A reader wonders if etiquette has changed and why she was invited to the bridal shower and not the wedding.
I am hoping you can provide some insight and advice.
My long-time friend (59 years) has three children who I have known since they were born. Her daughter is getting married this month, but with COVID, the wedding will be a very restricted affair in her backyard.
I was not expecting an invitation to attend the wedding in person, but I do know that the couple sent invitations to view the wedding virtually via live stream, so I was surprised when I did not receive an invitation to view the wedding online.
When another mutual friend talked to the bride’s mother about the possibility that my invitation was lost in the mail, she reacted angrily. She confirmed that I was not invited and that her daughter made the guest list.
However, I was invited to the virtual bridal shower. I declined this invitation because I attended the bridal showers of my friend’s two sons when they were married. And, similarly, I was not invited to their weddings.
I never received a thank you or any acknowledgment of the gifts I sent to either of my friend’s sons. Later, when her sons’ wives each had a baby during the pandemic, I sent baby gifts which I know they received but (again) never acknowledged.
I tried to tell my friend that it’s inappropriate to invite friends and family to a bridal shower without also inviting them to the wedding.
She said that was old-fashioned etiquette. She told me again that her daughter was entirely responsible for the guest list. She is angry that I feel hurt by being excluded; she said I was being selfish and casting a pall over her daughter’s special day with my reaction.
Now I am angry and seriously considering ending this friendship. What else can I do?
There are hurt feelings here that may have started even before this wedding invitation incident.
I agree that it seems odd that you were not invited to the virtual wedding ceremony, as one more guest does not impact the size or the cost.
To address your etiquette question, you are correct, and your friend is mistaken. There are very few strict “rules” when it comes to wedding etiquette, but one of those rules is that shower guests must also be wedding guests. It’s akin to saying, we’d like you to buy us a gift, but you’re not important enough to be invited to the wedding.
Due to Covid restrictions, she may feel that it’s OK to invite someone to a virtual shower and not the wedding, but I disagree. A virtual bridal shower has the same purpose as an in-person event- to shower the bride with gifts.
I have also noticed that some people think it’s better to include a person in a pre-wedding event than to exclude them from all events. This thinking is incorrect. Those invited to a pre-wedding event must also be on the wedding guest list.
From my own experience and talking with many friends, our children do not understand why including their parent’s closest friends is essential. Instead, they focus only on their friends, not understanding the years of love and support from their parent’s friends that were so important to their parents.
You mentioned other etiquette no-nos. Not writing a thank you note to acknowledge a gift is simply rude and ungrateful. However, your friend cannot control what her adult children do or neglect to do.
It’s impossible to explain why your friend reacted or behaved the way she did. Wedding planning can be very stressful, possibly causing her to respond in an unkind way. My advice to you is to be “the better person.” Try to let it go and wait until the wedding is over to see if the friendship can continue.
If you have questions or comments about gift giving or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].
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