Etiquette

Preventing issues with uninvited family members.

Hi all, 

I have a cousins/uninvited family members question(s). I've seen several of these on the boards, but feel everyone's situation is different so I am asking here. I appreciate all feedback. 

I am having a very small wedding - 40 people max. I didn't want a wedding really, but agreed to the small wedding to please parents basically. My side of the guest list stops at Aunts and Uncles on my side. No cousins are being invited as for me this will lead to 100+ people because I feel if I invite one then I have to invite them all. My FH is not close to his family so we may only see his parents and sister (plus her husband and kids). He is inviting more friends because that's his family whereas I am inviting two friends in lieu of more family members.

The issue I am having as I know two of my aunts will be completely fine with this. However, they likely will be confused when they get the Save the Dates and assume I mean the entire family. It's doubtful they are up on wedding etiquette and will look at the way it's addressed and register that only the aunt and uncle are invited. I really want to avoid confusion or having to clear up things later when invitations go out. One of my cousins is a drama queen and I don't want her to think she's invited only to find out she's not. She's 19 and still lives at home as she's in college. 

The other issue I have as I have an Aunt that lives with my grandma and has a teenage son. She and my grandma are likely to be seriously offended that he is not invited. They get offended any time anyone treats him differently or feel he's been slighted. For instance, I declined a school event for him and they got offended because I didn't come even though I don't go to any other cousin's stuff usually. My aunt would never let him see his dad and they think the family should pay him more attention because he didn't have a dad. It's messed up. However, I am not backing down on the cousins because it's rude to let a few come and not others plus we simply do not have the space. The room we booked literally seats 40 (doing more of a dinner than a reception). 

All of the cousins not being invited are 14+ so finding a babysitter is not really an issue. The ones that live at home still are all teenage boys who could care less about weddings and a few college aged. Most are married with their own kids which is why we chose not to invite cousins as our list would simply swarm. 

So my questions:
1. Would it be OK to simply send an email to my aunt's before the Save the Dates go out explaining that we are electing to have a small wedding and no cousins are being invited with our reasons for the small wedding? This way I'm not really telling someone they aren't invited, but letting my aunts know the Save the Dates are only for aunts and uncles. I'm thinking people may be less confused or offended if they know we just want to keep it small (I'm introverted and hate crowds, we'd rather save the money for a house etc). 

2. I have 4 sets of aunts and uncles. Two sets are married. One has been in a long term relationship for several years so her boyfriend is invited. My other aunt recently started dating someone. Our wedding is in 8 months. Do I need to give her a plus 1? My only pause is she is the aforementioned aunt who has the son who we must walk eggshells around. I'm afraid she won't use her +1 for her boyfriend, but instead will bring her son instead and then my other aunts and uncles will be upset they couldn't bring their kids. I plan to somewhat solve this issue by putting specific names on the RSVP card. But she may just ignore it anyway. It's likely she will ignore it and bring both her son and boyfriend and then I will be scrambling for an extra chair as there literally won't be a place for them to sit (plus it's a plated meal to be decided when you RSVP). 

I'm sorry for the long post. It probably would be easier to just cut off at grandparents, but even then my grandma would be offended my aunt who lives with her couldn't drive her and stay for the wedding. This way my mom doesn't have to pick up my grandma and she can spend the day with me as she wants. Plus I have a couple aunts and uncles I would like to see. 

Thanks everyone. 

Re: Preventing issues with uninvited family members.

  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    If you legitimately think someone would be rude enough to show up with an extra guest not named specifically on the invite, no amount of preempting is going to change that. There's no nice conversation you can have that will keep it from happening.

    What you can do is be specific, use names, and not throw around the term "plus one" for significant others (of any length), and be clear if someone is genuinely confused. If they're just trying to pull something on you and may show up with two people anyway, there is nothing at all you can do about that. But as PP said, you don't have to go out of your way to be accommodating about it. If you assign tables and someone doesn't have a seat or a table because they actually weren't invited, that'll be pretty obvious at a wedding that small, and your other aunts and uncles should easily be able to see that this one is on the aunt, not on you.

    Anniversary

    short+sassyMairePoppySP29
  • edited September 5
    Thanks! To clarify, I planned to invite her boyfriend by name. I shouldn't have called him a +1 above. Just worried she'll try to sub without even telling me. I'll just send my save the dates out as planned and addressed to only those invited. My mom has already told people we plan a small wedding. I'll deal with the confusion once the invitations go out, if any, as the RSVP cards will have specific names on them. I'm just the type of person who would rather head off any confusion, disappointment, etc but at the same time don't want to be rude which is why I'm glad I asked here! My family is small town so wedding etiquette is not a thing. Most of our weddings in the family have been all family invited affairs. Everyone simply shows up so mine is not norm.  

    I do need to send Save the Dates because our wedding day is actually Oaks Day and a lot of people in my area make plans well in advance for Derby events. 
    charlotte989875flantasticSP29
  • Also definitely doing seat assignments because this particular aunt is also homophobic and rude and a close friend of ours is gay and will be at the wedding with his partner. I'm starting to dread this day and hope that she'll just be offended and not come, but I'm not holding my breath. I wish I could just not invite her, but that would be rude on my part. 

    Again I appreciate the advice and hope if anyone who commented is planning a wedding that yours is wonderful and goes smoothly!
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Thanks! To clarify, I planned to invite her boyfriend by name. I shouldn't have called him a +1 above. Just worried she'll try to sub without even telling me. I'll just send my save the dates out as planned and addressed to only those invited. My mom has already told people we plan a small wedding. I'll deal with the confusion once the invitations go out, if any, as the RSVP cards will have specific names on them. I'm just the type of person who would rather head off any confusion, disappointment, etc but at the same time don't want to be rude which is why I'm glad I asked here! My family is small town so wedding etiquette is not a thing. Most of our weddings in the family have been all family invited affairs. Everyone simply shows up so mine is not norm.  

    I do need to send Save the Dates because our wedding day is actually Oaks Day and a lot of people in my area make plans well in advance for Derby events. 
    I get that - me too - but yeah there's really not much you can do. If "the family" wonders, it's legit for them to ask about it, especially of those who might know (i.e. your parents). Your parents should easily be able to say, "Oh, the wedding is small, it'll just be aunts and uncles but no cousins." People can deal.

    Anniversary

    SP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    I think that any of your relatives who are likely to be offended by your small wedding are going to be offended no matter what you say to them.

    I would skip the save-the-dates and invite every guest, including SOs, by name, and let anyone know who responds for guests who are not invited that the invitation is only for those persons listed on the envelope and does not include anyone else, even if the named persons can't make it. And if anyone gets offended, I would respond, "I'm sorry, but we cannot accommodate other guests. (if necessary) We will miss you at the wedding. I'm sorry you won't be able to make it."
    short+sassy
  • Thanks! To clarify, I planned to invite her boyfriend by name. I shouldn't have called him a +1 above. Just worried she'll try to sub without even telling me. I'll just send my save the dates out as planned and addressed to only those invited. My mom has already told people we plan a small wedding. I'll deal with the confusion once the invitations go out, if any, as the RSVP cards will have specific names on them. I'm just the type of person who would rather head off any confusion, disappointment, etc but at the same time don't want to be rude which is why I'm glad I asked here! My family is small town so wedding etiquette is not a thing. Most of our weddings in the family have been all family invited affairs. Everyone simply shows up so mine is not norm.  

    I do need to send Save the Dates because our wedding day is actually Oaks Day and a lot of people in my area make plans well in advance for Derby events. 
    I wouldn't even worry about this. 

    If she does, you won't know it until the day of. Anyone else who would care (specifically your 19-year-old drama queen cousin) won't know until after the fact. Drama queen will be miffed no matter what, but I think most people would be fine with the explanation "John couldn't come, so she brought Timmy instead." (Not that they are entitled to an explanation, but with family it tends to happen.) 

    I even think that you should give her an "and guest" if she and the bf break up, because it sounds like she's the only one of her siblings who's single. If she brings her son as her guest, fine. If anyone causes serious problems over it, they really need to grow up.


    short+sassy
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
    Moderator Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    Skip STDs.

    Tell the family gossip that you are having a very, very small wedding. Confide any info that you need to get out there, such as you will only be inviting your aunts and grandma. 

    Address the invitations properly, with the invitees names. If your aunt is dating someone when the invitations go out (8-10 weeks before the wedding), you should invite him/her by name. 

    If your aunt adds her son to her RSVP, you will have to decide if you will call her on it or allow her add-on. 
                
    SP29
  • I really think there is a very simple answer to this question, especially since your decisions are being driven by cost and desire for a small wedding and NOT driven by any particular dislike or wish to exclude.

    No, don't send an email before hand. 

    If you live close enough to have a face to face discussion with aunts and uncles regarding why cousins are not invited, meet them for coffee for a brief conversation. Individually if possible. Your facial cues and voice inflection will go a far way toward fending off misunderstandings and hurt feelings. If you don't live close enough, you'll have to do it by phone call. But do it - do it as soon as possible, and certainly before you send out "save-the-date" cards. For a small wedding, you may not even need these, especially if you've already personally contacted the people involved.

    When you have the conversation be open, not defensive. Allow for people to have feelings. They're sure to be disappointed that they can't share in your special day, but if they really love you - they will understand. If they don't love you, why would you want them there anyway? Be kind. Be real. It will ultimately be a non-issue if explained honestly. Good luck
  • MandyMost said:

    You are having a 40-person wedding, so let's do some math. Assuming all couples, that's 20 people. Assuming you've already cleared the dates with your parents, that's 18 people. Instead of sending 18 save-the-dates, why not make 18 phone calls/visits to these people where you let them know the date of your wedding so they can make appropriate travel plans (or not make other plans to be out of town, if that's the case). Example:

    "Hey Aunt Sue, we finally picked a date for our wedding, and wanted to let you know so you could mark your calendar! It's going to be on the evening of Saturday, March 15th. It's going to be really small, but we hope you and Uncle Bob can make it"

    ......

    "Yeah, we decided to only invite aunts and uncles and no cousins. How is Cousin Sue, anyway? I'd love to hang out with her some other time!". 
    I did something similar to your suggestion.  I had a small wedding with 40 people invited and 35 people who were able to attend.  About half the folks invited were OOT.  Instead of STDs, we called those people as soon as we set the date to give them a "heads up", before invitations were sent at a later date.  Local invitees only received invitations.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    SP29
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    I would let your parents pass it along casually in conversation that you are having a small wedding with aunts/uncles only. If it comes up in conversation (such as with your grandma or whoever else you are close with and talk to regularly) you can mention that you would like an intimate wedding, so you're keeping things small. Never appropriate to say who isn't invited though, and your email won't solve anything. I think it'll ruffle more feathers than needed. Address any issues when they come.

    You really don't *need* STDs. You can send them if you want, but a phone call would just as suffice. "Hey Aunt Sue, just wanted to let you know that we are planning our wedding for March 15th and we hope you and Uncle Bob are able to attend!", "Oh! how nice! But what about your cousin Billy and Jen?", "We are having a small wedding and unfortunately are unable to invite the whole family. Hope you and Uncle Bob can make it!".
  • 1) Skip STD cards - not worth the expense and plans change...
    2) When you're doing your RSVP cards...  "One/Two seats have been reserved in X and Y (BY NAME) honor... Meal choices..."  YOU write the names in yourself, it's an added step for you, but you're in a proper way laying down the law on who is/isn't invited for the etiquette challenged (as though the inner envelope with their names wasn't enough)..  
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    MairePoppyshort+sassy
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards