Guest Repentance

by admin on May 11, 2010

Please forgive my transgressions – if I had only known what was going on, I swear this story would not exist.

The same month my now husband proposed he received an invitation to a high school friend’s wedding. The invitation was a series of postcards – some with pictures or poems and some with vital information. I only saw this invitation once. I do admit that it was a bit confusing. My husband-to-be, B, let me know the weekend of the wedding and as he had enough frequent flyer miles for a companion ticket, he offered to pay my fare. I would like to also point out that this wedding would be close to his hometown in Maryland and I would be visiting his parents’ house for the first time as a daughter-in-law to be. So, I would like to chalk some of this up to having butterflies…

Two weeks before the wedding B informs me that he has goofed up and the wedding is Sunday afternoon not Saturday as we had both assumed. This is after our return flight is scheduled. He says that he has already asked the airline about changing the ticket, but my companion ticket cannot be changed. I asked if he would be letting his friends know – there should still be time to reduce the number for the caterer. “Oh, yes. Don’t worry about it.” (hear ominous music…)

B and I spend a lovely couple of days with his parents. On Saturday we are going to attend a BBQ held by the bride’s parents. I bring our wedding gift and meet some of B’s other high school friends. When we get to the party B won’t let me bring the gift into the house. He claims that we will bring it in later so that the couple won’t have to be distracted. I balk and say that we are already not showing up to the wedding and I feel funny not bringing the gift in. One of B’s college buddies is surprised to learn that we will not be at the ceremony. B then confesses that he hasn’t told the couple yet… He swears that he will tell them as soon as he tactfully can.

I swear that I wanted to stay in the car and die of humiliation. Instead, I did attend a truly lovely, lovely BBQ. The food, decorations and decorum of all of the guests is everything that etiquette could have demanded.

It gets worse. The night goes on and on and the party dwindles to good friends of the bride and groom. While we were chatting the bride gets a call from a cousin who at first had insisted that her five children HAD to be invited to the wedding and is now canceling. The bride pulls out her seating chart for her reception. B and I are still on the chart… I look at it. I look at B. The bride e looks at me. “What?!”  She is almost hysterical. I had to tell her that we would not be attending the ceremony or reception the next day. I cry. She cries. B gets their gift from the car…

I feel that by confessing I have in some way atoned for this sin. Please have mercy on my soul – I have been carrying this story for 7 years!   0505-10

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

janie May 11, 2010 at 6:54 am

I don’t think it’s your responsibility to feel guilty if the invitation came to him. It was his job (as I read it) to take care of the RSVP and he blundered it. Hopefully the shared crying with the bride showed her you were truly remorseful about it. We forgive you :)

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NotCinderell May 11, 2010 at 7:25 am

Agreed w/Janie. It was his responsibility, not yours, as he was the one who received the invite.

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Wendy May 11, 2010 at 8:22 am

There’s no need for you to feel guilty. Your husband-to-be messed up the date and said he would let them know, but he did not. How is that your fault?

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Raccoon Princess May 11, 2010 at 8:48 am

I would have killed husband-to-be. Oh yeah, I would have still married him, but only after they resuscitated him.

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Sensible Shopper May 11, 2010 at 8:49 am

And THIS is why those boring old traditional wedding invitations will never go out of style. They have all the pertinent information in one place, so the guests don’t get so confused. A series of POSTCARDS?! What WERE they thinking? Cutesy is for kids’ games, not adult rituals.

You were not culpable here. The bride and groom, and your husband were. The couple for confuzzling the guests into making the wrong arrangements, and your husband for not stepping up and canceling in a timely manner. I wonder why the woman who HAD to invite the kids had to cancel? Could it be that the travel arrangements were for the wrong day? Traveling with five children after a Sunday wedding could be quite difficult with school the next day. But if they thought it was Saturday, perhaps they thought they could make it.

Also, it would have been proper to send the gift, or deliver it in advance of the wedding, rather than bringing it to the wedding, itself, because at the wedding, the bride and groom are far too flustered to deal with it. So there should have been no issue about delivering the gift at the BBQ, whether you were attending the wedding, or not.

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Sensible Shopper May 11, 2010 at 9:11 am

It is a sad fact of life that despite all the fighting for equality, women are still feeling responsible for all the etiquette-work. Not all the time, thank goodness, but still quite often.

If you had split up the thank-you card writing duties, and he lost all of his, would you feel responsible, or would you give him the hairy eyeball? I vote hairy eyeball, and a message that the old-fashioned non-feminists in the world WILL blame you for his failures, because “EVERYONE knows that it is soley the bride’s responsibility to write the thank-you notes, even to the groom’s family and friends.” Yeah. Right. That sort of thinking infantilizes men, saying, in effect, that they are not mature enough to take responsibility for their own actions, and YOU married a man, not a child, right? Right.

Anyway, we all make enough mistakes on our own. We don’t need to add the burden of others’ mistakes, as well. My imperfections weigh as much as I can carry, and I won’t carry any more.

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phoenix May 11, 2010 at 9:39 am

I’m guessing your fiance learned the true depth of his mistake during your own wedding planning? Hoo boy…but yes, you are declared not guilty. I’m sure you make sure you get a good luck at the incoming mail now, though ;)

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Cady May 11, 2010 at 10:07 am

Your fiance was really the person who committed the faux pas here. You didn’t really even know these people, and he told you not to worry, that it was taken care of, so you had no reason to believe you should make an effort to get in touch with the couple. You’ve been beating yourself up for way too long over something your husband did wrong. I hope you haven’t been trying to atone for his other mistakes!

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Chocobo May 11, 2010 at 11:24 am

I disagree with “Sensible Shopper”, there is no faux pas here on the couples’ part. Good on them for wanting something a little different that is more representative of them as a couple, rather than yet another piece of rectangular, white cardstock. Unless the invitation was seriously misspelled, illegible, or incorrect in the first place, I fail to see how it is the couple’s fault that the author’s husband fudged something so simple as the wedding date.

The author might have wanted to double-check with the husband to make sure he notified them about their change of plans, but clearly this is not her fault if the husband said he would take care of it and didn’t follow up.

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cal May 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

I think the invitation came as a set of postcards that came in a envelope-not a set that got mailed once a week until they were all there.

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Dani May 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I don’t think you were in the wrong–it was hubby’s responsibility to communicate this to the bride and groom, and you didn’t realize he hadn’t done it until way late in the game. Also, the bride completely overreacted. Crying over seating charts? Really?

@ Sensible Shopper – it’s extremely common in my area for wedding gifts to be brought to the wedding itself. A bridesmaid or family member takes the gifts home and stores them for the bride and groom to receive after the honeymoon.

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Amazed May 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Well, if you send out confusing invitations, then you can’t be surprised if people get confused. People have enough complexity in their lives without having to track a “series” of postcards with wedding information.

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Enna May 11, 2010 at 5:17 pm

It is fine to send invitations in a unique way so long as the information is displayed clearly and in one place. It does sound VERY odd the way the invitations were set out as a set of post cards that is bound to cause confusion.

As for the husband – he’s lucky you still married him, after all if he can’t behave in a mature way with someone else;s wedding he’s a bit of a no-hoper husband. Unless of course you teach him how to behave properly!

I can see why you were upset it’s not nice when someone esp future husband pulls the rug from under your feet like that. Wonder if the bridesmaid thought “why the heck is she marrying such an idiot?” Also with the whole “not giving the gift thing” strange – but future hubby must have wanted to use “getting the gift” as away of escape once he has broken the bad news.

You haven’t done anything wrong. I think you are suffering from the side effects of UHS Useless Husband Syndrome and the poor bride was suffering from CFAS Complex Family Arrangment Syndrome with regards to her cousin. But then if she hadn’t been so complicated about the invites maybe she would not have had the argurement or misunderstanding with her cousin?

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Casey May 11, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I don’t blame you for feeling bad. Like Sensible Shopper said, it is often the woman who is looked at when etiquette related problems arise. It may have been your husband’s responsibility but it’s you who looks bad to the other women.

Sometimes our own embarrassment prevents us from doing the right thing (in this case telling the bride and groom ASAP) and I bet your husband learned an important lesson.

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Amanda May 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm

People here often send invites with a series of postcards. They are all included in one package, one has hotel info, another the actual invite and others have pictures and such on them. IDK why people are finding this so strange. Unless you got the postcards at different times, there is nothing confusing about these invites.

OP, you did nothing wrong. I completely understand why you feel guilty, but its only your DH who is in ehell!

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PrincessSimmi May 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Ah, you did nothing wrong. You have to teach Hubby now that when he is given responisibility he has to take it. I taught my boyfriend – he had a toothache, he kept putting off the appointment, and now he’s in so much pain he can barely eat. I gave him the number and the phone, and he still hasn’t done it, what more does he want? I’m not going to do it for him – I don’t know when he’s working and what his schedule’s like. Men – can’t live with them, can’t kill them…

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jenna May 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

It seems that this “series of postcards” was merely more than one card in an envelope, and presented slightly differently than the usual rectangle card.

I don’t see what the problem is here: first off, if you find the “rectangle card” invitation to be boring or not your taste (as I find them: great if someone else likes them but for me…meh), does it really mean you are not an adult capable of planning an “adult ritual”? Come on. That’s like saying “no creativity allowed after the age of 12!”

I think XKCD got it right: as adults, you can do things however you want. If that means an entire room as a ball cage for playing, or an offbeat wedding invitation, well, why not?

Our wedding invitation, btw, *is* a rectangle. 5 inches by 17 inches. It in no way looks like a typical wedding invitation. The border decoration is stylized Morse Code. All the information, however, is there, with the important stuff all grouped at the bottom, with the storyline above.

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Enna May 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Is sending postcards an American thing? In Britian we normally send out invitations with all the details in one place. When you think of sending invites out and weddings the object “invitations” comes to mind.

It’s not fair the way women are expected to do everything manner wise. Have to say the only thing the OP did wrong was not telling the bride herself – but maybe point out whose fault it really is “my silly fiance didn’t tell you? Fiance, if you want our marriage to be a success learn how to communicate and get a backbone!”

However now OP knows what her husband is like she can at least say “if you don’t tell ABC about 123 I will after the mess up you caused over that wedding! How could you treat firends as such?”

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Flower May 13, 2010 at 6:04 am

I can understand why you felt so bad. It was poor etiquette on behalf of your husband but it was not your error. You need to be able to trust when someone says they have done something. I suspect your husband was embarressed about the mistake and didn’t want to deliver the bad news and just kept putting it off. I can just imagine my wonderful husband doing something like that.

In terms of etiquette, I think the appropriate thing to do in that situation when catering has been paid and can’t be altered is to give the couple the cost of your meals.

A friend of mine got married and 10 people who RSVPd didn’t come. They cancelled the night before for various reasons – including some didn’t feel like coming since another friend had dropped out. The reception was $110 a head. So they paid $1 100 for absolutely nothing and it was very stressful for them.

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Hanna May 14, 2010 at 8:57 am

Wow. I can see a crazy bride crying over something like that, but a guest crying over it, when her only relation through the bride is her husband’s old high school friend? Really?

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Candra May 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I truly don’t see the transgression on your part here- it was your hubby’s responsibility for not letting the bride & groom know ASAP and the B&G’s fault for making the invitations confusing!

@ Sensible Shopper– I’m a “conservative, non-feminist” and I totally see that it was her DH’s fault. All the non-feminists I know want men to step up, take responsibility for their own actions, and NOT be infantile. Please don’t use stereotypical judgments!

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Jay May 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Ditto to what Raccoon Princess says!

Oh, and to sensible shopper.. You need to go take your valium.

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cal May 17, 2010 at 12:45 am

@Enna Usually a wedding invitation set (at least in my neck of the woods) has the actual invite (e.g. we request the pleasure of your company), the RSVP card, the reception card, and any hotel/driving/website information card.

That’s what it sounds like this person is describing-not a set of postcards that you find on vacation. I don’t understand her hubby’s confusion, but yea-if he said he was going to clear things up he should have. Not her fault at all.

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SJ August 31, 2010 at 2:50 am

If it was me, I would feel sympathetic that someone was inconvenienced, but not necessarily guilty. I understand that as part of the couple, you may feel inclined to take responsibility, but it’s definitely husband-to-be’s responsibility.
How frustrating that husband-to-be didn’t follow through! Gah!

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