began to read your letter, my first reaction was, don't
invite your estranged family. They are estranged for a reason,
and I fully support you in maintaining a distance.
On the other hand, I did attend a friend's wedding just this past
weekend and even though the groom's mom has not been kind to the
bride, she was invited and included in the family acknowledgement
section. The bride even said to the mom-in-law publicly, ''I want
the best for you, and your son.''
The thing is, who you do and don't invite to a wedding has the
tendency to polarize all relationships. It makes the people you
invite feel extra close to you, and those you don't invite feel
extra estranged. Therefore, the result of not inviting your
family will be to cement the distance between you (which you
might want to do) and the result of inviting them is that you
leave the door open. There may be a wedding miracle that opens
everyone's hearts, or even if it just goes OK, inviting them
doesn't cause further alienation.
Elon Bartlett D.C. firstname.lastname@example.org
The way you feel about them leads me to agree with you that you
probably shouldn't invite them to the wedding. The day is
stressful and crazy enough without having to deal with people
you'd rather not see. But maybe you can have a small reception
later that would be more inclusive of your family so your husband
can interact with them etc. This would be easier to structure on
terms you can live with than the wedding itself.
Perhaps your in-laws are in the fortunate positon of being
members of a truly loving family group, and therefore cannot
completely comprehend how disfunctional (to put it politely)
some families can be.
One solution would be to have a frank sit-down discussion
beforehand with your in-laws about your concerns, and together
work up a short answer ready to use when wedding guests and
friends ask that tiresome question, ''And where is YOUR family
today?'' For example, everyone in the family goup can be
prepared to say ''Oh yes, we are also so sorry they couldn't
make it, but we hope to see them soon.'' Then change the
subject by suggesting a glass of champagne, or some other
Hope you enjoy your wedding! Don't let anyone talk you into
something you don't want. It's your day.
Just because someone is related to you doesn't mean that you
have to keep them in your life. Your wedding day is supposed to
be a happy day for you, and you get to choose who will be there
with you. Surround yourself with people who will love you and
treat you with respect. Judging by the way your family has
treated you, I don't think you owe anyone an excuse.
You are the final judge of your family situation, and you
shouldn't invite them to your wedding just to please your future
FIL. He's probably a good guy, but it sounds like he's being a
little hard-headed on this issue, albeit with the best
intentions. If you decide not to have your family at your wedding
(which seems like a perfectly valid choice, given what you
describe--it should be a day when you are happy, not tense and
freaked out), just let him know it was a hard choice for you and
you are sad that your family situation is not better BUT you are
so grateful to be joining through marriage his loving,
supportive, healthy family. Hopefully that will get him off your
It is your wedding. You want to have fun and minimize stress.
You will already likely be a little bit stressed. You might have
alcohol there. Don't ivite your mother or sister. Tell your
in-laws that you thought about it a long time, and that you want
to have a joyous occaision. You can have a smaller family get
together with your immeadiate inlaws and your mother and sister
if you REALLY want to, but that doesn't need to happen at your
wedding. DOn't worry about people asking where your family is.
You are forming a new family. Every person getting married is
allowed to do the wedding the way they want it done. You sound
wonderful and accomplished and together and your in laws sound
fantastic. You are celebrating joining a new family.
Congratulations! You don't need your mother and sister at your
Mom who did it my way
My brother is getting married this summer and I'm in the wedding
party, along with my Dad and my sister's husband. My brother's
wife-to-be has included my sister in the wedding party, but not
my wife (her future sister in law). While my brother and his
fiance have a closer relationship with my sister and her husband
than we do, our relationship is solid and I can't for the life
of me understand the snub, but need to find out. My question is,
how do I confront my brother on this? Is it okay to leave a
future sister-in-law out of the equation, but include a future
brother-in-law? I don't want to force him to include my wife,
but he does need to understand how disrespectful their decision
is to us(unless of course, there is a legitimate reason, which I
From what I remember, the groom ususally has more say over the men
in the wedding and the bride over the women. For this reason, the
men in the groom's family and the women in the bride's family are
more likely to be included in the wedding party (which would
explain why you, your father and your brother-in-law --all men
related to your brother-- are all involed). Sometimes the bride
will also include the groom's sister etc. but this also means she
may have to include one less friend of her own or family member of
her own, so this might explain why your sister is in the wedding
party, but not your wife, who is her fiance's brother's wife, and
so less of a close relation to her than, say, her own sister, or
her brother's wife. It seems to me that she may already be
acknowledging her closeness to your family by including your
sister among her bridesmaids (or whatever) --which is by no means
a given, even if the families are close!-- to include your wife
would be highly unusual. When I got married a couple of years
ago, my brother's wife was one of my bridesmaids, but my husband's
sister was not (even though we get along very well). Also, my
brother was not one of the groomsmen, but my brother-in-law (my
husband's brother) was. You get the picture. No one, to my
knowledge was offended. There are only a certain amount of people
that can be in a wedding without it becoming a circus! I say be
happy for the couple and don't mention it to them!
wedding party etiquette is always challenging for the couple
getting married. ultimately, as it is their wedding, it is
their decision as to whom is in the wedding party. perhaps the
bride and groom want to keep the numbers even on either side
and the bride to be has some close friends she would like to
include. approaching your brother in a friendly, non-
confrontational manner would be good just to simply ask why
your wife wasn't included in the wedding party. please remember
that planning a wedding can be a high stress time in one's life
and trying to include everyone sometimes just isn't feasible
for a variety of reasons. best of luck.
Just a quick response from someone who got married a few years
ago. It is a very difficult process to decide who will be in
your wedding party -- especially if you prescribe to the idea of
having ''even'' numbers on each side. Additionally, I guess I
feel like no one should ''expect'' to be in someone's wedding
party, regardless of who else is chosen. It is an honor to be
asked but it surely is not a dishonor not to be asked. So the
fact that your brother chose to honor your sister's husband does
not in any way mean your soon to be sister in law is somehow
dishonoring your wife. There are a zillion reasons that your
wife might not have been included, none of them having to do
with you, or your wife (but more having to do with other
relationships that the bride really wanted to honor by asking
them to stand at her side). If it was me, I would go to the
wedding, celebrate the couple fully, and not say another word
about this. It is THEIR day -- the focus is not you or your
wife. It sounds like the wedding party is small, and I am sure
it was very difficult for the bride to be to choose who would
stand by her. There are no rules about this -- I really
encourage you and your wife to try to support the couple as
fully as possible.
PS-The fact that you have chosen to see this as disrespectful
makes me wonder if you don't have other unspoken business with
your brother. I see no disrespect whatsoever in it. The
disrespect would be if you were to make a big deal about it and
put a dark cloud over their wedding day. If your wife really
wants to support/contribute to that day, then maybe you could
say ''hey I would love to think of a way that [my wife] could
help out on your wedding day, because she would love to be
included and to support you both.'' But if you express a sense
of entitlement to her being included in the wedding party I
think you are way off base.
Family is forever
I don't think it was meant to be a snub. Choosing one's
attendants for a wedding is a VERY personal decision. You didn't
mention whom else your brother's fiance choose in stead of your
wife. It sounds to me like she chose the people that she's
closest to and your brother chose the people he's closest to.
When I got married my best friend was my matron of honor, not my
sister. Because at that time, my best friend was the one who had
been there for me,particularly supporting my relationship with my
husband to be, not my sister. Would you suggest that your
brother's fiance ''snub'' her sister..or best friend or whomever
she chose over your wife, simply because she is married to you?
Of course these are delicate issues, but I think you are the one
that needs to show some respect for their decisions, not the
otherway around. This is after all, their wedding. They have the
right to have their wedding as they want it, and I am sure they
didn't come to the decisions they did lightheartedly. Be happy
that they honored you to be a part of it, but most of all, be
happy for them.
I'm not sure if I understand this, but here goes: your
fiancee's feelings are hurt because she wasn't included in your
Short answer: it is your brother's fiancee's (and your
brother's) wedding. She should be thinking of who SHE is close
to, who SHE wants to stand by her side. YOUR fiancee is not
technically even a relative of hers at this point. There is
basically no reason on God's green earth why your fiancee
should be in her wedding party (other than real feelings of
IMHO you should be very leery of getting in the middle of
something like this, particularly now, before anybody's even
married! This type of thing sets a precedent for everybody
starting out offended at one another! You don't want to live
in one another's house or on one another's lap. Let your
brother and sister in law plan their marriage in peace, for
heaven's sake! Nobody owes your fiancee anything. This isn't
her wedding. Nobody has to bow to her, include her as
a ''specially close person,'' or so forth. This event is NOT
ABOUT HER. You should both go to the wedding, give them your
love, and hope that they have a productive, happy, and healthy
life. And you know what? Your fiancee doesn't have to have
her new sister in law in her wedding party! Or, if she wants
to get awards for generosity and diplomacy at HER WEDDING, she
Catch this stuff now, or your marriage will consist of YEARS
of ''she didn't do this and should have's'' and you, my friend,
will be utterly miserable.
seen a lot of weddings
My husband and I work in the wedding business and I see this happen A LOT. I
would advise that you keep quiet. It may not be thoughtful or kind or
diplomatic of her to leave out your wife but it is your future sister-in-law's
wedding and her bridal party and she can do whatever she wants and her
decisions should be respected. Perhaps she is trying to send a message to
your wife by not choosing her but in my opinion it is more likely that her
choice of bridesmaids (and one cannot ask everyone to be a bridesmaid) simply
shows that she is closer to your brother's wife (or is it fiancee?) right now. But
that does not mean that in the future she won't become closer to your wife or
that she dislikes your wife. I am sure it hurts your wife's feelings and it stinks.
But keep in mind that there are probably college roommates, cousins, and lots
of other women close to the bride who were not asked either.
Been a bride, a bridesmaid, and just a guest
Why do so many people in our culture look for ways to be upset
about things that don't really involve them at all! Your
brother and his fiancee have to make choices around their
wedding, including who and how family and friends participate.
Please be realistic and more understanding. Are you more
committed to starting a fight than supporting and celebrating
the wedding day of your brother? Your wife is a grown woman,
who I am sure planned her own wedding and was faced with
similar choices -- though they may be not identical choices. If
she, or you feel insulted, that is because you are choosing to
look at the situation that way. My advice is cut your brother
and his fiancee some slack, show up, be supportive, and have a
great time. That would be the best gift of all for them, and
for you and your wife -- now and forever.
Is there a legitimate reason? YesIit's the bride and groom's
wedding and they can do what they want. It's their day, not
yours and not your wife's. Maybe to keep the number of
groomsmen & bridesmaids even your wife didn't make the cut. Or,
as you say yourself, your brother and his fiancee have a closer
relationship with your sister's husband than with your wife.
Wedding participants are often based on closeness to the bride
and groom, not on ''six degrees of separation'' based on who's
married to who's sibling.
While I empathize with your wife's desire to be in the wedding
because some people interprete being in a wedding as a
person's ''importance'' to the marrying couple, it's ultimately
their wedding. It's not a snub, and yes it's okay to leave a
future sister-in-law out of the equation, but include a future
And you don't need to confront your brother. Instead just
ask ''say, my wife had hoped to be included in your wedding
party'' and see what he says. Maybe your wife can fulfill
another important and honorable roll in the wedding: usher,
wedding day coordinator (which is actually a huge help), etc.
Don't think of it as a snub. You yourself have said it that your
brother is closer to your sister and her husband, so it would be
natural for them to be a part of the party. I've been excluded
out of my sister-in-law's and brother-in-law's weddings and it
wasn't because of anything personal. My now husband was part of
their wedding parties which at first made it seem a little
awkward. I realized that the bride chooses her bridesmaids for
a reason, they're close personal friends that she could not
imagine that day without them and that's what's really
immportant (or unmarried cousins that were forced on her). My
husband knew I was feeling a little left out though, so instead
of sitting with the wedding party he sat with me which his
sister understood. During his brother's wedding, he was
expected to sit at the table with the bridal party which he did,
taking the last seat of the bridal table to be able to sit next
to me at one of the ''regular'' guests' table. I also realized
that during both weddings I was glad I didn't have to subject
myself to those goofy bridesmaid dresses and buy shoes I'd
probably only wear once. Also, I found myself seated with a
GREAT group of people that I wouldn't have been able to chat
with otherwise. We had the best time that evening! I felt a lot
more comfortable with my mother-in-law and some cousins we
hadn't seen in a while than with the (quite literally) kids at
the bridal table.
If this doesn't help, then just bring it up to your brother.
Everyone always says this is the bride's day, but it is in fact
the groom's as well (just ask my husband). Be honest with him
and just tell him how you feel. At least you'll know then what
their reasons were for not including your wife. In both
instances my husband did include me at the rehearsal dinner. It
worked out, no awful bridesmaid dresses and a free meal!
Left out and loving it
I wish I could have been excluded from my husband's three sisters's
weddings. You can't believe how much money it cost me for everything
involved (dress, shoes, hair & makeup, etc).
Owner of 3 butt-ugly bridesmaid dresses
I doubt there has ever been a wedding in history where
someone didn't feel left out or snubbed. My advice would be
to drop it. Maybe the bride and groom do feel closer to other
family, and they chose the wedding party based on that
rather than a sense of familial equity. I doubt it was
intended to hurt your wife, and making a big deal over it is
unlikely to have a happy result for anyone involved. People
have too much to worry about as it is with wedding planning,
and perhaps you could focus on the fact that they honored
you by asking you to be part of the wedding party, rather than
the perceived dishonor to your wife. It is their wedding, after
Snub?! You are taking this too personally. This is not your
wedding--it is your brother's and his fiancee's. It's not
about your wife. This special day is about THEM. Anything you
can do to support and recognize that would probably be greatly
appreciated by your brother and his wife-to-be.
I was in a similar position... when I got married, I asked my
husband's sister (with whom I had zero-relationship) to be in
the wedding, yet I did not ask my sister's husband (with whom I
had a great, 12-year relationship). The only reason was
because of numbers--we already had all of the ''positions''
filled, with other family members and close friends. When I
mentioned to my sister that I was sorry we didn't really have
anything for her husband to do in the wedding, she said
something like, ''oh, that's sweet of you to think of him, but
don't worry about it, we didn't even think about it,'' and she
was completely sincere. I thought that was the nicest, and
most supportive thing she could have said. You have to
remember that your brother and his fiancee have a million
decisions to make in planning a wedding, and it's easy to get
caught up in the whirl. They may not even realize that your
wife's and your feelings have been hurt. But then they
shouldn't have to, because they have made their decisions based
on what feels right to them. Don't spoil this for them.
Choosing members of the wedding party is
entirely up to the bride and groom, and really shouldn't be the
cause of resentment or hurt feelings. The reason that your
sister's husband was asked may be as simple as their needing
another man and not another woman. You don't ''need'' to find out,
nor do you need to consider it a snub, and a confrontation is not
going to make anyone happy. It's very stressful to plan a wedding
and the last thing they need is more pressure on them.
Relax- it's their day, not your's or your wife's. Adjust your
attitude, enjoy the event, give them your blessings, and let go
of your resentment. Your wife can take the money that she would
have spent on a dress that she didn't choose and that she would
only wear for one day, and treat herself to something special!
I wish people wouldn't jump to the conclusion that he/she is getting
snubbed if he/she is not invited to be part of a wedding party. My
husband and I got married 2 years ago and did not include every
member of our immediate families in the party, mainly because we had
a small wedding but also because we wanted to have only the people
we truly felt close to. Closeness doesn't always equate with family. It's
your brother's wedding, so why not just drop this subject and let him and
his wife-to-be choose how they want to have their wedding - hopefully it
will be the only one they will have, and if it is, then they are entitled to
having it the way they want it, without anyone pressuring them about
what is PC/kosher. You mentioned that your brother and his fiance are
closer to your sister - that's exactly why she is in the wedding party.
Hopefully with time, your wife will be as close, but I wouldn't
push this issue.
There is a really simple answer to your question, if you are
willing to accept it: Its their wedding, they get to include who
they want. Assuming that your wife is being ''snubbed'' is
making a mountain out of someone else's molehill, and
serves no positive purpose. Better to assume no injury is
intended, and have a fun time at the wedding/reception.
If your wife is upset, perhaps SHE can go ask if there is
something she can do to help with the wedding -- brides
often need someone to oversee the guest book, or hand out
favors -- or do something REALLY helpful, like host a
shower or address invitations, etc.
I think you should let this go. If you think she's feeling
slighted, you could offer to spend a few hundred bucks on a
dress and shoes for her for the wedding that she might
wear again someday.
As far as I know, it is up to the bride to decide who is going to
be in her wedding party. Possibly there is a limit to the number
of people who can be attendants (financial, space, or other
reason). I still remember how stressed out I was when we planned
our wedding, and it was relatively small and modest. If my
selfish brother came whining to me about how he feels
disprespected because his wife wasn't included in the party, I'd
flip my lid. Seriously. I wouldn't mention it, because you may
end up causing even more problems. JMHO.
Let it lie
My advice to you is to drop it. While it may feel this way to
you, I doubt their intention was to ''snub'' you wife. Nothing
good will come from stirring this pot. Focus on your
relationship with them as a whole rather than this one event and
assume that their intentions toward you and your wife are as
good as they always have been.
Often couples are trying to have an equal number of men and
women on each side of the wedding party. Sometimes a wedding
party is expected to perform certain tasks in the planning of
the wedding and for one reason or another that may rule some
people out. There are probably a number of reasons for why they
chose to ask who they did.
It is possible to play an important part in the wedding
process without being involved in the wedding party. For many
people planning a wedding is an extremely emotional experience
with family members often making requests that add to the
tension and stress. Try to be one of the few relatives who
says ''How can we help- just let us know what we can do.'' and
really mean it.
While the situation you describe *is* a bit awkward, your
brother's fiancee has done nothing technically wrong. Both the
bride and the groom are entitled to choose the people to whom
they feel closest as their wedding attendants, and there is no
rule that the bride's party ''match'' the groom's in number,
gender, relationship type, or anything else. It sounds as if
both bride and groom in this instance have decided to be
attended by only those of their own sex; it is possible that for
some reason they want the same number of attendants on
each ''side'', and the bride simply has a greater number of
siblings and/or close friends to include and thus less ''room''
among her attendants for future in-laws. While this may
indicate limited thinking by the couple, it can't really be
Depending on the nature of your relationship with your brother
and his bride, you may be able to indicate to him or them that
your wife is feeling a bit hurt by her exclusion, and see what
develops. But try to be nice about it -- any couple planning
their wedding is subjected to all sorts of different demands and
agendas from all comers, and it's impossible to please
everyone. Whatever their reasoning, what possible purpose could
be served by your ''forcing'' your brother to feel bad about it?
And remember that the fact that your wife is not in the official
wedding party does not mean that she'll be left out of the
festivities; as your spouse, she must be invited to the same pre-
wedding events you are (such as a rehearsal dinner) and included
in at least some of the family photos. Many people in her
position would feel rather relieved *not* to be asked -- she
won't have to wear a dress she wouldn't have chosen, she won't
be obligated to assist with wedding-related chores nor to co-
host a shower, etc. Look on the bright side and enjoy the
Well this is all my opinion, so obviously, take it or leave it
as you see fit. As I understand it, the bride chooses who she
would like to have for her bride's maids and the groom gets to
choose his groom's men. The criteria used is up to the bride
and/or groom. That is my short answer. For the longer version,
When we got married my husband chose to includethe people we
were closest with in our wedding party, but gave other important
roles in the wedding to our relatives. He chose his brothers as
his groom's men because those were the men he was closest to. I
chose friends to be my bride's maids, I didn't really know his
sisters, and he didn't ask me to include them. When his brothers
and sisters were married, he was sometimes included in the
wedding party, and sometimes not. I was never a part of the
wedding party. Once I was included in the ceremony in another
role. Otherwise I was just a guest.
My brother is getting married this summer. His fiance felt that
they had to have their siblings in the wedding party, so I was
asked to be a bride's maid and he was compelled to ask her
brother. This expectation caused quite a bit of consternation
for him because he felt that she had chosen his groom's men for
him, except for his best man, and that he would offend his
friends if he chose one from among them to fill that role. My
husband was not included on the list of required wedding party
members, although my brother did eventually decide to ask him to
be the best man.
Personally, based on all of the different variations I have seen
on the theme I think that the bride and groom should make their
choices on their own. Those who are chosen can be honored to be
included. Those who are not chosen, should not take it
personally. It is hard enough to make decisions about a wedding,
without worrying about pleasing everyone on both sides of the
family, and friends to boot. I also think that there are some
people who feel more strongly about their family obligations
than others. For the ''duty bound'' there are lots of ''shoulds''
that are considered, but not everyone thinks that way, and it is
hard to remember. Try not to be offended, perhaps you could
gently hint that your wife would like to be able to do something
for their wedding and ask if there is a job she could do...
maybe a reading. Then look on the bright side, at least she
won't have to buy an aweful bride's maid dress.
thankfully almost never a bride's maid
My niece is getting married in suburban New York in Sept.
Enthusiastic about attending another family wedding with our 3
and 5 year old girls (my husband's brother was married last year
and we and the girls had a ball at his wedding) and also about
visiting NYC where my husband and I lived for over a decade, we
made plans to attend - plane tickets, hotel reservations
(through Expedia so not refundable). Now we find out that the
children are not invited - via e-mail my sister indicated that
only older children were invited as it is an evening (6:15)
wedding. I replied to her and her daughter that we were looking
forward to attending the ceremony, but would be unable to attend
the reception as the children would be with us. My neice really
wants my husband and I to ''boogie'' with her and asked her mother
to line up a sitter. Well, my sister did that but indicated
that the children would be sequestered in the women's locker
room for the duration of the reception (clearly she does not
like little children!!).
My husband and I don't feel right about it and I can't promise
that they won't find a way to the reception - they love to
dance - which would clearly be disruptive to my sister. I am
leaning toward our previous plan of just going to the ceremony,
but I would also like to go the reception...
Any good ideas out there.
A Torn Mother/Sister
Been there, and it's a hard call. One thing to remember - it is
the BRIDE & GROOM's choice as to whether or not children (small
or ''older'') are to be included on the guestlist; it is YOUR
choice as to how to handle it.
In our case, my husband's brother-in-law was having a ''no kids''
wedding and reception. When my mother-in-law informed me of
this, I told her that of course I respected the couple's request,
but they had to understand that I would not be traveling 3000
miles to the wedding, just so our 5yearold and 21-month old could
spend the time with an unknown babysitter. They had to respect
our choice, as well.
As it turned out, my husband and 5 year old attended the wedding,
and the baby & I stayed home. (My MIL made a special request
that our 5yo attend, and the bride/groom agreed... As it turned
out, she was THE YOUNGEST attendee, but was *very* well behaved,
and everyone had a wonderful time.)
In the end, this was the best solution. You may be disappointed
at not ''boogie''ing with your niece, but you have to consider your
children and their feelings/situation.
We have hired sitters at/through the hotels we stayed at and that
worked fine for us. These kind of sitters generally bring toys
and games, and maybe your room will have a vcr and you can bring
a favorite video. Kids will be safe, you don't have to worry.
Before I had kids, I cound not understand why anyone would bring
their children to a wedding and I would be a little annoyed if a
child made even one peep during the ceremony.
But after I had kids, I viewed marriage as a ''life ritual'' that
of course children ought to be a part of. I mistakenly assumed
my children were always invited to anything I was invited to,
even if their names were not on the invitation! I thought it was
touching when a child injected a little noise into the ceremony,
(although I would stand with mine in the back and take them out
if they made noise.) But I thought it was inconsiderate of friends
and family members to have a wedding and not invite the kids,
considering how big a part of my life they were.
But when my kids got older, I began to appreciate the fun
of going to an adult party without the kids. After all, a lot of
weddings are really just big parties for grownups to have fun and
celebrate the marriage. I love going to a wedding where I get to
dress up, do a little dancing, etc. and how much fun am I going
to have if I have to spend the whole time keeping the baby out of
the cake? So now I only take the kids if they are explicitly
invited and it's the wedding of someone they are close to and it's
important for the bride/groom that they be there. Otherwise I
treat it as an adult party. I have been to weddings where even
though kids are invited, people leave theirs at home anyway so
they can have an adult day/evening out. Also it occurs to me
that a couple of really cute little girls in party dresses
might steal the thunder from the bride a little bit, so that
might be another reason to not bring them.
Therefore, I would say, use the sitter, go without the
kids and have fun! Do you have a cell phone or beeper so you can
tell them (or the sitter) to call if they need to talk to you
while you're at the reception? Line up some special activities
for them - maybe bring some new arts&crafts supplies or some
other activity they can do anywhere (even the women's locker
room.) They'll be fine.
It's too bad you had already made the arrangements for travel,
etc. What you didn't indicate on your question was, did she specify
''no children'' or ''11 year old children and up only'' on the wedding
invitation? If she did, well, oops... If she didn't, then
unfortunately she made a serious faux pas when it came to you and your
family, and other guests that might consider bringing young children.
Anyway, having just gone through the whole thing last year, I have to
admit that I, too, didn't want small children at my ceremony. It's not
because I don't love them - I do very much - but there are some events
that are just not appropriate for small children, and I felt that the
children wouldn't be comfortable, and the guests might not be
comfortable around them, either.
It sounds like you aren't angry with her, and that's good - I would
hate to see bad feelings like that spoil her wedding day. I guess the
thing to remember, now, is that this is her and her husband's day, and
to respect their wishes - without judgement - would be the best thing
for everyone. Getting a babysitter for the evening would be money
well-spent, and everyone will be more at ease.
Hope this helps...
Your sister probably doesn't *dislike* little children but has
just forgotten what they're really like. (At least, you can
tell yourself this, it might help.) Anyway, given that you plan
to make the trip regardless, I think your choices are (1) hire
your own babysitter, with some help from your sister or some
other local relation, who can keep the kids in your hotel room,
rather than in a locker room(!), (2) persuade your sister that a
locker room is inappropriate and get her to reserve a better
childcare room at the reception site -- and, in the same
conversation, get a sense of whether and how much your niece
would be upset by the kidlets showing up for a couple dances, or
(3) stick to your guns on just not attending the reception. Or
perhaps you go to the reception (or part of it, anyway) while
your husband stays with the kids. By the way, are your kids
capable of sitting quietly through the ceremony? Usually it's
actually the *ceremony* that people would prefer kids don't
attend, whereas nobody cares about a little extra noise and
activity at the reception -- or at least, not during the ''boogie-
ing'' part of it.
We also requested that no children attend our wedding. I have
a gigantic extended family and have been to many weddings with
small children. My experience is that they have a hard time
sitting through the whole dinner, toasts, etc. while waiting
for the fun stuff to start.
If you want your children to be able to share in the dancing,
which for a 6:15 wedding might not be until almost 10:00, maybe
you could work something out that includes letting them stay
with a sitter for the ''grown-up'' part of the wedding.
Maybe your sister envisioned being able to have a lot of fun
with you, and when your kids are there your attention is
I believe you should graciously accept the offer of a babysitter
for your two young children. The fact that they went out of
their way to secure a sitter for your children (in the midst of
planning a wedding) is testament to their character and desire
to have you and your husband part of the festivities. The fact
that the bride and groom do not desire small children (which
your children clearly are) is their choice. It's their wedding,
their celebration, their day/night. Would you take your kids to
a cocktail party?? It is not right for you to invoke the ''fact''
that your kids would have so much fun at the reception -- it's
not about them! and it's not about you! Accept with
graciousness the babysitter, and go and enjoy and celebrate your
Having an ''adult only'' wedding seems to be a growing trend. We
had to leave my sister-in-law's wedding early so I could get
back to my breastfeeding baby. I find the symbolism of
excluding children from wedding celebrations disturbing. My
bias stated, I think you should attend the reception, even if
you have to go without your husband and kids.
It was incredibly inconsiderate of your niece and her mother to
let you make reservations before explaining the policy about
kids -- that info should have been on the invitation. And
ideally, your niece would recognize the inconvenience she is
causing her guests, and relax the rules. At minimum, they
should help you find a suitable location for the sitter to watch
your children -- your hotel room? your sister's house? Any of
these solutions would be better than you having to attend alone,
and you could tell them so if you like, but it won't change the
fact that you WANT to be there. If you''d regret missing it,
then it's best not to stir things up now.
Just get a babysitter, and keep the kids at the hotel or
someone's house. Then your mom can attend the wedding,
and the kids can have a night with a sitter.
Sure, it's a drag, and you wish your sister were more
open-minded. But it will really be more fun for everyone if
you comply with the bride's wishes.
We took our kids (then 8 and 11) cross-country to their
cousin's wedding and were a bit miffed that they weren't
invited to the evening party, even though some other young
nephews were invited. They enjoyed the ceremony, were
babysat in the evening, and don't remember being excluded
at all. OK so I remember occasionally, but it's not big.
It sounds like you may have been so excited to go this wedding
that you didn't check to see if your kids would be included. I
hate to say this but, since they're your kids, it's your
responsibility, not the bride's or her mother's, to confirm
whether your kids were to be included in the festivities.
Especially if you made travel arrangements before the invitation
came (addressed to you and your husband and not ''The Jones
This is not a personal affront to you and your husband or to
your children. In fact, the bride and groom may be thinking
some parents would like a night out without their kids (many
parents at our wedding took the evening as an opportunity for a
romantic get away for the night). I also don't think the
decision has anything to do with anyone's feelings toward
children. Instead, it sounds like this is the arrangement that
works best for the bride and groom, and that's who this is all
about. If it was articulated to you that your kids would be
sequestered, please try to remember that wedding planning is
stressful and can make people act funny.
I say go, make the trip and use the sitter. Lining up the
sitter demonstrates how much your neice wants you there. If you
make the trip special and don't make a big deal about them not
being able to go, then the kids will be fine with it. In
addition, try to arrange some time with family members before
and after the wedding so the little ones can be with their
Incidentally, I struggled with the same issue a year ago when
planning my wedding. We wouldn't say no kids at all because my
husband has two daughters and because we LOVE kids. I asked my
2 1/2 year old neice to be my flower girl. She did and stole
the show. But guess what? After the ceremony, she went off
with the sitter, who also took my maid of honor's one year old
and 5 year old. No one worried about melt downs and the kids
had a good time. Have fun!
I read the first round of responses to this and didn't see what
was a big issue when I did not invite children to my wedding.
Cost. Hotels and other reception sites charge per head, whether
the head is 2 years old or 20. And the price per head is usually
at least $100, not counting alcohol. Your niece may just be
trying to keep the cost of her wedding to a level she and her
finace can afford, and you shouldn't be angry with her about
that. It's understandable.
Ettiquette dictates that a wedding invitation should list all
invitees. So if your chidren's names were not on the invitation,
they were not invited. I don't think you can fault your niece
for that. I have never seen a wedding invitation that says
explicitly ''no kids.'' I think THAT would be poor etiquette.
I'm a mom now and I generally don't plan to bring my child to
weddings. You can't depend on a child aged 3 to be quiet during
a ceremony, or hold still during a sit-down dinner. Perhaps the
child would enjoy the dancing, but my experience has been that
the music is generally too loud and the dance floor too crowded
for their safety.
Enjoy the grown-up only event as a grown-up and don't be mean to
the bride about your own dissatisfactions. It's not about you or
your kids, and she has enough to worry about.
I've been reading this thread with some amusement, as I'm
planning a wedding right now. We had a different problem -- kids
are not an issue, we love them and want them there -- but there
are some people who have acquired recent boyfriends or
girlfriends (or worse, just think they should bring a date). We
explictly invited the single friend, and many people have added
the uninvited person on the RSVP. It's not that we don't like
these people, they are just not people we are close to. Anyhow,
it's amazing how many people don't know how to read the
invitation. For one, it's a matter of cost and space. For
another, we want to include the people for whom our marriage is
important, and those who are important to our marriage. And yes,
this is our day, and we have planned it the way we want it. Try
explaining this to someone who has clearly already included an
adult who is a romantic interest!
Incidentally, I was surprised how many parents have volunteered
to leave their young ones at home in favor of a date night out.
A bride and groom who could care less about being upstaged!
I am SO surprised with the kind of advice you are receiving!
First of all, we are talking of a wedding, not a business
luncheon. It is a family gathering, because a new person gets
admitted to your family; two families get together to become one
extended family. There is no way children can be deliberately
Are we talking about inconvenience? Children making noises
during the ceremony? What about the elderly people with shaky
hands or relatives whose wheelchair makes unpleasant noises?
Would you exclude them too? A little girl stealing attention
from the bride? You people watch too much TV! It's not about
images, for heaven's sake - the meaning and beauty of a wedding
is way more profound than this.
It is just crazy to commercialize everything in the popular
culture. Children are not property or pets, and so it is
profoundly wrong to ever say ''no chilren allowed''. Not at a
family celebration! You don't make them a part of your family
life now, and you'll find yourself in a retirement place, not a
home when they make their choices later. They'll discard you
then just the same way you discard them now: because you
occasionally make unpleasant noises.
Now, I do not advocate mandatory participation of children in
all family weddings, but the chilren's parents are the only ones
qualified to make this choice regarding their children's
attendance. Simply because these children are part of them.
Don't think you can do it just because your children won't even
notice. They'll get the message all right. I was once excluded
from a big family event when I was a child. I did not understand
it at the time, but was deeply offended when I analysed the
situation a few years later. It's been hurting for 20 years now,
and I could never again relate to the person who initiated
this. . .
Your sister will still be your sister after all, did I mention?
She stands for her daughter's whims. But who will stand for your
It's your call!
I see that someone finally mentioned the cost of having children at a
wedding and wanted to chime in about that as well. We paid for our own
wedding. I got married relatively late in the game and nearly all of my
friends had kids of various ages already. We initially intended to include
them, but when we did the math, discovered that there were so many
that we simply couldn't afford it. We had to make the difficult decision to
not invite them, as it wouldn't have been fair to allow some, but not
others. As a side note, the children in our families were all relatively
grown and so that wasn't really an issue. We did have our two nieces
and one cousin, all in the younger set, as members of the wedding and
they did stay at the reception, but they were about 8 and 10 at the time.
Finally, I never assume that my daughter is invited to a wedding. The
invitation was just to my husband and me and that is what I always
check as that dictates who is invited. I would go with the idea of using a
sitter and you enjoying the wedding.
I hope it's not too late to add one more message to the
fascinating brew that is ''Children Not Invited to Family
Wedding.'' Roughly speaking, there seem to be two camps: couples
who want a more formal affair and those who prefer a family
celebration. I count myself among the latter, although I can
understand the point of view of the grown-ups-only crew. Both
are valid and if you're paying for it, you should get what you
want. Just remember (1) that family feeling is more important
than ego and (2) that important occasions don't have to
I was also very glad to see the remarks about guests who insist
on bringing their latest flames. (Long-time companions are a
different matter.) Weddings are not cocktail parties.
(Incidentally, for intelligent advice about weddings, see almost
any of Miss Manner's books: fascinating bedside stuff,
especially if you enjoy reading about the depths to which humans
can sink in their quest for ego gratification, status, and
this page was last updated: Jul 26, 2011
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