Wedding Etiquette Forum

Etiquette and Culture

pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle member
2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
edited April 2014 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
FI and I had a talk about etiquette yesterday that I think brought up some good points. I also discussed some of this with my best friend who is my MOH. FI sees etiquette as being a set of rules, and American cultural norms, while I see it as not being rude to your guests ( for lack of a better phrase and only in terms of wedding etiquette). So I wonder? What do you do when your culture dictates differently?

 I read on TK that stating children only (or any deviation of that) is against etiquette. Unfortunately I know that in certain Latino households ( for a fact in FI's and mine) , unless people see it in writing, they will bring kids. So, then what? And trust me, word of mouth is not enough. I didn't think much of this before until now. I know TK states that adults should not be told who to bring, etc, but the fact of the matter is that cultural differences do exist. I know that there are other Latinos here, and I'm not speaking for all Latinos, only for our families. MOH told me she used to go to weddings all the time as a kid she's sure she was not invited to. And in fact, I think I went to a shower with her that I was not invited to.

 So, is this a case where we break the rules? FI and I were raised differently, but most of our family was not. And trust me when I say- some adults in our families will not know better. I'm not trying to be snarky or anything at all, just honest. So. What do you guys think? And if I'm not clear -  The whole no children thing on invitations. I know it is against etiquette to explicitly state that - but in our case, would we be better off stating so? Just need some input, and 
I appreciate the advice here.

Edit: think I fixed paragraphs
                             Anniversary
imageimageimage


 

JBee85

Re: Etiquette and Culture

  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    edited April 2014
    In FI's and my families, we have the same problem. Kids are always assumed to be invited, and kid=free weddings are considered heartless and rude. We had a cousin who had a kid-free wedding and everyone was in an uproar over it. They def. had to tell everyone that it was no kids because the message didn't get through on the invite. 

    My family is full of Russian immigrants and his is Algonquin. 

    I was never actually invited until I turned like 16. I was always just tagging along with my family and the couple always had food and a place for me. It's just assumed in our groups. I don't even think I was invited to a wedding that I was a flower girl in.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    image

    pinkcow13JBee85sassyfrass2014
  • pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    larrygaga said:
    In FI's and my families, we have the same problem. Kids are always assumed to be invited, and kid=free weddings are considered heartless and rude. We had a cousin who had a kid-free wedding and everyone was in an uproar over it. They def. had to tell everyone that it was no kids because the message didn't get through on the invite. 

    My family is full of Russian immigrants and his is Algonquin. 

    I was never actually invited until I turned like 16. I was always just tagging along with my family and the couple always had food and a place for me. It's just assumed in our groups. I don't even think I was invited to a wedding that I was a flower girl in.
    Same here, I feel that I was always tagged "alonged" in weddings - even until now, adulthood! And I was once a ring bearer in a wedding that I'm pretty sure I was not invited to. The actual ring bearer freaked out, I was the only other kid there, so I filled in. It worked out in the end, but still. 
                                 Anniversary
    imageimageimage


     

  • This is my problem with so many etiquette-related parts of our wedding. FI and I are both Latinos and our family and friends are as well. I would say about 90% of our guest list consists of Latinos. I would think about who your guest list consists of and go from there. What if instead of writing adults only on the invite, you add a line on the RSVP card that says "hemos reservado # asientos en su honor"?
    pinkcow13d2valarrygaga
  • That is fine.  "Adults only" specifically excludes children.  Your alternative phrase just clarifies the number of people you are expecting.  Don't be surprised if some bring children anyway, though.  The thinking can be "They can just sit on my lap."  Be ready to make some phone calls.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    pinkcow13
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Fi and I are facing some of this, too.  My family's way-back heritage is Western European, but we've been in the US since well before the Civil War.  We've never been well off, but we're as steeped in plain vanilla American traditions as you can get.  I remember my grandma teaching me napkin etiquette as a kid.

    Fi's family are recent immigrants, mostly from Sicily with a bit of mainland Italy and Poland thrown in.  Especially in his mom's Sicilian side of the family, their traditions are totally different.  Inviting massive amounts of family members the B&G have never met because those people would be "offended" not to be invited, although it's understood they won't actually attend.  Assuming that all children are invited along with the parents, same as PinkCow.  They all run on "Italian time," and everybody puts fake early start times on their invitations as a result.  Cash gifts are the norm, so much that it's not frowned upon to ask for cash or have a Honeyfund.

    We're trying to walk the polite line down the middle.  We refuse to put a fake time on our invites, especially because the immediate family is all wedding party and they'll be on time with us when the limo gets there.  We are inviting all children by name so the child thing isn't an issue.  No Honeyfund, no asking for cash, but we will have only a small registry because we know his side won't buy from it.  His brother has 230 invites for a 200-seat hall for their upcoming wedding, because they caved in to "courtesy invites."  Now they're praying for lots of declines.  We will not be inviting over our capacity, but we've accepted we may have to invite some distant family to make his parents happy.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    image

    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

    pinkcow13CMGragain
  • pinkcow13pinkcow13 The Concrete Jungle member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    @cmgragain- I think that's what we may have to go through. And you're right, the mentality is, they can stay on my lap. Maybe the alternative text would work for certain invites, I like that suggestion @bequietguera.

    @jcbride2014- I think we are going to have to find the middle ground, too. Fake start times are the norm with our families for example, and that's something I don't want. So I'm def gonna have to figure out what we can have without being tacky for lack of a Better term.
                                 Anniversary
    imageimageimage


     

    JCbride2015
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Since it is part of their culture that kids can tag along to any and all events without actually being invited, then I think it is OK to put something on the invitations that state it is an adult only affair or maybe there are X seats in your honour (but then they might just pop the kids on their lap so that doesn't work).  I do not think that you have to just be OK with having kids who you do not want there because it is part of their culture.
    image
    CrazyCatLady3PrettyGirlLostlc07
  • I feel your pain! I come from a neighborhood with two distinct populations: Eastern European Jews (which are further subdivided into post-WWII families and pre-WWII families, each of which has its own cultural background) and Iranian immigrants from the 70s and beyond. The Persians are Jewish, but their culture is just so different--yes, I've been to Persian weddings where people brought their kids because they just figured they could. And once, my parents went to a Persian wedding where the invite specifically requested cash! 

    Not to say that the Eastern European Jewish population doesn't have its fair share of etiquette faux pas, but in this neck of the woods, it's much more standard stuff (Jewish weddings tend to have Jewish ceremonies and "standard American" receptions, in my experience). 

    I would definitely advise you to give the actual start time, because it's just more polite in general, and then spread by word of mouth that starting on time is really important (are you getting married in a church? Can you blame the venue in some way? haha). As for kids, I'm guessing you'll have to make phone calls at some point. And, honestly, if you can afford it and so many of your guests will bring their kids regardless, I'd just try to invite kids. 
  • I agree with this. My dad's wife is Cambodian and grew up in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. She has an amazing story of survival and strength (gave birth to her 2 oldest in a Thailand refugee camp 25+ years ago). There is a strong Cambodian presence in our City and up until 10 years ago when my dad started dating her.... she BARELY spoke English. She was so immersed in this culture within this city she didn't have to learn English to get by.

    She has 3 daughters and when her oldest got married a few years ago she asked me to a BM in her wedding. I was so honored and it was quite an experience being in a traditional Cambodian wedding (the BMs had 3 outfit changes and the bride had 5!!!). In their culture the invites don't go to specific people they just get sent out and you spread the word. You have no idea who is coming until they show up! Instead of gifts you bring money and pay for yourselves. Part of the reception includes bride and groom with WP and family to go around and collect this money. The thought of this felt so awkward to me, but it wasn't a big deal to them. My sister had 450 people show up to her wedding (they were adding more tables as people were showing up!) As we collect money the guests "harass" the bride and groom and make it a challenge to collect the money, all the while making us all take shots with them!)

    I could go on and on about all the differences of the wedding, but it truly was a cultural difference. My sisters were all BMs in my wedding (their first "American wedding" as they said!!!) so I explained a lot of things to them.... but imagine if my step mom just "spread the word" like they do and showed up with a bunch of family and friends!?
    image


    Anniversary
    japrincess24
  • I understand the culture thing, too. My SO is Cape Verdean and kids are at EVERY single family function, get-together, event, you name it. They're very family-oriented and to them it would probably be borderline offensive to leave the pint-sized family members off the guest list. In fact, when I was complaining to his mom about how I was invited to my boss's wedding alone and I had no intentions of attending without him, she said she felt similarly about her children. She said, "Why would I go somewhere that my children are not welcome? They're a part of me, if they can't go then I'm not going." 

    As for the concerns about adults drinking/not being able to let loose with kids running around, I've never seen this to be a problem. There is an abundance of alcohol at every family event we've been to, along with an abundance of kids aged 0-17. No kids got stepped on, run over, neglected or abused, and no adults complained about their presence ever. It's actually quite wonderful :)
  • ^Along the same lines, I've been to events where the parents were completely sober and the kids were obnoxious and completely underfoot. That's why I don't like the alcohol excuse couples use for having Adults Only receptions.
    Either they're good attentive parents or they aren't. And even the best of parents have kids with sticky, jam covered fingers.

    image
    PrettyGirlLost
  • My FI is Mexican and I am American. His relatives in Mexico keep adding guests. For the most part it is working out OK, as we are well under the numbers we expected, but I am just in shock that people would think they can randomly add other invitees. My FI says it is cultural since Mexican weddings are very different from NJ weddings.

    However, one of his Canadian friends is also planning on bringing his kids who were not invited by name (we were originally planning a no-kids wedding) and FI is blaming this on culture also... which I do not believe is the case.
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    FI's Mexican and I'm second generation American (though not Latino). Children are assumed at any gathering. If we were to make it clear that they weren't invited, everyone would be offended. His side has about 15, all between the ages of 4-15. We have 2, a 3 and a 4 year old.

    We're having kids at the wedding and my family's being difficult about it.

    My mom hates that we're having kids at our wedding. She wants a much more formal affair than is possible with kids around. Excluding the 2 on our side is unacceptable but the idea of a lot of kids bothers her. She's dealing with it.

    My sister's being a beast about it. Her daughter (who will be 3) is a flower girl- something my sister is excited about. Well after we booked our venue, my sister made it clear that we should have a kids room with babysitters so parents can stay up late and party without a problem. I've heard that this is common but it is not something I had heard of. Our venue doesn't have a spare room that's feasible. She doesn't want her daughter at the reception late, doesn't want to hire a babysitter to pick the kid up, and doesn't want to leave early. She's been bitching endlessly to our mom about what a bad situation I've put her in- but my mom's taking my side!

    FI mentioned this to his family, trying to get a sense of what their expectations were. They thought it was hysterical that anyone would expect childcare in a situation like this. This has become a family-wide joke about crazy white people!

    This is the #1 source of drama in our wedding planning so far!
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • I can not believe what a brat your sister is being. How dare she expect someone else to take of her child's baby sitting needs. It is NO ONE else's responsibilty but her's and the child's father. She needs to get over herself, fast.
    image
    doeydowandajune6PrettyGirlLost
  • wandajune6wandajune6 Chicago-ish member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    I can not believe what a brat your sister is being. How dare she expect someone else to take of her child's baby sitting needs. It is NO ONE else's responsibilty but her's and the child's father. She needs to get over herself, fast.
    That's what my mom told her :)

    The one wedding that she's been to as a parent had babysitting- but that's because the couple getting married had young triplets. She's always used my parents or FI and me as babysitters so they've never really figured out how to do any of this on her own.

    This is pretty typical of her so I'm used to it. FI's still learning...
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
  • larrygagalarrygaga Czechoslovakia member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    Just as it's important for us foreign and ethnic groups to assimilate to white american standards, it's important for white american peoples to realize what sort of cultures and things we are used to. If everyone just took a few steps to recognize and understand culture, guess how great our country would turn out??? IT WOULD BE AWESOME
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    image

    japrincess24
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards