(Closed) Why is wedding ettiquette important?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
2820 posts
Sugar bee

I’m not sure that working out the invite list falls under ettiquete.  I can see why his parents would go through your Fiance and you first, and if it’s a big deal and your Fiance wants them invited he could tell his parents to call your parents.  He could also tell them that he doesn’t want them invited and that your dad isn’t inviting some people because of the growing number of people.  He could also ask them to help pay for the wedding. 

I agree that it’s silly to ask for random people to come to the wedding, but we had people come after dinner that were there locally but wouldn’t have otherwise gotten an invite, and I’ve been to other weddings where this has been done.

Post # 18
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Wow.  I don’t have any good suggestions, but I’ve been through this sort of stuff with my Fiance.  He grew up here around dc but his whole family is from the midwest and he finds my new england-moved-to-dc family stuff too formal, what he calls “fancy”, and I call “nice”.  He prefers things “relaxed”, which I would term “casual” (or “sloppy”, if I’m in a bad mood). But honestly, last-minute adding people is rude no matter where you’re from. 

The point of wedding etiquette is to eliminate confusion, so gestures have an accepted meaning and don’t need to be interpreted based on a guess about what the person is thinking.  The reason you move to a more formal manners for a wedding is that a wedding is an important ritual and as such it is easier to hurt feelings through misunderstandings, so clearing up confusion becomes more important.  Basically, rituals mean doing things in ritual ways, and this is a ritual, otherwise his parents wouldn’t care about being there, they’d just visit whenever. 

But this may not help you.  What you could try is couching it as your family’s little quirks.  After all, every family does things differently, and your parents are hosting this, so they are entitled to have people follow their ways, just as you and they would take your shoes off when entering your FIL’s house (if they’re like my midwestern FILs).  It’s not about the money, it’s about the effort your parents are going to, which means they get some consideration, and following their “quirks” is an important part of that.  Sure, their quirks happen to follow well-established societal manners, but phrasing it this way avoids hurting his feelings about his rude family. 

I guess I did have some suggestions!  Good luck, let us know how this plays out. 

Post # 19
7172 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I don’t know if I would say it’s completely rude – because they just don’t know any better.  It’s not like they told the people to just show up.  THAT would be rude.

They are going through some crazy channel (via Fiance to you) because they aren’t comfortable communicating with your mom directly – which, I can also understand.  

You know that Fiance and his family don’t get wedding protocol – and I think you need to leave it at that.  They aren’t going to magically get it between now and the wedding.  FI will get better over time – but it’s not worth fighting about.

Simply address the addition as you see fit.  Either tell them, no – they cannot come – or, sure, we’d love to have them.  

Can you also tell your Fiance to have his mom talk to your mom about any future additions?  Or, Fiance needs to tell his mom to call your mom, if she talks to it about it.  Don’t entertain any more guest list additions from FI!  

Post # 20
234 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@Mrs. Louboutin – Ah, if your parents want direct communication, and your Fiance knows that everyone important has already been taken care of then yes, them continuing to put you in the middle vs going to your parents is rude (it really is hard to talk about their behavior without using that word!)  What a frustrating situation.  The only other thing I can suggest is to point out to him how his parents actions are hurting your parents.  You’re obviously trying really hard not to offend his parents, but he needs to be willing to back you up so that your parents don’t get the short end of the stick by default (i.e. your dad not inviting his close friends to make room for random people his parents are just now thinking of).  It’s like the old saying “your rights end where mine begin” – his parent’s right not to be made uncomfortable by being calling out on thoughtless behavior ends when their actions start to encroach on your parents rights not to be made uncomfortable by the results of those action.  Awkwardly phrased, maybe, but I hope you can see what I mean 🙂

Post # 21
1154 posts
Bumble bee

As someone else pointed out etiquette is norms and what is proper in one place is not proper in another.  Labeling it common sense is putting down his family and calling them ignorant hicks which is IMO unjustified just as calling your family cold (the stereotype of formal families) would be unjustified.

The issue here is not etiquette.  The issue is that their requests are too much.

Simple solution, tell them no, you have every right to save seats for you Dad’s friends, no need to tell them that either, just, no more room available sorry.  I actually love the line recommended above “I’m not sure, please talk to my parents” but it’s probably too late to use that one.

P.S. I would strongly urge you not to tell your parents about various annoying things your Future In-Laws do – it will complicate your life in decades to come.

Post # 22
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I think that it might be helpful, in talking to your Fiance, to leave etiquette out of things entirely and present it to him as a problem of logistics or feelings.  He and his family clearly don’t put much stock in Emily Post, but he certainly cares lots about YOU and your wedding.

My Fiance and I had a similar issue while planning, and I found that it helped a lot to explain why what his parents were doing made things difficult and could lead to an unpleasant situation or bad feelings.  ‘It’s just not done that way” doesn’t hold much water, but he really understood “It feels as though we’re hosting a party for our parents rather than a celebration of our marriage, and it’s stressful to be in the middle when we’ve got so many things on our plate.”

Post # 23
1523 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I am sorry you are going through this! My ILs have also been a pain at times with the guestlist. Like, his Dad kinda sees our wedding as a work networking event for his job. Um, no, not happening!

Anyways, don’t talk etiquette, just tell everyone that there is no more room in the reception space for additional guests. Guestlist closed, no room. That’s the only thing that I have found people can’t really argue.

Also, please don’t allow her to invite that very distant family member for her convenience or anyone else at this point. You have enough stress with the wedding coming up. Good luck.

Post # 24
655 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

I think all the other bees have you covered in the advice realm, so I just wanted to chime in and say that I totally empathize and feel for you on this! I have a sympathy headache just from reading it 😉 Good luck!

Post # 26
1147 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Honestly it’s not even about etiquette at this point. You don’t have any extra invites. Besides it’s not even like these people are truly invited. If you do want to say it’s about etiquette then just tell him that it’s a standard way of treating people with respect and due diligence.

Post # 27
104 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I can see this situation has been mostly resolved, but what concerns me is the precident your Future Mother-In-Law is setting for the rest of you and FI’s married lives. It sounds to me like she has some hidden(?) control issues and that she is possibly insecure about her son getting married. By continuing to throw a wrench in your plans and using her son to manipulate the situation, she is being both backwardly controlling and directly insulting (the whole situation with her ‘paying’ for the additional 2 guests has me steamed!)

You don’t want her to think any time she wants to get her way/is unhappy over something in the future she can snarkily say something to FI and he will pass it on to you. The two of you need to make a pact here and now to be a united front-meaning if his mother asks him to tell you something he knows is upsetting or out of line-he should refuse, and tell her to talk to you herself. I have a feeling if she had to tell you these things directly, she wouldn’t have the gall to do it. Futhermore, if she DID actually talk to you directly and said something like “Well, we will PAY for the extra 2 guests”, you can calmly (and without insults or pettiness-even if it KILLS you!!!) state that you are hurt by her comments. That you feel like she is being unfair as your family did not object to a single guest prior to this point…etc, etc. and that you are really sad she thinks this is an issue of money rather than courtesy/manners. What else can she say but sorry? It might be just the reality check she needs. Plus, you are being direct with her about how you feel.

Just my two cents, but I feel like being honest makes very convoluted arguments simple very quickly. As a Midwesterner myself, I can firmly state this type of behavior is just as unacceptable here as it is anywhere else-bad manners do not know geographical boundaries.

Post # 29
1752 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

That’s awful!  My FI’s parents are totally wedding ettiquette ignorant, but they didn’t pull anything like this…  We had a LITTLE issue with the guest list.. we complied their list, then sent it back to them, so that they could get the addresses, when they sent it back it had 3 or 4 names added that it didn’t have originally, but this was probably 5 months out, and we were doing our own invites… so no issues..

I’m sorry to hear they are being difficult.  I feel bad for every bride that has stressful stuff going on.. planning is stressful enough, and people don’t realize that…  good luck mrs. louboutin

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