Etiquette

Advice needed for a tricky conversation

Hi all, 

Brand new around here, so pls excuse my lack of history.

I would very much appreciate some wording assistance with an etiquette issue I’ve recently stumbled upon. My best friend of 30 years passed away recently after a very long battle with cancer. She left two children, my goddaughters. The eldest one got engaged in December, and held an engagement party in January (I know, I know, people shouldn’t throw their own parties... but around here, it is very much the done thing so it didn’t raise any eyebrows).


Along with travelling a long distance to attend (8hr flight), I gave the couple a very generous gift voucher to the best restaurant in the city, so that they could enjoy a romantic evening out together, something the wouldn’t usually have the means to do.


  • It’s been 5 months and I am still yet to receive a thank you card from my engagement gift. I haven’t even had a tagged pic on Facebook of her and her fiancé eating at the restaurant (if she hasn’t used it yet, she needs to urgently before the voucher expires)
  • I never received my postal invitation to the engagement party, somehow mine got “lost in the post” (along with most of her aunts etc that I spoke to)
  • I still don’t have a STD for her wedding (which I believe is sometime in Feb 2019?) , even though she has asked me for my address to mail it to me 3 times now. She expects me to fly over again, take a week off work, and contribute to the reception, but she hasn’t officially even told me the date yet!

I need to bring these up with her, as I am a bit hurt about the lack of an invitation to the past event, and the total absence of any kind of thank you for my gift. If I’m hurt, then others may well be too if she hasn’t sent out any thank you notes at all. If her mum were still with us, I’d have a frank chat with her and she’d raise the topic, but since she’s not here and there are no other women of esteem in her life who can navigate her through these life lessons, it really is up to me to guide her here, and help her to not offend any of her wedding guests.


My goddaughter is quite young and hasn’t been to any weddings herself, so this is all very new to her. I’m much older and wiser, and as her godmother I don’t want to hurt her, merely help and teach her... and she’s making such a godawful mess of things I just want to shake some sense into her, I just don’t know how without offending her.


I need her to listen and absorb instead of taking offence or getting defensive. Any hints or tips for me, of how I can raise it with her? Please no suggestions that I point her to an etiquette website or purchase her a book, she won’t listen/read on her own so I need to drive this myself...

Re: Advice needed for a tricky conversation

  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member

    Hi all, 

    Brand new around here, so pls excuse my lack of history.

    I would very much appreciate some wording assistance with an etiquette issue I’ve recently stumbled upon. My best friend of 30 years passed away recently after a very long battle with cancer. She left two children, my goddaughters. The eldest one got engaged in December, and held an engagement party in January (I know, I know, people shouldn’t throw their own parties... but around here, it is very much the done thing so it didn’t raise any eyebrows).


    Along with travelling a long distance to attend (8hr flight), I gave the couple a very generous gift voucher to the best restaurant in the city, so that they could enjoy a romantic evening out together, something the wouldn’t usually have the means to do.


    • It’s been 5 months and I am still yet to receive a thank you card from my engagement gift. I haven’t even had a tagged pic on Facebook of her and her fiancé eating at the restaurant (if she hasn’t used it yet, she needs to urgently before the voucher expires)
    • I never received my postal invitation to the engagement party, somehow mine got “lost in the post” (along with most of her aunts etc that I spoke to)
    • I still don’t have a STD for her wedding (which I believe is sometime in Feb 2019?) , even though she has asked me for my address to mail it to me 3 times now. She expects me to fly over again, take a week off work, and contribute to the reception, but she hasn’t officially even told me the date yet!

    I need to bring these up with her, as I am a bit hurt about the lack of an invitation to the past event, and the total absence of any kind of thank you for my gift. If I’m hurt, then others may well be too if she hasn’t sent out any thank you notes at all. If her mum were still with us, I’d have a frank chat with her and she’d raise the topic, but since she’s not here and there are no other women of esteem in her life who can navigate her through these life lessons, it really is up to me to guide her here, and help her to not offend any of her wedding guests.


    My goddaughter is quite young and hasn’t been to any weddings herself, so this is all very new to her. I’m much older and wiser, and as her godmother I don’t want to hurt her, merely help and teach her... and she’s making such a godawful mess of things I just want to shake some sense into her, I just don’t know how without offending her.


    I need her to listen and absorb instead of taking offence or getting defensive. Any hints or tips for me, of how I can raise it with her? Please no suggestions that I point her to an etiquette website or purchase her a book, she won’t listen/read on her own so I need to drive this myself...

    At the moment I can't think of how to handle this right now (Monday morning, drinking my cup'o'joe) but I do want to express my condolences for the loss of your best friend. I'm very sorry. 
    ________________________________


    ahoywedding
  • At the moment I can't think of how to handle this right now (Monday morning, drinking my cup'o'joe) but I do want to express my condolences for the loss of your best friend. I'm very sorry. 
    Thank you. It was a horrible ending to a wonderful life and I was so honoured to have been with her on her life’s journey, even though it was cruelly cut short.
  • I think you need to handle this gently.

    Is it common to give a voucher that has an expiration date?   I am interpreting your post that you aren't in the US.   In many states including my own it would be odd to give a gift with a time limit to it.    Gift certificates cannot have expiration dates to them.   Also, it's possible that your God daughter is following a rule that a gift given that has anything to do with the engagement or wedding is not to be used until the wedding takes place.   That actually *IS* the etiquette rule so I'd hope that you didn't put her in the position of having to use a gift before her wedding to break an etiquette rule.

    Also, leave your traveling out of this.   I'm not minimizing that an 8 hour flight is a long time to travel.   However that's a choice you made.  

    So from here it sounds like she's had two smaller blunders:
    1) The invitation for the party was lost in the mail.   As long as it didn't sound like this was a half-hearted invitation it seemed like you were truly invited and welcomed.     Perhaps she chose an invitation that had odd postage requirements?   It's odd but not the worst offense.

    2) She hasn't sent a TY note yet.   You're right - that's a blunder and something that needs to be remedied.

    Finally, the lack of STD is not a problem at this point.   They're traditionally sent 6-9 months ahead of a wedding.   A lack of one at this point isn't a problem AND they aren't required.   A Save The Date is a new invention and plenty couples coordinated things in the past.  

    Here's my take: I think you're finding large slights where they don't exist but I think your intentions of helping your Goddaughter along the way are admirable.

    What I'd do: Pick up the phone and call her.   Ask her how things are going and how she feels about things.   Offer to see if she's overwhelmed and needs help.   If your gift will expire soon then be honest about it.   Let her know that you hope she and her FI enjoy the restaurant soon.  Maybe send her a pack of blank TY notes and let her know that they're on the way to her so she can use them for the engagement gifts.   If there's a shower for her then offer to write down the gifts received for her so she can write her TY notes.      Say something like, "How are those TY notes coming for the engagement gifts?   You know you don't need to send one to me but I'm sure your aunts will be expecting them."  

    Be nice to her but along with having her absorb I think you need to cut her some slack because it seems like you're desiring to treat her like a child when she's a grown woman.   Be careful in your approach.
    ahoyweddingthisismynickname2charlotte989875ernursej
  • I am so sorry to hear about the loss of such a close, long-time friend!

    I don't know how often you speak to this goddaughter.  If it's fairly regularly, that makes it even easier.  If not, I'd still get in touch with her with a casual "how are you doing" call and then ask if she and the FI have had a chance to use the voucher yet.  If not, remind her of the expiration date.  I know I would appreciate a reminder like that.  I wish Groupon sent them more often for deals I've purchased, lol.  I've lost many of my promotional values on those!

    The thank-you letters is a little more tricky.  Unless you are pretty close to her, I probably wouldn't say anything.  However, if you are, that gives you a little bit more liberty to be frank with her.  Let her know that you haven't received your thank-you note and wanted to make sure they'd been sent out to all of their guests who gave gifts.  If she says they haven't, give a gentle reminder of the importance.  After that, I'd let it go.

    STDs actually aren't necessary for a wedding, etiquette-wise.  So I would let that go.  If you get one, great.  If not and you know the wedding date, then maybe tentatively plan for travel.  But don't book anything that can't be canceled until you get the invite.  It is annoying that she has continually asked for your address, though.  Maybe they haven't chosen a date yet.

    You say she "expects" you to contribute to the reception.  I don't know if that means financially or helping or both.  But that is extremely rude of her and her FI, unless you offered some type of help first.  And if she can't get her act together to give you enough notice for whatever she wants you to contribute, then that's too bad for her.  Maybe she misses out on some/all of your contribution if she leaves it to the last minute.

    As a similar example, a good and longtime friend lives halfway across the country from me.  I traveled for her first wedding.  She divorced and, a few years later, had a quickie one-month engagement.  I got an invite to her second wedding 3 weeks before the event.  I actually didn't even know she was engaged until I got the invite in the mail!  I would have definitely flown out for her second wedding.  But just couldn't do it with so little notice.  Her and her H didn't want to delay getting married.  And that's fine.  However, it was at the cost of some of their guests not being able to make it.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    ahoyweddingcharlotte989875
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend.

    Yes, it's very rude that you didn't receive a thank-you note for your gift. But I think a photo on Facebook of the couple at the restaurant is too much to expect. Once you give a gift to someone, it's theirs to use or not use as they see fit. If you didn't indicate at the time you have the card that you'd like them to let you know that they used it before it expired, then that boat has sailed and it's too late for you to make conditions about the card's use. And you're not entitled to decide what someone else should post on Facebook.

    The missing engagement party invitation might not be your goddaughter's fault. If she and her FI otherwise hosted you properly and warmly welcomed you, then I'd let this one go.

    Save-the-dates aren't required. I'd just ask her for the logistical information you need at this point (date, times, venues).
    STARMOON44
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member

    Hi all, 

    Brand new around here, so pls excuse my lack of history.

    I would very much appreciate some wording assistance with an etiquette issue I’ve recently stumbled upon. My best friend of 30 years passed away recently after a very long battle with cancer. She left two children, my goddaughters. The eldest one got engaged in December, and held an engagement party in January (I know, I know, people shouldn’t throw their own parties... but around here, it is very much the done thing so it didn’t raise any eyebrows).


    Along with travelling a long distance to attend (8hr flight), I gave the couple a very generous gift voucher to the best restaurant in the city, so that they could enjoy a romantic evening out together, something the wouldn’t usually have the means to do.


    • It’s been 5 months and I am still yet to receive a thank you card from my engagement gift. I haven’t even had a tagged pic on Facebook of her and her fiancé eating at the restaurant (if she hasn’t used it yet, she needs to urgently before the voucher expires)
    • I never received my postal invitation to the engagement party, somehow mine got “lost in the post” (along with most of her aunts etc that I spoke to)
    If you never received an invitation to the engagement party, how did you learn of it?  Does this goddaughter call you frequently?  Did you call her and stumble upon it?  It is a bit odd that the elder family members all experienced “lost” invitations.  Is it possible she intended on not inviting some members in a way to avoid being exposed to the memory of her recent loss?
    • I still don’t have a STD for her wedding (which I believe is sometime in Feb 2019?) , even though she has asked me for my address to mail it to me 3 times now. She expects me to fly over again, take a week off work, and contribute to the reception, but she hasn’t officially even told me the date yet!

    I am very curious to know how/why you are expected to contribute to her reception.  Is it a tradition/expectation for godparents in your family?  Obviously you are close to these girls, and I am sure you would do all you can to attend and help.  However, no one should have any expectations regarding their wedding or who attends.  

    I need to bring these up with her, as I am a bit hurt about the lack of an invitation to the past event, and the total absence of any kind of thank you for my gift. If I’m hurt, then others may well be too if she hasn’t sent out any thank you notes at all. If her mum were still with us, I’d have a frank chat with her and she’d raise the topic, but since she’s not here and there are no other women of esteem in her life who can navigate her through these life lessons, it really is up to me to guide her here, and help her to not offend any of her wedding guests.


    My goddaughter is quite young and hasn’t been to any weddings herself, so this is all very new to her. I’m much older and wiser, and as her godmother I don’t want to hurt her, merely help and teach her... and she’s making such a godawful mess of things I just want to shake some sense into her, I just don’t know how without offending her.


    I need her to listen and absorb instead of taking offence or getting defensive. Any hints or tips for me, of how I can raise it with her? Please no suggestions that I point her to an etiquette website or purchase her a book, she won’t listen/read on her own so I need to drive this myself...

    No matter how these subjects are approached, you unfortunately cannot control how she will respond.  All you can do is speak to her as you would any other loved one.  The rest is up to her.

    I’m sorry for your loss.  
    ShesSoColdahoyweddingJen4948
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    Sometimes the best thing you can do is just "Let it go"/"Shake it off"..  Teaching her a lesson is not your job even though you're the Godmother.  OTOH, the heart of what you do want is to make sure they 1) Received the voucher for the meal and 2) Since the voucher has an expiration (note to you for the future - bad idea to give ANYTHING with an expiration date because not everyone works on your urgency to use a gift like that), you want to make sure they're reminded.

    Next, some people are HORRIBLE about Thank you notes, it happens, OTOH, thefts also happen, and that's why it's important that if you contact them in any way it's to ensure that they did in fact receive it - ONLY!  

    As for the invitation, go in non-judgmentally to ask (as-if you're neutral about being invited in the first place) because you need to ensure the finances and time off are available.  The idea is to not be presumptuous pure and simple, however, she contacted you for an address, you want to make sure this "didn't get lost in the post" as well since it sounds like the invite would be sent out of country which can sometimes be very tricky..

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    short+sassy
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