Wedding Etiquette Forum

Etiquette regarding always inviting SO's.

I have a very very dear friend... actually a bit of a "second mother" to me (My mother has passed). She has always been wonderful to me and is one of my closest friends. However, she has a history of making very poor choices. She has been married to more than one prison inmate, etc. Her current SO is currently a parolee-- he was convicted of Aggravated Robbery and Murder in the 1st degree 22 years ago. I'm very VERY leery of inviting him, but at the same time, trying to avoid a breech of etiquette. Thoughts? Opinions? Etc.
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Re: Etiquette regarding always inviting SO's.

  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    If this SO murdered someone, i feel that is an exception to the rule. Etiquette is about making all of your guests comfortable; they shouldn't have to worry about a convicted robber and murderer at an event they are attending.
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  • He was convicted 22 years ago. Did he serve his time? I understand that you are leery, but if he served his time you need to relax. Unless he is constantly offending it is in the past. You can forgive other people who make a mistake right?
    I kind of agree with this.  It was a long time ago, and you don't know the full circumstances.  Is there anything about him now that would make you think he is still prone to crime?  If not, then let his past go. 

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  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I agree with the PPs who said it was a long time ago and he's served his time. I can understand your concern but unless he has done something to you or your friend that makes you think he is a danger to you or your guests, I think he should still be invited.


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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I totally understand why you're uncomfortable, but I think that unless his current behavior has been really troubling, the best decision is to invite him with your friend. Given that your friend is a mother figure in your life and means so much to you, it seems better to invite them both together than to ruin your relationship with her.
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  • KGold80KGold80 member
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    I can totally understand why you would be hesitant, but 22 years is a very long time. I know I'm not the same person I was even 10 years ago. People grow and change and can even become better people than they once were. I agree with others - unless he has been shady recently and you have reason to suspect that he is still a violent individual, I would invite him as the SO of someone you truly care about and want to keep in your life.
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
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    Unless he is CURRENTLY exhibiting criminal behavior or has been violent toward you, you should invite him.
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  • AddieCake said:

    Unless he is CURRENTLY exhibiting criminal behavior or has been violent toward you, you should invite him.


    This. Whatever his crimes, society has determined that he has served his time. Unless his current behavior gives true cause for alarm, or he has personally victimized you or someone very close to you, it's time to let go and let the past be the past.

    However, you mentioned he was a parolee. Do you mean he is still under supervised release? If so--OP, do you intend to serve alcohol? He might not be able to attend at all if the conditions of his release require him to avoid events/places where booze is present.
  • BlergbotBlergbot An enchanted land member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Third Anniversary First Answer
    So here's the deal. I'm going to give you a pass on not inviting a murderer. That is something that I would judge on a case by case basis, and if you don't feel comfortable, then don't. HOWEVER...you have to be prepared to accept the consequences of this. This may be a friendship ending move. If she sees this as a snub, then you're going to have to own up to your choices. That said, I would be apologetic and not self righteous, if this is the route you choose to go. You just have to consider your relationship and weigh it against your comfort level. Is this guy likely to murder someone at your wedding, no. So is it worth possibly losing this friend over?
  • 1.  No, there will not be alcohol at the wedding.  It is going to be a daytime wedding. 

    2.  I think the problem I'm having with being ok with this is that I AM the victim of a violent crime.  Had a family member murdered in front of me.  Not by this person, mind you... but I know had the perp in MY case been out after only 20 years. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I'm sorry for your loss.  However, all murders or any criminal for that matter are one size fits all.    Every circumstance is difference and every jury or judge hands down different sentences for the same crime.  It's hard to compare your situation with another situation.  It's not that simple.   

    Bottom line is it's your wedding and you can invite anyone you want.   Actions have consequences.  Not inviting him might results in your "second mom" not attending.  If you are fine with that then don't invite him.   

    Good luck with your decision.

    I may suggest counseling about your family members loss?






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • He's probably  not going to murder anyone at your reception so I say invite him.
  • In terms of counseling... my situation was over 30 years ago.  The ship has sailed on that one....I'm probably going to invite both of them and hope deep down that he can't make it.  I really don't want him there, but I do want her there.
  • It sucks, but this really is one of those situations where you can't win. It's never a good idea to invite somebody in strong hopes they won't come. You sound very uncomfortable with this whole marriage. It would appear from the original post that you don't think very highly of your friend's judgment in the romance department. That's understandable, but it will never stop being a source of division between you unless you can find a way to get past that way of thinking.

    At the same time, I think most women would be horribly upset if you refused to invite their husbands because of a personal hangup completely unrelated to them or their behavior. I am so sorry for all of the pain you had to endure all these years. What happened to you 30 years ago sounds absolutely horrific and traumatizing. It also has nothing to do with this man or your friend.

    It sounds to me like deep down, you do not believe other people can change after 20 years--once a killer, always a killer? I agree with PP suggestion that counseling or ongoing therapy might be a good
    idea. I also think that ex-con or not, this is still a package deal--both or none. Perhaps it's better to invite neither of them, or perhaps you need to make a point of learning more about this guy.
  • jneen101 said:
    He's probably  not going to murder anyone at your reception so I say invite him.
    This sentence is so crazy to me. Having to say  "well, he probably won't kill anyone..." just doesn't seem okay to me. I agree with previous posters that circumstances in crimes are often different. Maybe there WERE mitigating circumstances that OP knows about that I don't but... yeah. As liberal as I try to be, I don't think I could get past most (again, most, not all) instances of murder, whether or not they served 20 years in prison.  And particularly in light of your past, OP, I get your concern. 

    I also agree with PP that not inviting him could hurt your relationship with your friend. You have to decide what is most important to you. 
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  • chibiyuichibiyui The Boring Part of MD member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    In terms of counseling... my situation was over 30 years ago.  The ship has sailed on that one....I'm probably going to invite both of them and hope deep down that he can't make it.  I really don't want him there, but I do want her there.
    The ship has not sailed. You might want to look into it. Even one or two sessions can help.
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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    chibiyui said:
    In terms of counseling... my situation was over 30 years ago.  The ship has sailed on that one....I'm probably going to invite both of them and hope deep down that he can't make it.  I really don't want him there, but I do want her there.
    The ship has not sailed. You might want to look into it. Even one or two sessions can help.
    Agreed.
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  • In terms of counseling... my situation was over 30 years ago.  The ship has sailed on that one....I'm probably going to invite both of them and hope deep down that he can't make it.  I really don't want him there, but I do want her there.
    This ship has definitely not sailed. What happened clearly had an effect on you and you're still being effected by it, which isn't surprising.

    You don't know if his stint in jail has changed him or even the circumstances surrounding his prosecution. I'm not saying ask him, but maybe get to know him before deciding if he is worth all this worrying. You say you're close to your friend. Well, why not invite him and her boyfriend out to lunch? If he makes you uncomfortable, then don't invite him to your wedding. However, that choice could be a friendship ending move, since your friend might not agree with your choice.
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  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yes, etiquette states a SO should always be invited.

    Anyone can choose to break this etiquette rule- for whatever reason (justified or not). However, you must realize that there are consequences to every action.

    If this man makes you uncomfortable, then you have the choice not to invite him. However, you run the risk of ruining the relationship you have with your friend, as not inviting her SO (who is currently "clean", for lack of better word...) is disrespectful to her and her relationship with him. 

    Your friend has made the choice to be with this man, so it's your choice about where to take your relationship with her- do you accept her for all that she is? good and bad? Or do you end your friendship with her? 

    Personally, I don't know what I would do. I'd like to think if I had a dear friend whom I loved and valued that I would try to trust his/her judgement and invite my friend with his/her SO (baring any current safety or legal issues). 
  • kla728kla728 member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I just have to say how refreshing it is to see everyone's responses to this thread.  It is nice to see a majority of folks agreeing that this man has served his time.  
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    kla728 said:
    I just have to say how refreshing it is to see everyone's responses to this thread.  It is nice to see a majority of folks agreeing that this man has served his time.  

    **** SIB 

    I have a friend who is a convicted sex offender.     To someone who doesn't know the situation he is John Smith, Sex Offender AKA scum of the earth.  To those of us who were around when  it went down know he was complete railroaded.  

    His experience has really made me realized that being convicted of "x" is not one size fits all.  In addition to that,  I also believe in serving their time.  That does not mean I do not understand why victims might not think  the same  way.     It's really tricky, there are some true scum bags out there.  There are also people who ended up in shitty situations.  There are convicts who repeat, there are convicts who doe their time and come out better people.   

    The OP hasn't really given us any information other than she doesn't want to invite him because of his conviction.  I'm not even sure she has even met the guy.  So I'm not sure she even knows what category this guy falls into.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Unless they are married, engaged or living together, etiquette does not require you to invite him. The bigger problem is how your friend will react to her boyfriend not being invited and if you are prepared to accept the fallout. You might be able to claim its a space/budget issue but if you are inviting the SO's of other friends, it will be obvious this isn't true. You could decide on a blanket rule that ONLY married, engaged and live-in couples are invited together.
  • SP29 said:
    Yes, etiquette states a SO should always be invited.

    Anyone can choose to break this etiquette rule- for whatever reason (justified or not). However, you must realize that there are consequences to every action.

    If this man makes you uncomfortable, then you have the choice not to invite him. However, you run the risk of ruining the relationship you have with your friend, as not inviting her SO (who is currently "clean", for lack of better word...) is disrespectful to her and her relationship with him. 

    Your friend has made the choice to be with this man, so it's your choice about where to take your relationship with her- do you accept her for all that she is? good and bad? Or do you end your friendship with her? 

    Personally, I don't know what I would do. I'd like to think if I had a dear friend whom I loved and valued that I would try to trust his/her judgement and invite my friend with his/her SO (baring any current safety or legal issues). 

    It's always against etiquette to exclude the s/o.  Even if he is a thief, a murderer, or a deadbeat.  Sometimes when people are dangerous, etiquette isn't the most important thing.  

    A 22 year old conviction doesn't make him dangerous now.  I had a friend who was previously convicted of homicide at my wedding.  He'd done his time, made some changes, and is actually now one of the best people I know.  

    No, that's incorrect. Etiquette only views married, engaged and live-in couples as a social unit that must be invited together. It is not required to extend plus-ones to people in casual dating relationships. As for his having served his time, that's true - but long prison sentences tend not to have a positive effect on people. OP - have you met this guy? Do you want too? What do you know about him? Is he employed or living off your friend? Does he have relationships with his family? Has he made a real effort to assimilate back into society? Or does he just talk a good game? If he gives you a bad vibe, don't invite him.
  • Zhabeego said:
    Unless they are married, engaged or living together, etiquette does not require you to invite him. The bigger problem is how your friend will react to her boyfriend not being invited and if you are prepared to accept the fallout. You might be able to claim its a space/budget issue but if you are inviting the SO's of other friends, it will be obvious this isn't true. You could decide on a blanket rule that ONLY married, engaged and live-in couples are invited together.




    Stuck in a box.


    A lot of people agree with the bolded, but you're actually supposed to invite any SO, not just engaged/married/living together. If they say they're a couple, you have to invite them.
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  • ladyamanuetladyamanuet member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer
    edited June 2014
    Zhabeego said:
    Unless they are married, engaged or living together, etiquette does not require you to invite him. The bigger problem is how your friend will react to her boyfriend not being invited and if you are prepared to accept the fallout. You might be able to claim its a space/budget issue but if you are inviting the SO's of other friends, it will be obvious this isn't true. You could decide on a blanket rule that ONLY married, engaged and live-in couples are invited together.
    This is incorrect.  If the couple presents themselves in public as in a relationship, they need to be invited together - they are a social unit whether they live together or not.  Truly single guests do not need to be given a plus one, but anyone who considers themselves in a relationship, whether it be 20 years or 20 days, needs to be invited with their SO. You do not invite someone to celebrate your relationship while simultaneously disrespecting theirs.

    ETA: You do not get to judge the seriousness of someone's relationship. FH and I told each other we loved each other before we were officially a couple (we were friends for a year before we officially started dating).  If he got invited to a wedding 2 months after we became official and I wasn't, we would both be very offended.  We were a serious couple, even though we didn't live together.
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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Zhabeego said:
    Unless they are married, engaged or living together, etiquette does not require you to invite him. The bigger problem is how your friend will react to her boyfriend not being invited and if you are prepared to accept the fallout. You might be able to claim its a space/budget issue but if you are inviting the SO's of other friends, it will be obvious this isn't true. You could decide on a blanket rule that ONLY married, engaged and live-in couples are invited together.
    I just love this way of thinking. H and I were together 5 years before we lived together. So basically people who think the way you do would not invite me with my BF of 5 years because of some silly "rule." But yet you would easily and happily invite a couple who has been together 6 months if they met your criteria. Neither relationship is more or less serious because one couple is living together and the other isn't.

    ladyamanuetpinkshorts27
  • They are "engaged".

    He was originally sentenced to 40 years for a robbery of a convenience store that ended in the murder of the clerk.  He served 20 years of that sentence (he was still a minor, gang related, at the time of conviction).

    He currently works for a construction company (condition of parole).  But, he still appears to be very much in love with the "thug life".  Associates with a lot of people he isn't supposed to associate with, has an unusual amount of "extra money" considering where he works, etc.  From all appearances, he appears to treat my friend quite well.... which is the only reason why I'm even considering inviting him. 
  • The only thing you should be focusing on right now is guest safety. If he's been clean for 20 years, then he's not only not dangerous, but kind of admirable for pull his life from such an extreme low.

    I know it seems overwhelmingly important right now that he not be there, but on the actual day you'd be lucky to even notice he exists. The day will capture your emotional attention so much that you will barely register the guests.



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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    They are "engaged".

    He was originally sentenced to 40 years for a robbery of a convenience store that ended in the murder of the clerk.  He served 20 years of that sentence (he was still a minor, gang related, at the time of conviction).

    He currently works for a construction company (condition of parole).  But, he still appears to be very much in love with the "thug life".  Associates with a lot of people he isn't supposed to associate with, has an unusual amount of "extra money" considering where he works, etc.  From all appearances, he appears to treat my friend quite well.... which is the only reason why I'm even considering inviting him. 
    So he hasn't been in trouble since his 20+ year old conviction and you are basically assuming the worst because of the people he hangs out with and the fact that he has "extra" money that doesn't fit his current employment. I am sorry but unless you know this man well you shouldn't make assumptions off of what you see. If he treats your friend well and is currently not in trouble with the law (being on parole really doesn't count) then I don't see any issue with inviting him. Maybe instead of thinking of the worse about this man you maybe take some time to get to know the man that your friend (second Mother) is going to marry.

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