Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: TealDragon on July 22, 2012, 06:10:03 PM

Title: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: TealDragon on July 22, 2012, 06:10:03 PM
I've cross posted this from the wedding forum, it doesn't look like there's a lot of traffic over there and I can't seem to stop worrying about this. I hope that's ok.

Anna has been a friend of my parents for 30 years and has been included in many family holidays and when my dad owned his own business, she worked for him for 10 years and I worked with her for 6 of those years. She babysat me frequently as a child and I have babysat for her children. I really adore her and consider her like a favorite aunt.

I called her today to catch up and she was reminiscing about when she used to babysit for me. In particular, she was telling a couple of stories which I find humiliating. They may be easily chalked up to silly things kids do, but regardless, I feel a great deal of shame due to endless teasing from family members and I very much would not like these stories repeated to anyone, especially not to everyone that I and my fiance hold dear on the happiest day of our lives. When I told Anna that I'd just as soon forget those old stories, she laughed and said I need to lighten up and she is planning on telling them at my wedding. I told her I really do not want her to do that because it was make me feel horrible, and she repeated that I need to lighten up. I said, again, that I do not want to be embarrassed at my wedding and changed the subject. The call ended shortly after that.

I don't want this happening. Short of not inviting her, which I do not want to do at all, I'm not sure how to prevent this. I know wedding magazines recommend enlisting a bridal party member as Toast Controller who can take the mic away from anyone who's had too much to drink or starts with inappropriate anecdotes, but until she actually got part of the stories out, there would be no reason to do that and having someone cut her off mid-speech would almost certainly cause a great deal more notice than her telling the stories. I know I'm such a worryer, but does anyone have any suggestions about how to deal with this gracefully?
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: lady_disdain on July 22, 2012, 06:20:38 PM
Could you just not have an open mic at your wedding? Have a few people assigned to propose toasts and then take the mic away.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: figee on July 22, 2012, 06:21:50 PM
You can't control what she says to people on her table or whatever, but why does she need to make a speech or a toast?  Can't you keep her away from the microphone?  I know we were very strict about who got to make a speech (we had 4: my father, DH's father, Best Man and DH thanked everyone for coming) and told others that we would drink toasts with them individually.  We said it was because we wanted to make sure speeches didn't go on for too long so we could get the party started.  (And have something to eat.  :D )

lady_disdain is so much more succinct than I am. 
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: bloo on July 22, 2012, 06:24:27 PM
Could you just not have an open mic at your wedding? Have a few people assigned to propose toasts and then take the mic away.

Yeah the above. I would try to block out her blathering about those stories at her assigned dinner table, but make the MC (or one person) keeps hold of the mike to a select few people who will be speaking and let him/her know to keep a death grip on it if anyone else requests it. No exceptions, not even for someone claiming to be a long-time family friend (cough, cough Anna).

You've made your feelings clear. She seems intent on disrespecting them so short on not inviting her, I think this is your best bet.

You and your fiance's wedding - you and fiance's rules.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: portabella on July 22, 2012, 06:27:00 PM
Anna is disrespecting you, and the fact that she has told you in advance what she is going to do regardless of you being humiliated makes it worse.  Id consider not inviting her.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Giggity on July 22, 2012, 06:38:51 PM
Perhaps an open mike isn't best at a wedding.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Shakira on July 22, 2012, 06:55:36 PM
POD to not having the open mike. Have the people that you actually want to speak up front at a certain time so only they are ready when it's toast time. I'd also give your DJ a heads up that NO ONE except your designated toasters is supposed to have the mike, not even "for just a second".
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Venus193 on July 22, 2012, 07:03:12 PM
Are your parents potentially helpful here?

Whom will you be seating her with?  Can anyone at her table be the appointed wrangler?
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: gramma dishes on July 22, 2012, 07:14:21 PM
...   Anna has been a friend of my parents for 30 years and has been included in many family holidays and when my dad owned his own business, she worked for him for 10 years and I worked with her for 6 of those years. She babysat me frequently as a child and I have babysat for her children. I really adore her and consider her like a favorite aunt.

...   I feel a great deal of shame due to endless teasing from family members ...

When I first started reading this I thought, well, just enlist your Mom and or Dad and let them sort of sit on her since she's really originally their friend, but then I remembered the part where your family members also teased you.

Do your parents still tease you about these things from your childhood and embarrass you publicly?  If so, I'd make sure that NO ONE other than a couple of people you can trust for certain be allowed anywhere near a microphone. 

If you thought your parents might understand and would hold her off, I'd go that route, but somehow I get the feeling they would probably see nothing wrong in what she's planning and might even just join in with her chorus of "lighten up". 

You may have to straighten up that backbone and make very VERY clear to your parents that this is your wedding and you will not tolerate having inappropriate stories told on that day, by Anna or by anyone else.  Anyone trying to do so will be removed (and be sure you have someone there who can and will do it).
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 22, 2012, 07:42:44 PM
You may have to straighten up that backbone and make very VERY clear to your parents that this is your wedding and you will not tolerate having inappropriate stories told on that day, by Anna or by anyone else.  Anyone trying to do so will be removed (and be sure you have someone there who can and will do it).

I agree.  Or if there is something else you can threaten that you are willing to follow through on.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Yankeegal77 on July 22, 2012, 07:52:20 PM
I find the whole 'lighten up' phrase offensive to the extreme. 99% of the time, it's used when person A has made person B uncomfortable, and instead of telling the offended person to lighten up, Person A really needs to apologize and make a note to self about sensitive subjects. We all have our sore points.

Let's put this in perspective:

Yes, she is a family friend and you like her a lot.
She has brought up embarrassing episodes from your life that you'd rather not discuss.
She not only told you to 'lighten up' when you expressed discomfort, but she intends to continue to tell these stories.
Your family enjoys teasing you, and given her status as friend, she could be part of a problem.

You are the bride/hostess, and you get to set the tone for you and DF's special day. I completely understand obligatory invites (kinda have that situation now) but IMHO, she needs to be left off of the guest list. If asked why, well, maybe being honest can make her an example that if you get teased and disrespected, you're simply not going to take it. (Obviously, I don't know you or the back story with your family, but this could be a great opportunity to set some boundaries.)

No one has the right to embarrass you or ruin your day. Just my two cents. I'd hate for you to look back on your wedding day with anything less than a genuine smile. :)



Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: gramma dishes on July 22, 2012, 07:57:43 PM
...   but IMHO, she needs to be left off of the guest list. If asked why, well, maybe being honest can make her an example that if you get teased and disrespected, you're simply not going to take it.  ...

Actually, I agree with this.  It may be the only way you're going to be able to change the status quo.  If your family sees that you're serious, they may straighten out their own acts too.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Dr. F. on July 22, 2012, 08:02:15 PM
...   but IMHO, she needs to be left off of the guest list. If asked why, well, maybe being honest can make her an example that if you get teased and disrespected, you're simply not going to take it.  ...

Actually, I agree with this.  It may be the only way you're going to be able to change the status quo.  If your family sees that you're serious, they may straighten out their own acts too.

[threadjack]

You know, I'm incredibly happy to hear others say this. My mom is one who, for as long as I can remember, has liked to tell embarrassing anecdotes about me and told me to "lighten up" and "don't take yourself so seriously." It drives me insane. This is quite literally the first time in my forty-(mumble) years that it has occurred to me that I'm not just over-sensitive, and that others may find this kind of thing annoying.

Thank you.
[/threadjack]
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: johelenc1 on July 22, 2012, 08:02:26 PM
Why don't you just sit her down and have a serious conversation with her telling her that the stories are really embarrassing to you and you REALLY don't want her to share them - ever - but especially at your wedding.  Tell her you will be incredibly wounded if she were to embarrass you on purpose. 

If she loves you, and I'm sure she does, she won't do it.  She probably doesn't realize how much it bothers you.  If she still doesn't appear to respect your feelings, then you can ditch the open mike or have someone ready to shut her down.  I think, until she expresses direct intent to ruin your wedding with blatant disregard for your feeling (after the above conversation), not inviting her is over-reacting.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: buvezdevin on July 22, 2012, 08:02:57 PM
First, POD to everything gramma dishes said.

One thought/question to add - does your family know you are not "loving" the joking about these stories *and* would you feel comfortable sharing with them that you would prefer that "funny" stories about you which you find embarrassing not be shared in toasts or generally at your wedding and reception, and are you confident they would respect your feelings?  If so, I would speak with them to explain *your* feelings, and that while the stories may seem amusing to them, you do not find them amusing but embarrassing, then ask for their help in curbing Anna's enthusiasm.

If Anna, or anyone suggests you need to lighten up about their sharing stories you have clearly stated you'd find embarrassing - I think it would be polite but pointed to ask why they think your feelings of embarrassment are worthy of so little consideration, when the cause of such embarrassment is so easily avoided (don't tell these stories).  If their point is that you embarrass "too easily" - ask what they gain by sharing the stories, and is it worth more than having your respect and appreciation for them sharing the special event of your wedding celebration.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Ceallach on July 22, 2012, 09:09:54 PM
She is being incredibly rude and thoughtless.  I would try to have one more serious conversation with her about it.  I'd also ensure that your family are aware that you find those stories upsetting and that you are concerned by her insistence on telling them.  Don't downplay it, and don't let anybody minimize your feelings.

I concur with previous posters - don't have any kind of open mic at the wedding!   In my experience, open mic is typically a disaster waiting to happen, plus tends to lead to very loooong speech time and boredom for the guests.   I don't see any reason why "family friend" = "speech giver" at the wedding, particularly when she has already indicated a desire to tell inappropriate and embarassing stories about you.    Basically, the MC/DJ should have the microphone, and only hand it to those who are invited to speak, e.g. announce the speech and give them the microphone.  After speeches, microphone goes away.   It's not hard to control.     Unfortunately there is no way to stop her being a boor and loudly telling her table stories that you don't want told, but most people will see right through that and she will come off looking the worse for it. 
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: kudeebee on July 22, 2012, 09:19:50 PM
Definetely do not have an open mike at the wedding.

Honestly, i would not invite her and if my parents ask why i would tell tbem the truth.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Specky on July 22, 2012, 09:39:35 PM
Why not limit toasts to the best man/MOH or equivalent?  Request something short and sweet and quickly move on to the next thing.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: demarco on July 22, 2012, 09:41:26 PM
Anna is disrespecting you, and the fact that she has told you in advance what she is going to do regardless of you being humiliated makes it worse.  Id consider not inviting her.

This, except I wouldn't even have to consider it.  She would not be invited.

Why don't you just sit her down and have a serious conversation with her telling her that the stories are really embarrassing to you and you REALLY don't want her to share them - ever - but especially at your wedding.  Tell her you will be incredibly wounded if she were to embarrass you on purpose. 

If she loves you, and I'm sure she does, she won't do it.  She probably doesn't realize how much it bothers you. 

How much more serious a conversation does the OP have to have with this person?  I think she's already been pretty clear during the phone call. If the woman doesn't realize how much it bothers the OP by now, I don't see how any more talk will do the trick.

Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Ceallach on July 22, 2012, 09:57:17 PM
Anna is disrespecting you, and the fact that she has told you in advance what she is going to do regardless of you being humiliated makes it worse.  Id consider not inviting her.

This, except I wouldn't even have to consider it.  She would not be invited.

Why don't you just sit her down and have a serious conversation with her telling her that the stories are really embarrassing to you and you REALLY don't want her to share them - ever - but especially at your wedding.  Tell her you will be incredibly wounded if she were to embarrass you on purpose. 

If she loves you, and I'm sure she does, she won't do it.  She probably doesn't realize how much it bothers you. 

How much more serious a conversation does the OP have to have with this person?  I think she's already been pretty clear during the phone call. If the woman doesn't realize how much it bothers the OP by now, I don't see how any more talk will do the trick.

Because the OP has already expressed that she still wants to invite her.  Which means that she really needs to have another shot at addressing this, and make it 100% clear that the woman's position is unacceptable.   It's possible that conversation will change OP's mind about inviting the woman, but it needs to be put out there.   Sometimes a person dismisses a concern in passing, but when it's addressed head on as "this is upsetting to me and is unacceptable" they take it more seriously.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: VorFemme on July 22, 2012, 10:20:51 PM
Is there a story about *her* that can be mentioned by the BTB/OP?  As in, if old family friend tells funny story that embarrasses Th bride, the bride reminds the old family friend that it would only be fair for the bride  to tell a funny story about old family friend?

Tit for tat might be slightly rude, but what old family friend is doing could easily be seen as bullying or harassment.  I might go so far as to say toxic, belittling a grown woman on her wedding day seems hardly an example of friendly behavior.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Raintree on July 23, 2012, 12:06:45 AM
I think a second conversation addressing only this subject is warranted. They had this conversation amongst other topics, and the subject was changed without resolution. I think the OP could try calling specifically to say, "There is something that concerns me that we touched on the other day on the phone, and that is your intent to tell everyone at my wedding stories I really do not want shared. I know you think I need to "lighten up" but this is something that really upsets me and I don't wish to be embarrassed and upset on my wedding day. I want you to respect this." Unless you get a heartfelt, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize it bothers you THAT much, and I promise not to tell these stories at the wedding" then yeah, I'd have someone with a good solid spine policing that microphone. Kind of sounds like not inviting her isn't an option, as in all other respects she is (from the OP's description) like a favourite aunt.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: TealDragon on July 23, 2012, 01:05:30 AM
Wow, it turns out that posting this topic has been very helpful and enlightening! My parents are also big on the public embarrassment game. Everyone in my family is very loud and boisterous and thinks everything is funny all the time, but I've always been shy and quiet and kind of weird, so we have always tended to see certain subjects very differently. I will definitely be using some of these wordings with a couple of people in my life. I foresee most of these conversations going well and not being a big deal, but a couple are probably going to be tougher. Hopefully laying it all out very clearly with no possible room for any other interpretation and making them consciously choose between getting a few chuckles and really hurting my feelings will put things into perspective and maybe even change things for the long run!

Thanks, I really appreciate these responses.  :)

Regarding why it didn't occur to me in the first place not to have an open mic...well, I've just never seen a closed mic thing go as planned, so I guess it just didn't even occur to me that that is a thing that people do. Most memorably, at my cousin's wedding a few years ago, she gave the DJ a strict list of toasters, but when her 4 year old niece wanted to say something, she gave the DJ the one-time okay for an exception. When the little girl started to get (adorably) emotional, her father took the mic away. As he went to pass it back to the DJ, my cousin's husband's very intoxicated and very not politically correct grandfather defied the laws of physics to make it across the room and wrangle that mic away and start complaining about how the service was not a traditional religious ceremony and the bride is a prostitute. He even managed to get the more offensive half of a racist song in there before someone was able to get the mic away. However, he was so angry about being silenced that he got very loud and when people tried to quiet him, he threw a champagne glass on the ground and ended up having to be escorted out early and the head couple, and their mothers, were all in tears.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: TheVapors on July 23, 2012, 01:30:51 AM
[...]

Regarding why it didn't occur to me in the first place not to have an open mic...well, I've just never seen a closed mic thing go as planned, so I guess it just didn't even occur to me that that is a thing that people do.

[...]

I just wanted to pop in here and say really quickly that every closed mic reception I've ever been to has gone as planned. I'm not saying that to invalidate your experiences with closed mics. I'm saying this only to encourage you to try the closed mic, and to promise you that there are plenty of times when it does go as planned. (A DJ with a spine, and a talk with the people who you've asked to speak at the reception will help. They won't accidentally hand over the mic to someone who doesn't need it, and the DJ can gently tell other guests who offer to "say a few words" that it won't be possible.)

My brother's wedding was most recent, and there were no problems. The two MOH gave short speeches, and then I gave a quick toast. And that was it. No issues with drunken, or entitled (or drunken and entitled) guests grabbing the mic or anything of that nature.

So, it is possible for the situation to go smoothly. At the very least, a closed mic might help in conjunction with some of the other strategies for keeping embarrassing stories away from the wedding.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: TealDragon on July 23, 2012, 02:33:07 AM
I guess "every time" is an exaggeration, I should have phrased it differently. Rarely have I seen what I know to be a closed mic wedding go as smoothly as I would hope it was planned. Or maybe people I know just happen to be poor planners.  :P There have been some though, that went smoothly and quickly and nicely. We don't have a DJ selected, we're still a long while out from our wedding, but this definitely will go on our list of must ask questions when it comes time to choosing someone.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: chibichan on July 23, 2012, 07:37:13 AM
Since you are a long way out from the wedding , you have time to bring this topic up with the family , including friend .

You need to make yourself clear . You WILL NOT be humiliated at your own wedding . These " funny " stories are not funny to you . There are plenty of things they can say at your wedding .

Maybe you could phrase it like this :

 Would you like it if I took the mike at my wedding , started spewing stuff that embarassed you in front of all of the family , then told you to " lighten up " when you felt disrespected and humiliated ? Is my pain and discomfort funny to you ? Is there any reason why I would want to willingly invite someone to my wedding who would do that to me after I asked them not to ?

Your family needs a Come to Jesus meeting . Threaten elopement if you must . This is your wedding and for me , it would be a hill to die on .
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: sevenday on July 23, 2012, 07:55:55 AM
Re: the closed mic.  Find someone - a friend or family member - who is on board with your idea of embarrassment, and seriously discuss with them who you do and do not want to speak at your wedding.  Entrust them, and them alone, with the mic.  Tell your chosen people "Because of time constraints and such, I've decided to choose a few people to talk a bit at the wedding.  The time limit is 2-3 minutes. I'd be honored if you would write something nice to read at the wedding."  Your trusted friend is the only one allowed to have the mic, no exceptions - hand it over, wait the 2-3 minutes, politely reclaim the mic (and tell the DJ to cut off the mic at a prearranged signal if someone starts reciting an inappropriate story or goes over the time limit.  Any DJ worth their money will do this.  If they agree and don't - you could go into legal territory.)

The other thing you should consider is... with so many people who are wont to embarrass you with "funny" stories, do you REALLY want people to recite toasts at your wedding?  My sister never had the "traditional" thing of people saying things at her wedding.  She had my dad stand up and recite grace before the meal, then he spoke briefly (about 2 minutes) about how he was so happy that she had found someone she could spend her life with, offering blessings for their life together, etc.   My BIL's mother also had a couple minutes along the same vein, and that was all.  Nobody else spoke, and nobody seemed to be put out that they could not, because it was the bride and groom's choice!    If you can only find one person that you can trust, just give it to them or no one at all.  I get that it's "traditional" to have people speak, but with the potential for embarrassment, it might be worth it to buck tradition this time.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Sara Crewe on July 23, 2012, 07:59:17 AM
Regarding why it didn't occur to me in the first place not to have an open mic...well, I've just never seen a closed mic thing go as planned, so I guess it just didn't even occur to me that that is a thing that people do. Most memorably, at my cousin's wedding a few years ago, she gave the DJ a strict list of toasters, but when her 4 year old niece wanted to say something, she gave the DJ the one-time okay for an exception. When the little girl started to get (adorably) emotional, her father took the mic away. As he went to pass it back to the DJ, my cousin's husband's very intoxicated and very not politically correct grandfather defied the laws of physics to make it across the room and wrangle that mic away and start complaining about how the service was not a traditional religious ceremony and the bride is a prostitute. He even managed to get the more offensive half of a racist song in there before someone was able to get the mic away. However, he was so angry about being silenced that he got very loud and when people tried to quiet him, he threw a champagne glass on the ground and ended up having to be escorted out early and the head couple, and their mothers, were all in tears.

But with an open mic, it sounds as though he would still have done all of this.  The only difference would be that people wouldn't have been as prepared to get the microphone off him as they were when they knew he shouldn't be making a speech and he'd have probably managed to make more of a scene.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Venus193 on July 23, 2012, 08:06:07 AM
Quote
Threaten elopement if you must .


Good idea.  This situation is a perfect motive for a destination wedding.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: lowspark on July 23, 2012, 09:06:41 AM
I agree with the closed mike. When you are interviewing DJs, make sure to ask about how much experience they have with weddings and controlling this sort of thing. I don't think I've ever been to an open mike wedding. It's always a predetermined set of folks who make their toast and hand the mike back to the DJ who is standing close by ready to take the mike back and call up the next toast giver. A good DJ with experience should be able to handle this well.

I also agree with sitting down and telling Anna your feelings.
Anna, I know you think this is funny and you think I should lighten up. But regardless of whether you understand or agree with me, it's my wedding, my once in a lifetime event and I must ask you to respect my wishes on this. Do you think you can do that?

If she doesn't give a satisfactory reply, I'd seriously reconsider inviting her at all. Because even if it is a closed mike, if she's hell-bent on telling these stories, she'll manage to tell them to whatever audience she can muster at the wedding.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 23, 2012, 09:09:12 AM
The mike has to be plugged into the sound system somewhere, right?  So if you have a really good DJ/MC, get them to pull the plug if someone who isn't supposed to get the mike manages to get their paws on it.  So while they may still be able to tell their embarrassing stories, they won't be able to do it amplified!
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Thipu1 on July 23, 2012, 09:56:50 AM
Has anyone ever considered telling Anna that she should, 'lighten up' on HER demands to present these embarrassing anecdotes about your larval stages? 



Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Venus193 on July 23, 2012, 10:03:28 AM
Has anyone ever considered telling Anna that she should, 'lighten up' on HER demands to present these embarrassing anecdotes about your larval stages?

Brava!

It has been my experience that people who do this do it as a power trip.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: ShanghaiJill on July 23, 2012, 10:05:22 AM
No advice, but it just stuns me to think that someone would intentionally ruin someone's wedding day for one's own purposes.

Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: penelope2017 on July 23, 2012, 10:34:21 AM
What is the mic situation? Do you have a band leader, catering manager, something like that? Where is your wedding being held?

You just tell that person that the mic needs to be managed. I've done that. we had some chic decide to tell the band at our wedding we loved some song that i actually hate because she was in a band and wanted a chance to sing in front of a crowd. I learned my lesson. ever since then i always tell my friends and family you have to instruct who ever has control of the mic all decisions need to go through you.

Talk to these people NOW. there should be no reason she gets a microphone at all.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: weeblewobble on July 23, 2012, 10:44:17 AM
I would have a really hard time inviting a wedding guest who was insistent that they planned to embarrass me despite my objections.  You say you really don't want to leave her off of the guest list because of this, so you have two options.

1) Accept that this boorish woman is going to do as she pleases and ignore her.

2) Appoint a "babysitter" who bean dips her every time she starts in on a story about Teal Dragon and keeps her away from the mic.

Personally, I would not invite her.  You've asked her very politely not to do something unnecessary because it embarrasses you.  She insists she's going to do it anyway because it makes HER happy.  This person doesn't have your best interests at heart.  She doesn't care about your feelings.  I would give myself the gift of not having one more thing to worry about on my wedding day.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: taffywduck on July 23, 2012, 11:06:29 AM
Sigh... this sounds quite familiar as my family is also very big on the "let's humiliate and shame Taffywduck for fun and then we can tell her how unreasonable she's being!"

I have no solution to offer other than to be quite firm and have the DJ bodyslam Anna if she ever gets within grabbing distance of the mic... I'm only half joking too!

Seriously though, be firm in your refusal of having Anna make a spectacle at your reception and let it be known that there will be no lightening up about this issue. Ever.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 23, 2012, 11:11:44 AM
I think I'd have a face to face with Anna, if possible.  And lay it on the line.

Anna, I do not want to feel humiliated and embarrassed, particularly on my wedding day.  You telling me to 'Lighten up' just makes me feel disrespected.  Frankly, your attitude is making me lose respect for you.  If you are insistent that you are going to tell these stories, I will have no choice but to not invite you.  And if you promise me you won't tell these stories, I will hold you to that promise.  If you do tell them, (you will be escorted out of the reception/I will never speak to you again/whatever threat you are willing to make and stick to).

Once she sees you are completely serious about this, she may change her tune.  And if she doesn't, at least you tried and you'll have a plan in place for dealing with her and any others who may wish to embarrass you.

Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Cami on July 23, 2012, 11:25:02 AM
As a former bridal consultant, I've dealt with people like Anna before. My advice: Don't invite her.

I remember telling a bride that, "If you invite him, in his mind, you are giving him implicit permission to do as he pleases or he's now going to make it his mission to do as he pleases." The bride did not take  my advice and invited her. What happened? While the dj had been instructed to unplug the mike if he saw this man coming, the  man then simply went around from table to table telling the stories and then eventually found someone else to go up to the mike and tell the story for him.

Don't invite her. 
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: CharlieBraun on July 23, 2012, 11:53:37 AM
I believe in the written word.

I believe that you need to write a letter to this person and restate what you said.

1.  You have a history of telling these stories.
2.  My wedding is neither the time or the place for them.
3.  I am giving serious consideration to who I wish to be with me to celebrate my happiness, and since you have been made aware that the retelling of these stories gives rise to misery for me, you may wish to know that your presence is most definitely an item that is under serious consideration.

And 100% - closed mic.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: cookiehappy on July 23, 2012, 01:12:01 PM
Something similar (almost) happened at a wedding I was a part of last year.

The groom's mother fancied herself quite the songstress and was intending on singing a song to her son at the reception.  She said this was her tribute to him for being a good guy taking on the the bride and "all her kids".  All family members knew the MOG could not carry a tune in a tupperware container.  Some family tried to dissuade her, others thought it'd be a funny thing to happen.  Every opportunity the MOG got, she announced she was singing the tribute song to her son.  And each time, the bride and groom told her no.

Wedding day, MOG was in the dressing room in the mirror doing voice exercises.  We all just kept getting ready for the ceremony.

Reception time came around.   I don't know who was responsible, but there was ONE mic.  And the mic stayed at the DJ table with the DJ handing it off to those pre-approved for speeches, who, by the way, were called up to the DJ table.  Once all speeches were done, MOG walks to the DJ table and you could see her asking for the mic.  The DJ shook his head no and pointed to the head table.

I say have a final talk with this woman.  If she is insistent on telling the hurtful stories, either do not invite her or assign someone (not in the family) to be the mic keeper and to not let her near it.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: PeterM on July 23, 2012, 01:18:09 PM
Wow, it turns out that posting this topic has been very helpful and enlightening! My parents are also big on the public embarrassment game. Everyone in my family is very loud and boisterous and thinks everything is funny all the time, but I've always been shy and quiet and kind of weird, so we have always tended to see certain subjects very differently. I will definitely be using some of these wordings with a couple of people in my life. I foresee most of these conversations going well and not being a big deal, but a couple are probably going to be tougher.

With the more reasonable people, it  might help to at least pretend to meet them halfway. You can tell them that you know they think the stories are funny, and that you should lighten up, but you don't feel that way, and there's no chance you're going to suddenly feel that way before your wedding day. So even if they think you're being unreasonable, you're asking them to do as you wish so that you enjoy your wedding day as much as possible, hang-ups and all.

You're not asking them to do something they don't want to do, which would quite possibly be inappropriate. You're asking them to refrain from doing something they want to do. Given that it's your wedding day, and I assume your fiance agrees with you, I don't think anyone can reasonably see that as an inappropriate request. If anyone does refuse, or worse agrees and then humiliates you anyway, then you know how important you are to them and should lead your life accordingly.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: JeanFromBNA on July 23, 2012, 01:27:20 PM
Anna has been a friend of my parents for 30 years and has been included in many family holidays and when my dad owned his own business, she worked for him for 10 years and I worked with her for 6 of those years. She babysat me frequently as a child and I have babysat for her children. I really adore her and consider her like a favorite aunt.

I think that those calling for Anna's banishment need some perspective.  She is threatening to tell embarrassing stories, not engaging in dangerous or reckless behavior.  The OP has a good relationship with her.  She will have no relationship with Anna or seriously damage it, and possibly others, if she blacklists a close family friend from her wedding for what she might say.

If you don't invite Anna to your wedding, the fallout will be far more long-lasting and embarrassing than anything you might endure at your wedding.  Afterall, everyone who repeats the story will have to explain why Anna wasn't invited.

The advice to limit the open mic or the toasts are reasonable.  You simply cannot control everything that other people will say about you, anyway.  You can only control your reaction to it.  If she does repeat the stories, you might try, "Oh, that again," followed by a change of subject.  Have a face-to-face talk with her.  Ask her as a favor to you, not to repeat those stories. 
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: audrey1962 on July 23, 2012, 01:49:36 PM
On the flip side, I've never heard of an "open mic" reception. The concept is just foreign to me.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Venus193 on July 23, 2012, 01:58:55 PM
Anna needs to be muzzled, whatever that takes.

There is no way I would ever tolerate anyone telling embarrassing stuff about me at an event that includes my good friends, colleagues, and maybe my boss.  I'd read her the riot act well in advance and putting it in writing isn't a bad idea either.   

No open mike, and a wrangler at her table with backup if she starts to mingle.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: snappylt on July 23, 2012, 02:02:45 PM
On the flip side, I've never heard of an "open mic" reception. The concept is just foreign to me.

Yes, I was going to say that we didn't have a microphone or a sound system at our reception.  We hired some college students, a quartet, to play music softly in the corner, but we didn't have any amplification.

That would be one way to keep "auntie" from telling stories to the whole audience at once.

Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: BeagleMommy on July 23, 2012, 02:17:12 PM
I think a "come to Deity" meeting with Anna (and maybe other family members) is in order.

"Anna, I know you think these stories are funny, but I've told you many times that I find them humiliating.  When you tell me to "lighten up" it discounts my feelings.  Why would you want me to feel humiliated on what's supposed to be the happiest day of my life?"
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Oh Joy on July 23, 2012, 02:44:49 PM
Only you can decide whether to invite her.  If you do, you can control who addresses the entire reception through the microphone, but not who she regales with stories in small groups.

If I were in your shoes. I would consider having a talk with her.  The wording depends on your style and dynamics, but my message would be to share that I was sad that to her, embarassing me was more important than celebrating the day with nothing but joy and good wishes.

Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: SleepyKitty on July 23, 2012, 03:37:12 PM
I haven't used this phrase in this exact context, but it's been effective in other situations:

"Anna, if you do this, you will hurt me. Whether or not you believe I am being unreasonable, whether or not you think I should lighten up, you will hurt me if you do this."

This would probably not work for those who tell embarrassing stories because they're bullies or insensitive, but the way you describe your relationship with Anna makes me think that this is otherwise a genuine and loving friendship. Anna may look at the situation and think the consequences of telling the story are embarrassment and shame. If she is not a sensitive person, embarrassment and shame may not seem like a big deal to her and she might not understand just how negative it would be for you. After all, a person's embarrassment can be part of a funny story or comical situation - in her mind, she's not connecting embarrassment with pain and unhappiness.

So be clear that Anna will not just embarrass you, but she will actually hurt you terribly on your wedding day if she does this. Hurting someone you care for is never part of a comical situation and it's never funny. She will understand if she is truly a friend.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: 25wishes on July 23, 2012, 05:32:49 PM
Does she know your DF?  Is he on your side in this? Why not have a meeting with Anna and HIM (more on your side, she will be outnumbered) with BOTH of you saying how, while you want to share your happy day with her, you do NOT want to remember how you wound up in tears because of her mean-ness. And with him saying how upset HE will be if anyone ruins, or tries to ruin, his bride's special day.
 Maybe if she hears if from both of you it might make a difference.

I feel for you, I HATE when people do this. I had an uncle who would find out your weakness, tease you unmercifully about it, and when you got upset, say "I was just kidding...." in an aggrieved tone. My least favorite uncle....
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Marbles on July 24, 2012, 01:53:10 AM
The "lighten up" response really bugs me. A story is only funny if both people are laughing. And that's what I'd tell her.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Mannerless on July 24, 2012, 08:12:12 AM
Keeping Anna away from the mic will not guarantee she will not share her stories.  If she likes to mingle, she will have many opportunities to tell her tales.  If the possible telling of the stories will cause you strife, then you would be best off not inviting her.   
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: GrammarNerd on July 24, 2012, 09:25:17 AM
I vote for one more time of laying it on the line, very bluntly and maybe even emotionally (emotion might translate to you being very serious about this, not just being a drama queen).

"Anna, I'm really worried about something, and I need to talk to you.  You like to embarrass me.  You tell stories about me to other people--repeatedly--that I'd rather forget.  You think it's fun.  I don't.  I get hurt, I get humiliated, I get anxious, and it ruins my day.  I've tried to talk to you about it before, but you just tell me to lighten up.

Well, you know what?  I don't have to lighten up.  It's how I am.  And I don't like being repeatedly humiliated by someone who is supposed to be close to me.  You may not agree with it or even understand my feelings, but you don't have to.  I'm telling you that the stories are not funny to me.  You know, you don't like (name of food she doesn't like).  How would you feel if someone constantly served you (food), knowing you don't like it, and then belittled you when you wouldn't eat it or got annoyed at him?

I've been thinking a lot about this habit of yours, combined with my wedding, and the thought of you telling stories that you know embarrass me and humiliate me on MY wedding day, to MY wedding guests, on the most important day of my life, is causing me a lot of stress.  I have some friends who are telling me to just not invite you if I can't trust you not to try to embarrass me or intentionally try to sabotage my special day.  I really don't want to have to do that, but I'll do whatever I have to do to make sure that the only think I'll have to worry about on the most special day of my life will be the weather. 

And please don't tell me to 'lighten up'.  That's getting old.  And really, that old line is just a way of blaming the victim.  And this request isn't just for my wedding day, it's from this point forward.  So please tell me your thoughts."

Yes, there's a certain amount of snark in there, but I think you need that to make your point.

My story: When I was in college and right after I graduated, I spun out on icy roads at about 55-60 mph, twice within a two-month timespan.  For years after that, skidding on snow or ice made me tense at the very least.  This went on for years, because, I think, the conditions weren't something that I was exposed to very often.  Well, I met my dh, and he would sometimes try to skid a little bit 'for fun', like going around a corner on a city street, or in a parking lot where there were no other cars around.  It still very much scared me, because being a passenger, I had no control over the situation and I would sort of have that flashback feeling."  I would ask him not to do that, and then he would try to play it like it was an accident.  Sorry, I know it wasn't.  Finally, I blew up at him and said "Listen, when you do that, it may be fun for you, but it SCARES me.  I don't care if you get it or not, but it SCARES me.  Why do you keep doing something that you KNOW SCARES me?  Why is that FUN for you?  If you need to do that, then let me out of the car."  I was in tears and everything.  I think he finally got it enough to cut it out.

Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Sophia on July 24, 2012, 10:30:10 AM
I love GrammarNerd's script. 

But, since this is a family trait, and you have seen even a closed mic go bad, why have a mic at all?  Do toasts at the rehearsal dinner.  Anyone who would be doing a toast would be there anyway.  I personally find the toasts early in the reception to be a little painful to hear.  People weep, they talk too long, I sit there thinking "I really want to get up to get a new drink or go to the bathroom, but that would be rude." 

For my wedding, we planned on doing the toasts at the rehearsal dinner, but between the Tuesday when I extra-verified the reservations and two days later for the rehearsal dinner, the restaurant closed.  So, we ended up going as regular guests to another restaurant, and didn't get our own area.  We ended up doing the toasts as the reception was winding down and only our nearest and dearest were still there. 
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: JenJay on July 24, 2012, 10:41:37 AM
I haven't used this phrase in this exact context, but it's been effective in other situations:

"Anna, if you do this, you will hurt me. Whether or not you believe I am being unreasonable, whether or not you think I should lighten up, you will hurt me if you do this."

This would probably not work for those who tell embarrassing stories because they're bullies or insensitive, but the way you describe your relationship with Anna makes me think that this is otherwise a genuine and loving friendship. Anna may look at the situation and think the consequences of telling the story are embarrassment and shame. If she is not a sensitive person, embarrassment and shame may not seem like a big deal to her and she might not understand just how negative it would be for you. After all, a person's embarrassment can be part of a funny story or comical situation - in her mind, she's not connecting embarrassment with pain and unhappiness.

So be clear that Anna will not just embarrass you, but she will actually hurt you terribly on your wedding day if she does this. Hurting someone you care for is never part of a comical situation and it's never funny. She will understand if she is truly a friend.

I'm throwing my POD down here. Awesome advice! It's probably a good idea to keep strict tabs on the mic, too, just in case.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: baglady on July 24, 2012, 10:42:19 AM
Don't invite her. When she asks why, explain; I like GrammarNerd's wording:

Quote
Well, you know what?  I don't have to lighten up.  It's how I am.  And I don't like being repeatedly humiliated by someone who is supposed to be close to me.  You may not agree with it or even understand my feelings, but you don't have to.  I'm telling you that the stories are not funny to me.  You know, you don't like (name of food she doesn't like).  How would you feel if someone constantly served you (food), knowing you don't like it, and then belittled you when you wouldn't eat it or got annoyed at him?

I've been thinking a lot about this habit of yours, combined with my wedding, and the thought of you telling stories that you know embarrass me and humiliate me on MY wedding day, to MY wedding guests, on the most important day of my life, is causing me a lot of stress.  I have some friends who are telling me to just not invite you if I can't trust you not to try to embarrass me or intentionally try to sabotage my special day.  I really don't want to have to do that, but I'll do whatever I have to do to make sure that the only think I'll have to worry about on the most special day of my life will be the weather. 

She may beg and plead and promise to be good, but stand your ground. I know you don't want to do this, but I have a feeling it's the only way you're going to get the embarrassing-story-free day you deserve.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: Salvage3 on July 24, 2012, 04:14:54 PM
I totally agree with setting down the guidelines --for lack of a better term --with all parties (including your parents).  This is your special day.  You should be able to completely enjoy it without constantly worrying about stories that they might be sharing.

Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: snappylt on November 11, 2012, 12:46:00 PM
Teal Dragon, I'm writing to ask if you have an update for us on how the situation with Anna has gone since your last post.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: bopper on November 12, 2012, 08:57:02 AM
Also...you don't have to have ANYONE do ANY toasts if you don't want to!
Just because it is in the default script for a wedding in your circles, doesn't mean you have to do that.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: EmmaJ. on November 12, 2012, 10:21:51 AM
Yes, I'd love an update also.
Title: Re: Guest with intent to embarrass?
Post by: TealDragon on November 20, 2012, 03:26:21 AM
Nothing much to update, unfortunately. I talked to my dad since he actually instigates her stories a lot of the time and he seems to understand that it would hurt me to have that happen and he promised that he will be on his best behavior and not try to dig up weeds. I plan on talking to Anna with sleepykitty's wording when it's closer to the actual wedding date. Other than that I am actually going to try and lighten up. From anyone else's perspective, they are just silly stories about being a kid and doing dumb stuff and if they weren't about me, I'd probably think they were funny too. We won't have an open mic. If she tells the people at her table, ok fine. I'd rather she not but I seriously doubt everyone who hears her will be rushing up to me and mocking me and pointing and laughing and publicly flogging me.

(DF is a wonderful and calm voice of reason aNd I appreciate him ever so much. He promises that no matter what she does, it won't be the end of the world or ruin or day and if she does do something that crazy, well, she's the one who will look bad, not me.)