Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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While I was at my SO’s house a couple of weekends ago, he received a small envelope in the mail.  It was hand written, but he did not recognize the writing.  Upon opening it, 3 tiny pieces of paper fell out.  He reads the card inside…turns it over…re-reads it…then re-reads it again.  He handed it to me and asked if I recognized the names on the card and I told him no.  Then he asked me to read it and tell him what I thought.

It is an invitation to a celebration picnic.  It seems this couple is getting married one weekend, and having a gift picnic the next.  The papers that fell out were 1) What food item we were to bring to the picnic, 2) what GIFT we were to bring, and 3) the website they were registered on!!!

Turns out, this was someone my SO had met while kayaking with a group of his friends on a couple of occasions…he’d never even MET the fiancée, and he’d never done anything socially with the groom OTHER than the kayaking!!!

I’ve read stories on your website similar to this and wondered how ANYBODY could be so gauche!!  Well, now I’ve seen the real deal…first hand….and am STILL incredulous!!!


I work at a medium sized office of about 100 people. While we all generally know each other, for a lot of us it's just basically to nod "hello" at each other in the kitchen.   Imagine my surprise when this e-mail landed from a co-worker into my mailbox yesterday...  

Do you like parties? Do you like games? Do you like to win prizes? Do you like food? Do you like drinks? Do you like music? If you have answered yes to any of these, then I invite you to my Jack and Jill on Saturday September 15th beginning 7:30pm in the quaint little town of XXXX! Tickets are $10 per person or $15 per couple. Come see me for tickets and directions if you're interested! If I have forgotten anyone, please forward this email on! Thanks! 

I ignored it, chuckling to myself at the tackiness of the whole thing, bearing in mind I barely knew this girl. Then the over-the-top kicker? A follow up e-mail from the bride-to-be this morning. It really does speak for itself...  

Ok. So, XXXX is a little bit far away for people to go. That's cool with me, I just thought I'd extend the invitation! So how about this...... if you can't come, how about buying a ticket anyway? Support the cause? The "(insert name of Bridezilla) Desperately Needs Help Paying For Her Wedding" fund? Its not an official charity, and you won't get a tax receipt, but I assure you the profiting party (me) will be eternally grateful. After the long weekend, please see XXXX if you choose to support my charity. Thanks! :) 

Tacky, tacky, tacky!  


If I had discovered your site sooner, I would have contributed this a long time ago. Alas.

In any event, my step-cousin (the granddaughter of my grandmother's second husband; that's what you'd call her, right?) got married a few years ago to a nice guy; we'll call them "Eliza" and "Jake." The ceremony was elaborate, the dress was beautiful and the reception enjoyable. The fact that my mother and I were attending a wedding for newly-acquired family members was also a nice promotion of familial unity considering we hadn't even met these people until about two years before. All-in-all, it was a nice occasion that had, apparently, cost the bride's family 20,000 dollars (according to the MOB, anyway).

The breach of etiquette (and all around human decency) didn't occur until later that year when we found out that the MOB, her younger daughter (not the bride) and two of her siblings were trying to swindle their dear, loving father out of everything he had ever earned to get herself out of wedding-debt. My step-grandfather, unfortunately, began suffering the effects of Alzheimer's not too long after his eldest granddaughter had gotten married and, seeing an opportunity, the relatives began swooping in for his rental properties, money, etc. The MOB (who, by this time, is beginning to seem more like an SOB) even tried to have her father declared incompetent so that she could name herself in charge of his finances and property! Luckily for my step-grandfather, he had married my grandmother a couple of years before, which named HER next of kin. Thus, she won the petition to become his legal guardian/executor/whatever you call it. Since then, most of my step-grandfather's family has been cut out of his life, including ALL three of his children and both of his grandchildren (even though the bride didn't have anything to do with the fiasco, as far as we know, she apparently sided with her mother over her grandfather).

The (sadly) funny thing is that my grandmother (a Bible-thumpin' Southern Baptist who has a judgmental streak a few thousand miles long) thought that her husband's family was a great improvement over her own (lack of faith in her children/grandchildren is one her many "endearing" qualities, apparently). Well, you can say a lot about how imperfect WE are, but we've never tried to rip her (or anyone else) off. We're moral like that.


My story is actually about my cousin, “Penny”.  When Penny was getting married, my parents received an invitation from her, but not any one of their children.  I figured, “No problem.  She is probably on a tight budget.”  However, I found out later that her brother did not receive an invitation and neither did her mother.  My mother and I figured out that Penny only sent invitations to those that can afford expensive wedding gifts or give away large sums of money.  

Needless to say, my parents did not attend the wedding.  And the kicker from this bride-from-hell?  Penny told all her friends that her mother was dead (not true, my aunt is alive and kicking!).



I attended a wedding with my ex boyfriend in which his new sister-in-law went from a nice, sweet girl to a greedy gift-grabber within weeks of her marriage.

The bride and groom had recently graduated from college, moved to a new city and started new jobs. Since they had only been working for a few months at the time of their wedding, money was a little tight. My then-boyfriend stayed with them for two nights one weekend on a business layover about a month and a half before the wedding. Knowing that they were having a hard time financially, he bought over $100 in groceries during his stay and went with them on their wedding-related errands during which he paid off the balance on several items. All told, he paid over $300 in wedding expenses that weekend, along with footing their grocery bill.

Their wedding was scheduled for a few weeks before the holidays. Between buying Christmas presents for family and his children, paying for airfare to attend the wedding and a post-wedding family cruise with the bride and groom and the groom's parents, and moving to a new apartment in January we did not have the funds to purchase a wedding present for them right away. We told them that we would send them a present shortly after the New Year. The bride and groom understood our financial circumstances and stated that they did not mind waiting a few months after the wedding for a gift (which makes sense, since my understanding is that guests customarily have up to a year after the wedding to buy a gift).

On the cruise, my boyfriend and I realized that the newlyweds were struggling to afford shore excursions and other expenses not included in the price of the cruise. We were spending a little less than we had budgeted for and gave them $100 to help them enjoy their honeymoon.

Within weeks after the wedding and cruise, the bride called her mother-in-law (also my ex boyfriend's mother) and spent 20 minutes complaining about the fact that they still had not received a wedding gift from us and calling us selfish and rude. His mother found her rant shocking, and called my then-boyfriend. Given the fact that we had financed several hundred dollars of their wedding expenses, flown across the country to attend their wedding, and then given them money on their honeymoon I was appalled that the bride found it acceptable to gripe about a delay in giving them their "official" wedding present. As far as I know, my ex and his sister in law are still not speaking to one another. 



My fiancé and I received the following letter today, from Macy's. We are completely appalled at how tacky this is! Corporate offices will be hearing from us.

Dear Kxxx and Cxxxxxx,

Your wedding is quickly approaching, so I just wanted to touch base with you to see how things are going. If you would provide a list of your key gift givers, I could then contact them and assist with gift choices, making sure that they are aware of any current store sales and promotions.

If I may be of assistance, or if you have any questions regarding your registry, please do not hesitate to contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I'm happy to help.

Best wishes to you both!


xxxxx x. xxxx Gift Registry Consultant



My friend ‘Emily’ recently went to a huge, beautiful wedding in London for a university friend, where the best man announced during the speeches that the couple had been married for 2 years!

There were no particular issues behind this; they’d just decided to get married one day, done it at a registry office, and then not told anyone.  Two years later, they wanted a big white wedding, so their parents paid for one, thinking it was the first.  This was also a civil service, which suggests they may have misled the registrar (in the UK, you can’t have 2 civil services).  People flew in from America and continental Europe, put up in expensive hotels, and bought presents from the wedding list, then watched the groom and his bride with her huge dress, 6 BMs etc, not have a real wedding.  Apparently this announcement didn’t go down too well, but the couple weren’t embarrassed at all. 

Em drank the champagne, enjoyed the dancing, and left, giving them her good wishes and not taking it to heart.  Her next wedding invitation then contained a poem saying ‘we don’t want a kettle or a toaster, we want you to pay off our mortgage’.  She usually gives people beautiful, hand-made wedding presents, but oddly enough in both these cases, she didn’t bother.



One of my sorority sisters got married in late December.  During the fall semester, she sent out invitations to her wedding - to EVERYONE in the sorority.  While I though it was nice that she include everyone, I thought it was a bit odd since she is not close friends with all 100 girls.  Our new members, who just joined as a part of fall recruitment also thought it was a bit odd that she invited them, who she had just met, and would only have known her 5 months at the time of the wedding.  We wrote it off as politeness and a big wedding budget and left it alone.  But since she invited so many of us to her out of town wedding, it didn't take long for the rumors to circulate that she was only inviting the chapter for the gifts. 

Then came the showers.  She had two that I know of.  Now I understand if your families live in opposite ends of the country, or if you coworkers want to throw an office only type of bash - but this was not the case.  One shower, was hosted by her family, and friends (besides bridal party) were not invited.  The other shower was hosted by the bridal party - or rather the bridesmaids that were members of our sorority.  This was the shower that the chapter was invited too.  Maybe having a sorority only shower is similar to a work shower - but to me if the bridesmaids are hosting a shower it should be THE shower - especially since we are in the same city as the families.  Also, I felt bad that three girls in college were going to have to pay to feed the 100 members of our chapter (who needs a shower that big anyway?)

What made it even tackier was the fact that the shower invites were on Facebook.  For those of you not familiar - Facebook is a social networking site similar to MySpace where members  have profiles, add friends, and post pictures and activities. 

When I hadn't RSVPed to the wedding, I got a message again via Facebook asking if I could please let her know if I was still coming to the wedding.  I had just gotten out of the hospital and couldn't find the invitation so I stooped to her level (sad, I know, but I was at a low point - not to mention I didn't even have her phone number - we weren't close).  I sent her Facebook message back that I was sorry I couldn't make it but I wished her the best of luck. 

I didn't go to the wedding but by the looks of the photo-albums on Facebook - not many other sisters did either.  Oh and I almost forgot - she had a bachelorette party.  But - not everyone was invited to this.  Yes, all the sisters were invited to a shower and the wedding, but not the party.  And guess what - It was one of those pure romance parties - where they sell sex toys and novelties - hosted by the Bride and her friend and our sorority sister, the MOH - so if anyone bought anything - the Bride and MOH got a piece of the profit!

I think our sorority should hold an etiquette seminar as our next sisterhood activity!



I always thought an engagement ring was a token of the love a couple shares. Then I heard this story: They have been married nine years. He went into debt to buy her an engagement ring. Every year, she "turns in" the current ring for a bigger, more expensive model. From his original $10,000 ring to her current $60,000 rock.



  I am currently planning my wedding for June of this year and my father and mother couldn't be more excited about it.  Since they are divorced, I asked my father and mother to give me separate lists of the friends and family members that they wanted to invite.  They also agreed that they would pay for their own guests that I did not know or have only met in passing, etc.. I also reminded them that the cost of each plate was $100 so they should seriously consider the amount of people they invite to keep the costs at a minimum.  My mother gave me a list of her family and friends, most of which I knew already.  My father, after much begging, pleading, and reminding, finally gave me a list of guests that was 50 people long!  When I reminded him that he would be paying for the guests he wished to invite, he said that many of the people were just "courtesy invites" because they had invited him to their children's weddings.  Fine, sending out a few extra invitations to some older people out of state that probably wouldn't be able to make the trip was fine, as long as my father agreed that if they did attend, he would be paying for the cost of their dinners. 

 I sat down to lunch with my father after sending out beautiful hand-made save-the-date cards and reminded him how many people I had send cards to from his list and that he needed to have the money for his guests when the reception place sent us the bill.  He then told me that his guests would be bringing checks as gifts to the wedding and that I should SIGN THEM OVER TO HIM after the reception!  I couldn't believe what I was hearing!  I told him that not only was that money supposed to be a gift for my fiancé and I to start our new life together, but that not all people bring checks and perhaps the people would bring something off the registry.  He then told me that the checks given by my mother's guests could be signed over to him so that he could be "square" and not have to pay any money.  Now my father has always been cheap, but this one definitely takes the cake!  Lets just say that my mother had some choice words for her ex-husband after I told her what he had said.


This is a mammoth train wreck of a wedding story. A four-wedding pileup, to be exact.   My coworker "Jane" had been with her fiancé, "Derek", for three years. There were early signs of tackiness from the beginning. They became engaged and moved in together very quickly, but Derek could not afford a ring because of their mounting debt. Jane convinced Derek to borrow money from Jane's parents (whom a portion of their debt was owed to already) to pay for a ring. Derek did so, purchasing the ring, and gave it to Jane. She made no attempt to disguise her distaste for his choice of ring. For whatever reason they could not return it so Jane decided to this time hit up Derek's parents (whom a portion of their debt was ALSO owed to already) for a loan to buy her own ring for herself. She did so and went by herself to purchase her own ring that she enjoyed. All is well, right?   

Jane's parents agreed to foot the bill for the wedding and planning began. They set the date, sent out the invitations, hired caterers, rented ballrooms, yadda yadda. Two days before the wedding, Jane decided to call it off. She never gave me a clear reason as to why so I have to assume it was fairly personal. Jane and Derek decided to keep the gifts they had already received and would just "tell the people who sent gifts not to send anything when we really do get married." Oh, fun. Because of the short notice, Jane's parents were also left with many deposits and merchandise that could not be returned. I guess that happens, right?   

A year later and Jane decides she's up for it again. This time she agrees to foot the bill herself, despite still being in debt. Her parents help out some, though. Date is set, plans are made, invitations are sent, yadda yadda all over again. Since she was paying for it mostly herself, it was obviously a slightly less upscale wedding than what she had planned a year ago. This time she makes it all the way to the day of the wedding before deciding to call it off because, direct quote, "It's not as classy as I wanted it so I'm going to wait until I can afford the wedding I really want." Again, they decide it's best to keep all of the gifts and just "tell the people who sent gifts not to send anything when we really do get married." The tally so far is two rings, zero weddings, two full sets of wedding gifts, and yet more debt.   

Sooo they try for a third time, thinking six months is enough time to save up for an entire wedding! For whatever horrible reason, Jane decides it would be a fabulous idea to pick out a date and send out invitations before she even knows that she will have enough money. This time she at least has the courtesy to call off the wedding two months in advance, so there's no wonderfully tacky gift hoarding this time around. Her reason for canceling? Aside from (again) not being able to afford it, she was disappointed because NOBODY SEEMED EXCITED ENOUGH ABOUT THE UPCOMING NUPTIALS!! On a spur of the moment, they decide to head down to the courthouse and get married once and for all. Jane tells her parents, who lavish them with wedding gifts and are duly excited. However, Jane still wants that fancy wedding! Their genius plan?

They decided to start again saving and planning for another wedding, but are going to keep the fact that they are married a secret from Derek's entire family and Jane's extended family. Nevermind the fact that they see Derek's family every weekend and Jane's parents already know. I ended up relocating before I could see how this train wreck ended, but something tells me she still hasn't walked down that aisle..


I recently received a link to a couple's wedding website. It has links with times, dates, locations, and details.

On the gift registry page, there is a Paypal link with the sentence: "Use the donate button below to make a monetary gift directly for the honeymoon with Paypal".



Page Last Updated October 11, 2008