Unfortunately, you DID issue this person an invitation. Whether you were guilted into it or not. She RSVP'd that she would be coming...making things doubly awkward, since she didn't take the hint.
I don't see that you have much choice than to be the gracious hostess here. The time to really say what you meant, was when the friend called to tell you that this person wanted to attend the party. What's done is done...however it was done...this time.
But in the future, I would make it abundantly clear that the guest list is NOT open to "interpretation." No matter how "lonely" someone else may be, or who feels sorry for them.
Thank you and Minmom and everyone else who has continued to reply and offer very insightful advice about this trainwreck...Lol
I don't think I'm going to have any future etiquette problems of this matter...I no longer speak to Sue and Joan has joined the group and from what I was told..the two of them have gone on and invited the other moms to parties (no husbands allowed) and Joan has said nothing about being reconciled and when she has gone out, forgotten to wear her wedding ring and mention she was married...
No longer a part of that playgroup either, and one mom who has contacted me on and off has expressed "curiousity" why Sue seems to be spending less time with her family even having Joan and others over on a Sunday afternoon for "drinks and breakfast " and the mom left quickly when non-legal items were brought out and smoked...so I'm glad to be away from that...I've heard that since I've left and Joan has been on...the playgroup has "died" considerable with people not getting together like they use to and Joan and Sue posting more and more about events that are non-mom related and more party/get drunk related.
In addition, her children are not allowed at certain places now because of their excess bullying...so with hindsight...I don't think no matter what I had done, things will have worked out...even had I been the gracious host, I feel there would have been problems either way.
She's made no "public" at least of what happen....though I'm sure privately it's different.
It was the case of being friends with someone I don't feel I can even call a mom and she appeared to have a hidden addiction problem that is being manifest all the more now....This does scare me about trying to strike up friendships with other parents though and makes me wonder if anything is sacred anymore?
She was a thirtysomething year old mother that I initially met at a kid event; Clean dressed, someone you would pass in the street without thinking twice about, and that hurts there...that what I thought was a "normal" mom resulted in this mess.
All the others whom we had invited and then had to send cancellation notice did not respond in kind, and instead have been gracious and invited us to their events instead (don't worry...didn't pull a Sue on them..lol).
I feel that I was dealing with someone who was not only immature, but lack grace, common sense, judgment and from how I have heard the playgroup decline, other things that I wish I knew then and I wouldn't have invited her and her husband either...I strongly feel that I will not have to deal with anything in this proportion...as my husband puts it..."It's not normal for after a party cancellation for someone to persist we continue having it and then commence to bullying...that's a sign something is way out of the norm."