Last year, I moved to a new city with my fiance, which allowed me to reconnect with an old friend. “Karen” and I were never particularly close, but we were connected through a treasured mutual friend, “Natalie”. That year, my fiance met Karen’s fiance, “Jake” at a dinner. Jake was the epitome of faux-paus-tiquette. During dinner, Jake continually flirted with another woman, made off-color jokes, and insisted on calling my fiance by a silly nickname. At one point, his wife-to-be tried to hold his hand and he immediately shooed her off. On the drive home, my fiance declared that he would not have dinner with Jake again.
I wish this were the end of the story, but it only gets worse. Later that year, I received an invitation from the MOG for a bridal shower honoring Karen. Natalie and I thought it odd that the groom’s family would host, but we brushed it off, looked at her (3!) registries, and bought Karen her presents. Since I traveled for work, I purchased my gift well before my next assignment. One day, 500 miles from home, I receive a phone call from Natalie. Mind you, Natalie, Karen, and I had discussed Karen’s wedding, who she planned to invite, and what she would like to do. However, Karen revealed to Natalie that the wedding itself would not include the majority of the guests invited for the shower. Jake and his mother planned the bridal shower, which included more than 50 guests, as a way to get all their marital wants without having to accommodate the guests at an actual reception!
I felt that my friendship with Karen was being used by Jake as a means to a material end. I discussed the situation with a fellow coworker, known for excellent etiquette, who assured me that showers are meant to be a way to wish a friend well in her marriage, regardless if invited to the reception (in my experience, you only invite those to a shower who are invited to the wedding). So I hitched up my big girl britches and attended the shower, which was lovely. But later on, Jake made the announcement that the wedding would only have close friends and family in attendance. (Natalie was invited, I was not). Karen seemed embarrassed and it looked like that this was not her idea. Afterwards, I overheard Jake explaining to a guest that they were going to return some of the gifts (for cash, if possible) and buy the things that they REALLY wanted. I’m positive my gift fell into that category.
Recently, my fiance and I married in a “Let’s go for it!” moment during one of my travel assignments. We received congratulations from friends in the know, which included Karen and Jake who knew about our nuptials but congratulated us months later. It seemed that Jake was upset that our marriage took place a few weeks before his and felt we overshadowed their special day. My husband and I continue to plan for a party for all of our friends and family to celebrate our marriage. Due to my (now!) husband’s distaste for Jake, I don’t know if we should invite Karen and Jake. Are we displaying faux-pas-tiquette by not inviting them? 1017-12
First, your allegedly etiquette smart co-worker is dead wrong about the nature of bridal showers and who is invited. It is a MASSIVE faux pas to invite people to a shower that you have no intention whatsoever of inviting to the wedding. It is unequivocally a declaration that the presence of gifts is infinitely more important than guests’ presence at the wedding. It is prioritizing things over people. The fact that Jake feels compelled to explain himself means there might be a hint of guilt he feels but must assuage with bravado and and an utter lack of grace. Your husband is correct to run from such a person.
You appear to not have a close friendship with Karen and it is obvious that neither you nor your husband have one with Jake so why would you invite them to a marriage celebration? There is not an etiquette rule that insists there be reciprocal wedding invitations and even if there were, you have found out that you are not invited to their wedding. So, fear not about deciding to not extend an invitation to Jake and Karen.