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Author Topic: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding  (Read 13016 times)

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Twik

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #45 on: August 24, 2016, 11:28:23 AM »
If it were me, I wouldn't have much fun socializing with boors who felt my SO was good enough to hang out with, but not a real "friend".

But why would that make them "boors"?  Would you call them that if they felt that way about your best friend or your beloved sister?  Would you refuse to socialize with them if they didn't include your best friend or dear sister, even though they know and have hung out with them?

Yes, I know, etiquette doesn't require them to invite your friend or sister, as it does your spouse or fiance (and in some cases and according to some authorities your boy/girlfriend), to most social events.  So they haven't committed an etiquette no-no by not inviting BFF or Sis. 

But it's still a matter of someone who is important to you and that you are crazy about just not being a "friend" to them as well.  Most of us have plenty of contexts -- book groups, teammates, work friends, etc. -- where we rarely socialize with and in fact don't even particularly care about their SOs, certainly not as much as we do them.  I.e., we don't consider the SOs "friends."   I don't see how that makes anyone a boor.

It makes them a boor in that they don't practice the most basic of social etiquette, which is that you don't embrace one half of a couple while cutting out the other. Weddings are situations where you invite couples. Only the most egregious reasons (Uncle Morty is a registered offender, and there will be children, say) gives you clearance to invite the one you like but not the one you don't.

This would be rather similar to getting an invitation from your "friend" to say, "Hey, some couples are getting together for a barbeque, wanna come? Um, no, not your partner. Just you. Yes, everyone else is coming with their partners. Because we like those partners. But not yours. Don't want him there, get it? Surely he'll understand."
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gellchom

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #46 on: August 24, 2016, 01:07:11 PM »
Traditional you became a social unit by engagement or marriage. Up till then it is a grey area with so many variables that no there is not an obligation to invite short of engagement even if it would have been nice.
If you want to attend do so. Give a gift based on your budget and affection for the couple.

Miss Manners, never one to pry into individuals' private lives, considers cohabiting couples to be effectively engaged, even if not officially so. They are a social unit.


Powers  &8^]

Agreed. It's rather odd to claim that two people living together as partners are not "social units" in a society where marriage and engagement are now being treated as options. The only grey area I could see would be "are these people partners or merely sharing living quarters?" and if you don't know them well enough to tell that, you might not want to invite them to your wedding anyway.

there is also something odd about celebrating your partnership by telling other people their partners don't matter.

But that just sort of begs the question of where you draw the line of "must invite."  It's almost the an argument for not recognizing unofficial couples, in fact.  After all, a wedding is two people getting married, not simply "celebrating their partnership."  It's all about that specific social and legal official status (presumably, they loved and were committed together already).  Unless this is an arranged marriage, they were a couple before that, and before getting engaged, for that matter.  I disagree that not considering a relationship a "must invite both " social unit equals "telling other people their partners don't matter."

If an unmarried, unengaged (and for etiquette purposes, "engaged" is just a stage in getting married, not a separate permanent status) couple is socially equivalent to a married/engaged couple, then what is the meaning (in etiquette, not legally or emotionally) of getting married?  And, given that couples do have the choice to get married, shouldn't we give the choice not to do so some weight and meaning, too?  After all, if you want to be a unit, you can become one. If you don't, or just haven't yet, that choice is reasonably considered a factor in whether or not you are a social unit. 

Maybe the confusion is whether the rule about social units is about exclusivity and seriousness of the relationship, or about its permanence and "officialness".  If, as I suspect, it is the latter, then the engaged-married benchmark makes total sense.  There are still many people, after all, who see marriage as making two people one.  Etiquette recognizes that.  That's why you and your new sweetheart who are completely crazy about each other are not a social unit, but a married couple who can't stand each other are.  relationships are classified based on official status, not the merit system.

I'm not saying I wouldn't invite cohabiting couples as social units -- I would -- or that others shouldn't. But I can see that "engaged or married" as the bright line rule, if you must have one, makes sense, because it's perfectly clear -- and, importantly, hosts are still able, and strongly encouraged, to invite other SOs, too.  Doing the minimum isn't always the polite thing to do, after all.  I would invite cohabiting SOs, and also the many senior couples I know who for whatever reason don't want to marry or cohabit but always travel together, entertain together, and spend holidays and family events together.  But that's my choice.  And of course consistency is very useful in avoiding offense, if not disappointment.

And as always, things look very different in the abstract than when you have your real list of possible guests in front of you.  Let's say that the bride in the OP has 16 sorority friends invited.  For each of them to bring an escort means almost two more tables; that's a lot, and they may have limited space and limited funds.  Two are married, 1 is engaged, 3 are in >1 year relationships and are cohabiting, 4 are in serious relationships of a year or more (but not cohabiting), 1 has a SO of 9 months (cohabiting), 2 have SOs of 6 months (one of whom is cohabiting), 2 are in <3 month relationships, and 1 isn't in a relationship at all.

You could make logical arguments for drawing the line at several points in that group.  Or you could throw up your hands and invite them all.  Or you could throw up your hands and say "Engaged or married only, otherwise we are weighing people's relationships subjectively, and that's not even considering that these statuses could change any time."

TurtleDove

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #47 on: August 24, 2016, 03:54:58 PM »
I agree with gellchom. I too would probably invite SOs regardless of whether they were engaged/married/cohabitating, but I can absolutely see that there are valid reasons to treat married/engaged couples differently than not married/not engaged couples.

TootsNYC

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #48 on: August 24, 2016, 05:04:43 PM »

And I know this is the petty part, but when OP and b/f get married, it would be bad etiquette to only invite her friend and not the husband. So why is a cohabitating couple treated differently? What if they had been living together ten years and never had intention of getting married? Where is the line?


Because a married couple is legally (and spiritually, if you are religious) a single unit.  They have made a legally-recognized commitment to each other.  An engaged couple has made it known that they are planning that commitment.  A cohabiting couple who has chosen not to get married, not even in the common-law sense, cannot say the same.
 

In fact, from a logical point of view, it could be viewed that they have definitely chosen to say the opposite.

People w/ long-time boyfriends (or girlfriends, but I'm lazy) often say, "Don't judge my relationship," but then they insist that the couple should invite the boyfriend.
And yet the only message they are sending is, "we aren't engaged, we aren't married, we aren't even cohabiting."

Every single day, they could walk up and get engaged; once a month (or once a year, maybe) they could choose to cohabit. And in lots of states, it only takes a couple of days to get married.
   But they aren't doing so. And that sends a message about how serious they aren't. So what are outsiders to think? If we say, "well, they've been together for so long, they must be serious," then we are judging their relationship!

gellchom

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #49 on: August 24, 2016, 07:58:08 PM »
I think it's important to stress that this means serious about being a socially recognized social unit, not serious about their feelings to or commitment to each other. 

Twik

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #50 on: August 25, 2016, 11:20:59 AM »
Hey, I'm an old-fashioned girl myself. But I know if I told my cohabiting friends that "you're not *really* a committed couple, because you haven't planned your wedding yet," I would soon have little problem with who to invite, because those friends shortly thereafter not be friends any more.
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gellchom

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #51 on: August 25, 2016, 11:40:34 AM »
Hey, I'm an old-fashioned girl myself. But I know if I told my cohabiting friends that "you're not *really* a committed couple, because you haven't planned your wedding yet," I would soon have little problem with who to invite, because those friends shortly thereafter not be friends any more.
I think you're missing what some of us are trying to say here -- the whole point is that the hosts who use married/engaged as the benchmark are not making any judgments about couples' level of commitment to each other, which would be necessarily subjective. 

Instead, they are using the objective criterion of whether or not the couple has chosen an etiquette-recognized status or not.  Which in fact makes it the couple's choice, not the hosts': whatever you decide, to get married or not to get married, society will respect.

And remember that that does not mean that they won't (let alone shouldn't) invite other SOs.      Most people do.  It's just a question of what the bright line minimum for "must invite both" social units are.


shortstuff

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #52 on: August 25, 2016, 11:55:56 AM »
Hey, I'm an old-fashioned girl myself. But I know if I told my cohabiting friends that "you're not *really* a committed couple, because you haven't planned your wedding yet," I would soon have little problem with who to invite, because those friends shortly thereafter not be friends any more.
I think you're missing what some of us are trying to say here -- the whole point is that the hosts who use married/engaged as the benchmark are not making any judgments about couples' level of commitment to each other, which would be necessarily subjective. 

Instead, they are using the objective criterion of whether or not the couple has chosen an etiquette-recognized status or not.  Which in fact makes it the couple's choice, not the hosts': whatever you decide, to get married or not to get married, society will respect.

And remember that that does not mean that they won't (let alone shouldn't) invite other SOs.      Most people do.  It's just a question of what the bright line minimum for "must invite both" social units are.

I see what gellchom is saying.  That basically, in order to be fair, a head couple picked something very black and white in order to issue invitations.  It's easier and less judgy to say 'engaged / not engaged' versus 'committed / not committed." 

That also doesn't have to be the only criteria, since customs and mores are evolving.  Someone could choose living together / not living together as the black and white rule for invitations. 

gellchom

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #53 on: August 25, 2016, 01:34:33 PM »
Hey, I'm an old-fashioned girl myself. But I know if I told my cohabiting friends that "you're not *really* a committed couple, because you haven't planned your wedding yet," I would soon have little problem with who to invite, because those friends shortly thereafter not be friends any more.
I think you're missing what some of us are trying to say here -- the whole point is that the hosts who use married/engaged as the benchmark are not making any judgments about couples' level of commitment to each other, which would be necessarily subjective. 

Instead, they are using the objective criterion of whether or not the couple has chosen an etiquette-recognized status or not.  Which in fact makes it the couple's choice, not the hosts': whatever you decide, to get married or not to get married, society will respect.

And remember that that does not mean that they won't (let alone shouldn't) invite other SOs.      Most people do.  It's just a question of what the bright line minimum for "must invite both" social units are.

I see what gellchom is saying.  That basically, in order to be fair, a head couple picked something very black and white in order to issue invitations.  It's easier and less judgy to say 'engaged / not engaged' versus 'committed / not committed." 

That also doesn't have to be the only criteria, since customs and mores are evolving.  Someone could choose living together / not living together as the black and white rule for invitations.

Yes, exactly.  Etiquette requires treating engaged/married couples as a social unit.  That's the minimum you can do without being rude. 

But you can -- and most people do -- create your own cutoff line that includes more types of couples.

And my advice on that is to look at your real list of people first rather than start by choosing a rule in the abstract.  It will help immensely in deciding what will work best in your circumstances (cohabiting only?  One year or more only?  etc. -- all can be rationalized, but what will work best will depend on who you are actually working with, not a defensible theory). 

In fact, you often will find that you don't need a cutoff rule at all.  E.g. -- my daughter was trying to decide whether to invite children to the ceremony and/or reception and getting nowhere looking at it in the abstract; then she looked at the list and saw she was dealing only with three not-too-young, very well behaved little girls, and decided that it wouldn't be a big deal to include them.

auntmeegs

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #54 on: August 25, 2016, 02:09:49 PM »
People can have whatever standard or cutoff they want, and married or engaged couples is one that makes sense to a lot of people.  But to me, the bottom line is this:  the friend has socialized with the OP and her boyfriend, several times, and knows they live together and that he isn't just a flavor of the month.  This warranted at least a phone call or an email to the OP explaining why her SO was not invited to the wedding. 

wolfie

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #55 on: August 25, 2016, 04:44:58 PM »
Hey, I'm an old-fashioned girl myself. But I know if I told my cohabiting friends that "you're not *really* a committed couple, because you haven't planned your wedding yet," I would soon have little problem with who to invite, because those friends shortly thereafter not be friends any more.
I think you're missing what some of us are trying to say here -- the whole point is that the hosts who use married/engaged as the benchmark are not making any judgments about couples' level of commitment to each other, which would be necessarily subjective. 

Instead, they are using the objective criterion of whether or not the couple has chosen an etiquette-recognized status or not.  Which in fact makes it the couple's choice, not the hosts': whatever you decide, to get married or not to get married, society will respect.

And remember that that does not mean that they won't (let alone shouldn't) invite other SOs.      Most people do.  It's just a question of what the bright line minimum for "must invite both" social units are.

Saying "because you haven't gotten married yet I am not going to recognize you as a couple" isn't really that much better - especially if you recognize us as a couple on every other event. Sure etiquette might be on your side, but that doesn't mean you haven't really hurt my feelings and made me feel like me as a person doesn't matter. and here you are celebrating that you are officially a couple by letting me know that since I am not at that point in my relationship it doesn't count. Not exactly a great way to build a friendship.

wolfie

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #56 on: August 25, 2016, 04:49:28 PM »

But that just sort of begs the question of where you draw the line of "must invite."  It's almost the an argument for not recognizing unofficial couples, in fact.  After all, a wedding is two people getting married, not simply "celebrating their partnership."  It's all about that specific social and legal official status (presumably, they loved and were committed together already).  Unless this is an arranged marriage, they were a couple before that, and before getting engaged, for that matter.  I disagree that not considering a relationship a "must invite both " social unit equals "telling other people their partners don't matter."


it's telling people you don't recognize their relationship. And that stings. I mean you can come up with all sorts of reasons why it's okay. And it it etiquettely okay too. But you are dealing with actual people here. and saying "come to my wedding to celebrate my and my honey officially being a couple, but you know - I don't recognize your relationship since you aren't official yet" isn't really heart warming - especially if we have been getting together as couples in the past and you know how much my honey means to me. It would feel like a slap in the face - like the money the save by not inviting my SO is more important then my relationship with them.

mime

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #57 on: August 25, 2016, 05:14:07 PM »
People can have whatever standard or cutoff they want, and married or engaged couples is one that makes sense to a lot of people.  But to me, the bottom line is this:  the friend has socialized with the OP and her boyfriend, several times, and knows they live together and that he isn't just a flavor of the month.  This warranted at least a phone call or an email to the OP explaining why her SO was not invited to the wedding.

I think this is where I fall, too. The HC can have a black-and-white cutoff and be "correct," and I don't have a problem with the cutoff being married or engaged couples. But they have to recognize the fact that it may leave some friends bewildered or hurt. If these are their nearest and dearest, after all, I think they deserve a phone call.

sammycat

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #58 on: August 25, 2016, 05:55:31 PM »
People can have whatever standard or cutoff they want, and married or engaged couples is one that makes sense to a lot of people.  But to me, the bottom line is this:  the friend has socialized with the OP and her boyfriend, several times, and knows they live together and that he isn't just a flavor of the month.  This warranted at least a phone call or an email to the OP explaining why her SO was not invited to the wedding.

I agree. But I will add that it'd be better if they'd just invited the boyfriend in the first place.

I don't even consider engaged to be that binding TBH, or a barometer for who should and who shouldn't be invited to something based on relation.ship status. I know more than a few couples who've broken off their engagements, yet other couples have stayed together forever without getting engaged or married. Who's to say that a couple who've known each other for 3 months and then get engaged is more "worthy" than a non-engaged/non-married couple who've been together for 5 years and may even have children together? 

For me it's this: if I want to invite someone I care about to my event and they have a partner (spouse, fiance, long term bf/gf) then that partner is also invited. (Exception:  I wouldn't invite flavour of the month to my wedding).
« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 05:57:04 PM by sammycat »

Outdoor Girl

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Re: SO not Invited to Friends Wedding
« Reply #59 on: August 30, 2016, 12:19:10 PM »
BF and I started pretty much living together almost a year ago.  We officially moved in together at the end of April.  We can't currently get married because he isn't yet legally free to do so.  I'd be pretty dingdangity hurt if one of my friends didn't include him in an invitation for an event because we weren't engaged.  Especially if there was no explanation forthcoming.  I'd still be hurt, with an explanation and the friendship would likely be altered permanently.  But without an explanation?  I'd be declining and wouldn't bother trying to maintain the friendship at all.
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