(Closed) I need advice on how to react to my two family members

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 4
1692 posts
Bumble bee

Your response will have to reflect your family dynamic.

In my family, with its dynamic of dignified formalities and covert controlled interpersonal communication, and highly sensitive reactivity to social cues, I would respond by not inviting them to my next dozen or so large formal parties.

My niece, who married into a family with a relatively obtuse sensitivity to social cues and strong emphasis on clannish bonhommie, responds to such offenses by continuing to invite the offender, but by guarding against repeat rudeness. Her brother-in-law once left the table between courses to “check the score”, so since then she has her husband disconnect the cable before the inlaws came to dinner. In your case, she would probably invite the cousins to future events, and then call them to confirm their attendance with increasing frequency right up until half an hour before the party.

My grand-nephews, reared in an overt rambunctious Irish family would call the cousins on it the next time they met over a family cook-out, call them names, yell at one another, possibly throw a few punches, and then have a beer together. I suspect that by the time their next large formal party came around, they would have forgotten about the incident.

It helps a great deal to have large formal parties from time to time. It is hard to snub people by leaving them off your guest list in the future, or by nagging them with repeat reminders, if your wedding was the one and only large formal party you were ever going to have. The costs of four wasted meals two weeks ago is in the past: nothing will recover the money, so it is a “sunk cost”, and in the absence of future parties no benefit is to be had by making any reaction at all. You might warn whatever relative gets married next, but it is more likely to look like backbiting than like helpfulness.

Given a choice between accepting that it is past and over and therefore doing nothing; and planning a rewarding lifetime filled with large formal parties where you can adjust your guestlist according to the logical consequences to guests of snubbing their hostess, I would strongly recommend the latter choice. I love formal entertaining!

Post # 5
140 posts
Blushing bee

Well, it seems like they are both young, and may not realize that not showing up to a wedding when you say you would costs the hosts money, and they may not think it’s a “big deal”. If you have a decent/neutral relationship with them in the past I would just let it go. They probably meant no harm. 

Post # 6
8035 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@MrsDrPeter:  I would definitely say something. If I were you, I wouldn’t be able to act natural around them after this. I’d be livid.

You could try to broach the subject with them in a non-accusatory way. Something like “Hi… I’m just checking in… we really felt your absence at our wedding.. hope everthing is ok” or something to that effect to get the conversation started. Just be aware that it might lead to a fight, but I don’t see a positive outcome unless you do have some sort of convo with them about this.

Post # 7
4474 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

How rude!  I don’t know how old they are, but I’d talk to their parents about it.  If the parents aren’t the defensive types, they might be able to steer you in the right direction for how to deal with them.  And I wouldn’t invite them to stuff you have anymore.  

Post # 10
4410 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2010 - Savannah, GA

I don’t think there really is a way to approach them about their rudeness gracefully.  

I understand how you feel, though.  We invited DH’s cousin and her husband to our reception, and when we got the response card (a week late), she responded with 7 people–only two were invited. At $40 per person, we couldn’t afford an extra 5 uninvited guests.  So I had to call her and explain that we couldn’t accommodate 5 additional people. She said she understood, but never said she and her husband weren’t going to attend if they couldn’t bring their guests.

In the end, all I could think was thank goodness I hadn’t planned on 7 instead of 2 at $40 a head!!!!  What if I had and none of them had shown up, which in all likelihood would have been the case.  It would have cost us $280 instead of $80!!! 

Believe me, I wanted to say something, but I knew I couldn’t say anything gracefully and maintain some class. So I kept my mouth shut. 

Post # 11
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I would send them an email or a note.  Express that you were hurt that they no-showed and ask what happened.  Don’t mention the loss of $240.  I’d probably also not invite them to any expensive dinners for a while.

Post # 12
7 posts
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
@MrsDrPeter:  30’s ?!?…I was originally going to say they really have no excuse, because they were given response cards for a reason, and confirmed they could bring dates for a reason…They obviously know weddings are costly unless they live under a rock, and they felt the need for permission because they KNOW its a plated event…If they did something like show-up with a date without permission, thats more of a rookie-i-dont-know-my-etiquette-yet thing that teenagers do. 30’s….is disrespectful. Honestly I’ve delt with this before…it was a fellow bridesmaid who wanted to bring her little sister along to my friends bridal rehearsal dinner, which was paid by plate at a fancy place. She was told she could bring her. Then, they both didn’t showup! She was a bridesmaid! Anyway, when asked why she didn’t even make an excuse, say she was sick, in a car accident, SOMETHING…, her responce was “I’m an adult and do not need to explain myself to you.” Ok there adult…you were adult enough to RSVP and ask favors of someone to pay for your guests dinner (whom the bride didn’t know. this was a step sister who was in town.) AT LEAST say you are sorry. This acting like nothing even happened crap is annoying to the core….If I were you, I would not invite them to anything anymore. And these kinds of people will usually be the ones (on facebook!) complaining of how rude you are you left them out…THEN you have free reign to explain why you did it, and that you got the vibe from them they were not interested in celebrating things with you in this manner….what can they say????? Short of admitting how selfish they are, I doubt they or their parents will push the issue. Their parents will probably also be embarassed by them, and give them crap for it as well without you even having to.

I will add – that I also know someone who did this, did not showup for a wedding, because she found out her ex boyfriend was going to be there with his new fiance. She didn’t call or text becaus she knew it was selfish and she didn’t know what to say. bit she knew she would cry and be totally dramatic. BUT – The next day when they returned home to pack and leave for their honeymoon, this friend came over, explained herself, and took them out to dinner so they wouldnt have to worry about it the night before they left. Also drove them to the airport…..So….yes, like you said..it happens. It does not always mean people are inherently bad and selfish…its all in the way u deal with it.

Post # 13
280 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

How rude!  I think I would have to say something.  Not accusatory, but they need to know that what they did was not acceptable, lest they do it to someone else! 

Post # 14
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

View original reply
@zomgwut:  This.

Post # 15
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

It’s very thoughtless, especially when they’ve wasted your money, but nothing good comes out of confronting them or even bringing it up. You will not get that money back and in the best case scenario you’ll just get an apology (which may really be all you want) that might come with a bunch of negative feelings attached.  I’d just let it go, but I’d also be very reluctant to include these folks in any future gatherings or events.

Post # 16
986 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Just once I would love to see someone say something.   We should make unthank you cards.   Send them to the no shows.   Hey, would have been nice to have had a cancellation.   Here is the bill for money we wanted to spend for you to support us on our day.  Since you didn’t have the courtesy to do so, please remit payment to the venue.  

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