Parents Can Be Such Petty Tyrants

by admin on April 23, 2014

We are planning the wedding and my bride-to-be has decided on a “white wedding”, which to start with is completely against my family’s religious beliefs, as all of them expect me to get married in someone’s back yard for $200 or so. My family has refused to help with organizing or any costs or anything. The costs are about $30,000 all up. And we are budgeting for up to 100 guests. That is how many we get. My bride-to-be’s parents are forking out a fair amount of the bill, more than half, and I pay just for my own guests and my own expenses. So I was encouraged to invite as few people as possible so as to keep my costs down. They are inviting 60 so I can invite a maximum of 40 more or else the venue is full. But I have to invite at least 10 or else we don’t meet our minimum costs. And I can only afford 30.

I have 5 sisters and my parents are divorced, with my dad remarrying. So that is 8 right there. All of my grandparents are dead but my step mother’s mother is still alive. So that makes 9. 2 of my 5 sisters have partners, so I am up to 11. With me it makes 12. So I can have a maximum of 18 others. I invited 3 groomsmen, plus 2 other guys and 1 female co-worker, so we are up to 18 – 12 to go. All 3 of my groomsmen have partners so 9 to go. Phew. So that is 4 each side of my family and then that’s it. But I decided, what the heck, I’ll invite 5. It seems like a nice even number.

So I asked each of my parents who the 5 should be, in their opinion, out of my distant relatives – my aunts, uncles, cousins and such.

My mum answered almost immediately and suggested one aunt, 2 cousins, 1 husband of a cousin, and 1 child of a cousin. That’s it. That’s 5 right there.

My dad answered by saying “everyone”. Everyone, on his side, is about 30 people – and I don’t have the cash for that. He said it’d be rude if I just invited a few. But he didn’t want me to invite his younger brother, who he had an issue with. But his younger brother twice saved my life and helped to get me a place when I moved, when nobody else cared. My dad wants me to invite his older brother instead – the guy that pushed me into the lake and I nearly died, the guy who refused to help me to move even though he had 2 spare bedrooms, the guy who has made fun of me for my entire life. And my dad’s older brother is hated by virtually everyone on my mum’s side (including my mum) and half the people on my dad’s side – not to mention me – and my fiancee. He only met her once but he was just so nasty to her. Why on earth would I want her to come?

So to start with I was negotiating how this uncle could come and not disrupt anyone. But my dad said to me that I had to get rid of his younger brother – the one who had always been there for me. I simply could not invite him, or his son, who had acted like my older brother all my life. I could not invite anyone at all who he hated – or he would be offended.

So I said to my dad it is simpler if I just don’t invite his older brother. My dad then was hysterical. He was saying that then it was so rude, because, after all, he was the only member of my family to go to our engagement party. But only because my 2 cousins told me they weren’t allowed to go unless their dad went, then he banned them from going – and because all of my other relatives refused to go because he was there. And he just spent the whole night making fun of everyone – including me and my fiancee. Very nasty stuff. But he at least went. Sure, but he was a jerk. I do not want that at my wedding.

My dad just won’t leave this alone. His two sisters, who I invited, but was never really all that excited about them coming, both decided that they wouldn’t come, and my dad insisted that it was because I was not inviting his older brother. Really? Or is it because one of them lives in another country and barely knows me, while the other one is interstate and doesn’t have enough money to fly over? And the one who is interstate hates her older brother, so why would she refuse to come because I didn’t invite him?

My dad keeps saying that he will destroy the wedding if I don’t invite his brother. He says that he won’t come. I have half a mind to ask my dad not to bother to come. He has never been like this before. But I know what he is like with his older brother. They like to sit around making fun of everyone. That is what they are like together. My dad doesn’t do it with anyone else – just with his older brother. That’s why he wants him there. So they can sit in a corner and terrorize everyone. My dad doesn’t see anything wrong with doing that. It is just a bit of a laugh.

I can just see how it would start. They’d sit together, just the two of them, and they’d start by saying how extravagant it is, and how I am against our religion by doing this. Then they will say that she is meant to be catholic but we are going non-denominational so we can’t even get that right. Then they will comment that nobody in the room besides them has a PhD, and they bet that they don’t even have university degrees – or even proper jobs. Then there will be comments about them being illegal immigrants – even though they aren’t – they are sponsored immigrants. Then they will be making fun of my fiancee for her speech impedement, then making fun of me. Then the cruel stuff begins.

My dad I can put up with because he is my dad. And because, except when he is with my older brother, he is fine. He just badmouths people behind their back. But my dad is just not showing very good etiquette here. And he insists that I am destroying the family over this and ruining my own wedding. No – he is the one trying his best to ruin it, and I am trying to stop him.

Not sure if this is a story or needs comment. I am pretty sure I am doing the right thing here. I am not going to budge on this.  0409-14


I’m staunchly of the opinion that the bride and groom get to determine the kind of wedding they want and they have first priority in choosing wedding guests.  Sorry, Mom and Dad, but you had your wedding and now is not the time to live vicariously through your kid’s wedding.

If your Dad were paying for the wedding, I would say that he had a right to decide to invite his older brother but since you are paying for it, you get to veto any proposed guests that you do not feel would be an edifying addition to the guest list.    Stick to your guns and call Dad’s bluff about threatening to not come to the wedding.   “Oh, sorry to hear that, Dad.  Well, we’ll miss you!”

It’s a shame that family morph into petty tyrants during a wedding but if people won’t come because they cannot put aside their preferences for a few hours, then you really won’t miss them.


Attire Torture For Bridesmaids

by admin on April 22, 2014

I want to firstly go ahead and admit that I have no knowledge about what went on in the planning of this wedding and how this story panned out after it left my sphere of observation.

A little over a year ago I was working at a little restaurant downtown. It was about 3pm, so the place was completely empty until three bridesmaids came tottering in. I use the term tottering very literally. You see, for the bridesmaids dresses the bride had chosen these tiny metallic silver, strapless mini dresses that that were shrink wrapped on to these three women. I will say that these ladies were attractive and looked nice in the dresses, even if they didn’t cover much. The problem was the shoes. Bride had chosen to pair the mini dresses with canary yellow, super high platform stilettos. By super high I mean that these three women were darn near en pointe.

It was obvious that none of the three women were used to walking in stilettos that high and we were honestly worried that one might take a spill. It was especially bad for one poor woman that trailed behind the other two and was clinging desperately to chairs as she went by to keep her balance. During conversation while they were waiting for their food, they said that the wedding was for a bit later in the afternoon and they had been running around all day with the bride and hadn’t eaten anything. They ordered the quickest thing on the menu and inhaled it so they could get back to last minute wedding prep.

I just have to wonder how the shoe-dress combination got past the initial planning phase. I cannot accurately express how much trouble the one who even bothered sitting had just easing herself down without twisting an ankle or having her dress ride up to her waist. Really, the phrase ‘newborn colt’ comes to mind remembering these ladies. I have no clue how any of them made it down the isle during the ceremony.

The women themselves were very sweet and were great customers, though it was obvious how much they were suffering between the shoes and going around in the heat (late spring in Louisiana so 90s with high humidity). Again, all three women were attractive and if they were just standing they made a pretty picture. I just have to wonder if it never occurred to the bride that the image would be ruined in the very likely event that one stumbled, flashed everyone, and broke an ankle during the ceremony.   0422-14


Wedding On A Budget

by admin on April 21, 2014

My fiance and I are going to be married in less than two months. We are both young college students (we many various reasons for deciding to get married young so please no judging). My grandmother has given me $1500 so far for the wedding, so it’s going to be extremely simple. There’s been a lot of helpful things, including my grandmother giving me the money, like being able to use the venue without charge, a clearance wedding dress, my FMIL is making the cake (it means a lot to us), and my FSIL is taking pictures for us. Our guest list is very small as well, which keeps down costs.

Even with all this help, we cannot afford to have a very formal reception. The reception is in the same room as the ceremony, which makes things easier. Our plan is feed everyone sheet cake (our cake is going to be small) with punch. There isn’t going to be tables to eat off of but plenty of chairs. I would like to give people tables but without looking completely cheap with plastic tables and not table cloths, we are thinking of forgoing the tables all together.

I’m trying to treat everyone equally so we’re not going to have a family only reception or dinner. All of our friends and family are important to us so we want them to be there to celebrate our new life together.

I guess my question is, even though it’s cheap and not very decorative, is it alright to do this as long as I make sure to not treat people differently or take advantage of people? I know it won’t be everyone’s favorite reception, but it’s the best we can offer.

Side note: Honeymoon funds are really tacky right? Because my mom was trying to convince me that I should entertain people or else they won’t “donate to my honeymoon fund” which I never said I wanted. This bothered me that my mother was trying to get me to do something that was beyond my means to get money out of people. That’s not how I see my guests so I don’t understand this thinking. 0408-14


Prepping The Little Rug Rats

by admin on April 21, 2014

This isn’t really my nephew’s fault, but it’s a cautionary tale nonetheless. My nephew “X” was maybe 3 years old when his mother remarried. He wasn’t a member of the wedding party, but he was at the chapel they were married in. It was a small chapel. That’s an important fact.

My sister and future brother-in-law also had a professional bagpiper play for the wedding, both outside the chapel as guests were arriving, then inside the chapel just before the wedding commenced. Bagpipes are LOUD–and, as I mentioned before, it was a small chapel.

When the piper came in, poor X started adding his own wail to those of the pipes and ran and clung to Mommy, spooked by the pipes. My mother took him aside, turned him so he could see where the noise was coming from, and calmed him down.

So warning to all parents–if something’s going to be LOUD (like bagpipes or a pipe organ) Think Of The Children and at least give them a warning. 0412-14


I am very recently married, just this weekend and as we are not going on a honeymoon for several months want to get my thank you’s out quickly.

I know everyone who got us a gift/gave us a card (with money or not) gets a thank you card.  I am wondering about the rest of our guests (I didn’t expect gifts, our guests were very generous). Both my new husband and I made it a point to get up and circulate through the tables talking to everyone and thanking them for coming and again through the night as they left or when we did.  Do we also send out a thank you note?  I’m not sure if we would seem like we were being sarcastic or something by sending them a note but I don’t want to be rude.

Also we got a joint gift from my work friends, is there anything to prevent me from writing a thank you note to them all individually?

Thanks for any advice you can give. 0413-14

If you both circulated through the reception greeting and thanking guests for coming, there is no need to write them a note thanking them again for coming.   Grateful acknowledgement of having received a wedding gift is always appropriate.

As for your co-workers, if it is a small company and you know who contributed, by all means write individual notes. You can’t lose sending personal messages of gratitude.   But if it is a large number of co-workers and you really have no idea who contributed or not,  I would default to writing one note to all of them and post to the employee bulletin board.   If one or a few people who were the ringleaders in coordinating the gift, I would certainly send them personal notes as well.

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Dress Code Decoded

by admin on April 18, 2014

Yes, I’m going to do a big no-no and direct readers away from this site to another one. But the definitions of wedding dress code are so good, it had to be shared.    So, next time you are confused as to what exact to wear to a “Black Tie Optional” wedding or what “causal dressy” means, this site is for you.

What Every Single Dress Code Really Means: A Complete Guide



Thank You For Coming To My Wedding

April 8, 2014

While my husband and I were completing thank you cards for our wedding, my husband recalled a wedding he attended 4 years ago. Instead of thank you cards, the Groom sent out a mass text message to his guests the day after his wedding, stating something along the lines of, “Thanks everyone for coming out, […]

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Save The Dates, Shower Invites and Evites

April 7, 2014

My question is in regards to invitation etiquette. While I’ve spent most of my life in the States, I haven’t been invited to many weddings, so I don’t really know wedding etiquette that well. Plus, my culture is different from the US, so that makes things more complicated. I recently received two e-vites–one was a […]

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Catching Those Mistakes Early

April 4, 2014

I wanted to share a story that still makes me cringe when I think about it. And the faults were entirely mine. Doing our own wedding planning, DH and I tried to make everything as efficient as possible. As part of it, we ended up addressing our invitation envelopes (no names on the invitations) together […]

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Tracking The Elusive Gift Giver

March 26, 2014

I have a question that would most likely be at home on the Hells Bells site that hopefully you or your readers will be able to help me out with. I recently got married at the beginning of this month, and thanks to my extensive reading of your site, hopefully we didn’t commit any blunders […]

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