My BIL, John, is getting married to his fiancee Amy in two weeks. The festivities leading up to this wedding have been cringe-worthy to say the least. They include:
– Wedding invitations requesting an 8/27 RSVP response for a 10/10 wedding. We discovered after the fact that the John and Amy have an “A list” and a “B list.” I assume we’re supposed to be happy that we’re at least considered A list and didn’t need to wait for members of the A list to decline John and Amy’s kind invitation to receive one of our own.
– Wedding invitations that included the verbiage “We are registered at X and Y, if you wish to bring a gift.” This verbiage was not included in an insert or on a wedding website. This verbiage was centered in the middle of the invitation when one opened it. It was literally the first thing one saw – even before the wedding location.
– Wedding registries at X and Y included potato chips; Excedrin; a Batman piggy bank; and several kinds of candy.
On to the shower…
I offered to throw Amy a small bridal shower in my home for John’s side of the family. At first, my offer was accepted. It was then declined with the request that I assist Amy’s sister Stephanie with the shower Stephanie was already planning for Amy’s side of the family. When I discovered the guest list for Stephanie’s shower had 120+ people on it, I declined but reiterated my offer to throw a smaller shower for just John’s side of the family in my home. My offer was accepted the second time, and we had a lovely bridal shower with 20 guests, no games and plenty of food for all.
This past Saturday, I attended the shower Stephanie threw in Amy’s honor. Of the 120+ invitations that went out, approximately 40 guests accepted. We arrived and everyone was provided lunch and cake. We then sat for approximately 40 minutes waiting for the hostesses to clean up lunch and cake before Amy was allowed to open gifts. During this 40 minute wait, one of the bridesmaids walked the room with a bucket and raffle tickets. I wish this bridesmaid was selling raffle tickets for a child’s school fundraiser. Instead, this bridesmaid was informing guests that they had elected not to play games for prizes at the shower. Instead, guests were invited to PURCHASE raffle tickets for a prize drawing. Tickets were $2 ea or 3 for $5. All funds raised from ticket sales would go to Amy to offset wedding costs. When asked, I politely demurred by stating I had no cash on me. I did hear another guest state, “Oh. If Amy needs money, I can give her money but I have no interest in raffle tickets.” That guest literally became my new hero.
After we left the shower, my MIL thanked me for throwing Amy a shower for John’s side of the family as she “would never have lived it down with FIL’s sisters had they attended a shower where raffle tickets were sold.”
I almost can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans occur at the actual wedding! 0930-15
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Looks like this is shaping up for a good train wreck somewhere. Some of the registry sounds unbelieveable, but at least if you get there early you can get something inexpensive and yet still say honestly that you did indeed get something off the registry. Betting there will be a money dance, a money tree, or wishing well; and possibly instead of a cash bar, the one where you get a ticket for a drink and the next one you have to buy from the bride, one of the tickets that was turned in and being reused… (there is one in the annals where this was done. The bride was sitting on a stool with a jar full of the tickets, you wanted another drink you had to pay like $5 to get one …) Please update us.
NostalgicGal said: “Betting there will be a money dance, a money tree, or wishing well”..
Let me fix that for you: “Betting there will be a money dance, a money tree, AND wishing well” 😉
It is interesting that only 1/3 of the invited guests showed up for the shower. It sounds like they’re casting a very wide net!
My guess is the 120 invites likely included lots of out of town people who would not be traveling a long distance to eat lunch but would potentially feel obligated to send a gift in their absence.
Ugh. My mom wanted me to do a money dance at my wedding.
No, Mom….and oh yeah, NO!
That’s because YOU have class!
Thank you, LadyV, I try to.
My mom and I had a HUGE fight over not having a money dance.
That’s “how it’s done” at weddings (according to my mom), not mine, I think it’s tacky Mom.
“Oh….so you’re saying I’m tacky?!?”
Sigh. No, that’s not what I’m saying….sheesh.
When my brother got married, I think he found the wedding registry process faintly ridiculous, so he put things like a bottle of Coke and some M-n-Ms on the registry. I think he was doing it to lighten the mood.
When we were setting up our registry at Target, it was almost all the usual kind of stuff — and then we added a box of Pop Tarts just for the heck of it. 😀 Nobody got them, but we hope it gave people a chuckle.
I agree. I work For a retail store that does a lot of wedding registries. Often times I have a gram scan things just because they are bored or they think it’ll be funny or one of their friends might buy it.
I was invited to a wedding once where they registered for a wii. The bride later told me after finding out on her own that her fiancé had done that and when she realized she was mortified and made him take it off. Apparently he told her that he didn’t know what a wedding registery was for and thought it was just gifts to congratulate you on being married and assumed you could ask for whatever you liked! He’s a sweet man, I think just a bit clueless!
Hey, it’s gifts for BOTH of them, why not put a wii next to the sterling silver ‘toast server’ ? It’s getting to be that the gamer box or boxes is a natural accessory next to the 60″ 4K tv in the living room. Just like the coffeetable in front of the couch that never wears it’s cushions, they’re being used on the floor…
Years ago when my friend got married, he didn’t really have a registry. But I gave him a gift he had joked about wanting to receive. I figured why not since it’s practical, and you know you’re going to use it. My friend thanked me for the TP.
Love it. 🙂 For ours we got a lot of towels. Nothing matched but they all worked just fine. I think they’ve all finally died after over three decades, but that was the type of gift we really appreciated.
Forgive me, we don’t really do wedding registries in my country, but – why was this a problem? I thought it was nice to see that they were asking for affordable items, unlike other stories I’ve read on this site where people have expected family members to buy presents worth well over $400 (like baby showers, where people would expect someone else to buy them a pram or a cot!) Who is going to spend more than $50 on a present? I know in the old days you were supposed to buy a couple something to furnish their house but that was because no-one moved out until they got married, so they had nothing. In my country, buying housewares for a wedding hasn’t been the norm for decades.
I don’t remember putting weird stuff on the wedding registry, but for our baby registry when Target sent out completion coupons we would add basically anything we were purchasing onto the registry, since the coupon was for 15% off anything on the registry.
I did add a few things onto the wedding registry that were expensive, with the expectation we’d buy it ourselves after the wedding with the discount (which we did).
“– Wedding registries at X and Y included potato chips; Excedrin; a Batman piggy bank; and several kinds of candy.”
Totally LOL’d. This made my day.
I would just give them a $5 gift card to Spencers. They seem classy enough to shop there.
(Sips her tea)
At least they were considerate and didn’t register for Excedrin PM, which is more expensive.
“If Amy needs money…” I love this guest.
Looks like it’s been a couple of years since this submission- if the OP sees this, I’m sure we’d love an update.
RE: A list and B list.
We had this, I hate to say. Etiquette faux pas it may be, but I felt like I didn’t have a choice. Long story short: my mother has a large extended family (all close emotionally but not geographically) and wanted to invite all of them. I agreed to her siblings and the spouses, but not the children. That was still quite a few people, and we had a small venue with a hard limit. So the “A” list included wedding party, immediate family, our close friends, our parents’ close friends, and that extended family. Most the extended family declined the invite. We live quite some distance away from them and we married in winter, making that long drive a little dicey, and some would have had to arrange for child care on top of it. So, faced with a bunch of declines, we popped out the “B” list and sent out a fresh batch of invites. This list included some co-workers and a few other friends. I suppose we could have invited everyone, assuming (correctly, as it turned out) that the extended family would decline. But what if they hadn’t? Disinvite people? Move the venue? I thought those would be worse.
So, I see good reason for an “A” list and “B” list (and sometimes “C” list). I understand why it is a problem, etiquette-wise. The key is to try not to make it obvious. I don’t know if we succeeded or not in that. I hope so.
It’s definitely poor form. But I lost sympathy with “I almost can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans occur at the actual wedding”. Taking pleasure in the incorrect actions of others (especially when you’ve already seen the impact on the mother-in-law and other guests at the shower) isn’t ideal. I don’t know- maybe I’ve gotten to be an old codger. But mourning the loss of civility seems more logical. Laughing is understandable in some situations: it’s a natural expression of shock and surprise. But circling like an etiquette vulture is what gives those who concern themselves with matters of etiquette a bad reputation.
I understand your point, but sometimes that sort of laughing attitude is the only way to handle a train wreck a’coming with aplomb. It’s the tactic I employ with a particularly difficult relative. I play a mental bingo, checking all the boxes of things I can’t stand. Racist or sexist comment? Check! Fat-shamed someone? Check! Tried to force us to pry/go to church? Check! Slammed my career? Check! Didn’t tip? BINGO! And that – plus booze – is how I make it through family visits.
I see your point too. I’ve heard of taking a shot for each unacceptable remark in a certain category, going for “necessary” errands in order to take a break and busying yourself with other guests or other tasks as a way of coping. In that case, however, you are dealing with an ongoing dynamic that is personal to you and probably not sharing the running results of your “bingo” or mental monologue with others. When it crosses your lips (or keyboard), it’s more public. Anticipating the prospect of enjoyment or humor in the missteps of others aloud is best eschewed.
I don’t understand the idea of watching a train wreck in the making and running to jump on board. When the first indications of tackiness and greed surfaced why not step back and stay out of the mess? As it is, OP, I don’t give you a pass for adding to the greed. As a family member, you weren’t supposed to throw a shower anyway. And I’m assuming this is your husband’s family? Then why do you have to get involved at all? It makes it look as if you approve of the shenanigans.
When receiving an invitation that specifically mentions gifts, you are not required to buy those gifts. You are actually not required to buy a gift at all, but should you feel compelled to do so, then a small token would suffice. And if it is your husband’s side of the family then there is little to no effort required of you. Your husband is an adult and can decide how he wants to handle things. And that’s it. But I can guarantee that not stepping back and staying out of the melee means you are implicated in it all. Why you wanted to get involved is beyond me, since it sounds as if staying home and bathing the cat would be far more pleasant than planning a shower and buying a gift for this bride-and-groomzilla.
I’m sorry, but first you castigate the OP for being a family member and not being able to throw a bridal shower, but then you ask why she has to get involved in her husband’s family as though she weren’t part of the family. And perhaps the OP wanted to show how a shower SHOULD be done.
If OP wanted to show how a shower should be done then she definitely wouldn’t have thrown one for a family member. If she had stayed out of everything and left it up to her husband’s family then she couldn’t be aiding the greediness. That would leave it up to her in-laws to do the right thing. As it is, she has clarified that it wasn’t a shower but a tea. I’m not sure one can throw a tea for a bride-to-be and not have it become or be mistaken for a shower, which is what happened in OP’s case, but at least OP did try to keep to etiquette rules.
On the edge of my seat waiting to hear how the wedding goes. What an awesome post. I’m surprised they didn’t make you self address your own thank you card envelope.
They did. I’ve just given up on the addressing your own thank you note as it’s a losing battle.
I also don’t actually do it so maybe that’s why I don’t ever get a thank you note?
I went to a bridal shower many years ago. An adorable little girl wandered around the room with a box of envelopes and pens. Most of us didn’t know what it was for and the little girl couldn’t answer the question. Finally someone asked my aunt, the mother of the groom. She said, through gritted teeth, “it’s for your thank you note”.
None of us ever got one. I’ve often wondered if we were supposed to either put a stamp on the envelope or throw cash into the box to pay for one.
First, I’d like to clarify that while I referred to the event I threw as a shower, it was actually an afternoon tea in honor of BTB. At least, that was the wording on the invitations sent. No mention of gifts. It wound up essentially turning into a shower when all invited brought gifts anyway. That, however, was never the intention of the tea.
Second, this submission was written the same day as the shower. I was still in shock. Now, I tend to feel bad that this poor girl doesn’t have anyone to tell her these things don’t put her in the best light. I certainly don’t circle like an etiquette vulture.
As far as the wedding, it was perfectly nice – no drink tickets or money tree in sight. There was a photo booth and for a period of time, guests were invited to pay $1 to enter the photo booth to get their picture taken with the bride and groom. This was billed as being in lieu of a dollar dance. I chose not to participate. After attending the shower and a bachelorette party (where gifts were also expected) and hosting the tea, DH and I also chose not to bring anything other than warm wishes to the actual wedding itself.
There have been more showers (baby) and birthdays (nieces/nephews) since. Guest lists are always extensive and frequently number 100+. Baby showers always include requests for diapers (for a raffle) and children’s books (instead of a card) in addition to a gift from the registry. Birthday parties always include gift ideas. I’ve never again offered to either host or assist with hosting another of these events. When I do attend, I bring what I’m comfortable with purchasing and don’t wait for a thank you note.
As a book person, I’m never bothered by the “children’s book instead of a card” request. Even if you go the shower and just give your well wishes, it’s usually in the form of a card, and cards are, also IMHO, insanely expensive for something that is largely just thrown away at some point. Yes, you can find cheap cards or make your own, but that’s not my point, many cards I’ve seen at stores are up to $5 or more. You can find a kids book pretty cheap, and still inscribe it with a nice sentiment, and it will at least get used at some point.
My thoughts on this:
Registries are a mixed bag. Clearly, putting them on the invitation is truly tacky and I am surprised that more couples don’t know this -but many like having a direction to go – ideas. I think the potato chips and batman piggy bank were an attempt at humor. I didn’t find that wrong – just funny – I would probably buy those items just for fun. It is hard because everybody has an opinion and somebody is going to find some fault with whatever you choose. Best just not to do it.
Actually, I have attended a couple of “fund raisers” and people just seemed to go crazy for the raffle tickets. They buy and buy and buy – I often wondered how that would go down at a party. Give away the cash collected just for fun – perhaps the 50/50 thing and give away the rest to a charity. Then I think it is probably bad form to ask that from my guests. It is just that people seem to like it so much I gave it a thought. I opted just to do bingo – I bought and gave away the prizes. They seemed to like that too. Clearly, this didn’t go well at the shower.
A & B lists. Sometimes there are good reasons for this. It can be done with the best of intentions but weddings are very political – once somebody caught wind of it – the couple wouldn’t live it down. You can send out invites to everybody – (believing that most out of town guests won’t make the trip) but then exceeding your seating capacity when everybody actually comes – or you invite just the out of towners – all the relatives from across the country that would have been very upset not to have been invited but really have no intention of making the trip – and all of those other guests you would have liked to have now can’t come because it would be insulting to give out a last minute invite. A friend of mine wanted to invite my husband and Ito her son’s wedding but knew early on that there were already way too many people invited and it might not be possible. I told her not to worry about it – we wouldn’t be able to make it anyway – she did call us up later and invited us when it turned out there were available seats. We still didn’t go.
I’ve also seen situations where people put small things like that on their registry intentionally so that if there are any kids who want to give their own gift, or guests who haven’t much money but would feel they should get a gift, they can. It can be a way of letting guests know that a $5 gift is fine. Since a lot of people feel very uncomfortable if they don’t give a gift, I think it is actually considerate to put some very low cost things on the registry to make people more comfortable if they can only afford a small gift. Or it could just be an in-joke.
I think also that given that so many more people will have already lived independently (either individually r as a couple) before marriage that the old idea of wedding gift being to help people set up home is obsolete, so asking for things which are fun rather than just home wares is not unusual or wrong.
A&B lists are primarily an issue of it’s obvious ,or if people learn they have been B listed. If the couple were discreet about it then I don’t think they did anything wrong.
The raffle at the shower is weird but it doesn’t sound as though anyone was pushy about you buying tickets, and presumably it was arranged by the bride’s sister, not the bride herself.
I don’t think there was anything particularly egregious about what’s described.
I really don’t see the problem the A and B lists either. I’ve happily been a B List invite at a few weddings. It’s kind of great – no pressure to attend any of the pre-wedding activities and if in the end you don’t go there’s no hard feelings. These were also people where I felt like I was a B List person and that was completely fine – I wasn’t super close with them. I was the co-worker / later in life friend mentioned above. At the end of the day I was happier to be invited and go to the wedding as a B list than to not go. But that’s the beauty of a B list invite – you don’t have to go!
I’m with you on the invite priority listing. Venues only have so much space and weddings are horrendously expensive anyway. I’ve been B-listed and I frankly have better things to worry about that how many people were invited before I was.
One wedding I attended as a Plus One for an A-lister, and just as my A-lister friend sent the RSVP, my friend who was getting married asked me for my address so she could send me an invite. I told her I was already coming as a Plus One and looking forward to it. The freed-up B List slot went to someone else. No hard feelings. A good time was had by all.
On the other hand, weddings seem to bring out the nitpickers of the world. I guarantee that my entire family would be cast into the e-hell flames for multiple offenses that just aren’t that big a deal.
To my knowledge I’ve never been the recipient of a BList weddding invite so either it’s never happened, or the bride and groom truly treated every guest as equal celebrant in their big day. If that’s the case then I think they pulled it off without summoning the fires of ehell. I have been the recipient of a B List plus one. The bride and groom initially gave no plus ones because of the large list but after RSVPs came in, they offered the singles a plus one. I thought this was a nice gesture because they could have just pocketed the savings from having a smaller reception.
I would forget about being on the A or B list.
I would park myself firmly on the C list….as in C you later.
Wish we had a “like” button because this is funny! A and B lists are fine as long as they cannot be discerned by guests (as might be done with an overly early date for RSVP) or for less formal events where it’s phrased as “if you’re available, I’d SO appreciate your presence! A guest who accepted has had a mishap that prevents their attendance…” Then you thank them for coming with a bit of extra gratitude since they are “helping you out”.
My daughter was recently texted a photo of a printed Bat Mitzvah invitation and asked to attend. I said no because (a) it was far and on a weekend where it would have been challenging to get here there but also, (b) it meant that there were printed invitations, but my daughter was the B list and was being invited because not enough of the A list could attend. I didn’t feel that I needed to drive for a long time and wait around (I wasn’t invited) for an event for which she was on the B list.
On the other hand, I’ve gone to some extremes this year so she could attend B’Nai Mitzvot of friends even when the logistics were challenging. If you really must have a B list, try not to make it obvious.
It’s too bad this submission is two years old – I would LOVE to hear an update on the actual wedding!
And by now there has probably been a baby shower or 2. I’d like to hear updates as well
I once was invited to the reception but not to the wedding. It was held at the groom’s family home backyard and they were limited on room. The reception was a casual affair backyard party. Was I a B list guest in this case?
Not necessarily. I once was invited to a reception-only – a VERY nice one at the bride’s family home. The wedding was small – family-only.
My husband wanted a money dance.
I said no.
His friends insisted we had to have a money dance.
I said no.
I said it was tacky.
And besides, due to the location, there would be no dancing. (Long story.)
Husband tried again.
I had to get firm to the point of rude to get him to quit.
One of the few decisions I made I’m still proud of.
I think the last part about knowing her FIL’s sisters would be horrified by the shower raffle was the worst part. That shows she’s not just oblivious to her boorishness; she knows perfectly well that she’s being a boor and she goes ahead with it anyway.
The side note on inexpensive things on a wedding registry:
Here we have where the B&G (usually the bride) will register at one of the local businesses (laugh not, the local feed and farm supply store, the tractor dealership, and the hardware store get registered at.., buy the couple a shovel… ) and a table will be set up. Things the B&G have selected are put on the table, along with the date the shower or wedding stuff will be picked up. Choose what you want, take it to the register, buy, and it will be carded and set back on the table. (some places like the variety store they will wrap it and card it and remove it). Inexpensive to really pricy will go on the table, at the variety store it’s not unusual for a pile of the 99c spices to be there. Sometimes though, the table will go empty early and the store has to tell the HC to come refill the table! (one wedding, in a month they had to refill it twice). Some would come by to find most of the stuff was still there because they’d picked too pricy for most people’s taste and budget, and be upset nobody bought the table off.
(One case the parents who owned a business had bought a very expensive china service for 12, and that’s what was on the table, buy a piece and subsidize their $6k present to their daughter, you couldn’t begin to start for $30 (which is pretty pricy here for a gift) and finally had to let people go in on a piece, and as of the wedding five pieces had been bought-the cheap stuff like the salt and pepper shakers (separately!) One plate had six names on it. It made a lot of bad will for the parents to do that…. and the store didn’t sell china, to boot. So the B&G hadn’t gone through and picked regular merchandise from the business.)