Wedding Etiquette Forum

Stealing FSIL- Please help!

Hi Ladies, I have never posted here but I lurk often and I really like the advice you all give so I hope you can help me.

I am having a very small ceremony and cocktail hour at my parents home (30 people tops), followed by a reception at a local restaurant. Only family, close friends, and  their SO's are invited.

I have a FSIL who has problems with drugs and theft. When we visit her home (she lives with FIL's) she will take fiance's items from his suitcase, money left on a dresser, makeup from my bag..etc. We now lock all our belonging in the car when we visit. Her parents know, but refuse to acknowledge it.

Given the situation, I am unsure what to do when she is at the wedding. My parents have a large, nice home and I know their things would be in danger of being taken.  Not inviting her would cause drama, and I don't want that at all.

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Re: Stealing FSIL- Please help!

  • aragx6aragx6 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    It doesn't really seem as though there's any good super secret option D here. The way I see it you either:

    A. Invite her and watch everything like a hawk
    B. Don't invite her and deal with the family drama that ensues
    C. Don't have the wedding at your parents house

    Only you can decide which is the best course of action, but I don't see any clear way of inviting your cousin to your parent's home and being certain that nothing will disappear.
    Lizzie
  • Maybe hire a security guard to follow her around the entire time?

    Seriously, if you are that concerned, you and FI need to bring this to your parents' attention.  Decide together what to do about the thieving FSIL. 

    Anniversary
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_stealing-fsil-please-help?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:dc71d260-a25a-47f7-bfe0-c06dc7c87367Post:c072c2b6-3fc0-4b6d-9b59-c49c280a8918">Stealing FSIL- Please help!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Hi Ladies, I have never posted here but I lurk often and I really like the advice you all give so I hope you can help me. I am having a very small ceremony and cocktail hour at my parents home (30 people tops), followed by a reception at a local restaurant. Only family, close friends, and  their SO's are invited. I have a FSIL who has problems with drugs and theft. When we visit her home (she lives with FIL's) she will take fiance's items from his suitcase, money left on a dresser, makeup from my bag..etc. We now lock all our belonging in the car when we visit. Her parents know, but refuse to acknowledge it. Given the situation, I am unsure what to do when she is at the wedding. My parents have a large, nice home and I know their things would be in danger of being taken.  Not inviting her would cause drama, and I don't want that at all.
    Posted by CandyHearts04[/QUOTE]

    That sounds like a messy situation.  The fact that her parents don't acknowledge it is just enabling her.
    Your best bet is to make sure someone is with her at all times.  My guess is with even 30 people swarming aound and no way to take something out without someone knowing, she will hopefully be deterred.
  • I'd give your parents a heads up to lock certain rooms or wings of the house and to not display things they wouldn't want to walk away.

    Or give them free reign to call the cops on her if they notice something missing. 
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  • Yeah I don't really know what the right solution to this is. I'm inclined to say warn your parents, and see if you can ask a guest you're close to to maybe help keep an eye on her. I know it's rude to assign guests responsibilities like this, but I'd make an exception in this case. For the sake of not embarrassing everyone, and to keep your parents stuff out of sticky fingers. Do you have a bridesmaid you could maybe recruit to help you out with this? 
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  • I think this is something that your FI needs to sit down and discuss with his parents the importance of them keeping his sister under control at your parents house and not letting her wander off.  If you are having to lock your belongings in your car when visiting his family, she obviously has a problem.  Do they know you do this?  Do they understand WHY you do this? I'm assuming she's above 18 (although still living at home), but they are her parents and if you need to assign someone the chore/task of keeping her sticky fingers off other people's stuff and searching her bag at the end of the night to make sure, then I think it needs to fall on them.

    If I had a klepto FSIL, I'm not sure I'd open my parents home for the wedding and ask them to take that risk.  Is there any way to move the ceremony/reception to a park/pavillion or something instead?
  • edited May 2012
    Not sure if this is a solution, but would wedding insurance help in the event something does go missing? I don't know much about this type of insurance, but it might be worth finding out since it will be in your parents home (as well as help if there were to be any broken things or injuries on the property). Maybe someone else with more knowledge on the subject can weigh in?
  • I like the park/pavillion idea.  More of a controlled situation.  If it worries you so, look into that option.
    Anniversary
  • Wedding insurance can help if gifts are broken, but I'm pretty sure theft is usually excluded.  It wouldn't do anything for stuff stolen from the parents house. 

    OP, have you talked to your parents to see how they feel about the situation?
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  • Have someone videotape your entire wedding or set up a camera and tell everyone that there will be a videographer there - that way maybe she will tone down her kleptomania for the day.
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  • Thanks ladies, these are all great opinions and I agree that this is a very messy situation. I wish I had better answers as to why her parents won't step in. They have both been going through hard times and I think this is just something they can't handle emotionally.

    Another issue is drinking. She is 20, and a heavy drinker. My parent's home is very traditional, and they have already stated she can not drink there. FI mentioned this to her and said not to worry.. she will bring her flask and drink in the bathroom. I am serious here.
    Now I am going to sound selfish. I have always wanted to get married at my parents home, I do not want to move the wedding because of her. I also do not want WW3 to being at our wedding because she is drunk and stealing silverware to sell for drug money. sigh

    The best I can come up with is hiring an additional server who  is there to keep his eye on her.

  • edited May 2012
    I have not talked to my parents yet.  I will of course let them know the problem, but I wanted to be armed with some possible solutions.
  • I don't think you should hire a server to watch her.  Her parents need to watch her and keep an eye on her.  FI needs to bring this up to his parents!  Either leave her at home or stay with her while at the wedding.  I would also make sure your parents are aware of the situation and see what they have to say about it.  It is their home.  Not only do you have to worry about your parents fine china but also the belongings of the other guests.  No one wants their purse gone through at a wedding let alone a place they feel comfortable enough to leave their purse laying around.  If you do intend on calling the cops if something is stolen make sure you tell FI's family your intentions
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  • hoffsehoffse member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 100 Love Its First Answer
    Honestly I think you should not invite her and tell the parents why - because even if you're at a pavilion you will have guests who bring purses, keep wallets in coat pockets, etc.  So it's not just your parents' home at risk, it's your guests' possessions.  

    As for the drinking, while it's illegal there's not much you can do about that - and that one I would let go.  But I don't think I could let the thieving go.
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  • Personally, I don't give a hoot if she drinks (safely).  I was 20 not that long ago. However, if my father or mother see her drink they will ask her to leave. That is more the problem.

    I was hoping there was a solution I was just missing but clearly this is bigger than my wedding.
  • This may be against good manners, but how about a dress code for your FSIL? Dress w/no pockets, no coat, no purse.... limit the things she can steal simply based on her not being able to stash it anywhere?
  • <strong>In</strong> Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_stealing-fsil-please-help?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:dc71d260-a25a-47f7-bfe0-c06dc7c87367Post:7df4f626-f186-4188-a9df-af73a4442896">Re: Stealing FSIL- Please help!</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>Honestly I think you should not invite her and tell the parents why - because even if you're at a pavilion you will have guests who bring purses, keep wallets in coat pockets, etc.  So it's not just your parents' home at risk, it's your guests' possessions. </strong>  As for the drinking, while it's illegal there's not much you can do about that - and that one I would let go.  But I don't think I could let the thieving go.
    Posted by hoffse[/QUOTE]


    Very good point.  You do not want to be the one wedding everyone talks about years from now because all the guests got robbed. 
    Anniversary
  • I'm sorry you're in this difficult situation. I second PP's advice about talking with her parents and your parents. Your parents may not be willing to take the risk of having her there.

    FWIW, my MIL steals--from  her children's houses, her grandkids, the library, an open house she went to with SIL, etc. As a result of that, she has not been in our house in nearly three years. If the time comes for her to ever come over again, she will not be left alone.  The contents of our bathroom cabinet will be removed to the (locked) master bedroom, and she will be watched like a hawk.

    Had I planned to get married at my parents' house, I would have changed my mind or not invited MIL. To me, the dream location is not worth my parents' property being stolen, their home disrespected, or the humiliation of having the police called to my wedding reception.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_stealing-fsil-please-help?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:dc71d260-a25a-47f7-bfe0-c06dc7c87367Post:8c97170a-e2bd-4966-b0c8-7850aa0a698f">Re: Stealing FSIL- Please help!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Your FI needs to talk to his parents.  They're ignoring the situation because they can.  If it were me?  FI would be sitting down with his parents, telling them that their two choices are to attend without her or stay next to her literally the entire time.  Take her to the bathroom (and sit on the edge of the tub while she pees).  Go with her to refill her drink.  Follow her everydamnwhere.  Also, they need to be prepared that if something is missing the police will be contacted and she will be prosecuted. This shiiit happens because of people who turn blind eyes. 
    Posted by EaglesBride2012[/QUOTE]

    This.  If the parents aren't being responsible about their daughter NOW, they are going to have to be responsible for her for your wedding day.  ESPECIALLY if it's at YOUR parents' house.  Would they REALLY want their son to feel awkward in front of his new in-laws in the event HIS sister stole something from them? 

    I'd also consider another location to help deal with the problem. 
  • goobersinlovegoobersinlove member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited May 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_stealing-fsil-please-help?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:dc71d260-a25a-47f7-bfe0-c06dc7c87367Post:7df4f626-f186-4188-a9df-af73a4442896">Re: Stealing FSIL- Please help!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Honestly I think you should not invite her and tell the parents why - because even if you're at a pavilion <strong>you will have guests who bring purses, keep wallets in coat pockets, etc.  So it's not just your parents' home at risk, it's your guests' possessions.</strong>   As for the drinking, while it's illegal there's not much you can do about that - and that one I would let go.  But I don't think I could let the thieving go.
    Posted by hoffse[/QUOTE]

    These were my thoughts, as well as you need to consider any gifts (read: envelopes potentially containing $$) that will be brought to your wedding as well.  That would be a problem whether you're at your parents home or not.

    While I agree that the parents should be acknowledging this and agreeing to keep her in line, there's nothing she can do to ensure that will happen - she can't <u>make</u> them. If they won't, they won't... and it seems like that is their position.  Count her parents babysitting her out as an option. Also, nobody else is going to want to babysit her either - they want to enjoy the wedding.

    OP, I also understand not wanting to move your wedding from your parents home JUST because of her. And you shouldn't. Don't march to the beat of a 20-year-old train-wreck drum.

    IMO, I think whatever family drama that would result from not inviting the sister would be better than having something stolen at your wedding - whether that be something from a guest's purse, a gift to you and your husband, or some of your parent's belongings. NOT WORTH IT.
  • I'm having my reception at my mother's too. She also has a very nice, large house full of nice things, and a lot of them are family heirlooms. If someone were to steal from her, she would be beyond upset and there's also the fact that things like that are irreplacable. I am absolutely appalled that your FSIL thinks it would be ok to ignore the rules of someone else's home by sneaking off to drink in their bathroom. That is incredibly disrespectful.
    The posters who pointed out that other guests' belongings are at risk as well are correct too. You definitely don't want that on you, or your parents.
    I wouldn't invite her, and maybe that would serve as a good wake-up call to your fiance's parents, at least, if not her.
    Here's another thought: is her stealing and sneaking off to drink REALLY something you want to have hanging over your head on your wedding day? Confronting this will suck, no doubt, but you deserve to be worry free on your big day.
    This is just what I would do, I know that it is not that easy or you wouldn't be asking for advice. I wish you luck in dealing with this, whatever you decide.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_stealing-fsil-please-help?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:dc71d260-a25a-47f7-bfe0-c06dc7c87367Post:3b9fd2b2-7721-46c9-90df-8e5602d84cf6">Re: Stealing FSIL- Please help!</a>:
    [QUOTE]Personally, I don't give a hoot if she drinks (safely).  I was 20 not that long ago. However, if my father or mother see her drink they will ask her to leave. That is more the problem. I was hoping there was a solution I was just missing but clearly this is bigger than my wedding.
    Posted by CandyHearts04[/QUOTE]

    Didn't you say it was a cocktail hour at your parents house?  That involves alcohol yes?
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  • I'm in almost the same position you are in OP. My FBIL is an alcoholic (supposedly "recovering") and also known to steal out of his mother's purse and to take her money, jewelry, etc. Mind you, he's 35. I am having an issue with him being invited as well, but since he's my fiance's brother, I really have no other choice. I am also worried about my guests belongings. Have you thought about hiring a day-of coordiantor? I am on the fence with hiring one and letting her know the situation. I don't want to have to worry about anything like that the day of my wedding and I know you don't either! It may be something to look into, for peace of mind at least!
  • kmmssgkmmssg mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited May 2012
    OK - I come from a long line of alcoholics and addicts.  As in, performed my brother's eulogy when his 15 years of being clean and sober vanished.  I'm going straight to the point here and it will be blunt.  I have been here, I've dealt with this and I know what happens when you enable someone you love.  Enable = not putting your foot down and telling them they are welcome no where near you or the family until they are clean and sober.  And I learned the hard way that enabling is helping them kill themselves.

    This is a case where you screw wedding etiquette ALL to hell.  You do not bring her into your parents home under any circumstance.  I can promise you right here and now she will steal something.  There will be purses and cameras, and whatever your parents might have.  It will happen.  She is an addict and apparently an alcoholic.  Not only will your parents belongings be up for grabs but so will anything that your guests own and bring.  Addicts know how to steal and lie with a straight face and a warm heart.  It is what they do to survive.  Not for kicks, but to survive.

    You don't have someone try to watch her,  you don't tell her to behave, and you sure as Hell don't let her bring a flask to your parent's home where they will automatically incur any liability for anything that may happen to her that night if she starts driving after drinking.

    Honestly hon - my brother was my best friend, my defender, my big brother.  He loved me, treated me like his little princess, we were as close as any brother and sister can get.  Addiction is a disease.  Your FSIL has a disease and she needs treatment.  Part of that treatment is the family not enabling her, but as young as she is and the fact that she still lives at home tells me your FIL's are miles away from that because they love her with all their hearts and they either ignore it or think she will get it together one day.  She won't as long as someone enables her.

    If you were one of my precious DD's and I knew this to be the case, your wedding would not be happening in my home and I would not host anything where she would be able to steal from my guests.  This would end up being the stickiest of situations because I have been through this and I would never allow anyone to be the victim of an addict or alcoholic.

    She is sick and needs help but I have a hunch it won't happen for a long time.  She has to hit rock bottom.  

    You and your FI need to have a long talk about this.  If you want to PM me, feel free - like I said I come from a LONG line of addicts and alcoholics.  Wedding etiquette does not apply here, protecting your parents home and your guests belongings does.

    ETA - it is in no way her parents responsibility to "watch her and keep her in line."  That is enabling!!!  Taking care of the situation instead of her facing the consequences (not being invited) is a disservice to this young woman who seriously needs help.  The more they "watch and babysit her" the more they enable her.
  • Ok...so, my question is...  if she is 20 years old... and she has stolen from you and your fiance when you have visited, is there any reason you haven't just confronted her directly?     It's not just your fiance's parents responsiblity to deal with this girl...  everyone who interacts with her and she is stealing from should take some intiative and address her.

    You may not "save" her... or get her off drugs. But, everyone ignoring the problem is not working either.  Sometimes, just looking someone in the eye and saying something out loud "Hey, I know this is what you are doing...   and I don't appreciate it"

    Just my opinion.
  • Once again, these are some great points and I really appreciate seeing it from another point of view.  Thanks ladies.

    I spoke with FI and we agree that she will not be invited. The last thing I want to do is enable her and this seems to be the only way to get the point across that what she is doing is not ok. Even if she brushes it off or gets angry.. I am hoping that her parents at least take it as a wake up call and step up to help their daughter.
  • LizzyRBLizzyRB member
    100 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Love Its
    I have a friend in the exact situation. FBIL is into drugs, stole form his own parents, and the parents are still letting the bum live with them. They decided NOT to invite him to the wedding and told the parents why. The parents understood even though it wasn't their first choice and the wedding is going on like normal. I don't think the FBIL even cares.
  • Awesome!  Whether you know it or not, you two have just stepped up to the plate as far as what is necessary for her to see how to get her life back.  it is a long road and she is so  young.  I wish you all the best and I think you have made a great decision.
  •   I also would not invite her. Sounds like to much trouble, and you know your parents could get into legal trouble if she got drunk at there property. Even if they don't serve her, and she goes into the bathroom, they could still be held reasonable since it happened on there property. 
  • Be prepared for FILs to show up with FSIL and have a plan to address it. I have a feeling that, with their looking the other way, they may not just accept that she is not invited...
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