The Wedding Crasher

by admin on December 6, 2011

This happened a few weeks ago. All names have been changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.

I attend church and Bible study with a lovely lady, Josephine. Her son Jeremy was getting married to his fiancee, Rita; as the happy couple are very young and finances are very strict at the moment, everything was done on a budget and long story short, I attended as the photographer for the day. Otherwise, it was a very small wedding; only about thirty people in all.

Jeremy doesn’t himself usually attend our church but does so every now and again. There is another man in our congregation, Roger, who is… a little odd. I’m unsure as to whether he has a very mild intellectual disability (he lives on his own, does not require any kind of care, attended an ordinary school, but appears to have a low IQ). He is over forty, but very socially and emotionally immature. He is very loud, has some odd body language, has anger management issues, and cannot  take a hint.  Jeremy does not tolerate this kind of thing at all. He outright dislikes Roger but is not rude to him (though privately he is rude ABOUT him), and Roger is unable to differentiate between someone who is politely tolerant of him and someone who is his friend.

Several weeks before the wedding, Roger asked Jeremy when the wedding was. Jeremy replied that it was x date, but that the wedding was to be invite only. Despite Jeremy not being the epitome of manners, this was done with a polite spine because I heard him say it. The day after, and privately, Jeremy had begged his parents to make sure Roger did not attend, saying that he was going to “punch him” if he did show up. Like I said, Jeremy does not have manners, though I suspect the punching threat was simply an over exaggeration as he’s prone to big talk and little action. Still, he made it abundantly clear that he did not want Roger there. Roger is loud and crass- prone to discussing his bathroom habits in mixed company while people are eating, and using an outside voice indoors, invading personal space, making off-colour remarks and jokes at the worst time, and not understanding other social boundaries- and since, on top of all this, he barely had an acquaintance with Jeremy, I can completely understand why Jeremy did not want him at his special day.

For the record, Rita doesn’t know Roger.

Fast forward to wedding day. The guests are arrived, I’ve come from the bride’s house where Ive been taking photographs and am now getting myself set up to discreetly take a couple of shots during the ceremony.

In walks… Roger.

I went to Josephine’s husband, Jeremy’s father, and indicated that Roger had arrived. He groaned and asked if I’d talk to him as Roger knows me well. I took Roger around the side of the church and told him that I was sorry, but the wedding was to be invite only and I’d been asked to inform him of such.

” But I wasn’t told that”, Roger protested. I reminded him that he WAS told that, as I’d been there. I apologised, but said it was Jeremy and Rita’s wedding and not mine, and I was only doing as I’d been asked. I clarified that I wasn’t trying to be mean.

“Well, how come Winifred is here?”

Winifred being another friend who had also arrived uninvited but who had at least given Josephine some warning. Moreover, Jeremy likes Winifred. I, of course, could not explain that Jeremy had specified, particularly, that Roger was not welcome, it would have broken Roger’s heart and put both Jeremy and his parents in a sticky situation.   So I simply said I didn’t know about Winifred but I had been asked to explain things to Roger.

“Can I at least watch the bride arrive?”

I said I didn’t know about that but I repeated that it was meant to be a small and private wedding.

“Well wouldn’t you want some more people, since not many are here?”

I was about done with Roger, and told him, again, that the wedding was invite-only and he was not on the guest list. I went back inside as I needed to set up.

I thought he had taken the hint and left. But ten minutes later, Roger came into the church and sat down. Our mutual pastor, Oliver, had seen him sitting outside looking forlorn, and on being asked, he’d said I wouldn’t let him in. Oliver felt sorry for him and let him in, saying to Josephine, “You don’t mind, do you?”

It was about two minutes before the bride showed up and not the best time for Josephine to say, “Well, actually, yes, I mind.”  Two minutes before her son’s wedding she was suddenly thrown into real fear that, if no actual punching was going to happen, at the very least Jeremy’s day would be ruined on seeing the very man he’d begged his parents to ensure wouldn’t attend sitting right there in the pew (totally under dressed for a wedding, incidentally, wearing a flannelette shirt, jeans and scuffed sneakers!)

In the end Jeremy did not even notice Roger until he started taking intrusive photographs of the wedding party afterward (!!) and everything was all right in that nobody got punched or yelled at, but I’m still appalled by what happened. Asking around here: who was rude or rudest? Jeremy for threatening to punch someone if they showed up at his wedding, Roger for not only arriving at a wedding he was not invited to, but then refusing to leave and playing victim as if I’d bounced him out the door, or Oliver for taking it upon himself to ride roughshod over the wishes of the groom and allow an uninvited guest in, without checking properly with any of the family that such an attendance was all right with them?   1202-11

My answer as to who was rude in this situation may surprise you.   The main characters in this story bear some blame for at least minimal rudeness but there is one who tops them all.   I’ll get to that later.

First,  a wedding crasher is a wedding crasher regardless of how well the bride, groom or their respective families happen to like the crasher.   Invitations were issued, the crasher didn’t get one and for the sake of consistency,  Winifred should not have been given a pass to crash the wedding while Roger is asked to leave.

Second, church sanctuaries have traditionally been considered public places and therefore wedding ceremonies open to the public.  Had Jeremy’s parents discussed the feasibility of barring one particular congregant from the church sanctuary during the wedding, I seriously doubt the pastor would allow that unless there were extreme extenuating circumstances in which case a security guard should be hired.    We had a crasher at our daughter’s small wedding last year and my husband was the one who introduced himself to her prior to the ceremony.  The problem came after the wedding when the invitation only dinner reception was held in a different room of the church building and she crashed that, even going so far as to switch the seating card arrangements to fit herself into a table.

Third, the rudest person in this story is Jeremy’s father.  What a coward!  It’s his church and he had agreed to honor his son’s request as best he could.  So what does he do when faced with his son’s alleged worst nightmare?  He weasels out and asks the photographer to do the dirty work of confronting a crasher.   For your part, next time this happens, simply decline that responsibility by saying, “I’m so sorry but I cannot accommodate that request.   I have no authority to act in this matter.”    No wonder Roger didn’t take you seriously!  You were giving him secondhand instructions and were I in his shoes, I wouldn’t believe you either.  You are the photographer, not the bouncer.    Jeremy’s dad should have been the person who spoke with Roger.


{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Wink-n-Smile December 6, 2011 at 10:16 am

I agree with Admin on all counts.


essie December 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

The way the OP described Roger, it sounds like Roger may have Asperger’s. If that’s true, then Roger may be absolved of the charge of rudeness on the grounds that he truly doesn’t know any better. If he has no family (and the OP DID say he lives alone), it would be a kindness for his church “family” to arrange for him to be tested and to get therapy. “Aspies” don’t always have the best manners because they don’t “pick up” on social clues like typical people do. An Aspie may have to be flat-out told “When you walk into a church full of people and they’re all quiet, you need to be quiet, too” or “you shouldn’t tell bathroom/potty/pee jokes when there are ladies around”.

Does anyone know if Roger sees a doctor and a dentist regularly? Does he live from paycheck to paycheck or does he understand about saving for retirement? Does he rent an apartment or does he own his own place that may need repairs he’s unaware of? These are things his church “family” could help him with, as necessary.

And finally, Jeremy said that he was going to “punch Roger” if he did show up at Jeremy’s wedding? *sarcasm on/ How mature. /sarcasm off* Sounds like Roger’s not the only one with anger management issues.


Fyrefly December 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Even if he has Asperger’s that doesn’t give him a free pass to attend whatever event he wants. Yes Jeremy sounds like a jerk with his phrasing, but he has much a right to ask a person with Asperger’s not attend the ceremony as he would any other person.

I sympathize with the sufferers (my own cousin has Asperger’s as well) , but if they haven’t been taught how to function normally in society, why exactly should that now be on the groom to accommodate his issues and have to worry all through his wedding if Roger is going to cause some sort of scandal? We hear all the time that it’s perfectly fine to exclude drama-causing friends and family members because a wedding is supposed to be a happy day, but someone with a mental disability magically gets a free pass? I don’t find that fair at all.


Library Diva December 7, 2011 at 11:15 am

I agree with you, Fyrefly. There is more to any disabled person than their disability. Some are funny, some are outgoing, some are introverted, some are nasty and manipulative, some are crass and crude…you know, just like the general population. Not everyone is going to like everyone else, and that’s fine. And we don’t even know whether or not Roger has any sort of disability. He could just be strange. Jeremy had every right not to want “strange” at his wedding, making bathroom jokes to the bridesmaids, talking loudly over the toast, etc.

A lot of people sort of upbraided Jeremy for excluding the guy, and I could see if Roger was a relative or a close neighbor to Jeremy, but Jeremy barely knew the guy from this account. He was someone who attended his parents’ church and rubbed him the wrong way. I think he had no obligation to include him. I’m getting married sometime in 2012 and have no plans to invite my parents’ random acquaintances, even if they really really want to come. My mom’s dental hygenist, the guy who was my dad’s boss before he got another job 25 years ago, the jeweler they’ve been taking their watches to for decades — all are off the list. Not out of meanness, just because I don’t have the budget or the desire for a wedding that includes everyone anyone involved with it has ever met. I do believe that you owe compassion to everyone you meet. I don’t believe that it extends as far as allowing them to attend your wedding. Jeremy is polite to the guy’s face, and to me, that’s as much as is socially required from him.

I do feel badly for OP that she’s sustaining lasting fallout from her attempt to make this wedding go off smoothly. It’s bad enough she was put in this position in the first place, and now it seems like it’s really hurt her position in the church and her relationship with Roger. That’s completely unfair.


chechina December 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Yes, but Roger *was* told he wasn’t invited, both by the groom and by the OP, repeatedly. It was hardly a matter of him not picking up on subtle social cues in this instance. Also, I find it unlikely that an autistic individual would be that insistent about being at a wedding.

I do agree that this man needs some help, but it sounds like those around him would rather not face him. I have to commend the OP for the way s/he handled the whole situation (including not letting Roger’s lie go by unchecked), even if it really wasn’t their responsibility.


Dodger December 7, 2011 at 12:28 am

Asperger’s is zero excuse for rudeness and social cluelessness. I say that as someone who has it herself.


WildIrishRose December 7, 2011 at 9:25 am

Why do people immediately assume that someone who is socially inept has Asperger’s??? Is this the new catch-all for bad behavior? Some people have simply never been taught manners or social niceties, but that doesn’t mean they have an illness or condition to “explain” it. While Roger may very well have Asperger’s, it’s up to a doctor to determine that. But let’s not jump to conclusions. It could just be that Roger was raised by wolves (figuratively speaking) and never learned proper behavior.

As for weddings being “public,” I completely disagree. I had to pay to be married in the church I had attended all my life, and that made it a private venue. I was specific about invitees. I could have published a come-one-come-all invitation in the church bulletin, but I wasn’t friends with the entire congregation and didn’t want to do that. Weddings are expensive, especially if there is a dinner reception, and being a member of the church in question doesn’t automatically entitle you to attend every event being held there.

Admin is right–Jeremy’s father was a coward not to have addressed Roger himself and worse, to have fobbed it off on OP. Fifth ring of e-hell for him. Sixth ring for Roger.


bloo February 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Admin is right actually about churches being usually considered public. We, however, do not have to pay for the use of our place of worship; along with that if one does use our place of worship, it is considered rude not to invite everyone in the congregation (our congregations throughout the world are purposely kept small 75-100). Even if you pay to use yours a homeless man could probably still come in to the church during your services to seek shelter for whatever reason.


Emmy December 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm

To me it sounds more like a slightly lower Functioning Autism spectrum disorder (also coming from someone who has it herself. Hi Dodger, nice to see someone else on the spectrum here. :D) I also know, many, many, people on the spectrum. We all have above average intelligence (or at the least average) so the perceived low IQ does not mesh. He does sound very much like he’s on the autism spectrum. But, I disagree to a point with firefly. I don’t think he believes he has a free pass, it’s that he genuinely doesn’t understand that he wasn’t invited. He probably thought that because it was discussed in and around him that *was* the invite. Believe me, I’ve had the same problem in the past. It’s heartbreaking to realize you were in fact, not invited to something, and that you have committed a terrible social mistake.

I think that Jeremy and his family were the most socially incorrect. They saw him as someone with a disability, most likely a neurological one. And yet, they still bad mouthed him, and threatened to hit him. They didn’t deal with this well at all. If they really wanted to get the point across, they should have had the Pastor talk to him about the situation well before the date, and just before it as well. Jeremy should *never* have told him the date to begin with if he didn’t want him there.


GroceryGirl December 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

Why is it assumed this guy has any sort of disability at all? Maybe he’s just a jerk.


Emmers December 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I do disagree with the assumption that because the wedding is held at a Church, it is still open tot he public.

My father had a small wedding at a restaurant that had a separate dining area for special occasions to be reserved at. The rest of the building was open to the public, but it was clear that a special event was going on in the room in the back. By that logic, it would then be okay for someone to try and come into the wedding because it was in a public place? I don’t think so.

They paid for use of that church on their wedding day, just like my father paid for the room (it did NOT have a door for the record it was a small enclave in the back) which entitles those people to say “Hey stranger from the bar, get out of my wedding” or “Hey, guy with no manners that was clearly told multiple times he was NOT invited, get out of my wedding”


mechtilde December 7, 2011 at 5:43 am

Some churches have requirements that wedding ceremonies are open to anyone. It can even be a legal requirement in some places.

It may well have been out of the hands of the individual Pastor.


Maribeth December 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

In my church, every church service is open to anyone. It would not be possible for the rector (vicar, priest-in-charge), or anyone, to boot someone out of a church service.

A church is way different from a restaurant. A restaurant is a place of business. A church is God’s House.

(And before you ask, yes, my church is open and welcoming to everyone regardless of race, sexual preference, etc. One of the bishops in our diocese is openly gay and partnered.)


Owl March 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Maribeth, wish I attended your church! Probably not in Texas, though.


KITTY LIZARD December 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Roger sounds like my brother-in-law, and it would be nice if his church “family” would
try to help. A deacon in my brother-in-law’s church took him under his wing and wound
up re-uniting him with his family-us, got him a place to live, and his behavior has improved
considerably; however, he still goes off the rails unexpectedly in circumstances like those
above. Social gatherings like those above are difficult for people like Roger and tend to
bring out the worst-if, indeed he has Aspergers or another spectrum disorder.



Harley Granny December 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

#1..If Jeremy was so worried about Roger showing up to the wedding he never should have told him the date…he could have easily stated the it was a private wedding.
#2..I don’t believe that Jeremy would punch him out…I believe that he was just speaking out of aprehension.
#3..I finally catch up to agreeing with Admin in all points except for the Church being a public place. I don’t feel that’s so. It was reserved by the couple therefor it was theirs to invite exactly who they wanted. Did we not just have a discussion that the bride and groom had a right to invite or not invite who they choose?


Missy December 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm

#1 is my thought exactly. Why why why would Jeremy tell him the date?


Ann December 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm

There are exceptions, like royal and other celebrity weddings (and funerals), but actually, can’t anyone attend a church wedding ceremony? Especially someone from the congregation?

Churches are not “by invitation only”. Receptions are. Hotels are. Banquet Halls are. Churches are not.

The polite thing to do was to let Roger’s presence go unremarked. Except perhaps to smile and nod if one knew him.


WildIrishRose December 7, 2011 at 9:26 am

It’s not a “church” event. It’s a private wedding being conducted AT the church. Not the same thing at all.


Maribeth December 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

A church service is a “church” event. In my church, there is no such thing as a private event held within the church. God’s House is open to one and all. Always.


admin December 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

The concept that a church building belongs to God is definitely reflected in the etiquette of not having a receiving line at the church building. Only God can receive you into His house.


bloo February 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Sorry WildIrishRose, but one cannot go into someone else’s house (presumably God’s) and dictate who gets to come in.


Library Diva December 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Essie, those are certainly some interesting assumptions you’re making about Roger. We don’t know if he even has a diagnoseable disability. Even if he did, why assume that he’s poor, dirty and living in a hovel in need of medical care that he’s not smart enough to obtain on his own?

That being said, I agree that the appropriate approach for a church family towards anyone who’s a little “off” is compassion, not condemnation. That doesn’t mean you have to tolerate the presence of anyone you don’t care for at an invite-only event that you’re hosting, though. It’s true that someone wouldn’t be barred from attending a church ceremony just because the wedding party doesn’t care for his company, and Jeremy was unrealistic to expect it, but I can see why he’d be less than thrilled at Roger’s presence, particularly if the line between ceremony and reception was sort of blurry (i.e. if they were going to the chruch hall for refreshments immediately afterwards) and it would be easy for Roger to invite himself to that, too.

I agree with Admin that this whole thing could have been handled better. His father should have gone outside to deal with Roger himself, and also should have made it clear that Roger wasn’t to be allowed in to anyone who might be in a position to let him in, no matter how much of a mopey face he made. Jeremy’s manners and maturity notwithstanding, he shouldn’t have had to worry about this on his wedding day, and I’m glad no one made a scene and ruined the day.


Ashley December 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

I agree with this!


Selphie Trabia December 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I second essie’s comment. Given Roger’s responses to what the OP said, he probably has some from of high-functioning autism.

It seems that Jeremy’s family and the OP are fairly intolerant of such things. I’m more surprised that the OP was even concerned over Jeremy’s state of underdress then she was over the fact that he clearly could not understand things being explained to him.


Hemi December 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I agree with Admin, particularly the section regarding Jeremy’s father. The photographer should not be in charge of turning away uninvited guests.
I also think that Jeremy should have tried to “bean dip” when Roger asked about the date of the wedding. If you specifically do not want a person at your wedding, you certainly should not tell them the date of the wedding.
Maybe the parents or couple should have gotten someone to be a sort of security guard to make sure that Roger (and Winifred for that matter) did not get in the church in the first place. Despite Jeremy liking Winifred, since it was an invitation only wedding, she should not have been allowed to crash, either. (BTW, how did Roger know that Winifred was *not* invited?)
When you are dealing with someone who may have a mental disability, as @essie has suggested, I think the situation becomes a little more difficult. I’m not sure how you would deal with that. I’m sure Admin could provide some guidance.


MaryFran December 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Honestly, if they didn’t want Roger there, why in the world would you point blank tell him when it was going to be? I would have dodged when he asked when — “Oh, it’s just family. Do you like bean dip?” Badly handled on so.many.levels.


alex December 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm

I agree that it sounds like Jeremy has Aspergers. We have two people like that at our church and you do have to basically explain everything to them and be cautious because their idea of what is correct behavior does not fall within social norms and thus can make things difficult at times.

I agree that the dad should have stepped up and then the pastor should have tried to explain to Jeremy what was going on. It could have even been said that he could sit at the wedding but then make sure that he knew that he was not to go to the dinner. And Winifred should not have been allowed to stay either. You can’t make concessions for just one person, that isn’t right.

While the groom saying he was going to punch him was rude, he did not act on it and thus I do not think he did anything wrong. He just didn’t want him at his wedding, it was his wedding and his request should have been accomodated.


grumpy_otter December 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm

To be frank, the only person who sounds like a well-intentioned person in this whole thing is Roger. The clarification of his potential disability at the very beginning makes it sound like that is very probably the case. If he were truly dangerous or awful, the police could have been called–instead the attitude was “Ooh, we don’t want this yucky person at our wedding.”

I’ll now make the condescending remark about Christian charity and how it seems to be sorely lacking here. But I agree that the OP should NOT have been put in the position of asking Roger to leave.

As an aside–is this church in the Austin, Texas area? I think I know Roger.


Edhla December 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Hi, I’m the OP 🙂

Admin, yes, I wasn’t at all particularly happy with Jeremy’s dad either. I really should have clarified that. 🙂

I think part of the reason Roger showed up regardless of being asked not to (twice) is because we are generally a small and social church and, normally, an unannounced drop-in at a wedding would be fine. Roger’s pretty well cared for from a pastoral point of view and does have a working relationship with his parents and siblings as well. His social skills are improving but very slowly and not by much.

And do not even get me started on Jeremy (groan!) There are a whole host of issues there as well, but he is a seriously unpleasant person to be around even when he’s NOT threatening to punch people. This is sort of what it came down to- if Roger had just showed up, nobody would really have minded, except that Jeremy had expressed such a violent dislike of him and has few social skills/impulse control himself. There was absolutely no chance of him getting angry or violent with Winifred so the extra wasn’t really a problem in that sense.

I do freely admit that part of the reason I’m so miffed is because I then had to contend with the rumour (started by Roger) that I had cast Roger out of the wedding because, well, I’m just that mean, don’t you know? And that I had to go to Oliver (who is my pastor too!) afterward and explain that no, I did not exclude Roger from the wedding out of mean-spiritedness, I’d simply relayed the message and gone on with what I was doing- because that is certainly what Roger had told him.


essie December 7, 2011 at 7:02 am

Thank you. I was concerned.

(1) For those who said I was wrong because Roger HAD been told he wasn’t invited, I’ll point out, again, that with Aspies, you HAVE to be specific. He didn’t like it when the OP told him he wasn’t invited because he knew it wasn’t the OP’s wedding and it wasn’t her right to exclude him; therefore, she was just being mean. Jeremy or his father should have (as Miss Jeanne pointed out) manned up and told Roger he wasn’t invited AND that he should go home.

(2) A wedding ceremony IN a church IS a church service and therefore subject to the same attendance requirements as any other service performed in that church. I.e., if the church holds a worship service for “members only” and another that’s “visitors only”, then Roger could have been sxcluded from a wedding ceremony that was for “visitors only”. If the church services are “open to all”, then the only way to keep Roger out (that I can think of) would be if Jeremy had a legal restraining order against him. I didn’t like it when I found out that my ex-husband had attended my mother’s funeral, but it was held in the church and he was, officially, a member; there was no way I could have stopped him.


Miss Alex December 7, 2011 at 11:12 am

Thank you so much for saying this, Fyrefly! As a person with Asperger’s who puts a great deal of effort into interacting politely with other people (it’s why I first started reading Etiquette Hell), it’s frustrating to hear speculation about my disorder attached to any sort of rude behavior.

No offense taken, essie; your heart’s in the right place.

Even by my Aspergarian standards, OP’s request to leave was very clear. I agree with admin that “Roger” should not have been allowed in, no matter where he is on the spectrum.

Also, if I had to give an armchair diagnosis, “Roger” sounds flat-out autistic rather than a person with Asperger’s.


Edhla December 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Oh, and regarding Winifred- she also is a woman who is a little impaired mentally/socially and who had been asked to attend by someone who WAS invited. I had heard about this and alerted Josephine about a week beforehand and left the matter in her hands, since Winifred and the woman who invited her are close friends. I don’t know what happened between me telling Josephine and the wedding itself.


Maribeth December 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm

In most* faith communities, God’s House is open to one and all. Anyone can witness the wedding ceremony in the church. There are no bouncers at the door. If the couple truly wanted an invitation-only wedding ceremony, they should have arranged to have the event in a private venue, such as a home or rented space.

*LDS temples are closed to people who are not temple-worthy. There may be other examples of which I am not aware.


many bells down December 7, 2011 at 11:14 am

The Temples are closed, but the regular Sunday church facilities are open I’m not Mormon but I’ve gone to Sunday services many times with my father-in-law. However LDS Temple weddings are such a different thing entirely that it doesn’t really signify.


Guppy December 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I experience a similar situation in our church choir of which I am a member. There is one choir member who is chronically late to or absent from rehearsal but comes, late again, on Sunday to sing. I help her “catch up” and fill her in quietly and quickly on what needs to be known as I am the librarian. Other members are not so tolerant. I kid them, half seriously, that I believe God has sent her to us to test our Christian charity and they are all disappointing Him and I’m not. So, I think Jeremy’s family let down the side by trying to deny Roger. They were in a Christian church. Jesus was not violent and he was absolutely tolerant.


MeganAmy December 7, 2011 at 12:05 am

While Jeremy’s dad should have probably bounced Roger himself, just to make sure Roger understood and left, I don’t see that he was rude for asking a family friend (the OP) to help him. Maybe the dad had something he needed to do or prepare right before the ceremony and wasn’t just milling about. Asking a friend for help isn’t wrong.

I don’t know OP’s exact wording to Roger, but I don’t think OP was too subtle. Even someone with AS should understand “the wedding was invite-only and he was not on the guest list.” But if I were in OP’s shoes and didn’t see Roger turn around and walk away, I would have added “I am sorry. There had to be a limit to the guests. You are not on the guest list. You must leave. Please, leave. Sorry. Bye.” And made sure he walked away.


Edhla December 7, 2011 at 4:16 am

OP again. Just to clarify, the reason there was consternation when Roger appeared was NOT “eww mentally disabled person, keep him away.” It was partly for Jeremy, obviously, but it was also to protect Roger. Because if Jeremy was going to make a scene, that was clearly going to spell trouble for Roger too, even if he didn’t literally get punched. The issue wasn’t so much that Jeremy dislikes Roger, it was the potential for things to get completely out of hand if Roger did attend. Thank goodness that Jeremy behaved much better than his parents expected, but the horror between us when Roger arrived was largely one of dreading the worst.

This wasn’t a church service, where everyone is welcome to come along. This was at a very small private wedding, where the bride and groom are not regular churchgoers and the only reason the venue was at the church is because groom’s mother Josephine is a regular at the church, as am I and Roger and Winifred (but not Josephine’s husband, Jeremy’s dad.) I do think that it isn’t unreasonable to expect that the people at your wedding are those who you have invited, personally. Aside from myself and Winifred (again I have no idea if Josephine extended a last-minute invite to her or what) the only people present were close family and the bridesmaid, who is Rita’s best friend.

I really think Roger may have regarded this event (it was on a Sunday afternoon after all) like all the other church events that he IS welcome to attend (and does.) I was trying not to be rude, obviously, but I don’t think I was overly subtle in what I said to him. I never am, since subtlety is completely lost on Roger, which is part of the reason why Jeremy’s Dad asked me to talk to him.


Maribeth December 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

“This wasn’t a church service, where everyone is welcome to come along. This was at a very small private wedding, where the bride and groom are not regular churchgoers and the only reason the venue was at the church is because groom’s mother Josephine is a regular at the church, as am I and Roger and Winifred (but not Josephine’s husband, Jeremy’s dad.)”

So, what you are telling me is that a member of the church (Clueless Roger) is booted out of the church by a non-member (Groom Jeremy)?

I have said the same thing in several messages. In my church, there is no such thing as a “private” invitation-only church service.

Groom Jeremy and his bride are not church members, apparently, and were only there because of Jeremy’s mother. Why couldn’t they get married at a private venue (hotel? home?) where the space would truly be private? Then, they could install bouncers at the door.

As a church-goer myself, I am truly offended at the idea that anyone, member or especially non-member, could tell me I was not allowed in the church sanctuary during any church service.


Edhla December 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

Roger wasn’t booted out of the church by anybody. When Oliver let him in, nobody said a word after that regarding his appearance, and the wedding service proceeded without drama. Jeremy didn’t even know he was there for much of the service. It was remarks he had made beforehand that indicated there might be an altercation if the two met at the wedding that had everyone concerned.

This, to me, is not about whether you can legally bar a person from a church wedding. I’m aware that you can’t, except if you have a restraining order or something. To me, this is about the etiquette of attending a wedding when the groom himself has politely stated that he and his bride wanted a small and private affair. If Winifred was not invited at the last minute, then she also violated this request (if it were given to her. Like I say, I really, really do not know.) The difference lies only in that Roger is the one that Jeremy threatened to get violent at. Was Jeremy right to do so? Absolutely NOT!

It isn’t for me to answer as to why Jeremy and his bride chose the wedding venue they did, so I can’t say. Rita is a Christian, though of a different denomination, so I think she had every right to marry in a church and make her vows before God. Jeremy I don’t want to speculate on as I really don’t know the state of his heart before God.

Most people would not have been in this position in any case; most people, on being told that it was a 30-person close-family shotgun wedding and please invite only, would have understood and made their well-wishes known in another way. Roger, as I’ve said, is not “most people.” There was really no way I could express to him what exactly Jeremy had said regarding his attendance and that he may have been in actual danger. (Lest you think it was an unreasonable threat and we were all silly for taking it seriously… Jeremy has done things like that before, though not at a wedding, let alone his own, and in a church too. The other concern was that Jeremy was going to get into it with his own brother.) I’m not supporting Jeremy personally, because I find him so completely unpleasant and if it were MY wedding, I wouldn’t care if Roger showed up.

This being my own church also, I can’t imagine showing up at a function held there that I had been politely asked not to go to, I really can’t. Since Roger really actually doesn’t know Jeremy (has met him a handful of times and each time Jeremy has been polite but frosty) or Josephine (say hello on Sunday) and Jeremy had said the wedding was for close family only… I am truly baffled as to his motives for showing up anyway, to be honest.


Anonymous December 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Wait, Jeremy has only met this guy a couple times and he’s willing to punch this guy in the face.

I’m sorry, but the groom sounds WAY worse than the crasher.


lkb December 7, 2011 at 6:15 am

I agree with MeganAmy: I suppose it was the dad’s job to bounce Roger and perhaps should not have dumped it on another guest/photographer. However if it was my son’s wedding day, I guess my priority would have been to be with my son, especially if the guest/photographer in question knew Roger and thought that person could better handle him.

At least in my denomination (Catholic), weddings are considered to be public celebrations. As I understand it, those of us in attendance are considered to be witnesses. The more witnesses the better.


Sarah December 7, 2011 at 9:19 am

@Ikb I do love that Catholic churches are open to all and often you see tens of people who just want to see the ceremony. Our neighbours daughter got married and my mum and siblings went to the ceremony. We and others who were not invited to the reception slipped in and quietly sat at the back. The bride got the blessing that ALL the photos she now has of her wedding were taken by these people! It was before the day of video cameras and digital cameras so when the wedding photographer ruined the photos (I believe each one was covered in a translucent turquoise haze) everyone got together and gave her the photos they had taken. She ended up with a full album and some were very similar to what the official photographer would have got because as the couple/bridal party were in place others took the opportunity to snap a couple while he was setting up his camera!


WildIrishRose December 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

At the risk of highjacking this whole conversation, if a wedding ceremony held in a church is a public event, then what is the point of invitations? Why go to all that trouble and expense? Also, since we have previously established that if you invite someone to the wedding, you must invite them to the reception as well, does this mean that an open invitation extends to include the reception as well? If it’s okay to attend the ceremony just because it’s in a church, then it follows that you’re welcome at the reception too, right? What if there’s not enough food? Drinks? Cake? Get my point?

I still maintain that regardless of the location of the wedding itself, if the B&G specify that it’s by invitation only, then it’s by invitation only. In my case, it was important to me to be married in the church by an ordained minister. As the bride, I should have the right to decide who I want to attend, and I shouldn’t have to worry about how much it’s going to cost me to feed people who drop in just because it’s in a church. A wedding ceremony is a worship service (in my view), yes, but it’s not the same as a regular church service at which everyone is welcome. And let’s apply this to a funeral–is it okay to crash a funeral just because the service is held in a church? Who would be okay with that???

Bottom line: A wedding is a private function regardless of where it’s held. And if you don’t receive an invitation, you don’t go.


Library Diva December 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

What I’d always understood was that most churches were considered public places, and therefore anyone could go to things held at them, barring a restraining order. Similar to if you’re getting married in a park or public beach, anyone can come up and watch the ceremony. The invitations are to alert people who might not just stumble upon your ceremony, and also, the invitations are for the reception. So anyone who attends a church ceremony because their best friend did the flowers, because they have a casual acquaintance with the bride or groom, or because they’re the organist’s ride home and it doesn’t make sense for them to leave, has no reasonable expectation of attending the reception, which is private and invite-only.

Judging by a couple of the other posts, maybe it’s predominantly a Catholic tradition? I attended the Catholic ceremony of the older sister of a friend several years ago. She was someone I saw frequently but wasn’t close enough for her to invite me. I would have been more surprised to be invited, in fact. But I still wanted to wish her well and see her in her dress. She seemed happy to see me.

I’ve never heard of funeral invitations being issued, so I’m not sure how it’s possible to crash one, unless you showed up against the explicit wishes of the family. Most funerals I’ve attended have always featured a few surprise attendees, and it’s always been a pleasant surprise. In a few cases, *I’ve* been the surprise attendee, and the families have always seemed pleased that I thought enough of a casual acquaintance (neighbors from my childhood in both cases I’m thinking of) to go pay my respects. A lot of times, calling hours and funeral details are even printed in the newspaper obituary, just for this purpose.


Maribeth December 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Just for the record, I attend the Episcopal Church. All are welcome.


Hemi December 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Definitely agree with this. Your wedding, you get to invite who comes.


Maribeth December 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm

“At the risk of highjacking this whole conversation, if a wedding ceremony held in a church is a public event, then what is the point of invitations? Why go to all that trouble and expense?”

Invitations are to inform your nearest and dearest of the who what when where and why of the upcoming event.

Other people can and do learn of the wedding time and date, by whatever means. For example, in my church we publish a weekly calendar. It’s typical to see “Smith-Jones Wedding” listed for a Saturday. If someone particuarly wanted to see Smith and Jones get married, they need only phone the church office to find out the exact time.

“Also, since we have previously established that if you invite someone to the wedding, you must invite them to the reception as well, does this mean that an open invitation extends to include the reception as well?”

Don’t be silly, of course it does not. The reception is a private party by invitation only. It can even be held in the church fellowship hall by invitation only.

The wedding ceremony is usually in the _sanctuary_, which is God’s House, and is a worship service.

Bottom line: If you truly want your wedding ceremony to be invitation-only, then don’t schedule your wedding ceremony for a church sanctuary. Hold it someone where. I did. I got married at my parents’ house, and the wedding was canonically legal as the officiant was a priest.


No Wedding December 8, 2011 at 9:33 am

I don’t get it either, WildIrishRose. There’s been discussions already on here about how its the bride and groom’s wedding, if they want to restrict the guest list to no children, then its their right to do so and couples that just bring their kids along anyway are rude. But apparently if the wedding is in a church, they can bring the kids along anyway because you can’t restrict anyone from coming to a church service. Conflicting advice.


WildIrishRose December 9, 2011 at 11:16 am

Exactly my point. I’m sticking to my opinion: My wedding, my guest list. Especially if I have to pay to use the church.

“Also, since we have previously established that if you invite someone to the wedding, you must invite them to the reception as well, does this mean that an open invitation extends to include the reception as well?”

Don’t be silly, of course it does not. The reception is a private party by invitation only. It can even be held in the church fellowship hall by invitation only.

Okay, so if I have the wedding in the sanctuary (which I did), and uninvited guests show up because it’s the church and everyone is welcome, and then I have the reception in the fellowship hall (which I did), who gets to be the lucky individual who tells the uninvited wedding guests that they don’t get to attend the reception? I don’t think this is a silly question at all, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who wonders.

If the wedding is public and the reception isn’t, then why bother with WEDDING invitations? I’ve never received an invitation to just the RECEPTION. It’s always been for the wedding itself, and sometimes there’s an addendum like “Reception to follow at [wherever].”

I still say if I book the church, and I pay for it, and I’m paying the minister and paying the musician(s), etc., then I get to decide who is invited. It isn’t fair to the bride and groom to expect them to have their wedding someplace else just to keep people from crashing. It isn’t an ordinary worship service–it’s a private ceremony to be followed by a private party. And as someone else pointed out, if it’s open to all just because it’s in a church, then there’s no point to excluding children.


Gracie C. December 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm

You can “say” all you want that if you book it and pay for it you make the rules, but if the church rules is that any church service is open to the public then that is their rule. If you had an issue with that I would assume you just wouldn’t book in that church. Obviously it was not an issue at the church you were married in.

As for why bothering to send wedding invitations, it’s to ensure that the people you’d like to know about the wedding know about the wedding, same as any wedding. Even if the church was open to the public you wouldn’t just hope that the people you cared about happened to come to church at the time of your wedding, you would invite them.


Anonymous December 7, 2011 at 10:12 am

Really, this guy would let a single person “ruin” his wedding just by being there?

Also, you guys undid the wedding crasher rule by letting one in already. Look, threatening to punch someone is just not okay, unless that person is physically hurting you or someone else.

I used to volunteer with mentally disabled kids and there’s not enough here to diagnose, but it could be a whole host of issues.


Serenity S. December 7, 2011 at 10:14 am

I agree with Admin. Especially about the part where Winnifred also crashed the wedding and was not asked to leave. Winnifred should also have been asked to leave. I can see why Roger became confused, especially if he is impaired in some way. And Jeremy doesn’t sound like someone I would want to be around. Threats of violence are not an appropriate or adult way to handle a situation. I hope he does not treat his new bride that way. I would rather be around Roger who was confused, than Jeremy who has a bad temper and may be violent, any day of the week.


AmandaElizabeth December 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm

A church service is open to all regardless of the type of service, communion,christening, funeral, matins or wedding, is certainly the tradition of the Church of England because it is the established church. Which in a brief over view means that what happens there ‘established it’, that is records the birth of a child, sets up a marriage, verifies a death. Those who do ancestral research know the value of the parish records or register. I do not know whether the Episcopal or Anglican church carries on this tradition in the rest of the world, but I know it does here in New Zealand.


Maribeth December 7, 2011 at 10:26 pm

“I do not know whether the Episcopal or Anglican church carries on this tradition in the rest of the world, but I know it does here in New Zealand.”

I attend the Episcopal Church in the USA and can tell you that any church service in my church is open to everyone. The Lord’s Table (ie Holy Communion) is available to one and all, saints and sinners, member and non-members, believers and non-believers, where ever a person might find themselves on a faith journey.

It is _absolutely_ offensive_ to me to hear of anyone telling anyone else they are “not invited” to a church service. It is especially offensive that those “un-inviting” a church member are not, themselves, church members. They make it sound as if the building was rented for the afternoon. If you want a private, invitation-only ceremony, then hold that ceremony in a private venue.

The only church I know of that restricts entry is the temple in the LDS faith. They restrict entry to anyone who is not temple-worthy. I cannot imagine an LDS temple “renting” out the building for the day, then allowing non-LDS invitees to enter but barring LDS members entry. If there is another faith community out there that would condone barring a member from a worship service, while allowing non-members entry, I would like to hear about that.


WildIrishRose December 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

“I attend the Episcopal Church in the USA and can tell you that any church service in my church is open to everyone. The Lord’s Table (ie Holy Communion) is available to one and all, saints and sinners, member and non-members, believers and non-believers, where ever a person might find themselves on a faith journey.”

Why would Holy Communion even be offered to non-believers?


Maribeth December 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

One more comment, then I’m done.

One does not “invite” a guest to a wedding ceremony held in a church sanctuary. The correct wording is “request the honor of your presence”.

You can invite someone to a private home or a private party in a commercial establishment. You do not invite someone to God’s House. Nor can you un-invite or non-invite them.


WildIrishRose December 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

“One does not “invite” a guest to a wedding ceremony held in a church sanctuary. The correct wording is “request the honor of your presence”.”

That IS an invitation! I’m not going to request the “honor” of the presence of people I don’t want there!


Maribeth December 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm

“request the honor of your presence” functions as an invitation, sure. However, it is worded in that precise manner to avoid officially inviting people to God’s House.

I agree, you don’t “request” nor “invite” someone you don’t like to your wedding. However, if for whatever reason a person shows up at the church sanctuary, you have no right to ask them to leave, under the “interesting assumption” that God would un-invite someone to His House.


Cat December 9, 2011 at 10:17 am

One does not have to have a disability in order not to understand that “invitation only” means that, if you are not invited, you cannot come.
A member of our school’s faculty was being married. She invited the entire faculty to the wedding itself, but only a few were invited to the reception. I rode with another faculty member. After the wedding, he wanted to attend the reception as a family member made an announcement as to where the reception would be for those who were attending and who did not know the way.
My fellow faculty member immediately wanted to attend the reception as the announcement had been made generally. I had to explain that the man was being polite by not stating that only invited guests could attend. He was not giving a blanket invite to anyone who wanted to go. He was not mentally challenged or autistic; he just did not understand that you don’t go to a reception if you were not invited by the bride and groom.


twik December 9, 2011 at 10:37 am

I agree with most posters here.

(1) In most churchs, you can’t claim that a service (even a wedding) is “private”. It’s a standard service, at which someone happens to get married. Roger did, technically, have the right to attend. He would not, of course, have subsequent rights to attend the reception and so forth. He had a legitimate question as to why Winnifred could attend, but not him.

(2) Jeremy *should* have avoided any mention of the date of the wedding. However, it’s hard to think on your feet sometimes. And, of course, other people might mention it to Roger, not realizing the problem it created.

(3) Roger may or may not have Aspberger’s Syndrome. There are *many* mental illnesses (and physical conditions as well) that can cause poor social functioning. While it appears that Roger has *some* disability, we can’t say what it might be.

(4) Jeremy and his family should have planned better than assigning a non-official member of the wedding party to “have a talk” with Roger, since part of the problem is that these talks don’t work with whatever condition it is that he has.


Enna December 10, 2011 at 7:06 am

Regardless if Roger has a condition like Aspergers or not, someone in the Church needs to take him under his/her wing about his behaviour. Some people do have conditions, others are socially clueless – if he lives on his own Roger may be a bit out of touch about how to interact with people. I do think the parents of the broom should have been the ones to tell Roger that he is not invited.


abcd May 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

Parents of the broom? Is that the mop and the rake?

Lol! Sorry 😉


delislice February 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

A little late to the comment party — however, I have a graduate degree that directly speaks to several of the issues being addressed, so I can’t resist throwing in my 2 cents.

A wedding held in a church is a _worship service._ Because of that,
—-It is open to everyone.
—-That is why, as a previous poster noted, the host of the event does not technically “invite” people to attend. It provides information about time and place and “requests the honor of your presence” or “the pleasure of your company.” A worship service is the intentional formation of community, and anyone may elect to participate.
—-You did not pay for the rental of the space and thus retain temporary rights of ownership allowing you to admit or bar individuals. You paid for the overhead/normal wear and tear of having the building open, lights on, and staff on hand at an extra and unusual time.
—-The wedding — the actual worship service itself — is, however, the only aspect of the function that is absolutely open to all. Different churches have different policies about what precedes or follows it, but in general, any pre-service activities and post-service activities are private events from which people may be excluded at the desire of the people hosting the event. But if you want to get technical about it, anyone who happens to wander in must be admitted to a worship service.

So yep, if someone wants to insist, they can indeed bring their underparented children — and it would be very ill-mannered if in direct contravention of the bride’s wishes, but they can.


Cat June 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Not all faiths believe in the the “it’s a church so anyone can come in” theory. The Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) has a temple ceremony in which couples are joined for eternity and only members of the LDS with a Temple Recommend may enter.

I wonder if there are other faiths that have similar restrictions about attending certain ceremonies.


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