A date is not the same as a "significant other." I disagree that a family Thanksgiving dinner is an event to which one should expect to be able to bring a date.
All we know is that this is Larry's new girlfriend. "New" says to me not yet a social unit. I do not think that the aunt was required to invite her, although I do agree that if they lived together or were otherwise an established couple, she should have. But it doesn't sound like it.
And once she made her decision, even if she was wrong, Larry was wrong to disrespect it.
That said, I hope that Aunt was a gracious hostess and welcomed Larry and his guest without letting them see how irritating it was. Turning away people at the door is pretty harsh, and we don't even know if the girlfriend knew she wasn't invited by Aunt. As someone else said, it would throw cold water on the evening for everyone else, too.
I agree with this, although if there was a way for Larry's dad to pull him aside and tell him to take himself and his date off altogether, that would be okay in my book.
My parents invited us to a cabin they were renting in X state. We live in Y state, my parents and brother live in Z state. Plans were locked and loaded one year in advance. 4 or 5 months into the year my brother starts dating
Jean and quickly decides to cohabitate with her. My DD said, "Does this mean we have to vacation with a stranger next year?" I told her 'no'. I said that I doubted my Dad would put up with living in a cabin for a week with someone of such new acquaintance and if he did, we could graciously decline joining them because the parameters changed.
I didn't even bring the issue up with my parents or worry about it in anyway because I told my DD the whole world could change in 8 months and they might not even be living together or dating
anyways. My mother never mentioned Jean joining the family even though she liked Jean and Mom talked about the vacation with frequency during phone calls, so I took my Mom's silence on Jean to mean that Jean was not invited. I'm normally pretty direct, but knowing my parents as I do, I really felt like silence was best in this regard.
Jean dumped my brother and moved out 3 months or so before the vacation so it became a total non-issue for DD. It already was a non-issue for me.
Even though Jean was a significant other, in a sense, she was a stranger to 4 of the 7 people who would be sharing the cabin. In our opinion and with our personalities that would not have been a great way to get to know each other. I do realize that could be different with different personalities.
None of you seem to care that a celebration that is meant for family is deliberately excluding family on the basis of their love life.
She doesn't have the right to "own" Thanksgiving. She can have all the dinner parties she wants. But, what she should do, if she cannot accommodate all of the family--which includes significant others-
No. a girlfriend/boyfriend is not family.
Aunt was not trying to "own" Thanksgiving. She is issuing invitations to her own home with her own set of parameters. She, and only she, gets to decide who she entertains in her home, period. No one was holding a gun to Larry's head, demanding that come to Aunt's house for Tday. How many times have we said that an invitation is not a summons? All he had to do was decline the invitation if he wanted to spend Tday with his girlfriend. What he doesn't get to do is bully an 89 year old woman and force her to serve the uninvited guests he chooses to force upon her.
There is no way around that fact that Larry was 100% inexcusably rude.