Author Topic: Relatives who just don't get it  (Read 1354369 times)

MustachioedPistachio

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3750 on: October 08, 2017, 10:17:40 PM »
The term came from a storybook we read to both our kids when they were little. We read that book so often...

Llama Llama Red Pajama / Anna Dewdney
I used to read that one all the time to my little sisters. It's addicting with all the "ama"s.

Just Joe

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3751 on: October 09, 2017, 07:50:59 AM »
Our kids are WAY beyond that book but I found it over the weekend and gave it a read. Still fun!

LeRainDrop

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3752 on: October 09, 2017, 05:37:55 PM »
This one's minor but has been puzzling me.  I just came back home from extended travel, during which time my mom was periodically checking on my home and running my car for me.  My mom left me a "welcome home" note on my kitchen counter that said, "Welcome home, LeRainDrop! There's no place like it, even if it is mortgaged to the hilt!"  I mean, my mom was lovely and well-intentioned, but I just thought that was such an odd thing to say!  She doesn't know anything about my mortgage, she knows that I'm big into personal finance and am debt averse, and so I couldn't figure out for the life of me why she used that phrase.  Such a weird perspective!

chrisgermany

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3753 on: October 09, 2017, 11:54:33 PM »
My guess: she saw the key phrase on a sticker or decorative item in a gift shop and thought it was a funny welcome. At least she did not buy it for you!
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 11:56:40 PM by chrisgermany »

GilbertB

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3754 on: October 10, 2017, 03:14:56 AM »
This more a success story than the usual fare.

My brother just bought a flat in Madrid, he was short to do a basic renovation.
So his plan was to cut corners, boxing himself into a corner of huge future wastage to bring the flat up to rentable specs ( a lot of people don't, but if something happens, the liability risk is just too big).

So in a long drawn out talk, he convinced himself (totally by himself) to just do basic safety things now (new door, new main window, silly wall in the living room demo and preinstalling the electricals), paint it all white.
He will then live in it "as is".
Then he can either wait 8 months to have the cash to renovate to "nice rentable" or 12 months to "I want to live here for 15 years" status.
This a far cry from our dads usual "I want it now, foot stomping, doing it badly, costing way too much, blaming everyone else, having to beg banks etc".

By the River

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3755 on: October 10, 2017, 12:20:46 PM »
We're dealing with an un-motivated teen as well. Not unreliable in any other way, no other problems. In his case I think it will take a few years of watching his peers move on, and a few years of working crap jobs for him to see the light.

I don't know what we'd do if we had all the contributing factors you're dealing with.

Its frustrating b/c we've tried to steer him to success. We're two well educated professionals with the ability to send him to any state 'U' here. We've offered him tutors, our tutoring, and the opportunity for him to live away at school if he wanted - he'd have to work a little job somewhere to help fund his spending money. He wouldn't go to school with a new car and the best "stuff". All he had to do was show he was serious by earning the grades. And he hasn't done that.

Funny thing is that he is a square away hard worker otherwise, just not academically....

My son is 21 now but I could have wrote that story exactly a few years ago.  We paid for a year and a half at the local junior college but his lack of academic effort from high school continued.  He quit after 3 semesters and was working 2 part time jobs plus a seasonal job.  He has now found a full-time job that he likes and pays reasonably well, still has the seasonal job, is involved with volunteering and coaching various sports throughout the year and paid his own way for 2 classes last semester at the junior college.  He still lives at home and pays modest monthly rent as well as his cellphone bill.  Next step: moving out into his own place which is to happen after he hits 1 year at the job.  Hopefully your son will find something as well. 

NorthernDreamer

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3756 on: October 11, 2017, 07:49:21 AM »
Need to share this regarding the llama llama comments - I dare you to listen to Ludacris free-styling this book and not have it stuck in your head all day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFtHeo7oMSU

saguaro

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3757 on: October 11, 2017, 11:16:50 AM »
In short DW and I have a wonderful little family with kids, good jobs, no debt, a retirement plan, and no drama. We live quiet lives in a small town and love it here.

We were invited to extend family's home (my side) for a meal and then were blind-sided by many pointed questions of why we don't make plans to travel a long distance to see a relative who can be a bit of a llama-drama type. Apparently the roads only work one direction. I wonder if they are homesick.

They are the world's busiest people with jobs, kids and a home - - - just like many (most?) of the rest of us. Somehow despite a number of advantages I won't detail they work harder than all the rest of us we are assured which I know to be bogus. They work the same as the rest of us but find a way to stress about simple stuff.

We've all talked about it here on MMM. Spending vs working vs saving. They've made expensive choices over the years.

We catered to everyone's needs for many years and then one year we decided enough was enough. We continue to be friendly but we don't go out of our way.

There were now many, many miles (literal and figurative) between us and the llama-drama relative.

I'm ready for this year's holiday season drama to begin. Every year.

I vowed a while back to not let these people taint my family's holiday so I'm pretty protective of my DW and kids. 

Rather than people coming together to spend time together, it seems to devolve into the logistics of the thing, old score cards brought out for review, and revisionist family histories.

Much of what you mention sounds like DH's family.    In laws (MIL and FIL) have made some very expensive choices, over which they stress out.  They (MIL, FIL and SIL) are also busier than anyone else in the world, according to them, an assessment which is just a tad off the mark. I won't go into all the details but suffice it to say these 3 are living the life of Riley and on the backs of other people's work, which may be a subject of another post.

Over the years, our holidays with that side of the family has faded to near non-existent.  Part of the issue is that we haven't done enough nor do we spend enough nor does DH call enough.  SIL in particular is offended that we don't lavish Christmas gifts to the near obscene levels that everyone else has done.   

The facts: we have limited gift giving to a set $ amount that is applicable to everyone in the family including my own.  It's equal opportunity for all but SIL feels we are still "unfair".   Oddly enough, by not including us in certain family events such as her children's graduations, we don't know until well after the fact and therefore there is no card or gift to her children unlike other members of the family.  Talk about reinforcing your own irony.

We have also accommodated DH's family as far as holidays have gone, which has been more in their favor, in short we didn't see my family as much (long story behind it).    After a particularly bad Thanksgiving, in which we were grilled about leaving to go to my uncle's and SIL did a major stalling act keeping us and her MIL and her bf from leaving for other relatives, we decided to re-balance things.  And that was still "unfair".

Same with the revisionist histories and score cards being trotted out.  And whom is doing more for whom.  Oh, and we are too cheap.   All after making a fuss about being together as a family but the family togetherness can't simply be about being together.  There has to be quizzing and comparisions and competitiveness.

DH and I still see my family and in place of when we saw his family, we now see a movie.  It will be the new Star Wars this year!



« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 11:37:37 AM by saguaro »

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3758 on: October 11, 2017, 12:44:05 PM »
In short DW and I have a wonderful little family with kids, good jobs, no debt, a retirement plan, and no drama. We live quiet lives in a small town and love it here.

We were invited to extend family's home (my side) for a meal and then were blind-sided by many pointed questions of why we don't make plans to travel a long distance to see a relative who can be a bit of a llama-drama type. Apparently the roads only work one direction. I wonder if they are homesick.

They are the world's busiest people with jobs, kids and a home - - - just like many (most?) of the rest of us. Somehow despite a number of advantages I won't detail they work harder than all the rest of us we are assured which I know to be bogus. They work the same as the rest of us but find a way to stress about simple stuff.

We've all talked about it here on MMM. Spending vs working vs saving. They've made expensive choices over the years.

We catered to everyone's needs for many years and then one year we decided enough was enough. We continue to be friendly but we don't go out of our way.

There were now many, many miles (literal and figurative) between us and the llama-drama relative.

I'm ready for this year's holiday season drama to begin. Every year.

I vowed a while back to not let these people taint my family's holiday so I'm pretty protective of my DW and kids. 

Rather than people coming together to spend time together, it seems to devolve into the logistics of the thing, old score cards brought out for review, and revisionist family histories.

Much of what you mention sounds like DH's family.    In laws (MIL and FIL) have made some very expensive choices, over which they stress out.  They (MIL, FIL and SIL) are also busier than anyone else in the world, according to them, an assessment which is just a tad off the mark. I won't go into all the details but suffice it to say these 3 are living the life of Riley and on the backs of other people's work, which may be a subject of another post.

Over the years, our holidays with that side of the family has faded to near non-existent.  Part of the issue is that we haven't done enough nor do we spend enough nor does DH call enough.  SIL in particular is offended that we don't lavish Christmas gifts to the near obscene levels that everyone else has done.  

The facts: we have limited gift giving to a set $ amount that is applicable to everyone in the family including my own.  It's equal opportunity for all but SIL feels we are still "unfair".   Oddly enough, by not including us in certain family events such as her children's graduations, we don't know until well after the fact and therefore there is no card or gift to her children unlike other members of the family.  Talk about reinforcing your own irony.

We have also accommodated DH's family as far as holidays have gone, which has been more in their favor, in short we didn't see my family as much (long story behind it).    After a particularly bad Thanksgiving, in which we were grilled about leaving to go to my uncle's and SIL did a major stalling act keeping us and her MIL and her bf from leaving for other relatives, we decided to re-balance things.  And that was still "unfair".

Same with the revisionist histories and score cards being trotted out.  And whom is doing more for whom.  Oh, and we are too cheap.   All after making a fuss about being together as a family but the family togetherness can't simply be about being together.  There has to be quizzing and comparisions and competitiveness.

DH and I still see my family and in place of when we saw his family, we now see a movie.  It will be the new Star Wars this year!

I see that a lot, however my philosophy has always been to treat people very well year-round instead of making a big fuss at the holidays. I'd rather hand out a bottle of wine, a new wooden footstool, or a jar of strawberry jam or pickled mushrooms as soon as the goodies are ready, instead of letting it pile up and saving it for one big day.
I squeak softly, but carry a big schtick.

martyconlonontherun

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3759 on: October 12, 2017, 01:16:02 AM »
Quote
If you don't receive an invitation, you weren't invited.

I've been reading through the thread and found that comment from November.   I have a story!

A couple of years ago, my husband's cousin posted on Facebook that he was getting married.    We didn't see it, because we're not FB friends with him, but BIL saw it and told his mother.  MIL immediately announced that we were all going to attend the wedding.   Husband and I said "But we weren't invited - the FB post just said something like 'Wow, I'm getting married in two weeks', not 'Come one, come all'."   MIL scoffed "Of course they want us there!    We're faaaaamily!"    When Husband and I still refused to go, she huffed "Fine, but you'd better RSVP to Cousin to tell him you're not coming."    We could NOT get it through her head that it's impossible to RSVP to an event that you were never actually invited to.

In your dear MIL's defence 'many' people do have a "everyone is invited" attitude about their wedding. The occasional individual would be offended if their cousin didn't show up for the wedding without RSVPing. Even when the cousin wasn't formally invited.

We later heard from MIL that the wedding and reception were "very small".    I'd bet money that Cousin was NOT expecting MIL, FIL, several of their children, children's spouses, and grandchildren.

Most people that are having a wedding need to plan food, seating, etc so people not invited would be not only unwanted but would 3esent a problem with food, seating, etc.  I don't know one person where this would not be the case unless the reception is a picnic in the park with everyone bringing food.

This all is extraordinarily irritating to me.  Everyone should learn the art of writing formal invitations for exactly this reason-- when done well, it is an extraordinarily efficient form of communication that eliminates ambiguity and confusion.  Maybe you won't host many events in your lifetime but you will certainly be invited to many events, so learning to write an invitation will help you interpret invitations when you receive them.  Want to know whether you can bring a guest?  Look at the invitation.  Is it appropriate for kids to attend?  The invitation should tell you.  Attire?  Also in a good invitation. 

Didn't get an invitation?  You are not invited, so don't show up.  Don't take it personally.  The hosts need to draw the line somewhere and usually cost-- not spite-- is the limiting factor.  The two exceptions I can think of are if you come as a guest of an invitee who is encouraged to bring guests or the invitation says something to the effect of, "All are welcome."   

I heard a story from a friend who had unexpected extended family members show up at a wedding.  Of course they tried to accommodate the unexpected guests because, well, what else are the bride and groom going to do in that situation?  Turning them away because they were not invited is not really an option at that point.  They had to add a table and find additional place settings and of course the caterer charged them through the nose for the last minute addition.  There was more than a little resentment about the awkward position the bride and groom were placed in and the hassle and additional cost it created.  Let's just say the wedding gifts the family members left did not acknowledge the cost and inconvenience their presence created.

Old discussion but I think there are two exceptions to inviting yourself to the wedding:
1. Asking if you can attend the ceremony if you know it is in a church/open building. It doesn't cost anything extra and a larger audience usually fills the church better. My MIL will ask to go to weddings of college friends of me and her daughter. People who vaguely know her but she feels like a mother.
2. I've 'crashed' the reception of some high school and college friends where if it was a smaller wedding and I just missed the cut. Show up for an hour after dinner drop off the gift, say hi to old friends, and drop off the gift as you leave. It's usually a friend I see once every 3 years due to living apart and the wife/husband doesn't know me because they met after the friendship.

In both situations, you have to casually bring it up, show that you completely understand why you weren't invited "hey, man it was tough cutting people at my wedding and we haven't seen each other in years", get there reaction on whether or not they think it's an awesome idea, and then make sure to gift like you were a normal attendees, don't cause any problems and enjoy seeing your friends/family.

Life's too short miss chances to be with friends and family if you are only worried about appearance. I live away from a home town where a lot of hs friends stayed together in the same city. I understand I'm not close enough where they want to pay $125 for my dinner or if they have a seating capacity, but I still want to keep in touch. The key is open communication, not causing the host any extra effort (cost, setting up, guilt, etc), being a net positive at the ceremony or late reception (be quiet and super polite, only talk to those you know well/want to talk to you).

Then again, this is the same guy who reacted to news of cousins/uncle not showing up the morning of the wedding by texting random work friends in group message saying there are four spots open for free booze/nice dinner. The wife was not pleased when she found out "Why would you invite them?" I said "Why wouldn't I invite them? Its a $125/person party we have extra tickets to attend." She didn't have a good response besides it will be "weird, we don't know them that well." "But we will have after tonight." She bought me and can't return me :)


Cassie

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3760 on: October 12, 2017, 02:18:25 PM »
Sorry but showing up to a wedding you are not invited to is tacky no matter what time you show up.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3761 on: October 12, 2017, 02:33:15 PM »
Sorry but showing up to a wedding you are not invited to is tacky no matter what time you show up.

Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3762 on: October 12, 2017, 03:04:23 PM »
Sorry but showing up to a wedding you are not invited to is tacky no matter what time you show up.


Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.


Or showing up after the fact, to their home uninvited... 


I think the poster was saying that they cleared it with the bride and groom ahead of time.

Quote
In both situations, you have to casually bring it up, show that you completely understand why you weren't invited "hey, man it was tough cutting people at my wedding and we haven't seen each other in years", get there reaction on whether or not they think it's an awesome idea

jinga nation

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3763 on: October 12, 2017, 08:07:05 PM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.
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ixtap

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3764 on: October 12, 2017, 11:17:59 PM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.

It isn't expected, but it is pretty much the only acceptable way of forcing your attention on the happy couple.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3765 on: October 12, 2017, 11:38:43 PM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.

The assumption, in Canadian and American culture, is that the couple has eloped (with no reception, and therefore no invitation due to drama that is not related to the person who expected to be a guest) or that the invitation has been lost in the mail which does occasionally happen. Or-- and this is a stretch-- the young couple cannot afford to entertain the invitee in a way that matches the level of respect they have for them, so they are having an "immediate family only" event. If they belong to a bizarre religious sect where non-members are excluded (and there are plenty of those in the USA) the religious behavior conflicts with the married couple's social and business interests.

Not being invited to someone's wedding doesn't always mean that person wants no social tie with you.

Sending a card or gift is a way to acknowledge that a marriage occurred, to assert that you still want a social tie to those people, and to correct immature behavior if necessary. Of course if you don't want a long-term social tie obviously the card or gift can be skipped.

Yes, I agree that it's a one-sided set of social codes that favors the married couple.
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A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3766 on: October 13, 2017, 08:05:32 AM »
My brother still hasn't told me he got married. Just heard it through the grapevine. That was....5 years ago?


Imma

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3767 on: October 13, 2017, 09:05:01 AM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.

In my country (in Europe) we would handle this the same way as you would. No invitation = no gift. I might send a card though, if I know about the wedding beforehand. I don't think I would send a card after the fact. We are planning to elope at some point next year and we don't expect any gifts or cards, but we might receive some cards from elderly relatives.

I know from the internet that it's also common in America to give Christmas gifts to people you don't actually spend Christmas with. That would be very strange in my country too.

gaja

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3768 on: October 13, 2017, 09:23:22 AM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.

In my country (in Europe) we would handle this the same way as you would. No invitation = no gift. I might send a card though, if I know about the wedding beforehand. I don't think I would send a card after the fact. We are planning to elope at some point next year and we don't expect any gifts or cards, but we might receive some cards from elderly relatives.

I know from the internet that it's also common in America to give Christmas gifts to people you don't actually spend Christmas with. That would be very strange in my country too.

Northern Europe here:
If my nephews got married, I would probably send a gift whether or not they invited me to their wedding. We had a tiny wedding with just parents, siblings, and very few friends, but no aunts, cousins, etc. The aunts sent presents, the cousins didn't. Some of the neighbours and collegues sent a card or some flowers.
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saguaro

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3769 on: October 13, 2017, 11:22:05 AM »
Northern Europe here:
If my nephews got married, I would probably send a gift whether or not they invited me to their wedding. We had a tiny wedding with just parents, siblings, and very few friends, but no aunts, cousins, etc. The aunts sent presents, the cousins didn't. Some of the neighbours and collegues sent a card or some flowers.

How I would respond would depend on the relationship. When our niece got married 10 years ago, she had a very small wedding in Vegas with only the parents of bride and groom and her brother.   We knew ahead of time and followed up with a card and gift afterward.   If this had been a friend or more distant relative, it might have been just a card.  However, a friend at work got married three months ago, quietly at the courthouse and I didn't find out until last week.  It was a bit late to do anything at that point other than say congratulations.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3770 on: October 13, 2017, 11:28:01 AM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.

Right?  I'm from a poor, rural area, and we go one step further.

I am often  invited to weddings for my younger cousins.  They know, and I know, that I'm not going. I mean, it's 2500 miles away and 4 plane tickets. 

I do not send a card or a gift to a wedding that I am not attending.

At one point, my mother suggested that I should send a gift. Because: "Her parents bought you a wedding gift."  Yes, but:
1. Her parents were at my wedding
2. You are attending the wedding and providing a gift.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3771 on: October 13, 2017, 01:26:21 PM »
Since we're on wedding stories:

A first cousin of mine decided to get married in India this year. He didn't send us (my parents, my brother, or me) an invitation. Even worse, he ignored our first cousin sister (who took care of him for years when he lived in the north east).

His sister sent my parents and cousin sister a shoddy GIF of the invitation. A GIF. A. fucking. GIF. (For those unfamiliar, Indian weddings have multiple events from the bride's and groom's families. Thus the wedding invitation envelope contains multiple cards. She made a GIF of it.)

My cousin sister and her husband were really hurt. My parents decided to send a hundred or so bucks to him as a wedding gift. My dad's all traditional: "We must give something as a symbol of good wishes to them". My brother and I said fuck that scumbag. We used to buy him plane tickets to come to Florida when we were college kids/entry-level professional jobs.

I'm just happy that his wife's already doing damage to his wallet. Heard through the grapevine that she's gone back to India for a "visit".
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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3772 on: October 13, 2017, 01:29:09 PM »
I see that a lot, however my philosophy has always been to treat people very well year-round instead of making a big fuss at the holidays. I'd rather hand out a bottle of wine, a new wooden footstool, or a jar of strawberry jam or pickled mushrooms as soon as the goodies are ready, instead of letting it pile up and saving it for one big day.

I like that. Lots of little fun instead of an annual "binge season" that last three months.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3773 on: October 13, 2017, 01:34:31 PM »
I know from the internet that it's also common in America to give Christmas gifts to people you don't actually spend Christmas with. That would be very strange in my country too.

Yep - with my sibling we send gift cards back and forth all year long. Its pointless b/c neither of us are doing a good job of maintaining the relationship. If I stop I'll be the bad guy though. Ya pick your battles...

Is that really an American only thing?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 01:37:30 PM by Just Joe »

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3774 on: October 13, 2017, 05:30:36 PM »
I know from the internet that it's also common in America to give Christmas gifts to people you don't actually spend Christmas with. That would be very strange in my country too.

Yep - with my sibling we send gift cards back and forth all year long. Its pointless b/c neither of us are doing a good job of maintaining the relationship. If I stop I'll be the bad guy though. Ya pick your battles...

Is that really an American only thing?

I was raised Canadian so my guess is no.
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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3775 on: October 13, 2017, 06:39:06 PM »
I know from the internet that it's also common in America to give Christmas gifts to people you don't actually spend Christmas with. That would be very strange in my country too.

Yep - with my sibling we send gift cards back and forth all year long. Its pointless b/c neither of us are doing a good job of maintaining the relationship. If I stop I'll be the bad guy though. Ya pick your battles...

Is that really an American only thing?

I was raised Canadian so my guess is no.

Thank goodness we never got into this! My parents have sent me something when we aren't together, but no one else.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3776 on: October 13, 2017, 08:22:56 PM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.

Right?  I'm from a poor, rural area, and we go one step further.

I am often  invited to weddings for my younger cousins.  They know, and I know, that I'm not going. I mean, it's 2500 miles away and 4 plane tickets. 

I do not send a card or a gift to a wedding that I am not attending.

At one point, my mother suggested that I should send a gift. Because: "Her parents bought you a wedding gift."  Yes, but:
1. Her parents were at my wedding
2. You are attending the wedding and providing a gift.

I think these are what some people call "courtesy invitations". Having family members that live far apart presents two challenges, and I think there are two issues at work at the same time: the wedding invitation, and the wedding gift.

What a wedding invitation implies varies from culture to culture, so YMMV. Same deal with a wedding gift.

In the specific subculture I was raised in, there's a pretty traditional protocol involving invitations and gifts. But the protocols are different. The reception is part of the hospitality tradition and protocol whereas the gift-giving part is not.

In the hospitality tradition, the host honors the guest by inviting and entertaining him or her. But reciprocity is expected. If I were hosting a reception for my daughter, I'd be required to invite everyone whose reception my daughter attended in an adult capacity with whom she still has a social tie, along with the people from my network with whom *I* have a strong social tie, particularly those who invite me to their weddings or the weddings of their children. There are cultures where the guest, by attending, is honoring the host... and this is not one of them. The guest's presence doesn't actually confer honor on the host and everyone understands that "the hono(u)r of your presence" mentioned on the invitation is a polite fiction.

In the tradition I was raised in, a person who wants to have a social relationship with the new couple *must* acknowledge the marriage and provide their contact information. This can be done by attending the ceremony and/or reception, or it can be done after the fact. After the fact acknowledgements can take the form of a congratulatory letter, or a card, or a gift. Sending no acknowledgement is a very serious signal that you do not approve of or recognize the marriage and/or that you want nothing to do with the new couple and desire no further social contact with them.

Whether the acknowledgement takes the form of a gift had nothing to do with whether the gift-giver is invited to the ceremony or reception, or whether they attend. It depends on two things: whether you're an adult (children under the age of majority are included in their parents' gifts) and whether you wish the new couple well and want to make at least a token gesture of support for their new life together. A gift like that generally relects the means of the giver and the level of continued contact desired.

Anyway, that's the tradition I was raised in, so I do send gifts.
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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3777 on: October 14, 2017, 12:21:06 AM »
I know from the internet that it's also common in America to give Christmas gifts to people you don't actually spend Christmas with. That would be very strange in my country too.

Yep - with my sibling we send gift cards back and forth all year long. Its pointless b/c neither of us are doing a good job of maintaining the relationship. If I stop I'll be the bad guy though. Ya pick your battles...

Is that really an American only thing?

I was raised Canadian so my guess is no.

Thank goodness we never got into this! My parents have sent me something when we aren't together, but no one else.

In Norway people also send each other Christmas presents per mail.

I personally order everything by mail, have it delivered at the place where we will celebrate Christmas, and then take a plane over there.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3778 on: October 15, 2017, 11:14:51 AM »


Whether the acknowledgement takes the form of a gift had nothing to do with whether the gift-giver is invited to the ceremony or reception, or whether they attend. It depends on two things: whether you're an adult (children under the age of majority are included in their parents' gifts) and whether you wish the new couple well and want to make at least a token gesture of support for their new life together. A gift like that generally relects the means of the giver and the level of continued contact desired.

Anyway, that's the tradition I was raised in, so I do send gifts.

The unstated part of this is -- if you were not invited to the wedding, you may reconsider how close you want the social ties to be in future, so token gifts or cards only are typical  where a person was not invited.   The exception may be a great aunt who was not invited to a tiny out of town wedding, who still feels the close ties anyway.  Most other people (in my culture) take it as a clear sign that the couple wishes a smaller social circle of "friends" and a larger circle of "acquaintances", when they hold small weddings.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3779 on: October 15, 2017, 11:18:42 AM »
Indeed. The effective way to acknowledge a wedding you aren't invited to (including an elopement) is to send a card or gift after the fact.
Is this a western/American custom?

If you don't invite me, you don't get a gift. I'm not going the extra mile to get a card or a gift.
I'm not holding a grudge; no invitation means I wasn't meant to be a part of their wedding festivities. It is what it is. Thus the favor is returned appropriately.

Right?  I'm from a poor, rural area, and we go one step further.

I am often  invited to weddings for my younger cousins.  They know, and I know, that I'm not going. I mean, it's 2500 miles away and 4 plane tickets. 

I do not send a card or a gift to a wedding that I am not attending.

At one point, my mother suggested that I should send a gift. Because: "Her parents bought you a wedding gift."  Yes, but:
1. Her parents were at my wedding
2. You are attending the wedding and providing a gift.


Whether the acknowledgement takes the form of a gift had nothing to do with whether the gift-giver is invited to the ceremony or reception, or whether they attend. It depends on two things: whether you're an adult (children under the age of majority are included in their parents' gifts) and whether you wish the new couple well and want to make at least a token gesture of support for their new life together. A gift like that generally relects the means of the giver and the level of continued contact desired.

Anyway, that's the tradition I was raised in, so I do send gifts.
The unstated part of this is -- if you were not invited to the wedding, you may reconsider how close you want the social ties to be in future, so token gifts or cards only are typical  where a person was not invited.   

The exception may be a great aunt who was not invited to a tiny out of town wedding, who still feels the close ties anyway.  Most other people (in my culture) take it as a clear sign that the couple wishes a smaller social circle of "friends" and who they consider to be family,  and want a larger circle of "acquaintances", when they hold small or even destination weddings.   That's ok, but clear.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3780 on: October 15, 2017, 08:56:57 PM »
[...

The unstated part of this is -- if you were not invited to the wedding, you may reconsider how close you want the social ties to be in future, so token gifts or cards only are typical  where a person was not invited.   The exception may be a great aunt who was not invited to a tiny out of town wedding, who still feels the close ties anyway.  Most other people (in my culture) take it as a clear sign that the couple wishes a smaller social circle of "friends" and a larger circle of "acquaintances", when they hold small weddings.

Mrs Fredbear and I are both INTJs of the Strong I Strong J persuasion, and had a very small wedding.  Tiny.  Immediate family only, not even cousins.  The next day we had a very large reception (and told the guests that we had just combined two lives and had more crap than we knew what to do with, so please, no gifts but your presence).  The guests filled both yards and the house, extended a little way up the canyon walls,  out the driveway, and along the creek.  The centerpiece, by FAR more photographed than the aging celebrants, was an entire roast pig complete with baked-apple denture and maraschino cherries for eyes.  Ours was a slightly different take on using the marriage to manifest what social ties and circles we had had and wanted to have in future (amici quondam amici futurus) - we took it as our chance to get square at last with all the people we "owed" socially for parties and dinners, and all the people who had interested us over the last 40 years.  It was a lovely party for them, gnawing on greasy pigbones, swapping elaborate reminiscences of rivers and mountains past, gabbling volubly about ideas and books.  Neither of us had the chance to talk to half the people we wanted to. 

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3781 on: October 15, 2017, 10:26:59 PM »
Fredbear... that is  nice, I meant no invite to either a wedding nor a reception, in case of misunderstanding.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3782 on: October 15, 2017, 11:19:24 PM »


Whether the acknowledgement takes the form of a gift had nothing to do with whether the gift-giver is invited to the ceremony or reception, or whether they attend. It depends on two things: whether you're an adult (children under the age of majority are included in their parents' gifts) and whether you wish the new couple well and want to make at least a token gesture of support for their new life together. A gift like that generally relects the means of the giver and the level of continued contact desired.

Anyway, that's the tradition I was raised in, so I do send gifts.

The unstated part of this is -- if you were not invited to the wedding, you may reconsider how close you want the social ties to be in future, so token gifts or cards only are typical  where a person was not invited.   The exception may be a great aunt who was not invited to a tiny out of town wedding, who still feels the close ties anyway.  Most other people (in my culture) take it as a clear sign that the couple wishes a smaller social circle of "friends" and a larger circle of "acquaintances", when they hold small weddings.

If you mean, by "reconsidering", that a person whose past effort and investment in a bride or groom is clearly and publicly not being reciprocated when the opportunity arises has the right to decide to not continue to walk down the one-way street... then yes, I agree. Of course both the non-invitation and the response to it will do permanent damage to the relationship.

It seems to me that, in a culture that believes hospitality is a duty, and that emphasizes intergenerational support, destination weddings and the "small circle of friends" mentality don't go over well. A ceremony can be completely private (as in the case of an elopement) but each half of the couple has built up a social debt that simply has to be discharged, and a wedding reception is the most efficient way to do it. In an earlier post, Fredbear described just such a reception.

In the culture you describe, it's possible that the "small circle of friends" includes the people who have provided lifelong support to the couple.

I could see a wedding reception with a "small circle of friends" work well if and only if those people are the same ones who helped build the young couple up from childhood. That's seldom the case. The people included at such a ceremony are more likely to be a clique of whatever pals the bridal couple has at the moment. That clique very seldom contains the people who have done the work or who have made sustained investment in the individuals as children or young adults. Inviting the college roommate instead of the great-aunt or uncle who put the bride or groom through college in the first place, or who hosted the bride or groom during summer break, or who took care of that individual for a few months as a child while Mommy and Daddy got a divorce, is short-sighted.

It could be that the bridal couple have discovered some other means of repaying social debt, in which case a reception invitation isn't necessary. Of course, a couple that manages to function effectively as adults and as a couple may not *need* to have a wedding reception.

Getting treated as an "acquaintance" or like one of my parents' social appendages after I've spent years or even decades sending a bride or groom graduation gifts, supporting their charitable ventures, and acknowledging the birth of their children definitely feels like getting the shaft. I don't see the merit in letting such a moment pass unremarked. Simple loss of my patronage might be OK socially, but it doesn't satisfy me emotionally. I'm the sort of person who likes to twist the knife, or at least give a quick sweep of the scythe, when a member of my own set screws me over. It's one of my less pleasant personality traits. The gift can be token. But the acknowledgement will definitely be there on my end. Should the head of the celebrant(s) ever exit his or her sphincter such that he or she decides to act like an adult, the door will at least be open to future social interaction.

I find that the same people who don't believe they owe a social debt to earlier generations, and who do not wish to create similar ties of emotional caring and social obligation among the children of the next generation, are the people who bitch the loudest when they get passed over later. They never seem to believe in getting their fair share of babysitting out of their nieces, moving help out of their nephews, and inheritance from the older generation.
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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3783 on: October 15, 2017, 11:41:55 PM »
Quote
I find that the same people who don't believe they owe a social debt to earlier generations, and who do not wish to create similar ties of emotional caring and social obligation among the children of the next generation, are the people who bitch the loudest when they get passed over later. They never seem to believe in getting their fair share of babysitting out of their nieces, moving help out of their nephews, and inheritance from the older generation.

I am not sure what you mean, can you explain?... the two sentences are contradictory?    they bitch the loudest when they get passed over, yet don't ask nieces and nephews for help..?

Here, a small wedding / reception / limited invites (elopement or destination or otherwise) signals that a couple intends to be self-contained in their marriage and relationships in future, and not seeking  to maintain a deeper link with the larger group.   Yes, there are exceptional circumstances to this... To say that they are shunning the larger group is perhaps a bit too strong, but it seems that's the effect after 10 years. 

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3784 on: October 16, 2017, 02:24:18 AM »


Whether the acknowledgement takes the form of a gift had nothing to do with whether the gift-giver is invited to the ceremony or reception, or whether they attend. It depends on two things: whether you're an adult (children under the age of majority are included in their parents' gifts) and whether you wish the new couple well and want to make at least a token gesture of support for their new life together. A gift like that generally relects the means of the giver and the level of continued contact desired.

Anyway, that's the tradition I was raised in, so I do send gifts.

The unstated part of this is -- if you were not invited to the wedding, you may reconsider how close you want the social ties to be in future, so token gifts or cards only are typical  where a person was not invited.   The exception may be a great aunt who was not invited to a tiny out of town wedding, who still feels the close ties anyway.  Most other people (in my culture) take it as a clear sign that the couple wishes a smaller social circle of "friends" and a larger circle of "acquaintances", when they hold small weddings.

If you mean, by "reconsidering", that a person whose past effort and investment in a bride or groom is clearly and publicly not being reciprocated when the opportunity arises has the right to decide to not continue to walk down the one-way street... then yes, I agree. Of course both the non-invitation and the response to it will do permanent damage to the relationship.

It seems to me that, in a culture that believes hospitality is a duty, and that emphasizes intergenerational support, destination weddings and the "small circle of friends" mentality don't go over well. A ceremony can be completely private (as in the case of an elopement) but each half of the couple has built up a social debt that simply has to be discharged, and a wedding reception is the most efficient way to do it. In an earlier post, Fredbear described just such a reception.

In the culture you describe, it's possible that the "small circle of friends" includes the people who have provided lifelong support to the couple.

I could see a wedding reception with a "small circle of friends" work well if and only if those people are the same ones who helped build the young couple up from childhood. That's seldom the case. The people included at such a ceremony are more likely to be a clique of whatever pals the bridal couple has at the moment. That clique very seldom contains the people who have done the work or who have made sustained investment in the individuals as children or young adults. Inviting the college roommate instead of the great-aunt or uncle who put the bride or groom through college in the first place, or who hosted the bride or groom during summer break, or who took care of that individual for a few months as a child while Mommy and Daddy got a divorce, is short-sighted.

It could be that the bridal couple have discovered some other means of repaying social debt, in which case a reception invitation isn't necessary. Of course, a couple that manages to function effectively as adults and as a couple may not *need* to have a wedding reception.

Getting treated as an "acquaintance" or like one of my parents' social appendages after I've spent years or even decades sending a bride or groom graduation gifts, supporting their charitable ventures, and acknowledging the birth of their children definitely feels like getting the shaft. I don't see the merit in letting such a moment pass unremarked. Simple loss of my patronage might be OK socially, but it doesn't satisfy me emotionally. I'm the sort of person who likes to twist the knife, or at least give a quick sweep of the scythe, when a member of my own set screws me over. It's one of my less pleasant personality traits. The gift can be token. But the acknowledgement will definitely be there on my end. Should the head of the celebrant(s) ever exit his or her sphincter such that he or she decides to act like an adult, the door will at least be open to future social interaction.

I find that the same people who don't believe they owe a social debt to earlier generations, and who do not wish to create similar ties of emotional caring and social obligation among the children of the next generation, are the people who bitch the loudest when they get passed over later. They never seem to believe in getting their fair share of babysitting out of their nieces, moving help out of their nephews, and inheritance from the older generation.

I don't really get what you mean. Maybe I'm one of those people who don't believe they owe a social debt to earlier generations? But I simply have no idea who I'm supposed to owe for what. Of course, if you have an elderly wealthy great aunt willing to put you through college, you should be thankful to her for the rest of her life and invite her to all family occasions and keep in touch with her. But outside of Hollywood movies, who has great aunts like that? It seems a bit far fetched.

Maybe I take this personally because my fiance and I are planning to elope some time next year. We expect some negative reactions, but mainly from our direct relatives, we hadn't really thought about other people possibly being insulted too. In our case, we feel our relatives don't really give us any other choice but to elope. My parents have been divorced for a long time and my dad is a complicated, violent man with the impulse control of a toddler. For years, I paid his bills, washed his clothes, cooked for him, long after I had moved out and everyone else had given up on him. It was still never enough for him and all I got were complaints about how I never did anything for him. Despite my best efforts, he eventually lost his house, and he said he blamed me 100%. He got very violent with me and wanted to kill me - but he got some of his senses back and didn't actually kill me. That was the point I broke off all contact and I haven't been in touch with him since. My family doesn't agree with that, saying you can't blame him for his mental issues. My mother and siblings have announced they won't attend any wedding where he isn't present (my mother divorced him for the same reason, but she is of the opinion that the bond between parent and child cannot be broken, unlike the bond between spouses). On my fiance's side, his parents are divorced too and they'd love to come, but not if the other parent is attending. So our immediate family isn't giving us any other choice than elopement, in my mind.

Now, I know our immediate family is going to be insulted when we announce our recent marriage, but it's a direct result of their own actions. I hadn't for a second thought anyone else would be insulted. Your post got me thinking about that, but I still really can't see who we owe any kind of social debt to. Our grandparents were supportive as children, but only one of them is still alive. That grandmother is a very wise woman who recommended elopement in our circumstances. As long as we don't live in sin anymore, she's happy. We never received moral support, money or significant gifts from anyone. Maybe I'm blind to this, but I can't really think of any social debt we'd owe to anyone that needs repaying. I'm also not aware of anyone owing me any social debt either.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3785 on: October 16, 2017, 03:51:19 AM »
I really really think social debt is dependent on your particular family and expectations - and also the general tone of the wedding. We didn't invite any of my aunts, uncles or cousins to ours, even though I had been invited (and not been able to go - sent a nice handwritten apology but no present) to my older cousins' weddings in recent years. But theirs were big receptions with a disco - EVERYONE was invited so it would have felt a little off if I specifically wasn't. Ours was tiny and we only had my parents, brother, grandmother and some friends. (No one from my husband's family for awkward divorce-related reasons. If you try to make someone pick, don't be surprised if they pick neither of you.) Obviously not an insult to not invite all my extended family. Aunts and uncles generally sent a card with a small amount of money (20 or so, what I usually get on my birthday) but I didn't expect them to (and wrote effusive thank you letters afterwards) and I wasn't bothered by anyone who didn't really acknowledge the event. Most of them still haven't met my husband as they live in a different part of the country and we don't really visit much as adults. I think we're all fine with that because that's the kind of family we are - low drama but also low contact (not for any special reason).
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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3786 on: October 16, 2017, 08:17:22 AM »
Quote
I find that the same people who don't believe they owe a social debt to earlier generations, and who do not wish to create similar ties of emotional caring and social obligation among the children of the next generation, are the people who bitch the loudest when they get passed over later. They never seem to believe in getting their fair share of babysitting out of their nieces, moving help out of their nephews, and inheritance from the older generation.

I am not sure what you mean, can you explain?... the two sentences are contradictory?    they bitch the loudest when they get passed over, yet don't ask nieces and nephews for help..?

Here, a small wedding / reception / limited invites (elopement or destination or otherwise) signals that a couple intends to be self-contained in their marriage and relationships in future, and not seeking  to maintain a deeper link with the larger group.   Yes, there are exceptional circumstances to this... To say that they are shunning the larger group is perhaps a bit too strong, but it seems that's the effect after 10 years.

Oops: I meant to say "they never seem to believe they are getting their fair share of help from nieces and nephews".
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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3787 on: October 16, 2017, 09:04:09 AM »
<snip>

I don't really get what you mean. Maybe I'm one of those people who don't believe they owe a social debt to earlier generations? But I simply have no idea who I'm supposed to owe for what. Of course, if you have an elderly wealthy great aunt willing to put you through college, you should be thankful to her for the rest of her life and invite her to all family occasions and keep in touch with her. But outside of Hollywood movies, who has great aunts like that? It seems a bit far fetched.

Most of the families on my mother's side are that way. Older generations frequently save in order to give their children, grandchildren, and other family members a better start in life. Helping with child care and education is common. So is a heavily subsidized start in a family business or a household. If a person doesn't have grandchildren, they select some nieces and nephews to receive special support. It generally isn't an entire university education that gets paid for, but room and board while a young adult is attending classes is not out of the question.

In your specific situation, your father did not do what a responsible and socially conscious parent does. Rather, he did the reverse and took where he should have given. Your description of his conduct shows him as displaying a galloping level of parental entitlement that I wish only existed in Hollywood movies, but that happens sometimes when a parent's nether sphincter is fastened too tightly about his or her neck.

Quote
Maybe I take this personally because my fiance and I are planning to elope some time next year. We expect some negative reactions, but mainly from our direct relatives, we hadn't really thought about other people possibly being insulted too. In our case, we feel our relatives don't really give us any other choice but to elope. My parents have been divorced for a long time and my dad is a complicated, violent man with the impulse control of a toddler. For years, I paid his bills, washed his clothes, cooked for him, long after I had moved out and everyone else had given up on him. It was still never enough for him and all I got were complaints about how I never did anything for him. Despite my best efforts, he eventually lost his house, and he said he blamed me 100%. He got very violent with me and wanted to kill me - but he got some of his senses back and didn't actually kill me. That was the point I broke off all contact and I haven't been in touch with him since. My family doesn't agree with that, saying you can't blame him for his mental issues. My mother and siblings have announced they won't attend any wedding where he isn't present (my mother divorced him for the same reason, but she is of the opinion that the bond between parent and child cannot be broken, unlike the bond between spouses). On my fiance's side, his parents are divorced too and they'd love to come, but not if the other parent is attending. So our immediate family isn't giving us any other choice than elopement, in my mind.

Now, I know our immediate family is going to be insulted when we announce our recent marriage, but it's a direct result of their own actions. I hadn't for a second thought anyone else would be insulted. Your post got me thinking about that, but I still really can't see who we owe any kind of social debt to. Our grandparents were supportive as children, but only one of them is still alive. That grandmother is a very wise woman who recommended elopement in our circumstances. As long as we don't live in sin anymore, she's happy. We never received moral support, money or significant gifts from anyone. Maybe I'm blind to this, but I can't really think of any social debt we'd owe to anyone that needs repaying. I'm also not aware of anyone owing me any social debt either.

Based on your post, it sounds to me as though your father owes you a gigantic social debt. You don't see it or acknowledge it in part because so many other people cooperated with him to enable him to continue to treat you poorly. Indeed, after years of being abused to that extent it may be hard for you to notice smaller-scale imbalances. Or, you might feel as though one-way-street relationships between adults are somehow normal, appropriate, and sustainable. (They're not.)

With your father, as with most abusive people, everyone has to maintain a level of contact that's "safe" for themselves, that will not lead to further abuse. In many cases, limiting contact to occasional essentially public interaction or online interaction is safe, but in your specific case you've tried it and found that, since you're his favorite target, the maximum safe contact you can have with him happens to be zero. Other people in your family can get away with more contact chiefly because they aren't his preferred target. It appears to me that you're maintaining a safe distance. You're also not falling for the velociraptor play. Good.

There's a natural give and take in all human relationships-- a sort of ebb and flow, as it were-- but sometimes the flow is predominately one-way with one person doing the lion's share of the giving and the other doing most of the taking, for an extended period of time. That, in most societies, creates a social debt even if both parties are willing. If the social debt is not balanced, eventually the person doing the giving turns off the tap, so to speak, and lets the relationship die a natural death. The symptom of a person who doesn't balance out social debt is... not having any close, long-term friends.

It sounds as though you have a basically abusive, non-functional family that is banding together to help your father continue to abuse you. Under the circumstances, eloping and sending a heartfelt letter to each of the people you would have otherwise invited to announce your marriage (and, for some, explaining in writing that your decision to elope is a direct result of their specific manipulative behaviors), is highly appropriate.

The gap left by your abusive family must have been hard to fill. Were there truly no teachers, coaches, neighbors, mentors, bosses, or co-workers who made a difference in your life, with whom you're still in contact? It just seems unusual to me that there's not even one individual besides your grandmother who's hosted you for holiday meals, lent you money, helped you move, babysat you as a child, watched your kids if you have any, let you couch surf for more than a couple days, or set you up with a job lead. If everyone who did that is deceased, then it's possible you don't actually owe anything to anyone because you really did do it all by yourself. Otherwise, you may want to make a list of people who have helped you or given to you in a big way, and consider finding some way to acknowledge them. You don't have to invite them to a wedding, or even a reception, but is it possible to host or entertain them individually? If you were to reach out to them in some way I believe you would put yourself in a position to cultivate a healthy network of people that could become what some people call a "family of choice".
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economista

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3788 on: October 16, 2017, 09:23:37 AM »
I recently had to deal with this whole invitation/gift/etiquette nonsense at my wedding last month.  I essentially paid for the whole wedding myself (my dad is still promising to reimburse me, but I'm not holding my breath) and our venue charged $60 per person for dinner.  We chose to have the wedding in my home state, and my husband's family lives in two different states, one is near my home state and the other is across the country.  We both live in a 4th state, completely across the country.  We decided that the wedding is essentially for our family, and we had to keep numbers down, so we only invited our immediate family members and 1st degree aunts and uncles.  We both have large catholic families so these "close" relatives meant inviting 200 people.

We assumed that most of my husband's family members wouldn't attend the wedding.  We invited them because it was the right thing to do, but outside of his parents and siblings who only live a few hours away, we didn't think any of his extended family would come.  Therefore we were not surprised when they RSVP'd no, but we were pleasantly surprised when a few of them sent us a card and check, for either $20 or $50.  What made me quite angry was how a few of my family members approached it.  They all live less than an hour away from the venue and I had 4 family units, composing 13 people (at $60 per head) simply not RSVP at all.  I called my aunt and grandma and they both said they would reach out to them, but they probably didn't send the RSVP cards back because they assumed I knew they would be there.  (I should point out that my extended family is usually very close - all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins get together lots of times throughout the year for cookouts, holidays, weddings, etc.)    It turns out none of them came to the wedding, but since I didn't know for sure they weren't coming until the day before, I had to pay for them anyway because they were in our final count.  I thought it was bad etiquette that they didn't send any kind of card or gift or congratulations, after I had to pay for them. 

I was also taught that you are supposed to give wedding gifts approximately equal to the cost of the dinner you were served at the reception.  You might not know exactly how much it cost, but you can usually guestimate from the type of wedding.  This is the protocol my husband and I follow, but this is not how our guests approached our wedding.  Maybe I've always been wrong?  Our wedding guests gave us either gifts or money that equaled roughly $50 per household, even though almost every household consisted of 2 adults and multiple kids.  Oh well.  It's not something I want to get held up on, but it was slightly disheartening, especially when I attended weddings for some of our guests in the past, and gave them quite a bit more than they gave us in return.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3789 on: October 16, 2017, 10:05:50 AM »
I really really think social debt is dependent on your particular family and expectations - and also the general tone of the wedding. We didn't invite any of my aunts, uncles or cousins to ours, even though I had been invited (and not been able to go - sent a nice handwritten apology but no present) to my older cousins' weddings in recent years. But theirs were big receptions with a disco - EVERYONE was invited so it would have felt a little off if I specifically wasn't. Ours was tiny and we only had my parents, brother, grandmother and some friends. (No one from my husband's family for awkward divorce-related reasons. If you try to make someone pick, don't be surprised if they pick neither of you.) Obviously not an insult to not invite all my extended family. Aunts and uncles generally sent a card with a small amount of money (20 or so, what I usually get on my birthday) but I didn't expect them to (and wrote effusive thank you letters afterwards) and I wasn't bothered by anyone who didn't really acknowledge the event. Most of them still haven't met my husband as they live in a different part of the country and we don't really visit much as adults. I think we're all fine with that because that's the kind of family we are - low drama but also low contact (not for any special reason).

This is a great example of what I meant....  a small wedding is a sign that you are not looking for much in future relationship with the extended family.  You are proof that it can be okay to decide that, and the result is that "we don't really visit much as adults"... "low contact".   Honestly, for those people who invited me to their wedding, if now, 20 years later, after not much contact (once every few years), they needed a place to stay for a month during a divorce, or to be near an ill relative, I would likely say yes, if asked.  For those that did not, I would hesitate unless we had grown closer over the years.

Imma, there are times where an elopement is the best option.  IDK, I think I would find a way to include that grandmother in your elopement (just asking her how to include her in your elopement could figure it out, even if she declines).   

To me, the idea of social debt is repaid by inviting people you want to be there, and acknowledge those that have helped you in the past (mom, sister, close aunt or close cousins), and if /when they decline that has nothing to do with you.   If it is likely, I would just keep the event very small, where the only attraction /invite is to be with you when you get married (e.g, city hall, or small part ceremony), very like your planned elopement.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3790 on: October 16, 2017, 10:23:29 AM »
I was also taught that you are supposed to give wedding gifts approximately equal to the cost of the dinner you were served at the reception.  You might not know exactly how much it cost, but you can usually guestimate from the type of wedding.  This is the protocol my husband and I follow, but this is not how our guests approached our wedding.  Maybe I've always been wrong?  Our wedding guests gave us either gifts or money that equaled roughly $50 per household, even though almost every household consisted of 2 adults and multiple kids.  Oh well.  It's not something I want to get held up on, but it was slightly disheartening, especially when I attended weddings for some of our guests in the past, and gave them quite a bit more than they gave us in return.

I have learned, to my personal embarrassment (giving the wrong type of gift), that different "cultures" or extended family / friend societies view the wedding gift etiquette very differently.  Some are insulted if you give a gift instead of money.  Many approximate the value of the wedding in calculating the gift, some believe that wedding gifts from guests are to be used to pay for the wedding (and given directly to the FOB who traditionally is hosting), others just approximate the value of the relationship to the couple or think of their own personal limited funds available (I would have spent $x for a Saturday night out, so the couple is getting $x in gift).  Some are insulted if you give money instead of a gift because money is impersonal and a maybe sign that you think you are better than they are, or don't think of them at all, and that you couldn't be bothered to get (or make, or take time to wrap) a gift.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3791 on: October 16, 2017, 11:38:14 AM »
I was also taught that you are supposed to give wedding gifts approximately equal to the cost of the dinner you were served at the reception.  You might not know exactly how much it cost, but you can usually guestimate from the type of wedding.  This is the protocol my husband and I follow, but this is not how our guests approached our wedding.  Maybe I've always been wrong?  Our wedding guests gave us either gifts or money that equaled roughly $50 per household, even though almost every household consisted of 2 adults and multiple kids.  Oh well.  It's not something I want to get held up on, but it was slightly disheartening, especially when I attended weddings for some of our guests in the past, and gave them quite a bit more than they gave us in return.

I have learned, to my personal embarrassment (giving the wrong type of gift), that different "cultures" or extended family / friend societies view the wedding gift etiquette very differently.  Some are insulted if you give a gift instead of money.  Many approximate the value of the wedding in calculating the gift, some believe that wedding gifts from guests are to be used to pay for the wedding (and given directly to the FOB who traditionally is hosting), others just approximate the value of the relationship to the couple or think of their own personal limited funds available (I would have spent $x for a Saturday night out, so the couple is getting $x in gift).  Some are insulted if you give money instead of a gift because money is impersonal and a maybe sign that you think you are better than they are, or don't think of them at all, and that you couldn't be bothered to get (or make, or take time to wrap) a gift.
As for what you were taught, the basic rule of human life is that you cant control what others do, you canonly control your own behavior.

With no response to your invitations (which is silly and rude) I would have called each and every invited guest to ask if they would attend rather than assume someone's word for someone else's behavior. Sure you had a million things to do for this shindig. That's why many people dont do the
Big White Wedding thing, it is time consuming as well as expensive.

As for you being taught about giving a large amount of money for a wedding gift, please consider the fact that you can control only your own behavior and not the behavior of others.

Personally, I think it grasping and tacky to expect a monetary gift of equal value to the commercial meal provided to me at a social event. But whatever, I cant control your thoughts and expectations (see how that works?) and one should always have the wedding one can afford, not the one expected by others.

In the end I hope you had a great time at your wedding party and are now married to your best friend.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 11:40:44 AM by iris lily »

Just Joe

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3792 on: October 16, 2017, 11:48:15 AM »
All these wedding rules and expectations make me crazy. We recently did not attend the wedding of a cousin. Low contact would be a generous name for it. 

I could not attend due to a work conflict but I doubt we would have attended anyhow. We sent them a nice card and $100 and called it "good". The gas money and wardrobe upgrades to attend would have cost more than that.

I hope they use the money wisely to establish their adult lives together and we'll never know what they do with it. I figure there is a 50/50 chance we'll get a thank you card.

The relative is a nice person but very much wrapped up in their own life. Never calls or writes. Never met the spouse. Facebook is central to their lives and I don't use FB.

MgoSam

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3793 on: October 16, 2017, 12:07:44 PM »
Yeah, I don't know how people do big weddings. My brother and sister's weddings were huge ordeals and they spent considerable time, money (my parents paid for both of theirs, a fact that I'll remember for later uses), and stress in organizing.

One thing that got me was that my parents had to call nearly all of the relatives that were invited several times to get a RSVP. Apparently no one in the Indian community (at least in the MN community in which my parents are a part of) will respond to a wedding RSVP unless they are personally called. Then there are the people that are offended that they weren't invited or if they are invited then they get huffy that their adult children aren't.

I've told my parents that if I get married I plan on a courtroom wedding with a reception at a restaurant's private room or will elope/destination. Of course any such plans will depend heavily on my to-be-partner's wishes (but I hope that she will be on the same page as me). My parents have offered to pay for my wedding but I would rather they kept the money for their own uses. I cannot abide drama nor do I like to be the center of attention.

mm1970

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3794 on: October 16, 2017, 12:53:23 PM »
I really really think social debt is dependent on your particular family and expectations - and also the general tone of the wedding. We didn't invite any of my aunts, uncles or cousins to ours, even though I had been invited (and not been able to go - sent a nice handwritten apology but no present) to my older cousins' weddings in recent years. But theirs were big receptions with a disco - EVERYONE was invited so it would have felt a little off if I specifically wasn't. Ours was tiny and we only had my parents, brother, grandmother and some friends. (No one from my husband's family for awkward divorce-related reasons. If you try to make someone pick, don't be surprised if they pick neither of you.) Obviously not an insult to not invite all my extended family. Aunts and uncles generally sent a card with a small amount of money (20 or so, what I usually get on my birthday) but I didn't expect them to (and wrote effusive thank you letters afterwards) and I wasn't bothered by anyone who didn't really acknowledge the event. Most of them still haven't met my husband as they live in a different part of the country and we don't really visit much as adults. I think we're all fine with that because that's the kind of family we are - low drama but also low contact (not for any special reason).
This is a very good point.

The particular culture that I was raised in was more -

The invitation was a courtesy.  If a cousin gets married in my home town, they invite everyone.  All of the aunts and uncles (both sides) and all of the cousins.  This is a large # of people, and nobody wants to be excluded.  (A typical family wedding in my home town is 250-300 people, mostly relatives.)

Cousins that I was particularly close to (those my age, there were 4 of us) - I made the trip to attend the wedding and brought a gift.

It was interesting because TGS mentioned other social requirements like parents and their business contacts.   We were lucky enough to get married two weeks after my husband's sister.  We got engaged, set a wedding date.  (Sister said, but we are getting engaged too!) Anyway.  They got engaged 6 months after we did and set their wedding date for 2 weeks before.  This was for a very good reason - they have relatives in Europe who would come over and be able to attend both weddings.

It also caused a bit of difficulty - as her wedding was being paid for by her parents, her fiance's parents, and her grandmother - it was a much larger affair.  300+ people in their home town, where she still lived.

As my husband and I were getting married where we met, worked for 5 years, and where I currently lived - AND we were paying for it ourselves, our wedding was much smaller (100). 

So you can see the difficulties there - our typical family weddings were both in the 300 people range.  I dealt with my side by inviting the elders - aunts and uncles - but not the cousins.  However, for aunts and uncles with younger children, if they wanted to bring them, they could.  The same issue occurred with my husband's side.  There were 2 families that did not make our list (distant cousins) who were flying over for his sister's wedding, and they said "we're coming to yours too!" So we found space for them.  (They basically took up spots from people who declined to come.)

The thing that I *didn't* expect was the business acquaintance/ friends of my future FIL - who I met at his sister's wedding, and who flat out asked me why he wasn't invited to ours (and handed a gift).  I simply answered: "Well, I don't know you, and as we are paying for our own wedding, it's 1/3 this size."  But honestly, this is a business acquaintance who met my FIL *after* my husband was even out of the house.  So he didn't know him either!

I suppose our option could have been for me to get married in my home town, and have 300-400 people.  My whole family would go - but I think that as my home town is more than 2 hours away from the nearest major airport (with no hotels), many others would have declined to attend.  But I didn't want that, for many reasons.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3795 on: October 16, 2017, 01:00:26 PM »
Quote
I was also taught that you are supposed to give wedding gifts approximately equal to the cost of the dinner you were served at the reception.  You might not know exactly how much it cost, but you can usually guestimate from the type of wedding.  This is the protocol my husband and I follow, but this is not how our guests approached our wedding.  Maybe I've always been wrong?  Our wedding guests gave us either gifts or money that equaled roughly $50 per household, even though almost every household consisted of 2 adults and multiple kids.  Oh well.  It's not something I want to get held up on, but it was slightly disheartening, especially when I attended weddings for some of our guests in the past, and gave them quite a bit more than they gave us in return.

It wasn't until my own wedding that I realized that some people were taught this is a "thing".  One friend of mine gave me cash equal to 2 dinners. We were coworkers, so she knew what it was per person.

It would never occur to me to do that.  I always thought people would bring what they could afford.  That's not the point of the wedding.  It's a celebration.

I had a few aunts and uncles come to my wedding and write a check for $25.  It was $55-60 a person.  But these are lovely people who drove 5 hours, paid to stay in a hotel, to attend my wedding. I was so thrilled that they came, I honestly didn't care if they brought any gift at all.  If we are going to decide that the gift should equal the cost of the wedding, then I figure cost of travel should be included.


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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3796 on: October 16, 2017, 01:47:17 PM »
Quote
I was also taught that you are supposed to give wedding gifts approximately equal to the cost of the dinner you were served at the reception.  You might not know exactly how much it cost, but you can usually guestimate from the type of wedding.  This is the protocol my husband and I follow, but this is not how our guests approached our wedding.  Maybe I've always been wrong?  Our wedding guests gave us either gifts or money that equaled roughly $50 per household, even though almost every household consisted of 2 adults and multiple kids.  Oh well.  It's not something I want to get held up on, but it was slightly disheartening, especially when I attended weddings for some of our guests in the past, and gave them quite a bit more than they gave us in return.

It wasn't until my own wedding that I realized that some people were taught this is a "thing".  One friend of mine gave me cash equal to 2 dinners. We were coworkers, so she knew what it was per person.

It would never occur to me to do that.  I always thought people would bring what they could afford.  That's not the point of the wedding.  It's a celebration.

I had a few aunts and uncles come to my wedding and write a check for $25.  It was $55-60 a person.  But these are lovely people who drove 5 hours, paid to stay in a hotel, to attend my wedding. I was so thrilled that they came, I honestly didn't care if they brought any gift at all.  If we are going to decide that the gift should equal the cost of the wedding, then I figure cost of travel should be included.

Sometimes I fantasize about there being a carved-in-stone rule about how much to spend, such that guests who must travel long distances could qualify for some of their expenses to be reimbursed, instead of having to bring or ship a gift in addition to all the other expenses.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3797 on: October 16, 2017, 04:26:29 PM »
Quote
I was also taught that you are supposed to give wedding gifts approximately equal to the cost of the dinner you were served at the reception.  You might not know exactly how much it cost, but you can usually guestimate from the type of wedding.  This is the protocol my husband and I follow, but this is not how our guests approached our wedding.  Maybe I've always been wrong?  Our wedding guests gave us either gifts or money that equaled roughly $50 per household, even though almost every household consisted of 2 adults and multiple kids.  Oh well.  It's not something I want to get held up on, but it was slightly disheartening, especially when I attended weddings for some of our guests in the past, and gave them quite a bit more than they gave us in return.

It wasn't until my own wedding that I realized that some people were taught this is a "thing".  One friend of mine gave me cash equal to 2 dinners. We were coworkers, so she knew what it was per person.

It would never occur to me to do that.  I always thought people would bring what they could afford.  That's not the point of the wedding.  It's a celebration.

I had a few aunts and uncles come to my wedding and write a check for $25.  It was $55-60 a person.  But these are lovely people who drove 5 hours, paid to stay in a hotel, to attend my wedding. I was so thrilled that they came, I honestly didn't care if they brought any gift at all.  If we are going to decide that the gift should equal the cost of the wedding, then I figure cost of travel should be included.

Sometimes I fantasize about there being a carved-in-stone rule about how much to spend, such that guests who must travel long distances could qualify for some of their expenses to be reimbursed, instead of having to bring or ship a gift in addition to all the other expenses.

Whenever I hear about a destination wedding, I still immediately think about how much it must cost the bride and groom to fly their guests in and host them at the hotel.   And then I remember that this is not what usually happens.   I wish there was a rule about this too..  If you invite an out of town guest, that you are required to put them up *somewhere* (in a home, hotel, or tent in your backyard), which they can decline to pay for their own alternative, if desired.   

I am also weird for doing strange things like paying for my bridesmaid's dresses and the rental tuxes (I chose them, so I pay for them, right?)  etc. 

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3798 on: October 16, 2017, 08:00:55 PM »
Quote
I was also taught that you are supposed to give wedding gifts approximately equal to the cost of the dinner you were served at the reception.  You might not know exactly how much it cost, but you can usually guestimate from the type of wedding.  This is the protocol my husband and I follow, but this is not how our guests approached our wedding.  Maybe I've always been wrong?  Our wedding guests gave us either gifts or money that equaled roughly $50 per household, even though almost every household consisted of 2 adults and multiple kids.  Oh well.  It's not something I want to get held up on, but it was slightly disheartening, especially when I attended weddings for some of our guests in the past, and gave them quite a bit more than they gave us in return.

It wasn't until my own wedding that I realized that some people were taught this is a "thing".  One friend of mine gave me cash equal to 2 dinners. We were coworkers, so she knew what it was per person.

It would never occur to me to do that.  I always thought people would bring what they could afford.  That's not the point of the wedding.  It's a celebration.

I had a few aunts and uncles come to my wedding and write a check for $25.  It was $55-60 a person.  But these are lovely people who drove 5 hours, paid to stay in a hotel, to attend my wedding. I was so thrilled that they came, I honestly didn't care if they brought any gift at all.  If we are going to decide that the gift should equal the cost of the wedding, then I figure cost of travel should be included.

Sometimes I fantasize about there being a carved-in-stone rule about how much to spend, such that guests who must travel long distances could qualify for some of their expenses to be reimbursed, instead of having to bring or ship a gift in addition to all the other expenses.

Whenever I hear about a destination wedding, I still immediately think about how much it must cost the bride and groom to fly their guests in and host them at the hotel.   And then I remember that this is not what usually happens.   I wish there was a rule about this too..  If you invite an out of town guest, that you are required to put them up *somewhere* (in a home, hotel, or tent in your backyard), which they can decline to pay for their own alternative, if desired.   

I am also weird for doing strange things like paying for my bridesmaid's dresses and the rental tuxes (I chose them, so I pay for them, right?)  etc.

Not weird, just more traditional. The origin of bridesmaid's dresses and a bunch of identically-dressed attendants was actually back when people in the nobility really did have servants or retainers for whom they provided a uniform. Weddings really went off the rails when it became socially acceptable to make people wear giant butt bows on their dresses AND pay for the dubious privilege of buying such a single-use monstrosity.
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MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #3799 on: October 17, 2017, 12:09:09 AM »
Quote

I am also weird for doing strange things like paying for my bridesmaid's dresses and the rental tuxes (I chose them, so I pay for them, right?)  etc.

You are awesome for doing that! I wish brides did not expect so much from their bridesmaids.  This summer, my sister in law was married and is a lovely person BUT she kept pressuring me to pay for make-up/up-do. I wasn't even in the wedding party.