News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • November 22, 2017, 09:59:46 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama  (Read 17934 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

artk2002

  • Member
  • Posts: 13812
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #45 on: September 01, 2016, 05:49:12 PM »
I think if you read just the first few paragraphs of the letter you will see, "My daughter won’t stop crying and refuses to go. She imagined she’d be a bridesmaid, that her little boy would be a page and her husband at least an usher."

In other words, she planned her brother's wedding with her and her family as stars. Now she's peeved and making trouble because nobody is meeting her expectations. Not only are they not involved directly in the wedding, but their children are banned as well. Sadly, nobody has sat her down and explained to her that her expectations were entirely unreasonable and her fantasies weren't any one else's responsibility. She had her wedding. She got to be the star. She doesn't get a 2nd bite at that apple.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

turnip

  • Member
  • Posts: 862
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #46 on: September 01, 2016, 06:52:22 PM »
I also see how they would feel.  And I think that the letter writer did, too.  This appears to be yet another of someone trying to win their point by reframing a relationship/family issue as an etiquette issue -- in this case making the question "whether it is okay to have a child-free wedding, and if you do, are people wrong to fuss about it?" to which of course the answer is yes. 

[bold]But that's not what's going on here, is it?  This couple is in fact including other children, in fact as attendants IIRC, but not even inviting the groom's niece and nephew.  I can certainly understand the groom's family having feelings about that.[/bold]

Double or triple that if in this family children, especially such closely related ones, are customarily included in weddings.

As to wanting to include the other in-laws, well, no one really has the right to expect that.  But in many families it wouldn't be all that unusual to include them, depending upon the type of event.  And they may have misunderstood the nature and importance of this event, especially if they didn't realize it was going to include an engagement announcement, when they asked. 

Certainly excluding spouses, if that's what happened, is a much clearer etiquette lapse, and for such a major event, particularly rude -- what was the point?  Pretty ironic, in fact.  And I can see feeling stung at the bride's forgetting her future SIL's (is that right?) name.  This is her fiance's sister, not some family neighbor she just met.

My point isn't to say who is right and who is wrong -- which doesn't matter -- just that there are a few little facts that support the suspicion that there is a lot more going on here that would explain the big overreaction.

I agree with a lot of this post and I think it hits on one of the problems with this ( somewhat common issue).

It's OK to have a child-free wedding.

It's OK to have a wedding with certain children inside a family's circle - nieces and nephews, for example.

It's even 'OK' to have one set of nieces and nephews because you don't approve of the behavior of the other ones.

But you can't expect the parents and possibly the grandparents to sit back and smile.  I'd be hurt if my children seemed to be deliberately excluded.  I don't think I'm the only one.  I might decline the wedding.  It doesn't make me a vindictive spoiled brat.  It makes me a parent who doesn't want her children treated unequally.

( What if the children who weren't invited were step-kids or adopted?  I think a lot of people would sympathize a lot less with the bride. )


gellchom

  • Member
  • Posts: 3722
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #47 on: September 01, 2016, 06:58:32 PM »
No matter how obnoxious the sister is, and no matter what kind of stupid overreaction she had, and even if every one of these negative suppositions about the sister's personality and the family history that we amp up and up and up are 100% accurate, that doesn't change whether the groom was being mean or insensitive to exclude them.  We don't get a free pass just because others are annoying. 

I'm still not saying they have to invite the children.   But I suspect that the big overreaction wasn't due only to the family's bring entitled and selfish.  I would like to know just how the decision was communicated.  I suspect Uncle Groom might not have handled it as diplomatically or kindly as he might have.

Hmmmmm

  • Member
  • Posts: 8883
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #48 on: September 01, 2016, 08:08:27 PM »
No matter how obnoxious the sister is, and no matter what kind of stupid overreaction she had, and even if every one of these negative suppositions about the sister's personality and the family history that we amp up and up and up are 100% accurate, that doesn't change whether the groom was being mean or insensitive to exclude them.  We don't get a free pass just because others are annoying. 

I'm still not saying they have to invite the children.   But I suspect that the big overreaction wasn't due only to the family's bring entitled and selfish.  I would like to know just how the decision was communicated.  I suspect Uncle Groom might not have handled it as diplomatically or kindly as he might have.

I'm curious why you suspect that. I reread the letter and didn't see anywhere were the mother made mention of being bitter about the way the communication was handled. She really on discusses her son's feelings one time... when she says his reasoning is that he doesn't want to see her holding grandbabies and his father being clamored on. However, she spends a lot of time discussing how hurt and upset her DD's, how mad her DH is and that he feels humiliated. She doesn't even address how her son must feel about his sister and father refusing to attend his wedding.

And no where does she acknowledge any responsibility for how awkward her family's behavior must have made the engagement announcement party. I mean really, who get's invited out to dinner and just assumes they can add another person to the party?

LifeOnPluto

  • Member
  • Posts: 8131
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #49 on: September 03, 2016, 03:02:07 AM »
I think if you read just the first few paragraphs of the letter you will see, "My daughter won’t stop crying and refuses to go. She imagined she’d be a bridesmaid, that her little boy would be a page and her husband at least an usher."

The daughter seems to be the drama queen here and demands to be included or named Queen of the Universe... 

Further in the letter, the LW were invited to a restaurant and the HC engagement was announced.  Well who called the daughter to share this information?  How did she know to load up and rock on into this private gathering (that she obviously was NOT invited to)???   

"There was some awkwardness when my daughter arrived with both our son-in-law and children and her mother-in-law, as they had been out together that day.  My son’s fiancee and her family seemed completely bewildered and her mother asked who my son-in-law’s mother was and why did she think she was invited?"  this sounds like the future DIL's parents were the hosts. 

The mother (LW) should be mortified and completely embarrassed by her family's lack of manners.  Instead of looking for validation she should be looking for a way to apologize.
 

Minor nitpick: as the daughter is already married with children, there's no way she could be a BridesMAID. Bridal Attendant, or Bridesmatron, or whatever you want to call it, but not a Bridesmaid. So the LW (and daughter?) got the terminology wrong too.

At any rate, it doesn't sound like the son's fiancee is terribly close to the daughter, since she didn't know (or couldn't remember) the name of her husband. I suspect she assumed she'd be in the wedding party simply by virtue of being the sister of the Groom.

I also wonder whether the engagement dinner was originally intended to be only for the parents of the HC, and then was extended to siblings only? So I wonder whether (in fairness to the daughter) she was invited directly, but assumed the invitation also extended to her husband and kids (but that still doesn't explain why she assumed her MIL was invited too).

iridaceae

  • Boring in real life as well
  • Member
  • Posts: 3573
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #50 on: September 03, 2016, 05:48:53 AM »
But you can't expect the parents and possibly the grandparents to sit back and smile.  I'd be hurt if my children seemed to be deliberately excluded.  I don't think I'm the only one.  I might decline the wedding.  It doesn't make me a vindictive spoiled brat.  It makes me a parent who doesn't want her children treated unequally.

( What if the children who weren't invited were step-kids or adopted?  I think a lot of people would sympathize a lot less with the bride. )
Well, so what if they're adopted or step-children?  Why is that an automatic invitation to a wedding?

And I certainly don't expect anyone who is upset in this letter to sit back and smile. All they care about is inviting who they want to the wedding, horning the sister and her kids into the wedding party and partying with their son-in-law's grandma.

I do wonder what Christmases and other holidays are like. I'm guessing groom gets a pair of socks and watches everyone fawn over the grandkids ad nauseum.
Nothing to see here.

camlan

  • Member
  • Posts: 9273
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #51 on: September 03, 2016, 07:38:27 AM »
I can see why the sister is upset. If these are the only two siblings in the family, and she included her brother in her wedding, then she most likely just assumed that she'd be invited to take part in his wedding.

It's a natural assumption. And her hurt feelings are understandable. But adults also understand that they don't control the lives of other adults. They get their feelings hurt, and they act like adults and they move on.

Of the weddings of my five brothers, I was asked to do a reading for one of them. The others, I was a guest. And given the expectations of some of my SILs during the run-up to their weddings, I was more than happy to be a guest.

Would I have liked to be a bit more included in a few of those weddings? Yes. Were some family and friends a little surprised that I wasn't included? Yes. Did anyone make a fuss? No. Do I now have pleasant relations with my SILs? Yes.

Just as the bride and groom need to consider on-going family relations, so does the rest of the family. If they make such a big stink about not being included in this wedding, how will the bride and groom react to that? Because they have every right to say, "All we wanted was a calm, peaceful, child-free wedding, and you guys kicked up a huge fuss. Sis had her wedding the way she wanted it, why can't we?"

For all we know, the bride seriously dislikes her sister-in-law to be, and thinks the children are the worst-behaved monsters on the planet (not saying they are, but the bride could have reasons to dislike them). Should she be forced to have people she barely knows, or doesn't like, in her wedding party, or, in the case of the kids, as guests?

The letter writer and her family need to think this through. If family is *so* important to them, will they truly want to rip the family apart over one day, one wedding? Or should they suck it up, and attend the wedding without the kids, and try to have a good time, for the sake of that family they claim is so important.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


turnip

  • Member
  • Posts: 862
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #52 on: September 03, 2016, 04:18:57 PM »
But you can't expect the parents and possibly the grandparents to sit back and smile.  I'd be hurt if my children seemed to be deliberately excluded.  I don't think I'm the only one.  I might decline the wedding.  It doesn't make me a vindictive spoiled brat.  It makes me a parent who doesn't want her children treated unequally.

( What if the children who weren't invited were step-kids or adopted?  I think a lot of people would sympathize a lot less with the bride. )
Well, so what if they're adopted or step-children?  Why is that an automatic invitation to a wedding?

And I certainly don't expect anyone who is upset in this letter to sit back and smile. All they care about is inviting who they want to the wedding, horning the sister and her kids into the wedding party and partying with their son-in-law's grandma.

I do wonder what Christmases and other holidays are like. I'm guessing groom gets a pair of socks and watches everyone fawn over the grandkids ad nauseum.

I mean - this seems like a no-brainer to me.  If you include my sibling's natural children and exclude my step or adopted ones that we are not going to talk again unless there is an abject apology.   I could see an exception if the step kids live far away and I rarely see them, but if I have partial or full custody then they are 'my' children.

I thing I'm picking at the underlying message.  A couple wants to invite 'well behaved' children and doesn't want to invite 'poorly behaved' ones.    That's there prerogative, but I think the parents of the 'poorly behaved' children might be able to guess why they are excluded, and few parents are going to say to themselves "Well I guess I have no one to blame - it's my fault for raising undisciplined brats!"

And 'poor behavior' is can be in the eye of the beholder.  All kids behave poorly sometimes.  If the couple is only inviting the shy quiet bookish children and not the outgoing active sport-playing children it may more about different personalities than behaviors.   Not that it means one set or the other has to be invited, just that labeling it as 'poor behavior' may be unfair to the active kids.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2016, 04:20:33 PM by turnip »

HannahGrace

  • Member
  • Posts: 1282
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #53 on: September 03, 2016, 06:05:32 PM »
Just curious: for those who say they would be absolutely insulted to be invited with their spouses but not their children, what if, say, someone was inviting a group of couples to the symphony? Do you think it's insulting then that all members of your family aren't invited?

TootsNYC

  • Member
  • Posts: 33792
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #54 on: September 03, 2016, 06:23:14 PM »
Just curious: for those who say they would be absolutely insulted to be invited with their spouses but not their children, what if, say, someone was inviting a group of couples to the symphony? Do you think it's insulting then that all members of your family aren't invited?

I'm not sure there's anyone on this thread who has said that would absolutely be insulted if their children weren't invited.

But since I'm the one who can understand why people might consider it hurtful, I'll say this:

   The once-in-a-lifetime wedding of a family member* is very different from an evening at the symphony with friends.

And a wedding has a far more emotional meaning.

You can't have it both ways--B&Gs often say, "we're inviting the people who are important to us!" The very wording of a traditional wedding invitation says "the honor of  your presence," underscoring that.
      Then, you don't invite your own nieces and nephews, and what message is that sending? You can't have Message 1 without risking Message 2.



*The children of family members are themselves family members. My children aren't just my children; they are my brothers' and sisters' nieces and nephews. They are my cousins' "cousins once removed."

HannahGrace

  • Member
  • Posts: 1282
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #55 on: September 03, 2016, 06:31:35 PM »
Just curious: for those who say they would be absolutely insulted to be invited with their spouses but not their children, what if, say, someone was inviting a group of couples to the symphony? Do you think it's insulting then that all members of your family aren't invited?

I'm not sure there's anyone on this thread who has said that would absolutely be insulted if their children weren't invited.

But since I'm the one who can understand why people might consider it hurtful, I'll say this:

   The once-in-a-lifetime wedding of a family member* is very different from an evening at the symphony with friends.

And a wedding has a far more emotional meaning.

You can't have it both ways--B&Gs often say, "we're inviting the people who are important to us!" The very wording of a traditional wedding invitation says "the honor of  your presence," underscoring that.
      Then, you don't invite your own nieces and nephews, and what message is that sending? You can't have Message 1 without risking Message 2.



*The children of family members are themselves family members. My children aren't just my children; they are my brothers' and sisters' nieces and nephews. They are my cousins' "cousins once removed."

Your very long post on the prior page used the term "insulting" multiple times. And while it started being about family members, it went on to talk about people who have both family and other relationships with your children. So that's where I was coming from. If you are truly only talking about close family members' weddings, that's a different story.

cross_patch

  • Member
  • Posts: 658
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #56 on: September 03, 2016, 06:41:04 PM »
Just curious: for those who say they would be absolutely insulted to be invited with their spouses but not their children, what if, say, someone was inviting a group of couples to the symphony? Do you think it's insulting then that all members of your family aren't invited?

I'm not sure there's anyone on this thread who has said that would absolutely be insulted if their children weren't invited.

But since I'm the one who can understand why people might consider it hurtful, I'll say this:

   The once-in-a-lifetime wedding of a family member* is very different from an evening at the symphony with friends.

And a wedding has a far more emotional meaning.

You can't have it both ways--B&Gs often say, "we're inviting the people who are important to us!" The very wording of a traditional wedding invitation says "the honor of  your presence," underscoring that.
      Then, you don't invite your own nieces and nephews, and what message is that sending? You can't have Message 1 without risking Message 2.



*The children of family members are themselves family members. My children aren't just my children; they are my brothers' and sisters' nieces and nephews. They are my cousins' "cousins once removed."

Your very long post on the prior page used the term "insulting" multiple times. And while it started being about family members, it went on to talk about people who have both family and other relationships with your children. So that's where I was coming from. If you are truly only talking about close family members' weddings, that's a different story.

To be honest, given the multiple reasons that people have child free weddings, I feel like there's an element of 'choosing to be offended' there, and taking insult where none is intended or reasonable to take.

Bales

  • Member
  • Posts: 388
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #57 on: September 03, 2016, 07:25:30 PM »
The thing about "inviting people important to us" is that not every single person that is important to you may get an invitation, whether because of space or budget limitations, age, logistics, and so on.  In other words, I would think that anyone invited to a wedding is absolutely important to the couple, but on the other hand, I would never think that someone not invited is automatically not important to them. 

Kids are not part of the social unit that must be included for all invitations, though they are part of the family unit.  There is a difference.  However, if inviting one, you should invite all (within the family unit.)

HannahGrace

  • Member
  • Posts: 1282
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #58 on: September 03, 2016, 08:06:25 PM »
The thing about "inviting people important to us" is that not every single person that is important to you may get an invitation, whether because of space or budget limitations, age, logistics, and so on.  In other words, I would think that anyone invited to a wedding is absolutely important to the couple, but on the other hand, I would never think that someone not invited is automatically not important to them. 

Kids are not part of the social unit that must be included for all invitations, though they are part of the family unit.  There is a difference.  However, if inviting one, you should invite all (within the family unit.)

This is exactly how I feel, except expressed more artfully than I've ever managed to do. Thank you!

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Member
  • Posts: 10101
Re: Problem page letter - child free wedding drama
« Reply #59 on: September 03, 2016, 09:17:00 PM »
No matter how obnoxious the sister is, and no matter what kind of stupid overreaction she had, and even if every one of these negative suppositions about the sister's personality and the family history that we amp up and up and up are 100% accurate, that doesn't change whether the groom was being mean or insensitive to exclude them.  We don't get a free pass just because others are annoying. 

I'm still not saying they have to invite the children.   But I suspect that the big overreaction wasn't due only to the family's bring entitled and selfish.  I would like to know just how the decision was communicated.  I suspect Uncle Groom might not have handled it as diplomatically or kindly as he might have.

I'm curious why you suspect that. I reread the letter and didn't see anywhere were the mother made mention of being bitter about the way the communication was handled. She really on discusses her son's feelings one time... when she says his reasoning is that he doesn't want to see her holding grandbabies and his father being clamored on. However, she spends a lot of time discussing how hurt and upset her DD's, how mad her DH is and that he feels humiliated. She doesn't even address how her son must feel about his sister and father refusing to attend his wedding.

And no where does she acknowledge any responsibility for how awkward her family's behavior must have made the engagement announcement party. I mean really, who get's invited out to dinner and just assumes they can add another person to the party?

I agree. She's very concerned about her daughter's feelings and how sad she is, but there's very little mention of Son. (Also, the fact that she's blaming all this on her DIL when Son is the one telling her why he doesn't want his sister's kids there doesn't sit well with me.)
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls