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Author Topic: Does the other sibling need to be invited?  (Read 2558 times)

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catwhiskers

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Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« on: August 17, 2017, 08:45:24 PM »
A couple Other Half and I are friends with are currently planning their wedding, and we were discussing guest lists. They asked me if I am "still on that site for people with good manners" and would like some advice about what to do in this situation. Let's call them Lisa and Robert.

Lisa's sister Julie is married to Gerald, and they've been together since they were teenagers. As such, Lisa has spent quite a lot of time around Gerald's parents, and considers them part of her family. She wants to invite them to the wedding. However, Gerald has a brother (Simon) who is also married, and his husband (Michael) has behaved quite badly at the couple of inter-family events he has attended. During one of these incidents, he was incredibly hostile towards Robert.

Understandably, Robert does not want Michael at the wedding because he is afraid he will cause a scene. In order to not have Michael there, they can't invite Simon either. Although Lisa is not as close to Simon as she is to Gerald and their parents, she is concerned that not inviting him (and Michael by extension) will be seen as a massive slight when his brother and parents are invited. She is further wondering if Michael would accuse them of being bigoted and claim that's why he and Simon haven't been invited. Lisa is concerned that in order to avoid inviting Simon and Michael, they are also going to have to refrain from inviting Gerald and Simon's parents, which she is quite upset about.

What does E-Hell think?

ETA: To clarify, Simon is Gerald's only other sibling.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 11:39:16 PM by catwhiskers »

Kiwipinball

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2017, 09:56:18 PM »
I take it Simon is the only other sibling? So he'd be the only one in that family group not invited? I think that can be problematic. It's certainly less rude than inviting Simon without Michael (that's a rule, this isn't). I have an old childhood friend who is getting married. Her parents and my parents are close. There's no question the three of us would be invited. She's never been close to my sister (no bad blood, my sister is three years older and they never hung out much). She did invite my sister. Of course, my sister and BIL are not prone to causing scenes or other bad behavior, so that's not an issue.

I don't think it's rude to invite Gerald's parents and not Simon. There might be hurt feelings. There might be comments/accusations. Being accused of being bigoted is not the same as being bigoted. But it can sting. So what's worst for your friend?

1. Not inviting Gerald's parents (has the advantage of easily not inviting Simon/Michael most likely without hurt feelings/accusations of bigotry)
2. Having Michael and Simon there (has the advantage of having Gerald's parents there without hurt feelings/accusations of bigotry)
3. Causing hurt feelings/being accused of bigotry (has the advantage of having those and only those they want there)

Obviously it would be nice if she could invite them all and Simon and Michael would decline. But there's no guarantee. I certainly wouldn't judge her for not inviting them, but it sounds like there could be drama. If Simon throws a fit, would Gerald's parents still come? If not, #3 isn't a great option.

cheyne

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2017, 09:56:27 PM »
Lisa and Robert invite Julie and Gerald and Gerald's parents, full stop.  Lisa and Robert have no obligation to invite anyone they don't want at their wedding, as you (and anyone on this board) know(s). 

I see it this way:  Lisa and Julie are sisters, which means that Julie and Gerald are going to be invited even if it were a tiny wedding.  If there was no Simon, Gerald's parents would be invited as Lisa feels they are "part of the family", so invite them for goodness sake. 

I'm not sure why Michael and Simon would feel a massive slight at not being invited.  They are not friends* with the B&G, why would they even expect an invite?  Please tell Lisa that fear of being called names is not a reason to invite anyone to any event.  So what if some hostile person calls you a bigot?  Don't let fear influence your decisions.

*Anyone who is incredibly hostile to me is not a friend IMO, and I don't believe that your sister's brother-in-law is your relative YMMV.

JoieGirl7

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2017, 01:42:04 AM »
Agree with Cheyne.

Also, if anyone in Lisa's family asks just tell them the truth.  Michael was rude and hostile to Robert and he's not welcome at Robert's wedding.

Runningstar

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2017, 07:06:13 AM »
Just invite the parents.  If asked, you just invited the parents - Gerald is a BIL (unless I have gotten mixed up) and so is being invited as a BIL.  There shouldn't be any issue with that.  If asked then I'd agree w/previous posters to mention how rude Michael was to Robert. 

Oh Joy

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2017, 07:56:23 AM »
My only point is that, through circumstances of marriage and family, Michael is part of their circle.  He's going to be hostile to them no matter what they do, so there's no benefit to bringing him into what should be one of the happiest occasions of their life.  They can choose to have him hostile at their wedding and events where they can't avoid him, or absent from their wedding and hostile at events where they can't avoid him.  I'm sorry that the potential threat of a bigotry accusation enters into the equation; even if Michael was the bride or groom's own brother, they could exclude him on the grounds of their history without violating etiquette.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2017, 07:57:12 AM »
Nobody has an obligation to invite people who have been that rude to them. If that means that the rude person's husband isn't invited either, he can take it up with his rude husband.

The people who are getting married are inviting Gerald's parents because they like them and are close to them, not because a sister-in-law's parents are always invited. If anyone asks, the happy couple can say something like "it's a small wedding, we invited the people we're closest to" (which includes Gerald's parents) or, if pushed, "but why would I invite someone who has made it clear he doesn't like us? I wouldn't want him to feel pressured to come." I suppose someone might be rude*  enough to argue "Michael treats everyone that way," but if they do, a reasonable answer would be something like "I don't know about that, but if he's that rude even to people he likes, I'm not inflicting him on my wedding guests."

*Asserting that you have to invite someone who mistreats you because he also mistreats other people is rude: it says that you don't have the right to choose who you spend time with, and that the feelings of the rude are more important than those of polite people.
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lowspark

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2017, 08:32:13 AM »
Lisa and Robert invite Julie and Gerald and Gerald's parents, full stop.  Lisa and Robert have no obligation to invite anyone they don't want at their wedding, as you (and anyone on this board) know(s). 

I see it this way:  Lisa and Julie are sisters, which means that Julie and Gerald are going to be invited even if it were a tiny wedding.  If there was no Simon, Gerald's parents would be invited as Lisa feels they are "part of the family", so invite them for goodness sake. 

I'm not sure why Michael and Simon would feel a massive slight at not being invited.  They are not friends* with the B&G, why would they even expect an invite?  Please tell Lisa that fear of being called names is not a reason to invite anyone to any event.  So what if some hostile person calls you a bigot?  Don't let fear influence your decisions.

*Anyone who is incredibly hostile to me is not a friend IMO, and I don't believe that your sister's brother-in-law is your relative YMMV.

I agree with all of this.
Etiquette-wise, they are not obligated in any way to invite Simon and Michael.

He's going to be hostile to them no matter what they do

And this is the key right here. Lisa and Robert are probably going to have to deal with some kind of fallout no matter what they do. So look at it this way, would they rather deal with it as a consequence of not inviting them and having a peaceful wedding, or as a consequence of inviting them and risking rudeness and upset at the wedding? To me, it's a no-brainer.

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Irishkitty

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2017, 08:45:56 AM »
Lisa and Robert invite Julie and Gerald and Gerald's parents, full stop.  Lisa and Robert have no obligation to invite anyone they don't want at their wedding, as you (and anyone on this board) know(s). 

I see it this way:  Lisa and Julie are sisters, which means that Julie and Gerald are going to be invited even if it were a tiny wedding.  If there was no Simon, Gerald's parents would be invited as Lisa feels they are "part of the family", so invite them for goodness sake. 

I'm not sure why Michael and Simon would feel a massive slight at not being invited.  They are not friends* with the B&G, why would they even expect an invite?  Please tell Lisa that fear of being called names is not a reason to invite anyone to any event.  So what if some hostile person calls you a bigot?  Don't let fear influence your decisions.

*Anyone who is incredibly hostile to me is not a friend IMO, and I don't believe that your sister's brother-in-law is your relative YMMV.

I agree with all of this.
Etiquette-wise, they are not obligated in any way to invite Simon and Michael.

He's going to be hostile to them no matter what they do

And this is the key right here. Lisa and Robert are probably going to have to deal with some kind of fallout no matter what they do. So look at it this way, would they rather deal with it as a consequence of not inviting them and having a peaceful wedding, or as a consequence of inviting them and risking rudeness and upset at the wedding? To me, it's a no-brainer.


POD to this. My only curiosity is: Is Lisa friendly with Simon? That's the only thing which has not been addressed by the OP.

Inviting only the parents is fine. Lisa & Robert have no obligation to invite anyone and there is no etiquette rule being broken by not inviting Simon and Michael. They are not excluding them. Gerald is Lisa's BIL and she has a close relationship with his parents. His parents are not family, they're 'like family' so it's a different scenario to not inviting half of a relatives family.

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2017, 09:02:34 AM »
I see no issue in inviting her sister's Parent in Laws but not her sister's brother in law. Simon is not a minor and therefore is not considered part of a social unit that must be invited together.

If Simon is hurt that he's not invited, well, that's a relationship issue and not an etiquette one. But I wouldn't change my decision based on that since he's ok with having a partner who is rude to one part of the couple. He shouldn't be surprised he's not invited to the wedding.

I'd just make sure to be clear to the sister than her PIL's are the only members of Gerald's family to be invited.

catwhiskers

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2017, 11:46:27 AM »
Thanks everyone. I did say to them that they are not obligated to invite Simon and Michael, but as I am known to have very little tolerance for the Michaels of this world, I can understand that Lisa and Robert wanted reassurance that other people would see things the same way.

To further clarify a few points raised:

Lisa likes Simon, but has never considered him a close friend.
Simon is not likely to react to not being invited, but Michael may well do. Apparently he is the kind of person who is constantly looking for reasons to take offense.
Gerald and Simon's parents are likely to attend the wedding no matter what Michael's reaction to not being invited is. Lisa suspects that their private opinion of him is much the same as hers, which is that he's a pain in the "hind end".

mime

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2017, 12:34:09 PM »
So... the message of Michael's complaint will be "I wasn't invited to my husband's brother's wife's sister's wedding so they must be bigots. I never liked that groom, and I told him as much last time I saw him."

Yeah, that'll convince everyone that Lisa and Robert are rude.   ::)


I agree with everyone else. Regardless of family relationship, the HC are not close to this couple. Michael has treated the HC poorly. Being an in-law of an in-law in an inclusive family doesn't get you a free pass to parties when you're a jerk.





Redneck Gravy

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2017, 12:37:52 PM »
So... the message of Michael's complaint will be "I wasn't invited to my husband's brother's wife's sister's wedding so they must be bigots. I never liked that groom, and I told him as much last time I saw him."

Yeah, that'll convince everyone that Lisa and Robert are rude.   ::)


I agree with everyone else. Regardless of family relationship, the HC are not close to this couple. Michael has treated the HC poorly. Being an in-law of an in-law in an inclusive family doesn't get you a free pass to parties when you're a jerk.

what mime said x2

gellchom

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2017, 02:34:40 PM »
I understand why this is tricky, even though the etiquette answer is crystal clear.

It's really hard for any of us to assess how close any of the relationships are, what the norm is in the OP's friend's community is, how likely it is that Michael's presence would make a difference (does he always make a scene?) and a lot of other factors that enter into a decision like this.  As someone else mentioned, I'd want to know if there are other siblings, too.  That would make it much easier: inviting only one of several is different from inviting all but one.  Most important would be the two families' history and relationships.  Have both families always invited everyone to all major events?  It wouldn't mean they have to now, too, but that would inform how big a slight it would feel.  Plus, they probably want to avoid putting Simon and his parents in an awkward position.

If they were relatives, I'd be more inclined to advise them more toward "Oh, just invite them and hope for the best."  I think that's because weddings are family events, and also, when it's a matter of extended family, more people are affected, and any exclusions from the guest list are more likely to be in people's minds at the wedding.  It's just more common to invite relatives than friends by whole family, too -- look how often people include related children but don't invite all their friends to bring their kids. 

The OP's friend just asked the OP to check with ehell about the etiquette rule, and that's clear: they don't have to invite Simon and Michael at all, but if they do invite Simon, they must also invite Michael.  But they probably already know that.  Their real problem is something etiquette can't resolve, and it comes down to the relationships and feelings of people that we are only hearing about fourth hand.

TootsNYC

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Re: Does the other sibling need to be invited?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2017, 03:03:55 PM »
Tactics:

Invite the bride's sister and brother-in-law, of course.

Tell the sister well before invitations go out that space is really very tight at the wedding, since weddings are so expensive. But that you're hoping to be able to invite her parents-in-law.

Then send an invite to them at the normal time.