General Etiquette > Life...in general

They didn't really get married, now what UPDATE POST 84, and 234 (page 16)

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darkprincess:
Someone I am very close with had a wedding a few years ago. DH, LO, and I had some involvement. LO was in the wedding party so we attended the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, purchased the clothing the bride picked out. DH took vacation time with much difficulty so we could attend. We loaned them equipment that we had so they would not have to rent it. I attended the shower and brought a gift that was a bit more expensive than I normally do. For the wedding gift they did register but let people know by word of mouth that they preferred money. Usually with wedding gifts i get creative so i can give something impressive that they will like without spending a lot. we are close and we knew they were hoping for money for their honeymoon so we gave them cash that was significantly more than we would have spent on a gift.
The wedding was at a traditional wedding venue complete with white wedding dress, tuxes, and they even stood in front of everyone and signed some sort of paperwork.

If they had had a commitment ceremony instead, we would have treated this very differently. No gifts, no flower girl, DH would not have been able to attend.

Three years have past and they recently had a fight. During the course of the fight one of them told a common friend that at least they won't have to worry about a divorce because they never really got married. The other member of the couple inadvertently confirmed this when they told me they were on a specific govt. program that they don't qualify for if they are married. A third friend took it upon himself to do a search and confirmed that they did not even apply for a marriage license. I don't think that they are aware that their secret is out.

Now they have temporarily made nice with each other but one of them has said that they are getting ready to be able to leave at a moments notice because they don't think it will work out. The other person on the other hand is planning an anniversary party.

At this point I feel used, lied to, and I don't trust either of them. Dh and I plan on sending regrets to any invite to an anniversary party. My gut says that I should say nothing to either of them about this. I don't need to say that many of us know they lied, or that one is making plans to leave.

What do you etiquette gurus say?

Diane AKA Traska:
I wouldn't bring it up, but I also wouldn't trust them or attend any event celebrating an occasion that didn't happen.  If they won't accept whatever stock answer you give them, and they press... well, I know I'd probably bring it up then ("You want to know the real reason?  All right, but remember, this was your idea.")

EllenS:
I wouldn't say anything to them, about this or anything else.  Being lied to and manipulated into an elaborate public fraud...for the sake of money?  This is hovering very near the threshold for the Cut Direct, and may indeed have crossed it.

I assume you had reasons to feel so close and so fond of them as to be in their wedding, so for the sake of that friendship I might merely reduce them to the status of Nodding Acquaintence, rather than They Who No Longer Cast a Shadow, but it's a tough call.

Definitely would not attend any sham anniversary party, or any other invites.

rose red:
Some people can't or won't get married for whatever reason, but I would still attend and give a gift if they labeled it with the truth of the matter (starting a new life/housewarming/whatever.)  What they did is beyond hideous.  Like PP's, I wouldn't say anything, but would not attend any future celebrations and may back away from them.

doodlemor:
I don't think that you owe them any more gifts.  What a fraud!

It may be that they have reached common law status, though, depending on where you live.  If so, the person who wants to walk away may have more problems than he/she anticipates.

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