(Closed) Etiquette is ruining my wedding

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
7492 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

I think it’s perfectly reasonable to have a no kids wedding and to expect that only those o. The invitation come to the wedding. I wouldn’t budge.

Post # 4
1878 posts
Buzzing bee

@misslillypad:  If deep down you don’t even care if they come, definitely don’t feel like you have to bend over backwards to accommodate their inappropriate requests to bring their uninvited children, etc.  You have every right to say no to such requests.  Don’t let them make you feel bad.

Post # 5
2484 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

It’s sounds like it isn’t you following etiquette that’s ruining your day, but your guests lack of etiquette! They’re the ones breaching it by “asking” if they can bring extra people (whether it’s their kids or not).  (It sounds more like they’re demanding or assuming it’s OK, not really asking you).  They’re the ones adding excess stress by putting requirements on who they want to sit with.  It’s not you, dearie, it’s them.  Stick to your guns, and just tell them no with a smile.

And if for some reason they try to play the card that it’s because they’re not your blood family, remind them that your side is following the rules laid out.

It is a shame you’re basically obligated to invite these extra people though.

Post # 7
3267 posts
Sugar bee

@misslillypad:  First off, it is your misunderstanding of polite etiquette that is a problem here, not etiquette itself.


The only thing etiquette says about who must be invited is social units (married, engaged, living together couples) must be invited together.  That is it.  No one is entitled to an invitation because they are “family” or because they will be offended.  They can feel about it, however they like.  That doesn’t make it correct, or make you rude. 


It is MORE polite to invite guests because you are close to them then because of some arbitrary blood line.  It can in fact be seen as rude to invite guests you aren’t close to, as it can seem like a gift grab. 


So brush up on your etiquette, strengthen your spine, practice saying “I’m sorry, but that won’t be possible”, and stick to inviting guests with whom you are close, and who you actually want to celebrate your wedding with.

Also, anyone who says to you “do x or I won’t come”.  I’m sorry that you will miss the wedding, maybe we will catch up another time is the only response that should be given

Post # 8
8044 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@misslillypad:  Oh geez. Just elope. They’ll be offended either way it seems, and you’ll save yourself some money.

Post # 9
1689 posts
Bumble bee

@misslillypad:  Please note what andielovesj  has to say: etiquette’s role is to smoothe interactions between people, not to subjugate the least strident member of a social group by seeing who can point fingers and shout “ETIQUETTE!!!!!!!!!!” in the most strident voice. You are suffering from a couple of problems common to your generation: first, that you may not have been raised in a general atmosphere of formal good manners and so are vulnerable when other people misrepresent etiquette by twisting it to their own advantage; and second that you may not have much experience organizing large parties which tends to leave parents and parents-in-law thinking that they do not need to respect your role as hostess. You have my sympathy.

My experience has been that younger hostesses who truly know etiquette and are able to act with confidence in their role, can demand the level of respect that will make their demanding and disrespectful elders back down — and furthermore can do so without themselves indulging in any disrespect to their elders.

You are the hostess. You need to do three things: you need to decide on the style and nature of the wedding celebrations you want to plan; you need to compile a guest-list, and you need to arrange to pay for your celebration. None of these need to be discussed with anyone: if you simply proceed with your own plans your guests will simply have to fall in line or decline. You do need to get names and contact information from your future mother-in-law — I describe how formal etiquette recommends you proceed with that task approved means of doing so in this post: 

The first thing a lady should do when she agrees to host a wedding party, is call upon the senior lady from the other family — in your case, your dear fiance’s mother — taking with you your visiting-book (or its modern equivalent, your smartphone, tablet or laptop with your contact list). It is a good idea to start a fresh visiting-book (or contact list). Sit down together with the other lady and her contact-list/visiting-book and create a merged list containing ALL of BOTH sets of family members and social friends. If your mother were the hostess, she would be giving the new merged visiting-book to you as a wedding gift; but since she is not you should probably sit down with her, and get her personal contacts merged in as well.

You get ALL the extended family’s contact information, and then you go home. You have not committed to sending invitations to anyone, you have just gotten the information. My impression from your post is that is about where you are now in the planning stage. If you don’t have all the titles and addresses then maybe you still need to do the above task. But once you have that comprehensive total list …

You sit down, alone with your fiance and no mothers or meddling maiden aunts or anyone else who isn’t whole-heartedly committed to you only,  and you discuss your vision for how you want to get married. You need to be prepared to compromise — your fiance’s view of what constitutes a “close family gathering” is probably influenced by the size of his famiy and may be different from your view, but it is him with whom you must compromise, and him only. However, if you want to share your vision with us on this board — your vision of what you would like, in a perfect world, to have, we might be able to offer some suggestions — which would give you more nice safe practice at ignoring unwanted advice!

Then, take your list of potential guests, and sort it in order from the people you most want to have present to the people you least want to have present. Draw a line at the number of people that fit with your vision. That’s your first-cut guest list. Now figure out how much it will cost. That’s your first-cut budget.

Now you go through the back-and-forth process with your fiance of deciding whether you like that cutoff point, or whether you need to adjust your vision to invite more. You and he will also have to discuss if can fund that budget or if you need to compromise on guest-list and vision to make the budget work. None of this needs input from anyone else (except maybe those of us on the bee who take vicarious pleasure in the wedding-planning of others) unless you choose to negotiate getting help, whether budgetary help or some other kind. If you are relying on someone else, then you have to include them in the discussions and compromising as a matter of practical necessity.

Your invitations do not need to go out for two or three months. That is soon enough for all the people who really have no say, to find out whether they are invited or not (and by the way in this case, please be certain to include a write-in line on the invitation so make it very clear who is invited and who is not ). That still leaves them plenty of time to behave badly, but by then you may have established a reputation for unassailable dignity that will help quell their drama.

Post # 10
3260 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@misslillypad:  Who says guest comfort is most important?  I mean really… they’re teling you where they find it acceptable to sit?

If you’re inviting them, fine.  I understand why, although it does sound like it might be an equal amount of drama not to invite them, so you may want to consider changing your mind.  Just a thought.

Anyway, so you’re inviting them.  That’s all – invite them.  Put everyone’s NAME on the invitation, and indicate how many seats have been reserved for them, so there is no misunderstanding about who is supposed to come.  Ignore whatever they have to say about seating arrangement, inviting other people, etc.  Don’t do ANYTHING other than inviting them, which sounds like is more than they deserve.  You don’t owe them anything.  If they’re offended, they can choose not to attend – wins all around!

Post # 11
2142 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Since you invited them because you felt like you had to, I’m assuming you don’t really care if they come or not? Just say no! To all their (inappropriate) requests, just simply say no. If they want to be petty and not show up, so be it! Do not give in.

Post # 12
7872 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@misslillypad:  “Each time i search through weddingbee and see people with similar issues they are always told that the guest comfort is most important because your asking them to share your day.”

Where on wedding bee did you read that? Yes you should treat your guests politely. No you do not need to cater to their every whim.

In my opinion you are doing the right thing by inviting family. But you are also entitled to say “no children” and “no random extra guests”. In fact not only are you entitled to, you should. So stick to your guns. You have invited them, For those that are parents, their options now are to accept the invitation or stay home.

It also perfectly ok to make an exception for children extremely close to you, i.e. you own sister.

As for seating, it’s good to take requests into account, i.e. if two people don’t get along, it’s good for everyone if they sit apart. But you don’t have to honour a request if you think it’s silly ot asking too much, (e.g. Aunty Joan must sit at the cloest table with your parents”.)

In answer to your original question, guests are not more important than the bride and are not entitled to be fussy. So long as you are not splitting up long term partners (e.g. by inviting cousin Rachel but not her husband / long term boyfriend) you are not doing anything wrong. It’s not etiquette ruining your wedding, but misunderstanding of etiquette.

Post # 13
6361 posts
Bee Keeper

If you feel that way, DO NOT INVITE THEM. Just don’t. It’s your right not to, and inviting them but going about it half-arsed is worse etiquette and more offensive than not inviting them at all.

Post # 14
805 posts
Busy bee

@misslillypad:  To be honest, what does it matter if you do ‘draw a line in the sand’? If you weren’t close before and have no desire to be closer to them, then having a nicer, less expensive, less stressful day for yourself and also getting rid of them seems like a win win!

While of course it’s important to be aware of your guests comfort, you shouldn’t have to compromise so much on your own happiness to accomodate it (particularly if the guest doesn’t particularly care for yours either). Maybe you could sit them together with who they want, but remain firm on the children and extra people?

Someone above said something along the lines of ‘very correct ettiquette demands respect’, but if the people you don’t want are anything like my family (and appear to be unaware of etiquette anyway), that’s never going to work!


Post # 15
3070 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

To answer your actual question, I believe the wishes of the  couple are ultimately more important than the guests. That said, you DO have an obligation to care for and cater (to a reasonable extent) to your guests. Anyone for whom you don’t feel comfortable extending yourself in that way should not be invited. Once you invite them and they accept you really have to treat them the same as any other guests. No such thing as second class guest status “because I dont really want you here anyway.”

Post # 16
1671 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Church

@misslillypad:  Guest comfort when it comes to food (ie. vegetarian/religious/allergies) or if they are in LTRs. Setting a limit on how far out in family you are inviting (ie. stopping at first cousins). That being said no, you are not required to have their kids. No, you are not required to extend +1’s to your single guests. No you don’t have to sit people where they want to. No you don’t have to provide an open bar.

I think that it was nice that you invited all these people. However, as with wha seems to be so many guests (even ones you want), you will need to put your foot down on some things.

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