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Etiquette

I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad

Even though my wedding is a long way off I'm trying to think of the best way to handle this situation.  My aunt and uncle have very little money.  There are some issues (she has paranoia and he is on the autism spectrum with Asperger's) and the little money they do make from her social security/disability and his part time job doesn't go far.  So, not only do I not expect gifts from them, I don't want gifts from them because it would mean taking away from the little money they already have.  Although this will go unnoticed at the wedding since there won't be any opening of cards or gifts at the reception, how can I go about not making my aunt feel uncomfortable at my bridal shower because gift opening will be happening there?  When we do the family gathering on christmas we've stopped taking time out of the day to open the cards and the gifts because they used to always spend money on gifts for the niecs and nephews when they knew there was going to be "present time" but I don't think we can skip opening gifts at the bridal shower.  Any suggestions?  Do I give her a different shower invite that does not say anything about a registry?  I don't want her to even spend $5 on me as they absolutely cannot afford to part with any of their money. 

Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad

  • I would probably just invite her like everyone else you are inviting and let her make the choice if she wants to attend/buy a gift. 

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  • In Response to I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    Even though my wedding is a long way off I'm trying to think of the best way to handle this situation.  My aunt and uncle have very little money.  There are some issues (she has paranoia and he is on the autism spectrum with Asperger's) and the little money they do make from her social security/disability and his part time job doesn't go far.  So, not only do I not expect gifts from them, I don't want gifts from them because it would mean taking away from the little money they already have.  Although this will go unnoticed at the wedding since there won't be any opening of cards or gifts at the reception, how can I go about not making my aunt feel uncomfortable at my bridal shower because gift opening will be happening there?  When we do the family gathering on christmas we've stopped taking time out of the day to open the cards and the gifts because they used to always spend money on gifts for the niecs and nephews when they knew there was going to be "present time" but I don't think we can skip opening gifts at the bridal shower.  Any suggestions?  Do I give her a different shower invite that does not say anything about a registry?  I don't want her to even spend $5 on me as they absolutely cannot afford to part with any of their money. 
    Posted by SB1512
    You have to trust them to be able to decide that for themselves.

  • SB1512SB1512 member
    500 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited March 2012
    Yes I know it's a long way off, but I'm a planner and a thinker and I know that my dad is going to tell his brother and wife do not buy a gift you cannot afford it (honestly, between the 2 of them they pull in less than $500 per week), I just don't want them to feel bad.  They cannot make those decisions for themselves with regards to spending money.  They both have conditions that do not allow for rational thinking.  We have set them up more than once with financial planners and both times they have flipped out and fired the people saying they are not allowing them to own their money (my aunt will go out 5 days a week and buy a gallon milk.  they dont ever drink it, it just sits in the fridge and when one goes bad she buys more to replace it)
  • I think you have good intentions, but I think you need to not concern yourself with their finances and let them decide what they can and can't afford.
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  • I would invite her just as everyone else. If she knew that she received a special invite w/o registry info, don't you think that would make her feel worse? It would be like you calling her out on her financial situation and sorta treating her like a child. Just trust her that she will spend what she is willing and able.
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  • Knowing me i'd probably worry as well, but they are adults and they should do know what they can and cannot afford. My MIL makes minimum wage, she still bought FI and I a present, I wish she hadn't but she did.
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  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    Do you think it would hurt their feelings if you said something like that to them though? They are probably very aware of their finances - I would think you implying they are too poor for a gift would be a little insulting.
    Posted by rachers1017
    Yeah, I think that would make them feel bad. Like I said above if I had told my FMIL "No we want you to save your money and do not need or want a present." That would've really hurt her feelings.
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  • IF they are that bad with money and whatever.. I'd just have your dad say something to them or help them out with the situation. If I were you, I'd stay out of it.
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  • Agree with everyone above who said you need to not make yourself crazy about this.

    Before she died, my grandmother was on an extremely limited budget.  Generally when there was a shower or similar, my mother would take her shopping and they would choose a gift together that my mother would pay for and they would both sign the card.  Is it possible that your mother could do something similar with your aunt?
  • I'd stay out of it, too. I'm sure many of us have family members who don't have a ton of money -- my grandmother comes to mind, for example. It kills me that she still sends me a $25 check for my birthday every year. We've readjusted Christmas so that she and my (now deceased) grandpa didn't have to buy us all gifts. You know what? She still buys everyone a gift even though they're on a very fixed income. 

    These people are adults and can choose to spend their money as they wish. I realize there are other health issues at play here, but that still shouldn't change the situation. You invite them to the appropriate things and don't treat them differently just because you know their financial situation. I'm sure there are plenty of people on your guest list who you DON'T know the financial situation for that may be in a crunch as well.

    You invite people to the appropriate events and you let them decide how to spend their money.
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  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    But your wedding is 15 months away.  So, your shower would be anywhere from a year to 14 months from now.  God only knows what will happen between now and then.  My mom has been going crazy trying to figure out for a couple of months how to get my wheelchair-bound grandmother to the church for my wedding that is five months from now.  She died last weekend.  The moral of the story is, there's only so much you can plan.  Stop.
    Posted by EaglesBride2012
    I agree with this. You really should not be worrying about this now. You have plenty of time.
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  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    But your wedding is 15 months away.  So, your shower would be anywhere from a year to 14 months from now.  God only knows what will happen between now and then.  My mom has been going crazy trying to figure out for a couple of months how to get my wheelchair-bound grandmother to the church for my wedding that is five months from now.  She died last weekend.  The moral of the story is, there's only so much you can plan.  Stop.
    Posted by EaglesBride2012
    Oh, this is sad Eagles. We had a similar issue with my grandfather, but had basically planned for him and my grandmother not to attend (he was on oxygen and would have to fly, which would have been impossible and thus my g-ma would likely have stayed behind as well.) He died on Jan. 31. Planning is for the birds.
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  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    When I wasn't doing so well and barely making it from paycheck to paycheck, my family used to tell me not to buy them Christmas presents. When I did buy them gifts (which I always did), they'd protest and say things like, "You shouldn't have bought us anything. You don't have much money." It made me feel like crap . I spent every Christmas in tears because it was the one time I felt happy about being able to buy something nice for someone else, but instead of enjoying the gift I'd spent so much time picking out, they'd sit there and say I shouldn't have bought it because I was poor. Being poor made me feel horrible, like a second-rate person, and they'd just reminded me of that. On Christmas. Picture a balloon deflating. Bottom line: I knew Christmas was coming, so I'd put aside $5 here and there so I could afford a few gifts for everyone. I did the same thing for my brother's wedding and got him the best gift I could buy for $20. Please leave this decision up to your aunt and uncle, and please do not hurt their feelings by bringing up their financial situation and telling them not to bring a gift.
    Posted by burntofferings
    100% This, my grandparents do that to FI and I at Christmas, it always makes us feel bad so last year we didn't get them anything. We do that we put money aside as it gets closer. It is such a hurtful position to be in.
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  • edited March 2012
    Why not have your parents suggest a joint gift from the four of them, if the family feels they're insiting on doing too much when the time comes..?  Ideally your parents would contribute most, if not all, of the cost and then everyone signs their name. 

    However, you really have no control over what they do with their money.  And I agree with PPs that it's probably a little to early to be thinking about that.  Who knows, from here till now they could win the lottery.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    Yes I know it's a long way off, but I'm a planner and a thinker and I know that my dad is going to tell his brother and wife do not buy a gift you cannot afford it (honestly, between the 2 of them they pull in less than $500 per week), I just don't want them to feel bad.  They cannot make those decisions for themselves with regards to spending money.  They both have conditions that do not allow for rational thinking.  We have set them up more than once with financial planners and both times they have flipped out and fired the people saying they are not allowing them to own their money (my aunt will go out 5 days a week and buy a gallon milk.  they dont ever drink it, it just sits in the fridge and when one goes bad she buys more to replace it)
    Posted by SB1512
    Honestly, if this is how they reacted to financial planners, how do you think they are going to react to you (or another family member) stepping in and telling them that they can't buy a gift?  

    Unless someone is willing to step in and get a power of attorney or try to force the state to declare them incompetent, you cannot do anything about how they manage their finances. 
  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    But your wedding is 15 months away.  So, your shower would be anywhere from a year to 14 months from now.  God only knows what will happen between now and then.  My mom has been going crazy trying to figure out for a couple of months how to get my wheelchair-bound grandmother to the church for my wedding that is five months from now.  She died last weekend.  The moral of the story is, there's only so much you can plan.  Stop.
    Posted by EaglesBride2012
    What Eagles said sums it up right there. 

    I'm a thinker and planner too, but there's only so much within your control. They're adults and they can choose how to spend their money however they'd like.  If they give you a gift, accept it graciously and send a thoughtful thank you.  Don't let it bother you.  My mom did something similar to what Eagles' mom did, and now we have a venue that is wheelchair accessible for my grandmother.  My grandmother has since passed away.  There is really only so much you can do or worry about, and I wouldn't let this one bother me.
  • I agree that it is a little early to be worrying about this.  But if it makes you feel better, most family showers I have been to, the Aunts all go in together to get a group gift.  Why don't you suggest that to your mom and have her and some other Aunts get together and they can all choose a gift together.  When it comes time to settle up, just don't ask this Aunt for payment.  Or ask her to purchase and bring the card because "Aunt so-and-so bought the gift, Aunt M is wrapping it, and we still don't have the perfect card picked out!"  That should only cost $3-4 and will still have her contributing and feeling like part of the group. 
  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    Yes I know it's a long way off, but I'm a planner and a thinker and I know that my dad is going to tell his brother and wife do not buy a gift you cannot afford it (honestly, between the 2 of them they pull in less than $500 per week), I just don't want them to feel bad.  They cannot make those decisions for themselves with regards to spending money.  They both have conditions that do not allow for rational thinking.  We have set them up more than once with financial planners and both times they have flipped out and fired the people saying they are not allowing them to own their money (my aunt will go out 5 days a week and buy a gallon milk.  they dont ever drink it, it just sits in the fridge and when one goes bad she buys more to replace it)
    Posted by SB1512
    I'm a planner too, but there's a line. Sounds like this issues falls into the "delegate" category of wedding planning. If you believe your dad will already handle it, there's no need to worry. It's his family I presume, so delegate dealing with them to him. If your aunt/uncle fail to listen to your father's advice, that shouldn't be your problem.
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  • thanks for the posts.  I understand the stuff some people but about them being adults and whatnot, perhaps I didn't get the answers I was looking for because I didn't clarify the situation.  My aunt and uncle both have severe mental health issues.  What makes it worse is that they were born and brought up in an era where when you had a child that wasn't "right" instead of seeking help, the problem was ignored.  My uncle was finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (it's a form of autism) in his late 40's and my aunt has some type of paranoia issue that has never fully been controlled through meds.  To put it simply, their life together is the equivelant of 2 seven year olds playing house.  They may be in adult bodies, but they have the minds of children about certain things.  Yes they can cook and clean and function day to day, but certain concepts like money and finances and other adult responsibilities are absolutely lost on them.   Essentially they do need someone to tell them what they can and cannot do when it comes to money or else they will end up on the streets broke and homeles because my uncle thinks it OK to spend money on movies and dvds and other toys before paying his mortgage or going grocery shopping.  so yes I get that this is a long way off to be concerned with but nothing is going to change.  they aren't going to win the lotto or magically start saving money.   mental illness doesn't work like that.  it doesn't get better overnight, and in this case since these problems have been going on for 20+ years it's probably not going to get better at all........Thank you to those who did give me viable suggestions.  I will make sure as we get closer to maybe have my mom do the suggestion from CBVCRU about having the aunts go in on a gift together and telling this particular aunt to only buy a card, or have my mom take my aunt shopping and pick out a small less expensive item.
  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    [QUOTE] However, if your family is a family that bean-counts, or is judgmental and snarky regarding people's gift-giving ability and attendance, you might want to spend the next 15 months working on breaking those bad habits.
    Posted by AFP07[
    /QUOTE]

    Not cool and completely uncalled for since you have no idea of the situation clearly.  We are talking about mental health, not physical health, a completely different situation with its own set of complexities.  My family is not being snarky about gift giving ability we just want to keep them from spending all they have and ending up broke and homeless.  And I never said they were not on the guest list, so no idea why you dragged attendance into this either.
  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad : I don't like you.  You've got a snotty attitude.
    Posted by EaglesBride2012
    Thank you eagles. 
  • I would discuss it with your dad.  If he's the one that gives them the most help with finances, maybe he can find a way to either work with them, or let them know that no gift is necessicary.  Or, the idea of going in with a gift together with someone else is also a good one.  But I would talk about it with your dad first, and see what he suggests.  Then, let it go. 
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  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    thanks for the posts.  I understand the stuff some people but about them being adults and whatnot, perhaps I didn't get the answers I was looking for because I didn't clarify the situation.  My aunt and uncle both have severe mental health issues.  What makes it worse is that they were born and brought up in an era where when you had a child that wasn't "right" instead of seeking help, the problem was ignored.  My uncle was finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (it's a form of autism) in his late 40's and my aunt has some type of paranoia issue that has never fully been controlled through meds.  To put it simply, their life together is the equivelant of 2 seven year olds playing house.  They may be in adult bodies, but they have the minds of children about certain things.  Yes they can cook and clean and function day to day, but certain concepts like money and finances and other adult responsibilities are absolutely lost on them.   Essentially they do need someone to tell them what they can and cannot do when it comes to money or else they will end up on the streets broke and homeles because my uncle thinks it OK to spend money on movies and dvds and other toys before paying his mortgage or going grocery shopping.  so yes I get that this is a long way off to be concerned with but nothing is going to change.  they aren't going to win the lotto or magically start saving money.   mental illness doesn't work like that.  it doesn't get better overnight, and in this case since these problems have been going on for 20+ years it's probably not going to get better at all........Thank you to those who did give me viable suggestions.  I will make sure as we get closer to maybe have my mom do the suggestion from CBVCRU about having the aunts go in on a gift together and telling this particular aunt to only buy a card, or have my mom take my aunt shopping and pick out a small less expensive item.
    Posted by SB1512
    Having this info now changes my response.  I didn't realize what their situation was exactly.

    Given that info, I think the option of having your aunt get a card, and/or small gift, is perfect.  You still want her included, and I think that's the best way.  She'd still get to see you open a card and gift from her at the shower, and that will make everyone happy. 

    You're still  a year away though, and I know they may not win the lottery, but you've still got plenty of time on this.  Your registry may change, etc., so I wouldn't worry about it until the time draws near. 
  • I have 20 items on my registry priced less than $5. [On a registry of 65 items. woo-hoo] So if it's just figuring out a gift that won't mess up their finances, there are such gifts. Others here have other good ideas just addressing the shower.

    If you really think the extended family needs to step in and help them with financial management, maybe it's time to call social services, ombudsman, etc. who help families in these situations. That's not a wedding issue. That's a family issue.
  • Knowing that now I would change my answer as well, I think a shared card or gift would be great. Or yes your mom taking the aunt out shopping and picking up something small and inexpensive. I would stil let it go for now, I mean things aren't going to change but right now it's too soon to worry about it.
    image
  • In Response to Re: I don't want to make my aunt and uncle feel bad:
    I have 20 items on my registry priced less than $5. [On a registry of 65 items. woo-hoo] So if it's just figuring out a gift that won't mess up their finances, there are such gifts. Others here have other good ideas just addressing the shower. If you really think the extended family needs to step in and help them with financial management, maybe it's time to call social services, ombudsman, etc. who help families in these situations. That's not a wedding issue. That's a family issue.
    Posted by ElisabethJoanne
    Yes.  They do work with social services and like I said they've had free financial planners help before as part of what social services offers but my aunt's paranoia always creeps up and they fire the person.  they were basically put on an allowance by the financial person so they could build up and have a savings account and my aunt and uncle would freak out when they couldn't have control over all their money.  so then they fire the planner get all their money and in about 2 days their savings are gone.  My family is involved and we do what we can but unfortunately we are not yet at a point where they can be declared incompetant and have my dad or his sister assigned as a legal guardian.
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