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Faux Pas of the Year

Stories which earn the coveted honor of actually making Miss Jeanne bust out laughing or cause some lower mandible rug rubs.

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When I married my husband I wanted to include some close friends of his. These were people I didn't know well, but I didn't want them to feel left out. I asked a couple of the guys to be ushers and one girl to oversee the punch/cups/etc. and one girl to oversee the cake table. The morning of the wedding, I gave both girls corsages and expressed my thanks again. The wedding went beautifully, but at the beginning of the reception the "punch" girl came up to me and said, "I really don't feel comfortable with this." And, she left!!! A friend of mine stepped in - a friend who had driven for 10 hours to see my wedding!! I felt so bad for having to ask her and 9 years later I still think about how rude the "punch" girl was!


How dare "punch girl" abandon her assigned duty station!  Didn't she know she was there at your wedding to work!

 Now, why was it so horrid for a dear friend of yours to serve punch but a dear friend of your husband's it was not?   Why would you feel bad asking one to serve but not the other if there was honor in serving the punch?  It sounds to me like "punch girl" wasn't comfortable being used as free waitstaff when she knew she was a wedding guest and left to find something a bit more pleasurable to spend her afternoon.  


DH and I were married a year and a half ago.  I feel that the waters have calmed enough to share the story of our guest from hell. 

DH has one aunt in particular who is known as the family practical joker.  My FIL calls her "Crazy Aunt Babes" (name changed to protect the guilty) or "the Dizzy Aunt".  More often than not, her antics go beyond the realm of good taste.  If there is a party with a cake involved, my DH and BIL are always the target.  Many parties have been marred by an unhappy guest covered in icing or accosted by a can of whipped crème.  At one particularly memorable Christmas, my very modest FIL was given a Speedo by his dear SIL, Crazy Aunt Babes.  At my bridal shower, she gave us a garden hoe and work gloves. What a lovely and practical gift for a couple who loves to work in their yard!  But wait there's more!  Taped to the handle of the hoes was an economy sized package of condoms.  What a thoughtful gift to have to open in front of grandma! 

We were prepared for her to do something outrageous at our wedding so my MIL and DH's Nana were keeping a close eye on her.  We decided to have the ceremony in the reception hall's chapel.  Aunt Babes slipped by most of guests unnoticed and placed various feminine products on the tables at the chapel entrance, where the place cards and programs were located.  Our embarrassed Mater' D, took us aside before the ceremony, pulled one of the offending objects out of his pocket and asked us what he should do with them.  We told him that it must be Aunt Babes up to her old tricks.  He was advised to keep an eye on things and remove any inappropriate objects that he finds in the chapel or reception room.  He did a wonderful job of keeping us as stress free as possible, just an hour before our wedding.  The ceremony was so beautiful and went off without a hitch.

But Aunt Babes was in fine form.  The offending feminine products kept popping up all over the place.  They would be removed and magically reappear.  The cake table, our sweetheart table and the bar were all fair game.  Several guests found then randomly placed on their dinner tables.  We even found several in our card box when we got home.  At one point during the evening, I looked out into the crowd and saw my unsuspecting BIL tearing it up on the dance floor with a maxi pad stuck to the back of his tuxedo jacket. 

Thanks to the reception hall staff and some of my very eagle-eyed in-laws, this was the worst of her behavior.  They told the staff to keep close eye on her and have someone stand next to the cake until the cutting.  Nana confiscated one of those cylindrical toys that moo's when it is turned upside down.  Aunt Babes was planning on using it during the vows.  My MIL was so angry with her sister that she didn't speak to Crazy Aunt Babes until Christmas, four months after the wedding.  Aunt Babes' own twelve year old daughter came up to my DH and apologized for her mother's behavior.  Nana also gave her quite an earful after the reception. 

Compared to a lot of stories on EHell, I feel like I was let off easy.   Crazy Aunt Babes could have done a lot more damage.  She only made a fool out of herself in front of 125 people and got her family mad at her.  In the end, the rest of the wedding was wonderful and guests are still telling us what a great time they had.  The reception was wonderful, the food was delicious and the dj kept the dance floor packed all night.  Most importantly, I married my wonderful DH. 


Isn't it great when family provides us with decades of family folklore stories to laugh about?  At least Aunt Babes didn't make it into the photos with tampons shoved up her nose and sticking out her ears.  


I know you just updated Weddings, but I hope the reception I attended last weekend may be included in a future update b/c it was the single worst social experience I have had in...oh...10 years! I think it merits a space b/c of multiple people's behavior towards me, the end result being that I was painted as the wedding crasher.

I was verbally invited 4 weeks ago by the groom to his wedding. This is the second time in a row I have received a verbal invite to a wedding instead of a written one, both times by the groom; I should've learned my lesson the first time. That story is already posted in Weddings from Hell.

I have worked with the groom for 3 years and consider him a good work buddy, but only an acquaintance outside of work.  I clearly expressed to him that I didn't want to come if I hadn't been expected to attend as I didn't want to put the bridal party to additional cost for my food and/or seat. I also asked him if he had asked the Bride if it was okay to invite me. He said yes, it was fine with her on both counts. I wasn't invited to the ceremony. I don't really understand this as the church was huge and from what I heard was only 1/2 full  and other co-workers received invites to both wedding and reception.

So I didn't attend the ceremony, but arrived at the reception on time. I deposited my wrapped gift of a large serving bowl and 4 matching smaller bowls I had thrown in my pottery studio on the gift table, then lined up outside the banquet hall (about 200 guests). The ushers had the guest list in order to escort people to the correct table as it was a sit-down luncheon with a seating chart. The usher with the list couldn't find my name, and I know I should have left as soon as that happened. However the groom's brother (who knows me) walked up then and said, "Oh, she's not on the list b/c that list is 3 days old. I know where she's seated." He then took me to a table WAY too close to the bridal party's banquet table for my taste as everyone at the table was a stranger to me and I saw my other co-workers WAAAY in the back. I was seated, and the groom's brother grabbed the place card at my seat away. In retrospect, it's apparent it had someone's else's name on it.

Now I  have been coming to Etiquette Hell long enough to know by now that the alarm bells of a potential problem were ringing loudly at this point, but it's harder to deal with these situations when they arise in real life than they seem when reading about them. I sat there and made small talk with an elderly relative of the bride's, a college roommate of the bride's, and sorority sister of the bride's, and a godson of the bride's. Sense a trend? I'm sitting at a table full of the bride's loved ones ,and I'm a co-worker of the groom. It became apparent to me very quickly that the bride's guests were all seated at the front of the hall and the groom's at the back, with no intermingling of the parties. Nice, eh?

Once the reception started with a live jazz band and the meal started, tables were being called up, apparently in order of importance (groom's side being last), to the buffet line. I rose from the table and headed to the buffet, so I wouldn't remain seated at the table and possibly draw attention to myself. A BM came storming up to me, took my plate out of my hand, and demanded to know why I had X's seat at that table. I explained to her that I was sorry, that I didn't know who X was, but the groom's brother had seated me there. She then called the groom's brother over and while he was trying to explain why he seated me there (apparently for lack of a better idea of where to put me), the BRIDE came over in a hurricane of tulle and became very angry that I had "stolen" X's seat (no sign of X at any point). I tried to wave to the groom to come and help, but he just raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders from a safe distance away, then turned around to talk to other people so as not to be dragged into the fray.

The bride wound up going off on me and the groom's brother loud enough for people to turn around and watch (my co-workers in the back were practically standing on their chairs to check out the scene), the BM called me an effing b*tch at the top of her lungs in a really screechy voice that got the attention of anyone who hadn't yet noticed the fracas, and the groom's brother tried to make it sound like I'd seated myself and taken the place card so he wouldn't get both barrels from the Bride and BM. I apologized like mad, said the groom had invited me at work 4 weeks ago so maybe they should check with him as to why my name wasn't on the guest list, then ran for my life dragging the groom's brother away and demanding he put the place card back, find X, and put her in her chair.

On my way out I scooped my wedding gift off the gift table. I was d*mned if I was going to give the stupid groom or his b*tchy bride anything but my ill wishes at this point. I did stick my head back in hall in for a moment to tell my co-workers at the table in the WAAAAY back that the groom and his brother were both blooming idiots.

I received a phone call from the groom the next day (before he left for the honeymoon) laughing uproariously at the situation, admitting he forgot to put my name on the guest list, how much each plate cost ($75),  joking about how funny his brother was for putting me at a Bride's table, wasn't his Bride just so "tough and funny," that I was such a good sport for putting up with it, and why didn't he see me later during the dancing b/c he was looking for me to have a good laugh about it?

I  hung up without saying anything. He's lucky I didn't freak out on him then and there, but I was so stupefied by his idiocy that I was, for once, at a loss for words. When he gets back to work from his honeymoon next week he better be wearing Kevlar b/c I'm going to unload on him!

NEVER attend a wedding that you have not received a written invite for!  And I'm keeping the serving bowl and matching set for my own kitchen!




My sisters, new husband and I, undergrads and grad students in college, wanted to have a surprise anniversary party for our parents.  We thought of 4 options, and I called and spoke with everyone 3-4 months earlier about bringing food and drink to share since we can't afford to feed my mother's 10 brothers and sisters and their families, plus a small handful of their friends. 

So...two days before, my nasty uncle sends this email: 

Rachel,   I will bring coleslaw to the party, but to be honest your expectations for what you want your guests to provide in the way of food, for your Parents' anniversary party is out of line, after all you and your Sisters are the Hosts. To expect your guests to have to provide most of the food for this party you are hosting is ridiculous. Its fine if someone in the family offers to bring something to share, but to request several items from each family is placing a time or possibly a financial burden on them.

You want your guests to enjoy the evening and not have to worry about slapping food together, or find time to shop, or find time to prepare it. Not every family has the time that you and Ross probably have, so you need to take this into consideration.

If in the future you need some guidance on planning parties, family get-together etc, ask some of us in the family.

We have all been there at some point.  We all look forward to being there and celebrating Monica and Chandler's Anniversary, but I thought you should know my thoughts.   

Take Care, Joey   

Earlier that day, they went to his wife's SISTER's work party all day with their quadruplets, and like 2 weeks earlier, my mom gave him some hats that she bought to donate so he could donate them.  No thank you note.  What an ungracious MOOCH!


Sounds like Uncle Joey pitched you right into Etiquette Hell!  Moral of the story:  Don't plan and host big parties you cannot afford to execute.  Having guests cater because the hosts had bigger plans than their budgets allowed is a first rate Etiquette Hell no-no.


Several years ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was planning to hold a surprise birthday party for my husband.  She immediately volunteered her house and also volunteered to help with the planning.  I wasn't fishing for a location, but after several rounds of "Nice, but it would be an inconvenience and I already have somewhere in mind." and "I WANT to do this" I gave in.  We were in the middle of remodeling and our house wasn't in any shape for guests.   I mentioned a small number of people I wanted to invite who were friends of my husband.  She asked if I would mind inviting mutual friends.  No problem.  She then called and asked if I would mind if she invited some people we didn't know.  My husband is a very social guy, and after all, it was to be at her house, so, of course, I said, "No problem."   I planned food and drinks for the number of invitees expected.  She called and asked if she could change a few things, especially with the catering.  Again, it was no big deal to me and I agreed.  Invitations had been sent and accepted, and all was going smoothly. (Delusion alert.....)   

Four days before the party, I received an email from my friend.  The party was still on, but it was now being held in honor of my friend.  I was reeling over this announcement (My husband was reading over my shoulder when I received the email and was puzzled why I was suddenly upset about a party for my friend.) and shortly received a call from her laughing things off telling me she knew I would understand.  "What about my husband's party?"  "Well, it's OK if you two come, but could you call and tell those people you invited for your husband not to come?  Since this is my party and I don't know them, I don't think they need to come."   The only good thing was that she had had the catering order changed to her name, so that got me off the hook for that bill.  My husband was pretty gracious about the whole thing when I explained the situation to him.  He jokingly accepted his "party in spirit."  It was difficult and embarrassing to make the phone calls to our friends, and the mutual friends who were first invited to a birthday party for my husband which was suddenly changed to a party for my friend were a bit bemused.  I have no idea what her explanation was.   

Alternate plans with our "uninvited" guests were made. We did not attend the hijacked party.   


  Like my new Etiquette Hell spit BBQ?  I made it just for friends like yours.  


Do I have a story for you...   A few years ago right after Thanksgiving, my boyfriend and I were planning a trip to Walt Disney World with some friends to celebrate an engagement.  BF's very well-off Aunt and Uncle own a business that BF works for and obviously, BF needed to let them know of his absence during the time we would be traveling.  BF was 'jokingly' told that he could only take the time off if he returned with a gift for their child, BF's Disney loving, 5 year old cousin.   

In the weeks leading up to the trip, little cousin would often ask BF excitedly about Mickey Mouse and the other characters, wondering if we would meet them, if we could get autographs for him, if we would bring him a set of "ears" etc...  Of course, we would bring him something back with us.  We told him this every day that he would ask and he would happily run off to watch one of his Disney movies on his own DVD player hooked up to his 25" flat screen TV in HIS bedroom.   During our week-long visit to the theme parks, we would make sure that at the end of each day, we found something for little cousin.  One day it might be as simple as a set of Mickey ears with his name embroidered on the back, another day a couple of T-shirts and / or some toys.  In total, we must have brought back 9 or 10 items and at Disney souvenir prices, a few hundred dollars worth of goodies.  We justified the expense because little cousin would be having a birthday in mid-December, and of course, Christmas would soon follow.  In addition to the gifts and only because he asked, we managed to wrangle up about a dozen personalized autographs at 'character meetings' just for little cousin, which wasn't the easiest task considering we were the "largest children" among the group asking for autographs for a child back at home.   

Upon returning to real life, we made sure to stop by BF's Aunt & Uncle's house as soon as possible to give a few of the gifts to little cousin (the rest we would be saving for his birthday and Christmas).  When we arrived at their house, little cousin came running out of his room screaming "Where are my presents, where are my presents"?  I didn't think much of it since little cousin was only 5, but when his Mom and Dad didn't correct this behavior in any way, I was a bit put off.  (I think that a parent should at LEAST ask their child to say hello to his visitors when they know their primary reason for the visit is to bring a gift.  Is it possible that I am expecting too much?)   So, when BF's Aunt looked at us expectantly without getting much of a hello out of her either, we took out the autograph book and the personalized ears along with two character play sets and handed them to little cousin.   Little cousin looked at the gifts, then to us and yelled out "These are stupid!  I don't want them" ran onto the kitchen and put them in the trash compactor!  BF's Uncle left the room immediately and Aunt ran after little cousin onto the kitchen where we could hear the trash compactor start up.  BF's Aunt stopped the compactor and returned to where we were sitting with the items that little cousin tossed away placing them on the table.  Little cousin came back into the room kicked BF in the shin and pushed me telling us that he "hated us and that we were stupid."  BF's Aunt pulled little cousin aside then bent down to his height and told him that he shouldn't throw a gift out in front of someone and that they would go and buy something that he liked better tomorrow.  Little cousin ran out of the room screaming at BF and me all the way to his room.  BF's Aunt shrugged her shoulders and followed him.  She hadn't said a word to us since her hello.   BF and I stood in the living room for about 5 minutes feeling a bit uncomfortable and pissed off at the situation before BF's Uncle returned stating that it was time to leave, little cousin was getting his bath from his mother and BF's Uncle had to go to get ready for a business trip.  We didn't receive an apology or a thank you.  We showed ourselves out. 

On the ride home, we decided that little cousin wasn't going to get B-Day or Christmas gifts from us from that day forward and I stated that I was so disgusted with BF's Aunt & Uncle's behavior that I didn't even want to see them over the holiday.  Of course, this wasn't a possibility, but we decided that any holiday visit to their house would be a quick as possible.   BF had to return to Aunt & Uncle's house the next morning to bring Uncle to the airport  (this was agreed prior to the disastrous night before or I would have never allowed it).  When bringing a bag out to the car, BF noticed that little cousins Mickey ears and autograph book were outside on top of the garbage waiting to be picked up.  At this point, BF told me he laughed and though that he couldn't expect more from his Aunt and little cousin.  I fumed when he told me this.   

The kicker to this story is that when we visited for Christmas, BF's Aunt presented one of their friends two children with the very Disney character sets that we gave little cousin!   Aunt's friend commented on how generous she was, how nice the sets were and that it was an unnecessary, but appreciated gesture.  BF's Aunt stated that she thought her friends children would love them and couldn't pass up on getting the sets for them when she saw them.  We decided it was time to leave after that.    When we got our coats, BF's Aunt asked us if we had already given little cousin his gifts.  When we told her we hadn't and didn't bring anything since he threw out our last gifts and never received a thank you, she asked us how we could possibly expect a thank you when we bought such terrible gifts for her son!  I wanted to punch her in the face but being a civil person, bit my lip instead.  BF mentioned that the gifts were good enough for her to re-gift to her friend, and Auntie then told us that she only gave them to the other children because she didn't care for them very much.   To this day, I don't speak with BF's Aunt, little cousin doesn't receive any gifts from us and a local children's charity receives our "little cousin" Christmas budget.


Great!  Now I have to create a demon spawn image for stories like this.  I'll just have to borrow one for the time being:


I thought I had heard it all.  In planning my own wedding, I read and posted on numerous wedding planning boards and communities online.  I had read some pretty horrendous stories, but none of them even compared to a wedding I attended just a month ago.

I should have been suspicious (and was a little) when my fiancé and I got invited to the wedding of a distant relative of his who we barely knew.  He is from a small town, and I had already experienced some of that "culture" when these same people who were now inviting us to their wedding were upset when they found out they were not invited to ours.  As if that isn't rude enough!  A couple of weeks before their wedding, my fiancé happened to run into this couple and they mentioned, "Gosh, aren't weddings expensive?"  

Now, my fiancé and I weren't throwing an elaborate bash, but we had worked very hard to throw an elegant and classy wedding within our budget.  One of the biggest ways we were able to do this was by limiting our guest list to not include people like this, those we barely knew!  

Well, my fiancé asked them, "How many people are you inviting?" and they answered that they were inviting 400 people!  Well, apparently they thought it was their guests problem that they were having a wedding they couldn't afford.  Because at the reception, they would not let people eat until they had an "auction" for each table's place in line!  Each table had to see how much money they could come up with and shout out their bids.  The table with the highest bid got to go first, then they would open the bidding for the next place in line.  Some older people got up and left (only a few, though), and a few tables refused to give money, and they were eventually let go through the line last.  

Timber!  There she goes....fainted dead away at the image of guests bidding on who gets in line for food next. 

Not only is the single most tacky thing I have ever seen at a wedding - it took forever!  The thing I couldn't believe though, was that people were actually giving them money for this stunt.  Especially after hearing how rude people thought it was.  This is all in addition to the gifts people brought!  It was pretty unbelievable.  Plus, the food was horrible.


Maybe a little vicarious Ehell spanking will make it all better? 


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007