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Your Rehearsal Is My Reception!

I have been considering entering this story into the bowels of etiquettehell.com for some time now, and as my husband and I’s anniversary draws near, I am reminded of this story from those days of heady excitement and familial clinical insanity, ah, yes, those ‘engagement days.’

My husband has a younger brother, whom I will call Jeremy.  Jeremy, who is two years younger than my darling husband, had been living with a woman, whom I shall call Lara, for some time, about seven years.  (They were not married, much to the disapproval and ire of both my husband’s parents and her family, both being devout in a traditional faith and pining for a grandchild.)  In any case, my husband and I had met shortly after New Year’s, fell in love, and became engaged the following October. (My husband wishes to note that our courtship and engagement was atypically fast for this day and age, however, he wants me to note that we, being traditionalists, wished to follow that age old poem, “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes living together, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”)

Originally, we had wanted to hold a very, very small wedding during a weekday at our church, however, being the eldest of his generation, my fiance’s parents were eager to have the “whole shebang” wedding.  We finally agreed and, after consulting both families, we chose a lovely day, away from any major holidays, birthdays, other anniversaries, church high holy days, etc., that was a little under a year away.  This was, as I understood it, a typical amount of time between his perching on one knee and exchanging those knee-knocking vows in front of a packed congregation.  Everyone invited to the wedding received (what has lately become de riguer) a printed card notifying them of the aforementioned date of the wedding, informing them to “save the date”, thus giving our world-wide spread friends and family a good deal of notice to discuss the date, plan for travel, save for expenses, and the like.

We sailed along, joyfully planning our wedding, our heads in that hazy fog of love, and Christmas time arrived before we knew it.  We gathered at his parents’ house on Christmas Day, and of course we were enjoying the holiday with my husband’s parents, Jeremy and his live-in girlfriend, the aforementioned Lara, and my husband’s sister.  We had just enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner and the traditional present opening, and my husband’s family and I were relaxing in front of the fireplace, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and fond Christmas memories, when, out of the blue, Lara announced that she and Jeremy were going to be married the Friday immediately before our Saturday wedding date, following with “since your fiance’s family will be in town, we may as well get married then, too, and save them a trip.”

I was absolutely gobsmacked and began to choke on a sip from my glass of wine.  My husband and I exchanged looks that could best be described as shocked horror, as did his parents, whom had not even known that Jeremy was thinking of marriage, let alone actually asking Lara for her hand.  After I managed to recover, I simply stated, “We have booked the church for our rehearsal that Friday, and we have already booked a (rather large, as we had many out of town/country guests, which, according to our beloved etiquette, should be invited to the rehearsal dinner) banquet room for the traditional rehearsal/thank you supper.”  Lara thought for a split second, then said, “It’ll be great, and your rehearsal dinner can be our reception.”  Again, I protested at this, stating that we simply couldn’t afford to pay for their (plethora) of friends and her family as well as our own. (We were paying for the wedding entirely on our own.)  Lara then suggested they be married on the Sunday after our wedding.  Again, I had to tell her that we had already planned to leave for our honeymoon in Mexico on that date and it simply could not be changed, as we had already purchased non-refundable airplane tickets and had arranged to stay at one of our friend’s parents’ beach home.  Trying to appease her, I added, “And since we’ll be family, we really would like to be present at your wedding, it’s very important to us.”

Lara’s face began to turn red with anger (I had always assumed that rehearsal/rehearsal dinner was held the day before the wedding and the couple left for the honeymoon the day after the wedding, and that it was pretty clear that this is the way weddings tended to go…)  Sensing that she was about to throw a fit and being the chronic people pleaser that I am, I even feebly suggested we have a double wedding, which she quickly and angrily refused, saying that “that was the stupidest idea I have ever heard.  If you can’t be at our wedding on that Friday, you’ll just have to miss it!”  At this, I retreated to the bathroom and started sobbing.  My husband-to-be made a lame excuse and took me home, depressed and with a bloated, tear-stained face.

In the end, however, my future husband spoke with his mother, begging her to try to talk some sense into Jeremy, who, as it turned out, was as surprised as we were that he and Lara were marrying–he had never spoken to her about it and never proposed!  My now mother-in-law finally spoke with Lara and convinced her to change the date–not by appealing to her sense of etiquette or sense of basic kindness–but by convincing her that she would get more/more expensive presents by marrying at a different time!

I know that nowadays many brides feel they “own” her wedding month, or even her wedding year–but seriously, the night before?!  The day after?!

And having us pay for our rehearsal dinner as their reception?  Uncouth doesn’t begin to cover it!  I truly shudder to think what will happen when we have children.

P.S. Jeremy and Lara did end up getting married–three years after our wedding!  And holy cow, that’s another entry for your site… (Oh, and just for the record, it was her second wedding–and, as can be expected, we are still waiting for a thank you note…two years later.)  0216-09

I would have guffawed laughing at the ridiculous suggestion and then deadpanned, “I cannot accommodate your request.”

{ 104 comments… add one }
  • LilyG September 30, 2010, 7:32 pm

    Yarnspinner-when I told my Southern Baptist grandmother I was marrying an Irish-Catholic, she gasped “Yer marryin’ a PAPIST?!?!?”

  • jenna September 30, 2010, 8:20 pm

    Wow. That really is shockingly rude…I am surprised that “Jeremy” did not, in fact, clarify that they had not agreed to marry (I don´t believe that it is always the man´s responsibility to propose so I refuse to say he should have…they could have talked about it like adults or she could have proposed privately to him).

    However, a few things.

    One, I get the feeling that the OP looks down on her BIL and now-SIL for living together before marriage. Maybe I am wrong about that as she never overtly states that SHE disapproves, but she sure hints she does, which is a smidge judgemental and holier-than-thou. At least in my opinion. As someone who did live with her now-husband before marriage, I do notice these things (I am not a traditionalist, of course, and do not feel that the traditional way is always the best way for everyone) as I do not like to see people judged for perfectly valid nontraditional choices.

    Second, I do get that they had already booked honeymoon tickets, but if they hadn´t done so yet, no, it is not a given that you HAVE to go on your honeymoon the following day. Was it rude of Lara to suggest that date as a wedding day given that it was in the same family and with no pressing reason? Yes. But had the tickets not been booked, COULD they have attended? Yes. This is not something to cry in the bathroom over, especially since the OP doesn´t even seem to like them that much. If anything, her now-husband should have been the upset one. It IS appropriate to say “well, we would like to be there, so if you do get married on that day, we would unfortunately be unable to attend.” I think by sobbing in the bathroom that the OP may have given Lara exactly the reaction she wanted. A chilly response and a “do what you like but we will not be there” would have been far better.

  • Laura Lives in Sin September 30, 2010, 9:03 pm

    Many apologies – mistakenly posted under a screen name I use for a local news source!
    Ugh, truly I live in internet sin.

  • Cordelia September 30, 2010, 10:37 pm

    I didn’t read the LW’s attitude towards her brother/sister-in-law’s cohabitation as necessarily judgmental. In fact, I’d say assuming the LW is judgmental is itself judgmental.

    What I felt was that for LW and her husband, the wedding was a major step in their relationship and representing the coming together of their families, yadda yadda yadda. With the B/SIL’s relationship, however, they had already let most of the toothpaste out of the tube. Since the brother and SIL were already living together in a long-term, committed relationship, throwing a big marriage bash doesn’t really have much purpose at that point, other than to be a grab for gifts and attention. Lana didn’t even see the point in even squaring things with her supposed groom before putting forth wedding plans.

    Showing the relative unimportance of marriage to Lana versus the LW underscores Lana’s selfishness and insensitivity: “If weddings aren’t such a big deal to me, obviously they shouldn’t be a big deal to anyone. Therefore, I can freely try to hijack someone else’s rehearsal dinner for my reception, and expect to be accommodated.”

  • Izzlebun September 30, 2010, 10:47 pm

    I agree completely with Simone regarding the etiquette of judging someone’s grammar. Well put Simone!

    I do acknowledge that the OP seemed a little judgmental about the back story between Jeremy and Lara. However, this may stem from Lara’s audacious and rude suggestions! I think in recalling an unpleasant story, we’re going to see some threads of dislike for Lara throughout the post. Meh. No need to jump all over the OP for it.

  • PrincessSimmi September 30, 2010, 10:49 pm

    I can taste your condescending ‘holier-than-thou’ tone from here. I’ve lived with many partners, never married them, and realised that I’ll never want to. They all turned out to be losers. Can you imagine if I’d married them before living with them? I’d never have bought my home, I’d never have rescued my beautiful kitties, and I’d never have gotten as far in my career as I am.

    We’re all different. As a reader of this blog, you should know that every person is different, and will make different choices in life. I think the issue here is not that Lara was being selfish – she was, but she’s probably not the brightest button, is she? No, the issue here is you need to get down off your high horse and spend some time rolling around in the mud with us. You might even like it.

  • L. September 30, 2010, 11:25 pm

    “Studies show that couples who live together prior to marriage divorce at a higher rate than those who don’t.” –QueensofAllThings

    That’s misleading. Couples who don’t live together are also more likely to belong to a religion that won’t allow them to divorce even if they’re miserable.

  • lkb October 1, 2010, 4:08 am

    Bravo TheBardess! Very well put.
    The same to Asharah for some information about Franklin that I didn’t know.

  • Kai October 1, 2010, 5:53 am

    I’m on the same track as Sharon (#34). Perhaps the OP wasn’t so much being judgmental, but pointing out that the other couple had been quite happily living together for 7 years without any mention of getting married or having children. Then the OP comes along, and she and her husband have what seems to be a rather quick courtship, and all of a sudden, the other woman claims to be getting married as well.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I read of it. I’ve seen that kind of thing happen before, so I can completely believe that would be the case in this instance.

    As well, I agree with TheBardess (#40). I too am waiting until marriage before sleeping with, or living with my future husband. But I’ve copped all manner of horrible comments and ‘advice’ from people who think I am a fool for making that decision. Plenty of people take great delight in explaining to me how badly my marriage will fail if I don’t sleep with my fiance now to make sure we’re compatible (two virgins, I’m pretty sure that you can learn to be compatible to one another if you don’t know anything else).

    As for the idea of living together first to see what you’re getting into, it’s true that the divorce rate is higher for those that do rather than those who don’t. This simply boils down to unrealistic expectations. You’ve lived together for years, then marry and you feel like things should somehow be different now that you’ve gotten married which is simply not the case. Getting married won’t magically make things different.

    I intend to go the traditional route, but I won’t go putting the non-traditionalists down. I just hope they won’t put me down as well.

  • Julia October 1, 2010, 6:13 am

    The Bardess – you might be interested to know that many professionals (such as marriage counsellors) are of the opinion that the reason divorce is more common among couples who lived together before marriage has nothing to do with actually having lived together. Rather, some couples who live together only end up getting married because of pressure from “traditionalist” family members or society in general – they never really want to be married in the first place and thus end up divorcing. Furthermore, couples who don’t live together before marriage are likely to have more “traditional” values, and are thus less likely to divorce even if they are unhappy. I’m sure you are familiar with the joke that 100% of divorces begin with marriage, and really that statistic is about as meaningful as the one you quoted.

    I absolutely agree with you that people on both sides can be rude and judgmental and that everyone should get off their high horses, but I don’t think it’s fair to include in that argument a statement that equates a lasting marriage with a good life.

  • Bint October 1, 2010, 6:17 am

    I didn’t actually think the OP was snotty. All she did was explain (long-windedly) the situation she was in and that of Laura and Jeremy. I’m not interested in other people’s choices on cohabitation or otherwise, but I am surprised so many people have got so uptight about it. Who cares? I don’t care what posters think of cohabiting or if they do or not. I don’t know them. And although it wasn’t relevant to the story, maybe she was just filling that story out. People do. She didn’t say ‘and so they are TRASH’. I think some people are making quite a few assumptions here. Maybe she picked the wrong words, but I really don’t see what was so awful about it. Her traditions are important to her and help explain why this was even more upsetting.

    Laura sounds like a witch. There’s no way she thought that was appropriate, she was just trying to upset people.

  • Chicalola October 1, 2010, 7:28 am

    I’m sorry, but do you realize how judgemental you all sound? When you write in your wonderful and perfect stories, you can do so however you see fit. This is how she wrote hers. Maybe she’s a writer and this is her style. Who cares? The point was made, the sister-in-law was horrible, and that’s it. The rest is just filler. Jeez!

  • Jillybean October 1, 2010, 8:40 am

    Ah yes, Jenny – thanks for bringing up the honeymoon thing. I meant to comment on this:

    (I had always assumed that rehearsal/rehearsal dinner was held the day before the wedding and the couple left for the honeymoon the day after the wedding, and that it was pretty clear that this is the way weddings tended to go…)

    I went on my honeymoon 2 weeks after the wedding, a friend of mine went 6 months later. In fact, I don’t know a single person who got married in the last 5 years that went on their honeymoon the next day. The closest I can think of was one that went 3 days later. Maybe it’s a regional thing – or it’s evolved over time, I know the OPs incident took place years ago. Oh, and my rehearsal was two nights before as I opted to use the night before as a relaxing spa night with my girls. So, I don’t think there’s really a “pretty clear” “how weddings go” anymore. So many people (as in our case) end up with so many friends and family in town that they don’t want to leave right away as they want to spend as much time as possible with those that they love while they can.

  • Xtina October 1, 2010, 9:11 am

    Just wanted to add my support to The Bardess’ and QueensofallThings’ posts. I, too, am one of those “traditional, stuffy” types who “asked for trouble” and didn’t live with my husband prior to marrying him. We are very happily married 14 years later. The Bardess is right; in this day and age, you get a lot more weird looks and questions if you’re not doing what everyone else is, and right now, it is not in style *not* to live together prior to marriage–but I still wouldn’t do it. If someone else feels that living together is the next logical step for them, then that is their business and I wish them the best of luck.

  • phoenix October 1, 2010, 10:18 am

    Yet again, one wonders why anyone submits stories to this site- the majority of commentors will rip into the OP.

    the point is the story of what a relative did. The OP didn’t submit themselves as being evidence of a saint-in-training. So she might be judgemental- since when are we the thought police? She didn’t do anything to the SIL that reflected any bias she had in the story, it’s just the way she thinks. Okay, it’s not picture perfect, but the OP wasn’t writing an advice column, she was sharing a story of a huge breach in etiquette.

    I don’t recall reading anything on this site that said that submitters had better be beyond any opinions that might offend commentors. If the OP had acted rudely, that’s one thing. But she didn’t. She just holds opinions that some disagree with.

    Frankly, some people who read this site could stand to get off their high horse. Just because you are judging etiquette doesn’t mean you get to judge people. We’re not here to tsk-tsk people for prose, grammar, or traditional opinions. And the attacks on the story itself (the “small weekday wedding” vs “whole shebang” sentances) are just petty. This is a condensed version, and who are you people to act as if the OP is lying to you?

    In short- the OP’s personal opinions regarding marriage aren’t relevant to etiquette. So why spend so much energy refuting them? They’re not part of the story. And to comment on how wrong you think the OP’s opinions are…that’s being pretty dang judgmental and off-topic for the site. The same goes for criticizing writing style and logic. Unless this is a writing criticism site and I didn’t notice. If you want the OP to be flawlessly on-topic regarding etiquette, you lose points when you criticize her by being completely off-topic yourselves. If her traditional opinions are so not relevant to the etiquette of the story, stop focusing on them!

  • AMC October 1, 2010, 11:04 am

    @ QueenofAllThings- About those studies on the success of marriages were the couples have/have not lived together prior to the wedding: It’s important to remember that correlation does not neccessarily imply causation. If you take a closer at the unsuccessful marriages you will see that it wasn’t the living together prior that broke them up; it is that they chose to live together for the wrong reasons (i.e. as a “test of the relationship” or convenience). And once households are combined, it is too difficult to walk away, so they take the next step into marriage. So really it isn’t the living together that causes divorce; it’s that some of these couples simply choose to marry for the wrong reasons, the same way they choose to move in together for the wrong reasons.

  • Calliope October 1, 2010, 11:23 am

    I just want to clarify that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being “traditional,” whatever that means. It seems a lot of people are taking offense, as the cries of “you’re judgmental” are being flung all over the place. I didn’t think the OP was judgmental because she didn’t approve of someone else’s living arrangement; I thought she was judgmental because of the tone of what she wrote and the words that she chose. I believe that’s what others are picking up on as well, and that’s why the OP’s writing is coming up in the comments. Believe me, I understand that not everyone is a writer, and that this isn’t a writing site. I even mentioned that in my first comment. In this forum, I couldn’t give two hoots about the OP’s grammar or about her writing ability. It is, however, impossible for me to ignore the sanctimonious tone of this submission.

  • Enna October 1, 2010, 11:51 am

    The OP was rude in being judemental to her BIL and his partner but she was rude back.

    I respect people’s decisions – if they live together or get married first or live together for 10 years before getting married there is nothing wrong with that. As long as the couple are happy, safe and love each other these are the most important things.

    Traditional members of a family might try to push the matter of marriage with a cohabitating couple but I doubt they actually “make” the couple get married. Some people just take awhile to be certain they want to marry someone – espeically if they have had a relationship that has ended very badly/divorced. As for perople who are virgins when they are married – nothing wrong with that, – they’ll work it out!

  • Chocobo October 1, 2010, 11:55 am

    Cordelia —

    I disagree. I don’t think that throwing “big shebang” weddings is pointless for couples who have lived together. They have just as much right to celebrate being officially and spiritually unified. Marriage is different than just living together.

    But this is all besides the point. I agree with the people who are saying that some of the posters are out of line, commenting on irrelvant things like grammar, or how one lifestyle is better or worse than the other. (Six of one, half dozen of the other, if you ask me).

    But I still hold that in retelling the story, the OP has made a poor choice in including irrelevant and private information about Lara. If the OP had meant to include it as meaning : “they had already been living together for some time, so there was no reason for her sudden urgency to marry.” I’m sure she did include that information for partially that purpose, and that’s understandable. But that isn’t the way she said it at all. Juxtaposed with the her statement that the family disapproved of their lifestyle, as well as including that she and DH were following the lifestyle that the family did approve (both pieces of information I cannot see any relation to the faux pas), it’s hard to deny that it makes the OP sound gossipy at best, less credible at worst.

    It reminds me of when friends of mine talk about someone who they think slighted them, saying something like “She was hitting on Jill’s boyfriend all night long…. and she’s not even pretty!” I mean, how is that second piece of information relevant? All it does it make a legitmate complaint sound like a nasty, gossipy dig.

    It’s undeniable that Lara’s request is ridiculous. I don’t think anyone is denying she is at fault here. But dragging her character into it while simultaneously putting your own character on a pedestal is in poor taste.

  • Michelle P October 1, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Amen,@ Phoenix. Thank you for saying what you did. I submitted a short story and a quick question about rudeness a while ago here, and ended up in tears over the posters’ responses. You hit the nail right on the head. I didn’t get that the OP was judgemental at all, and at any rate, none of the points the other posters have raised are relevant. The SIL was rude beyond belief. Case closed.

  • Wink-n-Smile October 1, 2010, 1:51 pm

    There is a cult in Europe, where a marriage is not recognized until it has produced a child. In fact, a marriage is not ALLOWED until the bride has produced a child. I suppose it’s because the purpose of marriage is procreation, or something. I don’t know all the details. I do know that couple have to court, and sex is expected during the courtship, because they cannot even get engaged until the bride is pregnant. And if she miscarries, the engagement is off.

    I don’t know how they keep straight who the father is, but well, that’s their business, I guess. The point is that different people subscribe to different traditions about marriage, and traditions really have very little bearing on etiquette.

    It WAS important to note that they had been living together for so long, because it added to the “WhaHUH?” response that they had to get married right at THAT TIME.

  • Bellawitch October 1, 2010, 3:13 pm

    This Op lost me when she ran into the bathroom crying…..did anyone get her smelling salts in case she might also faint? This was an unpleasant surprise that needed to be dealt with her putting on her big girl panties and saying NO. Then get on with life and your wedding.

  • patty October 1, 2010, 4:26 pm

    Lara was jealous and trying to hurt the OP with this stunt from the sounds of it. Maybe she felt the OP and fiance were getting more approval ect from the parents as they also believed in marriage first. I also wonder what the OP’s tone about Jeremy and Lara was before the hijacking attempt. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Finally, I have to say that reading a couple of paragraphs from a stranger and lambasting them for a judgmental attitude is pretty judgmental in itself.

  • Simone October 1, 2010, 5:35 pm

    @Izzlebun – Thanks!

    @phoenix – I pointed out the whole “small weekday wedding” vs the “whole shebang” thing. if it was my post you were referring too I think you misread it.

  • RP October 1, 2010, 5:41 pm

    I’m not sure the OP was being as judgmental as everyone says she was. Note the fact that the OP included a lot of detail in general, not just about Lara living with her boyfriend. Also, the part about them going the traditional way sounds more like her husband wanting to explain why they got married so fast, not to point out that they did things the “right way”. She was basically saying that “Yeah, we know we got married quick but we didn’t want to live or sleep together before marriage.”

    How was the OP supposed to say that? “Hey, we got married ASAP for the sex!” I think the OP was trying to avoid being crass.

    I also agree with Simone that the OP’s in-laws had no business asking for a larger wedding when they weren’t the ones paying but since the OP didn’t complain about doing it, I’m guessing it must have worked out OK.
    SIL’s attempt to boggart their rehearsal dinner was out of line, full stop. She had no right to ask to take over their party and she certainly had no right to get pissy when told no.

    You know, a while back I complained to the admin that I felt they were blaming the OP: once in the “Where are you from” article and once in the “Skulking out on tipping” article. A lot of people seemed to feel the same way I did at the time. So you can understand my confusion at seeing so many people bashing the OP here. The admin at least commented on the OP’s actions, here people are bashing the OP for an opinion she probably doesn’t even hold.

    To say that “I was with the OP until…” implies that the OP disapproving of living together would actually justify the SIL’s actions. This is just nutty. How does disagreeing with that make it OK for the SIL to try to horn in on their rehearsal dinner? Insulting the OP’s writing style is just rude as is insulting her for her reaction to the argument. The OP did not relate the discussion word for word so we don’t know how heated or ugly the argument got.

  • Ang October 2, 2010, 2:53 am

    For the people who don’t understand why the OP run crying into the bathroom. When I get really angry I start crying. And yes, I might want to get out of the crowd in that point. People have different ways of reacting to things.

  • Cat October 2, 2010, 6:57 pm

    While I was reading all of this, I thought of the movie/novel, “The Green Mile”. John, the suffering Christ figure, is consoling his conscience ridden jailor over John’s coming execution. John says he wants to die because he can feel all of the pain and hate in the world, every nasty and cruel thing that people do to one another. He cries constantly over the way people treat and speak to one another. When I read the comments, I wondered why we cannot be a little less critical of one another and why we feel we need to jump down the throats of strangers over what happened in times of stress and unhappiness. Maybe they just need someone to listen.

    Yes, I am just as guilty of it as the rest. I am going to try to do better: to show kindness and patience, and to bite my tongue before I criticize someone. In the Mass we used to say, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”- “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievious fault.” I am going to start saying that instead of the criticism I usually make.

  • jenna October 2, 2010, 10:20 pm

    Cordelia –

    Honestly, though, even the assumption that ¨what´s the big deal about a wedding bash if you already live together” other than a gift/attention grab is also kind of judgemental…so I still think the OP is judgemental (if that makes me judgemental too, in your eyes, well, OK. I can live with that.)

    There are a ton of reasons to have a big wedding when you´ve lived with your SO – who on earth decided that only non-cohabitating traditionalist couples could have big weddings and the rest of us more liberal types all had to elope or hold tiny events?

    Just to name a few reasons to hold a big wedding when marrying the person you live with without necessarily wanting gifts or attention:

    – you may have a big, close-knit family who you would really like to see again and would love to be the catalyst for getting them all together (that was one reason for us)
    – marriage is actually a very important step for you beyond cohabitating and implies a commitment that cohabitation does not necessarily imply
    – you have an ethnic/cultural background you want to honor with a wedding that would make your family tear up with happiness (also a reason for us)
    – you love a good party, whether you are the center of attention or not , and gifts do not matter one jot…it´s all about the party and seeing your loved ones (also a reason for us)

    …and it had nothing to do with gifts or attention. Heck, we didn´t register and picked charities people could donate to if they chose. We got gifts anyway but did not ask for or expect them.

    So yeah, I would say that assuming that people who cohabitate shouldn´t have a reason to hold a big to-do for their wedding is ALSO judgemental.

    phoenix – I would argue that the OP did do something rude – sobbing in the bathroom because someone wants to get married the day after you (not even someone you like or have insinuated that you are close to) is, in my book, kind of rude. Granted what Lara did was far ruder, but the attitude of the OP (I won´t comment on the grammar – we can´t all have perfect grammar. Whatevs) put me off so much that it´s hard to sympathize with her beyond the rehearsal dinner thing.

  • Minerva Pommerantz October 2, 2010, 11:01 pm

    my husband and I’s anniversary…

    Oh, dear.

  • Elizabeth Bunting October 2, 2010, 11:27 pm

    Based on all the criticisms of the OP for describing what she perceived to be a gaffe in good manners, she SHOULD have just said:

    “My husband and I had decided on our wedding date and sent out the “reserve the date” cards.
    My soon to be SIL decided to get married on the date of our rehearsal dinner which was scheduled for the night before our wedding and use it as her reception to save money.

    The future SIL was rude and cheap.

    End of story.

  • Age October 3, 2010, 7:18 am

    It’s interesting to read the comments here. Some people are outraged by Laura, only by the fact that the writer did not approve of her and Jeremy living together for 7 years without getting married. Well that is a bit of time. When people take forever about getting married (the final 10 year count) I personally start to wonder if it is love or convenience that keeps them together.
    And to add, what the bride and groom did is considered to be the traditional proper etiquette for getting married. How is it that we can damn all other etiquette hell and still get to pick and choose whatever manners are comfortable to us? How does that make us any worse than the people we love to complain about?

  • Calliope October 3, 2010, 12:03 pm

    Age: Etiquette does not dictate living situations. Wedding invitations? Yes. Fork placement at the reception? Of course. Thank you notes? You bet. Whether two people should be married if they’re going to live together? Nope. Of course, gossiping about whether a couple are really in love or only in it for convenience would be terribly rude, but I am sure you would never do that.

    You can keep your personal suspicions about people who choose to live differently than you do, but please don’t pretend that etiquette has anything to do with it.

  • Caitlin October 3, 2010, 2:33 pm

    Age- really?
    Marriage does not mean the couple are more or less in love. Taking a long time to get to marriage does not mean that either, perhaps people like to wait until the time is right for them to get married- financially or emotionally.
    With my beloved, We were together seven years and living together for four years before we got married, every day more in love with each other than the day before.
    My parents have never married, and are still together, having had me a year after meeting.

  • Elizabeth Bunting October 3, 2010, 3:23 pm

    All of the above wise comments, with examples, prove to me that living together, getting married, not getting married, having children before marriage does not seem to matter at all. The circumstances of each couple are different and their life style would not be a concern of mine.

    Using someone’s rehearsal dinner as your wedding reception is rude and cheap. The couple’s marital status really has nothing to do with anything.

    Wishing them well would be a good thing. Helping them make wedding plans where they would be the focus of attention and not secondary to someone else’s wedding would also be a good thing. Perhaps the future bride (SIL) hadn’t thought of that.

    Just my thoughts!

  • jenna October 3, 2010, 9:59 pm

    I’m with Calliope…sorry Age, but etiquette has nothing to do with living situations. People have different views of marriage and different views of what is sacred and what is profane, and what they are comfortable with in their own life, and nobody, not even an etiquette expert, has the right to tell them otherwise.

    Etiquette is about treating other people well (hence, yes, the future SIL was rude and cheap). It is not about whether or not you may live with your sig. oth before marriage.

    (PS, I also don’t give a rat’s bottom about fork placement…just do not care. Thank you cards, OTOH, are very important).

  • TheBardess October 4, 2010, 7:26 am

    I agree with Bint, RP, and a couple other previous posters- I really didn’t get that the OP was being all that “judgmental” or “sanctimonious.” I just really didn’t get that vibe, at least, not nearly as much as other people seem to have. Honestly, to me, the only people who are really coming off as “catty,” “judgmental,” “sanctimonious,” etc. are the posters who are (often very nastily) accusing the OP of being so.

  • Shayna October 4, 2010, 9:18 am

    Amen, TheBardess.

  • lkb October 4, 2010, 10:58 am

    Amen again to The Bardess. I agree with other posters who said the OP was simply providing backstory as to why it mystified the OP that after seven years “Lara” was suddenly in a rush to get married. Also my impression was that this story had happened many years ago and the OP was trying to explain that things were different then. As indeed they were.

  • jenna October 4, 2010, 11:30 am

    Then, Bardess, why did the OP have to tell us in such excruciating detail about how Jeremy and Lara lived together, the families disapproved, and they didn’t take that route because blah blah blah? If she’d kept it to one or two sentences (“They had lived together for several years, to the consternation of both sets of parents…we did choose to get married quickly because we are traditionally minded while they are more liberal”) I wouldn’t feel so unsympathetic to her. The fact that she had to go ON and ON and ON about it, making it very clear without coming out and saying it how she felt about the situation, qualifies her in my book as judgemental.

    If you think I am judgemental for saying so…hey OK. But I still think so.

    RP – as for how she was supposed to say “we got married quick for the sex!”…well, wouldn’t the polite thing have been to not say anything at all? If she is traditionally minded and gets engaged fairly quickly, well, can one not draw their own conclusions?

  • TheBardess October 4, 2010, 12:30 pm

    Jenna- as stated before, I think she mentioned Jeremy and Lara’s living situation because it just added to the whole “What the…????” of the “Hey, we’re getting married the day before you!” It’s weird to have someone do that, sure. It’s even weirder when the person doing that has lived with an SO for seven years with no apparent desire to get married.

    As for her long-windedness and amount of detail she goes into about all that- based on the flowery, long-winded rest of the post, that just seems to be the way she writes, honestly. I mean, the whole post is like that- ornate, long-winded, flowery, overly wordy…I think people are reading too much into it, and are being way too quick to get offended and judge the OP.

  • Jillybean October 4, 2010, 2:27 pm

    LOL – I agree with you TheBardess, I think that is her writing style. I think she was trying to weave the story, so to speak. To some it came across as her being judgemental, I think rather she was attempting to be more interesting – to set the mood and capture the moment. Perhaps overdone for the situation, but seems petty to slam her for it.

    Some of what she wrote made me raise a brow about her tone (the second wedding bit seemed catty), and I almost commented on a few of those things when I orginally replied, but I ended up deleting it because I realized none of it actually influenced how I viewed what Lara did.

  • Mother of a Bride October 4, 2010, 2:52 pm

    I agree that she seemed to be adding those details to set the scene or give an true impression of what was really going on. It’s hard to convey over the internet true emotion or disgust without adding more details to make sure the readers understand the whole situation. If she had simply said Lara tried to suddenly plan her wedding the night of her rehersal, I am not sure us readers would have understood what was actually going on without a bunch of questions. By stating they had lived together for X number of years without any desire to marry until they found out the letter writer was marrying wasn’t necessarily snarky, I think she was just stating they had different ideas about what is right and what is wrong and clearly Lara trying to steal the letter writer’s thunder by putting on her own wedding during the rehearsal was wrong. So wrong.

  • NotCinderell October 4, 2010, 4:01 pm

    I saw the OP’s inclusion of those details as sort of a pre-emptive defensiveness for something that she shouldn’t have had to feel defensive about. Like somehow we’d look down on her and her husband for marrying before his brother and he did, or for marrying within 11 months of beginning their relationship. Plenty of us e-hellions have had short courtships (NotCinderell raises her hand) and married before moving in together (NotCinderell raises her hand again).

    That said, I think that Lara might have been triangulating. Perhaps she was really upset at OP’s BIL for waiting so long to propose, and perhaps she’d been hoping that she’d get married. The man who is now OP’s DH proposes to OP within only a few months of them being together and it burns a little. She thinks she should be married, too, esp. since she started dating OP’s BIL before OP started dating the man who is now her DH. But like all people who triangulate, she feels she can’t address the issue directly, so she takes it out on the OP rather than discussing it with her own BF.

    BTW, I think that the comment by Age (#31) is often, though not always, true. People often stay together out of inertia, and they don’t see any real reason to move forward, but they don’t want to break up, be alone, and start over with someone else. So they stay in a mediocre relationship and eventually marry or not, and if they marry, it often ends badly. The difference is that some people often make a conscious decision not to marry and don’t seen the need to marry at all or right away, and their relationship actually achieves the level of commitment of a marriage without an actual marriage license, while some people are just in relationship inertia. So Age’s comments do ring true, but only for a certain kind of couple.

  • Cooler Becky October 4, 2010, 7:31 pm

    Agree with the Bardess. You people are really quick to jump down OP throats.

    Sometimes the OP is in the wrong, but most of the time, they’re not really or they’re just trying to vent.

    I mean, if I were to submit a story to this site, I think I’d vent in it too!

  • Mother of a Bride October 4, 2010, 8:10 pm

    “That said, I think that Lara might have been triangulating. Perhaps she was really upset at OP’s BIL for waiting so long to propose, and perhaps she’d been hoping that she’d get married. The man who is now OP’s DH proposes to OP within only a few months of them being together and it burns a little. She thinks she should be married, too, esp. since she started dating OP’s BIL before OP started dating the man who is now her DH. But like all people who triangulate, she feels she can’t address the issue directly, so she takes it out on the OP rather than discussing it with her own BF. ”

    NotCinderell–I think that could explain why Lara did what she did. It doesn’t make it right, but it does perhaps explain why she behaved so badly.

  • TheBardess October 5, 2010, 1:59 pm

    NotCinderell- the same thought occurred to me about Lara, and whether this was some PA, round-about way to hint to the BIL that she wanted a ring, too. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I have to say, reading the comments again, I think some posters are also being a little hard on the OP about “running crying into the bathroom.” At first glance, yeah, that can seem a little dramatic and over-the-top. However, if the OP is anything like me, it’s not necessarily something she can control. I am a weeper. I have always been a weeper, I know by now that I will always be a weeper. It’s my body’s default response to stress. Whenever I am sad, hurt, frustrated, angry, embarrassed, or even happy or touched, I start crying. It’s just how my body reacts to strong emotions, and there’s only so much I can do about it. I really don’t have that much control over it- I just start tearing up, whether I want to or not. I’m not trying to cry, I don’t want to cry, but I do. To people who don’t know me well, and don’t know this about me, it can seem like I’m being a drama queen or playing the “hysterics” card to get my way, or whatever, but I’m not. It just happens, and believe me, it’s annoying as all get-out. And a lot of times, especially when I am around the people who are making me feel that way, or people that I don’t know very well or am not very comfortable around, all I want to do when the tears start coming is get myself out of the situation until I’ve got a little more control over myself. This means that I sometimes find myself making an (often abrupt) excuse to leave the room, because I want to get out of there before tears start pouring down my face. My mom is the same way, and for all we know, the OP may be as well.

  • Christmas Benjamin October 6, 2010, 10:54 am

    What are your loved ones hobbies? Try to incorporate the things they like doing when buying them a Christmas gift.

  • Lady_Lazarus October 7, 2010, 4:31 pm

    Michelle P – I remember your post and the reasons why everyone commented against it – because you breached etiquette yourself.

    As for the OP in this story, yes, she was rather condescending towards BIL & SIL – but the SIL was atrocious in her actions. How trashy!

  • karma October 10, 2010, 7:02 pm

    The Friday before wouldn’t faze me personally. I’d say, “Well, good for you. I’m so sorry we can’t be there because we’ll be in the middle of our own stuff, but I wish you the best of luck! Are you using a justice of the peace?” I’m of the opinion that a day doesn’t belong to anyone, nor a month, nor the day before or after. Would I have shared the rehearsal? No, but I’d have had no problem saying, “Sorry. We can’t do that.”
    The whole crying/sobbing/bathroom thing doesn’t make sense to me, but then I’m not a crying kind of girl. If you ask me, it was a desperate ploy for her boyfriend to marry her so she could have the type of relationship you guys were planning. The girl is probably not very smart, so it really wasn’t about upstaging or stealing your thunder. It was a wretched attempt to belong.

  • Psyche October 17, 2010, 2:34 pm

    Judging by the fact that the brother was the last to know of these plans, my guess is that Lara was trying to strong-arm him into marrying her. The whole excuse about practicality was merely a ruse to get The Bride to agree to it.

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