Wedding Etiquette Forum

PSA: Just say NO to House Parties

Well, something I never thought would happen in my friend group just happened – I got invited to participate in a “house party.” For those who aren’t familiar with the practice, the house party is southern “tradition” that is essentially an extension of the bridal party – except the house party is expected to do what I consider bitch work – handing out programs, setting up the reception, greeting guests. Things, you know, hired help or a basket should handle.

So my friend just sent me a card in the mail asking to participate in this so-called house party and I have to say I’m incredibly hurt and offended by this invite. I DO NOT feel like any sort of “honored guest” and I definitely don’t want to shell out money for a dress of a specific length and color (she requested we wear something long and light blue). Purchasing a long dress will also require me to pay for any tailoring since I’m short and there is no such thing as a long dress that will fit me in length without at least a hem job. Yay for spending more money on an outfit I don't want. She framed it as an honor and that by participating in the house party I’ll be invited to the fun pre-wedding stuff like showers and bachelorette parties, but IMO, you should not need some made up title grouping thing in order to invite non-bridesmaids to such events.

I get that she’s trying to be inclusive, but I’m a grown-ass adult. I’m fully aware that not everyone will be in a bridesmaid and quite frankly, I didn’t expect to be one in the first place. We’re close, but we’re not “top three best friends” kind of close.

Had she waited, I would have gladly OFFERED to help out on her big day in any way she needed it. I would have gladly helped set up her reception or arrived early to make sure the florist and the baker knew where to put the flowers and cake or helped haul her presents into a designated vehicle – but the fact that she asked me to be in this ambiguous “house party” really rubs me the wrong way. I’ll admit that I had two friends offer to help me out and I took them up on it, asking them to spend about 20 minutes to set up candles if they had time, but if not, I can find someone else to hire to do it.

I know the adult thing to do would be to respectfully decline this “honor”, but I know that doing so will shift our relationship in an unfavorable way – in a way that I do not want our generally great relationship to shift. So I am, unfortunately, feeling very, very, very stuck in this role. I’m judging her for quite a bit for even asking this of her friends.

And the thing is, I’m pretty sure she won’t ever realize how this house party “honor” is making me feel – of course I won’t tell her and I'm sure the other house party invitees won't either because we don't want to hurt her feelings or risk damaging our relationships.

So PSA: if you’re thinking about a house party throw one of these:

Don’t make your friends do bitch work for you. It’s not an honor and they will think less of you for it. If you've already invited friends to participate in a house party - call them up an apologize. Let them know they are honored guests, and nothing is expected of them!

holyguacamole79lizybeffgeebee908JediElizabethOliveOilsMomcharlotte989875InLoveInQueenskimmiinthemittensparklepants41levioosathisismynickname2bohobrideCASP29drglitterernursejCSunshine76ThisShamanluvsaMagePinksatin91016

Re: PSA: Just say NO to House Parties

  • This sucks.

    To keep your own expenses in check, could you at least be up front with some of the things?   Like "Thanks!   Just in case you're looking at matching dresses for the house party I want to let you know that my budget is X," and that would be your own budget for the dress before the tailoring.   That way while your friend is doing things that are annoying, you can at least say "I'm sorry but I told you my attire budget was X."

    Remember, if the friendship takes a dive because you won't be treated like shit then are you really the one to suffer? 
    holyguacamole79OliveOilsMomPrettyGirlLostmollybarker11
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I grew up in the south (still have lots of family there) and have never heard of this concept. When I got married we didn't have all the fuss that accompanies modern weddings (planners, djs, etc). It was normal to ask a young relative to handout programs though (attire wasn't dictated).
  • Thanks for the advice everyone! I think you're right - in some way our friendship is already slightly damaged. I think I just need to consider how it might be damaged further if I decline or how I'm going to word such a response if I do decide to go that route. I just got the card in the mail yesterday and I haven't said anything yet, so I still have time to come up with an appropriate response.

    I want to point out that this woman is an incredibly kind and overall wonderfully supportive friend and I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she sees this house party as a way to be more inclusive rather than a way to receive free labor, but even knowing that about her it still feels like a pretty big slight.
    bohobrideCA
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Thanks for the advice everyone! I think you're right - in some way our friendship is already slightly damaged. I think I just need to consider how it might be damaged further if I decline or how I'm going to word such a response if I do decide to go that route. I just got the card in the mail yesterday and I haven't said anything yet, so I still have time to come up with an appropriate response.

    I want to point out that this woman is an incredibly kind and overall wonderfully supportive friend and I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she sees this house party as a way to be more inclusive rather than a way to receive free labor, but even knowing that about her it still feels like a pretty big slight.
    So politely decline.  Not doing so because you are worried that this will tarnish your relationship with her- a relationship which is already tarnished because you are pissed at her over this invite- isn't going to get you anywhere nor improve your relationship with your friend.

    Tell her that you are so looking forward to attending her wedding, but that you just can't be a part of her house party.  When she asks why you can either very gently and carefully tell her the truth, or just bean dip her over and over again.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    InLoveInQueens
  • Thanks for the advice everyone! I think you're right - in some way our friendship is already slightly damaged. I think I just need to consider how it might be damaged further if I decline or how I'm going to word such a response if I do decide to go that route. I just got the card in the mail yesterday and I haven't said anything yet, so I still have time to come up with an appropriate response.

    I want to point out that this woman is an incredibly kind and overall wonderfully supportive friend and I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she sees this house party as a way to be more inclusive rather than a way to receive free labor, but even knowing that about her it still feels like a pretty big slight.
    You don't have to decline if you don't want to; there is nothing that says you have to make a big deal or take a stand over every rude thing someone does.  She did something that hurt you, but if you want to be the "bigger person" here or if you really think she doesn't understand how this makes you feel you don't have to decline.

    I understand that push to tell OP to "just say no" and decline, but I don't think this is always so black and white.  Yes, house parties are really rude, but that doesn't mean OP has to say no to it, it just means her friend did something rude.
    ILoveBeachMusicpoodledoodleooobohobrideCA
  • thanks @charlotte989875. Honestly, if I were in all of your shoes (reading this on a forum) I'd be telling myself to "just say no," but I'm realizing that doing it is a lot harder and more complicated that I initially thought. I think I'm going to ask her to clarify what her idea of a house party is and what she expects of me before giving a real answer.

    I just don't want to to turn it into a big flaming deal if I don't need to, know what I mean? I honestly would have offered to help out if I had been given a chance to do so. I can control how I react to it, I can suck it up, do what's asked and move on in my life, or I can risk opening the floodgates of who knows what because I can't control how the bride (or our other friends) will react to my declining. It's not like my life goal is to go around correcting others etiquette blunders! And I'm not really pissed at her - more just disappointed.

    My point is, in case you were thinking of it (and I know no regulars are, but a lurker might) don't do it. Even if you're friends don't tell you, they will still think it's rude and maybe even hurtful.
    charlotte989875Greenjinjo
  • I've lived in the south for 10+ years now and a lot of DH's family is southern, and I had never heard of this until TK.  Also, I hate how these things are often worded:

    "Similar to the standard ‘attendant’ title, members of a house party are often assigned wedding day tasks like manning the guest book, handing out programs, serving cake, reading during the ceremony, or just assisting the bride on her big day. They can also be involved in helping with the bachelorette party and bridal shower, or just attending."

    Assigned wedding day tasks?  Blech.

    poodledoodleoooPrettyGirlLostInLoveInQueensThisShamanluvsaMage
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @PoodleDoodleOoo , when's your wedding?  You could easily say that you're getting wedding-ed out and you were looking forward to coming and celebrate her by being a guest.
    PrettyGirlLostJediElizabeth[Deleted User]ThisShamanluvsaMage
  • @holyguacamole79 - my wedding was a year and a half ago! Old Hag here!

    Though that is a good idea. I am having a baby and he or she will be 5 months at her wedding, so that might be my excuse, and honestly I'm already kind of worried about making DH take care of him or her for the whole day solo if I'm expected to do a thousand ~wedding tasks~. Especially since I'm the one with the milk makers. But if her thought is that she wants me to be a reader or something like that, then eh, I'll do it.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @holyguacamole79 - my wedding was a year and a half ago! Old Hag here!

    Though that is a good idea. I am having a baby and he or she will be 5 months at her wedding, so that might be my excuse, and honestly I'm already kind of worried about making DH take care of him or her for the whole day solo if I'm expected to do a thousand ~wedding tasks~. Especially since I'm the one with the milk makers. But if her thought is that she wants me to be a reader or something like that, then eh, I'll do it.
    Congratulations on the baby! I think he/she is your out of doing wedding tasks for your friend unless like you said it is being a reader. I feel that being a reader is an important part of the ceremony - not like handing out programs, guest book keeper etc.
    PrettyGirlLostSP29lnixon8Heffalump
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    thanks @charlotte989875. Honestly, if I were in all of your shoes (reading this on a forum) I'd be telling myself to "just say no," but I'm realizing that doing it is a lot harder and more complicated that I initially thought. I think I'm going to ask her to clarify what her idea of a house party is and what she expects of me before giving a real answer.

    I just don't want to to turn it into a big flaming deal if I don't need to, know what I mean? I honestly would have offered to help out if I had been given a chance to do so. I can control how I react to it, I can suck it up, do what's asked and move on in my life, or I can risk opening the floodgates of who knows what because I can't control how the bride (or our other friends) will react to my declining. It's not like my life goal is to go around correcting others etiquette blunders! And I'm not really pissed at her - more just disappointed.

    My point is, in case you were thinking of it (and I know no regulars are, but a lurker might) don't do it. Even if you're friends don't tell you, they will still think it's rude and maybe even hurtful.
    I get that, but I think it's been made clear that you can still say no (with real or fake excuses) without turning it into a big flaming deal. If she's as kind and wonderful as you say, and was only asking in order to have people feel included, she should be understanding.
    PrettyGirlLost[Deleted User]
  •  

    Though that is a good idea. I am having a baby and he or she will be 5 months at her wedding, so that might be my excuse, and honestly I'm already kind of worried about making DH take care of him or her for the whole day solo if I'm expected to do a thousand ~wedding tasks~. Especially since I'm the one with the milk makers. But if her thought is that she wants me to be a reader or something like that, then eh, I'll do it.
    that is a perfect excuse (if you're looking to give a reason) to excuse yourself from it. Friend, I will not be able to assist with the wedding day tasks because I will need to tend to the new baby. I do look forward to celebrating with you at pre-wedding events and the wedding itself.
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited April 2016
    Thanks for the advice everyone! I think you're right - in some way our friendship is already slightly damaged. I think I just need to consider how it might be damaged further if I decline or how I'm going to word such a response if I do decide to go that route. I just got the card in the mail yesterday and I haven't said anything yet, so I still have time to come up with an appropriate response.

    I want to point out that this woman is an incredibly kind and overall wonderfully supportive friend and I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she sees this house party as a way to be more inclusive rather than a way to receive free labor, but even knowing that about her it still feels like a pretty big slight.
    You don't have to decline if you don't want to; there is nothing that says you have to make a big deal or take a stand over every rude thing someone does. 

    No, but not letting other people treat you like crap and making a big deal/taking a stand are mutually exclusive concepts. There's a way to assert yourself so that ppl don't treat you like shit and let ppl know they have hurt you without having a huge blow up fight.

    She did something that hurt you, but if you want to be the "bigger person" here or if you really think she doesn't understand how this makes you feel you don't have to decline. 

    No, but in order to be the bigger person the OP will need to get over her feelings and stop judging the bride for this faux pas.  Being the bigger person means you get over yourself when you feel slighted and just carry on without holding a grudge or being miserable about the situation.  That's easier said than done for the majority of people.

    I understand that push to tell OP to "just say no" and decline, but I don't think this is always so black and white.  Yes, house parties are really rude, but that doesn't mean OP has to say no to it, it just means her friend did something rude.
    OP should decline because 1. she's upset about it, 2. she doesn't want to spend the money on the dress, 3. she's judging her friend negatively over this, and 4. she said her friendship is already damaged.

    No one said she has to decline or that she needs to launch into a dissertation on etiquette when she declines.

    But "No" is not a four letter word, and even if it was it doesn't fucking matter.  It's a waste of time to constantly worry about how other people are going to react and then try to spare them their reactions.  If the Bride gets pissed, she gets pissed. . . and then she'll get over it.  She'll be busy planning a wedding!

    And usually when you are in close relationships with  people the petty bullshit blows over quickly.

    thanks @charlotte989875. Honestly, if I were in all of your shoes (reading this on a forum) I'd be telling myself to "just say no," but I'm realizing that doing it is a lot harder and more complicated that I initially thought. I think I'm going to ask her to clarify what her idea of a house party is and what she expects of me before giving a real answer.

    I just don't want to to turn it into a big flaming deal if I don't need to, know what I mean? I honestly would have offered to help out if I had been given a chance to do so.  So decline the "house party" title but still offer to help.  And explain to her that the reason you are declining the house party is that you don't have the budget to buy a specific dress just to attend her wedding and help out the day of.  Anyone who will turn something that straightforward and innocuous into a flaming deal is likely too much of a drama llama to begin with. 

    I can control how I react to it, I can suck it up, do what's asked and move on in my life, or I can risk opening the floodgates of who knows what because I can't control how the bride (or our other friends) will react to my declining.   Your circle of friends is that overly sensitive and self absorbed that they'd seriously have a collective meltdown because you don't have the money or inclination to buy a faux BM dress just so you can do bitch work on the day of the wedding? 

    It's not like my life goal is to go around correcting others etiquette blunders! So don't!  Again, you can decline without telling the bride why house parties are rude.  All you need to do is tell her no thanks and bean dip the shit out of her, or tell her  no thanks because buying a whole new dress just for her wedding isn't in your budget and then bean dip the shit out of her.   And I'm not really pissed at her - more just disappointed.

    My point is, in case you were thinking of it (and I know no regulars are, but a lurker might) don't do it. Even if you're friends don't tell you, they will still think it's rude and maybe even hurtful.

    If you really think your friends will react like brats if you decline the stupid house party and you can't accept it for what it is (grown ass women acting like silly spoiled children), then just give the bride your max dress budget including alterations up front, and stick to it.  If she picks  dress outside of that budget tell her sorry, but no.

    ETA: Your pregnancy is the perfect graceful out to this situation!

     

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @holyguacamole79 - my wedding was a year and a half ago! Old Hag here!

    Though that is a good idea. I am having a baby and he or she will be 5 months at her wedding, so that might be my excuse, and honestly I'm already kind of worried about making DH take care of him or her for the whole day solo if I'm expected to do a thousand ~wedding tasks~. Especially since I'm the one with the milk makers. But if her thought is that she wants me to be a reader or something like that, then eh, I'll do it.
    Aw, congrats, mommy!  

    I agree that it'd be fair to say that you're a bit unsure of what you'll be able to do to help out with a newborn (which I imagine is a true statement) and that you would be more comfortable as a "regular" guest.
    OurWildKingdomPrettyGirlLost[Deleted User]
  • wow I thought this post was about a house party you hosted and people trashed your house and threw up everywhere. Was thinking of a whole other kind of house party!
    MesmrEweTrixieJessPinksatin91016
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    OP said she thought the friendship might be slightly damaged, but also repeatedly pointed out how good of a friend this person was and that it was possible the bride didn't even know this would cause hurt feelings. She also said she was still working out how to respond. Not every situation where someone's feelings are hurt require that person to assert themselves, and part getting over the hurt feelings, when you don't want to bring it up with that person can involve venting on anonymous internet boards, no?
    Nope!  I don't really agree with that statement.  Again, I think you're conflating "asserting yourself" with a "blow out or confrontation."

    When someone hurts my feelings I'd rather talk to them about it and clear the air between us, rather than letting tension build.  It's more awkward and uncomfortable avoiding the conversation than it is having the conversation to begin with.

    I'm not really big on venting, either.  When I read these sorts of posts I assume that the OP is looking for advice or a solution, so that's how I respond.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • drunkenwitchdrunkenwitch member
    Sixth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited April 2016
    So....yeah...if someone gets super butthurt because you declined being their unpaid wedding bitch, oops I meant sort of honored but not really unpaid labor, oops I meant the unpaid help... Doesn't really sound like s friend to me.

    PrettyGirlLostJediElizabethMesmrEwe
  • No, no, no.  It's just AWFUL and I've never heard of such a concept.  When I got married, I considered my wedding party and family guests of honor...never would I ask them to do such things, nor would I have asked anyone else.  That is what I paid my venue, florist, etc. to do.  Yuck.  And to add insult to injury--"ARE YOU KIDDING ME???" buy a particular dress?  Wow.  NOPE.
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    This is obviously your decision. I have certain friends where if they asked this of me, I'd have to let them know how hurtful it was in order to continue our friendship. It would only be fair to them. I would do it, gently. Because for the people I care most about, I could not move past this. If this is how you feel, then your friendship deserves talking it out. I know I've made mistakes in my life with my friends. I'm not perfect. I have to trust that if I did something to hurt them they would talk to me about it. Because I can't fix it if they don't. And I hope they'd give me the chance to fix our friendship.

    For other friends I'm not as close to it might not be worth the effort because I'm not as invested and it just doesn't matter as much. But that doesn't mean I want to be in a House Party. Sorry. No. Never. It sounds like this is more the scenario with your friend. If I didn't think it was worth it to me to discuss the insult, I'd say, "Friend, I love you and I appreciate your intention to honor me on your wedding day. [We are operating under the assumption that she's BSC and considers this an honor. Fair enough.] But it will be best for me to attend your wedding as a regular guest. I'm very much looking forward to it and can't wait to celebrate your wedding!!"
    OurWildKingdom[Deleted User]PrettyGirlLostSP29
  • Hate to say it OP, but honestly this just sounds like some unnecessary drama and hand-wringing over very straightforward and controllable situation.

    You understand where she's coming from (trying to be inclusive versus demanding), she's a great friend otherwise and you were going to offer help anyway, so I just don't get why your feelings are this hurt.

    It just seems like a very unstable relationship to begin with if "friend did something well-intended but thoughtless" puts you in a state of "incredibly hurt and offended." Talk it out with her or don't, but it sounds like you need to get out of your feelings on this.

    That being said, I'm wary of the fact that you think she will respond negatively to you politely declining. IDK if you're unnecessarily working yourself up over that also or if it's a real possibility that she'd respond that way, but if it's the latter she's not really a good friend. To me that's a whole different type of rudeness. 
    PrettyGirlLost[Deleted User]drunkenwitch
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards