Guest Imposes Ban On Fiance’s Attendance At Family Weddings

by admin on November 19, 2013

This story has two parts, but it involves the same guest. The person in question is my cousin “Megan”. A bit of background: most of my family lives in State A. Megan, although she grew up in State A, lives in State C, which is about 12 hours from State A. Megan is engaged to James. Megan and I have a cousin (“Renee”) who was married in May.

Part I:

Renee addressed Megan’s invitation to “Megan and James”. Megan checked off that two people were going and put in her friend’s name instead. (I’ll call her friend “Karen”. She lives in State A.) Since Megan cannot go anywhere in State A without Karen (so it seems), no one was surprised. (Megan is *always* with Karen when Megan’s up in State A. It’s really odd.) Renee was irritated, but did not say anything.

At Megan’s wedding, I was with my future sister-in-law, “Samantha”. (She’s engaged with to my brother.) Megan and Karen came up to us, and Megan said to Samantha, “Hi. Have you met Karen? She’ll be coming to your wedding with me. James is not allowed to go!” Karen then chirped, “It’s going to be so much fun! Your family is hilarious! Your family knows how to throw a party!”

Samantha and I looked at each other, horrified. Samantha’s wedding wasn’t for another 15 months, and she was NOT planning on inviting Karen. All Samantha could say was, “Oh…we haven’t finalized the guest list yet.”

Part II:

Two months later, Renee’s brother “William” got married in State B, which is closer to State C than it is to State A. Megan pulled the same stunt, but invited “Jane” instead of Karen. (The invitation was addressed to Megan and James.) Megan and Jane, who live in State C, carpooled up to State B together. William did not say anything to Megan about her substitute guest.

At the hotel, Megan, Jane, Megan’s mother (“Aunt Chloe”) and “Aunt Katherine” (Chloe’s sister) shared a room. (Keep in mind that Katherine and Chloe came up from State A.) As they were dividing the cost of the hotel, Aunt Chloe said that Megan, Chloe and Katherine should split the room 3 ways because Jane did a Megan a favor by driving Megan up to the hotel. Aunt Katherine said that she would pay 1/4 of the bill, but she was not paying anymore. I did not understand this at all. Jane’s favor to Megan has nothing to do with Aunt Katherine or Aunt Chloe. Why should they be expected to pay Jane’s share? Jane wasn’t even invited to the wedding. That was bizarre, but I’m glad Aunt Katherine said no.

I have no idea why James does not go to family weddings or why Megan has to have a friend who was not invited to these events go with her. I think it was very rude of Megan to presume that she could substitute a guest. I also don’t know how to take this “James is not allowed to go!” bit. This isn’t a ticket to a ball game. It’s a wedding!

I am looking to get married in late 2014 or 2015. How do I deal with this substitute guest nonsense? 1111-13

*Whew!*  Did everyone keep track of that?

If James and Megan are co-habitating, send the usual invitation inviting both of them.    If they are not co-habitating at the time of your wedding, send individual invitations to each one with no “And Guest” designation.   If the RSVP comes back with James deleted and some friend added, you can contact Megan and explain to her that you cannot accommodate added guests.    While it is delightful that Megan gets to see her friends Karen or Jane when she visits from out of state, you and the other bridal family members have no obligation to facilitate that reunion (Aunt Katherine gets this, btw).   Further, it should be a concern that Megan’s fiance does not make an appearance at significant family events.   That’s a red flag, imo.   If Megan insists that James “is not allowed” to attend these family weddings, I would be wondering whether he even knows about them and if he does, why is he hiding from meeting his future wife’s extended family?   You can politely explain to her that your invitation was to James, too, and that you have an interest in meeting Megan’s future husband.

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Tanya November 19, 2013 at 9:07 am

I can only think of a few reasons why someone might not be “allowed” to attend family weddings. Maybe James has a history of behaving badly at such events (maybe due to open bars, maybe because he gets into public arguments with family members over religious/political opinions). Or– and I hesitate to put this out there but it’s the only thing I can think of– there’s a court order or something similar in place prohibiting him from being around certain specific people, or children, due to a criminal history.

If it’s the former, it sounds like Megan doesn’t want to ruin family events by allowing James to behave badly at them. While that’s commendable, the appropriate action is simply not to bring him– invitations are not tickets to events, they are not transferable!

If it’s the latter, I understand her reluctance to go into detail, but again, invitations are not tickets!

I suppose that a less charitable (but more likely) explanation is simply that Megan prefers to attend family events with her friends, rather than her fiance, and is assuming (or telling) James that he doesn’t want to attend. Doesn’t bode well for their relationship…

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Lakey November 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm

It could also be that James just doesn’t like getting dressed up and going to these events. He could be just a bit selfish and disinterested, the type who would rather stay home and watch sports.
I’ve known couples where one liked to go out and socialize and do things and the other preferred to stay home and veg out on the couch.

If you’re right about the drinking or getting into arguments, I hope she wises up and dumps him.

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Tanya November 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

Oh, I’m sure that’s also a possibility, but I was talking about why Megan would say he wasn’t “allowed” to go. If he just didn’t like attending, she could have said that he wasn’t available, or that big events just weren’t his cup of tea. Why use the word “allowed” if it weren’t someone else’s decision (Megan’s or some other authority’s) as to whether he could go?

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AthenaC November 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Maybe she wants to sound like she is in a position of power in the relationship, so she says he’s “not allowed” to go rather than “he doesn’t want” to go.

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Lisatoo November 20, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I agree, AnthenaC. Who knows, maybe she begged him to go, but he’s just doesn’t want to. The way she phrases it makes me almost certain that this is the case. If she *really* forbade him to come, she wouldn’t joke about it. Her reluctance might make her uncomfortable, so this is her way of working around it.

Lisatoo November 20, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Edit:
*his* reluctance

Cece November 19, 2013 at 9:18 am

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think OP said that Megan and James are already married! Wasn’t that her own wedding where she dropped the substitute guest bomb on FSIL Samantha? This is just bizarre. Don’t you wish you could put some receipt legal-ese at the bottom of the invite? “No substitutions!” :P

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Mae November 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I think she meant Renee’s wedding but put Megan by mistake.

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Lex November 19, 2013 at 9:28 am

The person I feel sorriest for in all this? James.

It sounds to me as though ‘Megan’ is particularly egocentric and controlling. To say that James is ‘not allowed’ implies that his right to choose is being taken away from him by Megan. This sounds like a toxic relationship although this is really for poor James to discover and break way from.

That being said, there may be circumstances we are unaware of re: James’s job.

Taking it upon yourself to invite whoever you want as a plus 1 is inappropriate.

If I were in your position I would send separate invites to Megan and James addressed to them individually and in Megan’s case I would send the RSVP card already partially completed to make it clear that the invitation is for a single person. If she has a problem with this then it is her right to decline the invitation. You haven’t said whether Aunt Chloe has an opinion on all this – can she shed light onto why poor James is excluded? Perhaps it may be worth chatting to her before you send out your invites?

It may be the case that James works in a very competitive and demanding job where obtaining time off is difficult and obtaining leave for a distant family-of-your-fiancées-wedding is something his employer will not allow (hence the ‘not allowed’ comment) and Megan doesn’t want to have to come alone. It is probably worth finding out as you could then make alternative arrangements for Megan.

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AMC November 20, 2013 at 9:14 am

I think you hit the nail on the head. I get the feeling too that Megan has made this decision for James. I’ve known couples like James and Megan before. It’s a very unbalanced relationship. I don’t know; maybe James is fine with not going. But that doesn’t excuse Megan using a substitute guest. She’s using family occassionas to facilitate reunions with her friends. If Megan wants to hang out with her friends, she needs to attange that on her own time.

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Cady November 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

This whole thing is bizarre. It seems like James and Megan don’t like each other very much. I could see how, if he had a work commitment or something like that, Megan would leave him home (and think it’s OK to substitute someone else, even though it’s really not), but every wedding? Strange.

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Ashley November 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

I had an issue with substitute guests at our wedding. I was trying to think positive that they guest in question was trying to fill the spot their spouse could not and did not want to waste a plate of food. In this case however, I don’t think so.
What my dear husband and I did with our RSVPs was to custom make our RSVP card and WRITE IN the names of those invited. That way, guests knew our wedding was adult and no one would sneak in extra people. You might want to do this with your cousin. IF she does RSVP, do as the Admin says and tell her that her extra guests can not be accommodated. Be prepared for her to pit a fit though; she’s been allowed this behavior in the past and will become upset when boundaries are placed. Don’t be surprised if her mother gets in on the drama too!!

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Weaver November 20, 2013 at 6:11 am

I like that idea for the RSVP cards.

Megan will / will not be attending
James will / will not be attending

There’s always the danger that Megan will cross out James’s name and substitute one of her friends, but it does make it clearer initially whom you’re actually inviting.

I’d have been pretty put out if one of our guests had invited randos to our wedding without even asking. Megan sure has some gall!

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Weaver November 20, 2013 at 6:13 am

Ugh I closed the tag in the wrong place. Megan’s name wasn’t supposed to be italicised on its own, sorry.

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clairedelune November 19, 2013 at 9:42 am

Is James, um…real?

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RC November 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Hahaha love this! Thats what I was thinking…

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Sarah Jane November 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I was just thinking the same thing!

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Wild Irish Rose November 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Good question!

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Mae November 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm

That was my first thought! Has anyone in Megan’s family ever met James?

Is it possible Megan is a lesbian but is using James as a cover to hide it from her family because she thinks they will not approve? If James could not come because of work obligations, why not just say so instead of a dramatic exclamation of “James is not allowed to go!”

My husband- whose name is James (lol), does not attend many events/weddings/holiday functions because he has a bit of anxiety and is not comfortable in crowds. If anyone asks after him, I simply say he was not able to make it or if it is a close friend/family member, I just remind them he is uncomfortable in crowds. No dramatic statements needed.

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Kiki November 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I wondered that, too. Who doesn’t want their SO to join them for a wedding? It just seems weird to me.

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Serena November 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm

That’s what I was thinking! Maybe they broke up and for whatever reason Megan didn’t want to say anything?

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manybellsdown November 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I’ve got a friend who is married but I’ve never once seen her husband. He doesn’t go out to events, and he doesn’t even come out to say hello if we visit their home. I thought she was actually single for the longest time.

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Cat November 19, 2013 at 10:09 am

Megan is crossing a line when she decides that “James” means “whomever you want to bring with you”. I would call dear Megan and explain that a wedding is not a free party for one of her friends. If you had wanted “friend” there, you would have sent him/her an invitation. Then I would sent two separate invitations: one to James and one to Megan. James can come if he wishes and Megan can decide if she wants to attend or not.
I, too, wonder why James is not allowed to attend family events. If he does not drag his knuckles on the ground or spit into the punch bowl, I’d like an explanation of the “is not allowed to attend” comment.

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Charliesmum November 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

Wow. That…bizzare.

The fact that she doesn’t take her future husband to events as important as family weddings is just the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. I can’t imagine that’s a marriage that’s going to last if she already would rather spend time with friends than with him.

At least you KNOW she’s going to try to pull this on you for your wedding, so you can have a plan in place for thwarting it. Good luck.

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Kirsten November 19, 2013 at 10:36 am

Megan is engaged, I think – although the OP says ‘at Megan’s wedding’, I think she means ‘at Renee’s wedding’.

How very rude of Megan. She sounds like a silly little girl, and in your place I’d have no problem ringing her up to say, “I’m sorry, but I invited James, not Karen/Jane/the cat. If he cannot come, then I’m afraid you’ll be coming on your own.” James’ reasons for not coming aren’t relevant here either, because they don’t excuse Megan’s. She isn’t asking, “May I please bring a friend?” She is assuming = rude!

I truly don’t see a better way around this than to smack Megan with the facts. Her friend is not invited, her fiance is, substitutes are not automatically allowed. And going by Aunt Katherine’s reaction, I don’t think you’d have any fallout from being completely blunt with her.

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Wild Irish Rose November 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

I didn’t get the sense that James was “hiding” from Megan’s family events. My understanding from Megan’s announcement that James “is not allowed to go” to these events is that Megan doesn’t want him to go. Is she afraid he’ll meet someone else? She sounds like a real winner. I’d quit inviting her to things since she can’t seem to understand that “Megan and James” means Megan and JAMES–not Karen and not Jane.

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Cora November 19, 2013 at 11:21 am

Anybody ever met “James”? Because if Megan lives 12 hours away and no one’s ever met him, I’m guessing “James” is actually Jenny or Jessica or Jocelyn. In other words, it’s not so much that James isn’t allowed, it’s that Megan is gay, and she isn’t allowing anyone else to know that. Doesn’t change the red flag; Megan should feel allowed to be whomever she is, but I wonder if this is the root of the guest-switching.

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Lillie82 November 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I have to admit that when I read, “When Megan is in State A, she is always with Karen,” did make we wonder about their relationship. But then she brought a different friend to one of the other weddings.

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Meegs November 19, 2013 at 11:48 am

Why has no one asked her why James never attends the family weddings with her and what she means when she says “he is not allowed”????

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Coralreef November 19, 2013 at 11:58 am

Has anyone actually met James? I’m wondering if he’s a real person or a figment of Megan’s imagination. If he’s real and “not allowed” to go to a family event, is he chained to the back porch of the house?

OP, I’m guessing you will have to put your foot down and not allow substitution to the guest list.

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Angel November 19, 2013 at 12:19 pm

This is my biggest pet peeve, when guests repeatedly substitute one guest for another guest–and the other guest is someone that no one is friends with. This is not a backyard bbq, this is a wedding for goodness sake! Talk about awkwardness for everyone involved.

Either James doesn’t want to come to these events or doesn’t know about them. If Megan were my cousin I would absolutely call her out on this. And let her know in no uncertain terms that the invitation is specifically meant for her and James. Not insert any guest here. It sounds like she doesn’t want to travel alone, and that’s fine–but let her traveling companion find something else to occupy her time for a few hours.

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Toreen November 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Ok. I had to re-read this one. Nowhere is it mentioned that anyone has met James (unless I missed it). I would never say anything (Nana would return from beyond to discipline me for THAT!) but I would wonder if James even exists.

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Joy November 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

Your Nana and my mom are probably comparing notes and shaking their heads at this behavior.

Who would subsitute a guest for a wedding formal enough to have posted invitations?! Unacceptable, period. You do not have to sponsor a free “Girls Night Out” for this cousin and her friends, no one does.

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June First November 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Admin, I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt like I needed a chart to keep track of all the states and players!
I agree with Admin’s response, but don’t be surprised if Megan argues about whether Karen or Jane are “added guests”. I can clearly see the, “Well, you were going to have James as a guest, so you were expecting that many people!” argument from Megan.

I think OP should have a clearly reasoned response to Megan when Megan tries this foolishness again. Perhaps it should be via email, and something like, “We are so sorry to hear James can’t make it to our wedding. We’re keeping the guest list small, so I hope you understand that we can’t accommodate Karen. I know you’re friends, but we don’t feel we know her well enough to invite her while excluding DH’s Cousin Barry. We look forward to seeing you at the wedding!”

Email is nice, because you (hopefully) won’t get drawn into an argument, and you can have it in writing for later (as the vendor story showed us).

As for Aunt Chloe, I would hope someone suggested that SHE pay Jane’s share of the hotel room. Hooray for Aunt Katherine’s polite spine! (Perhaps she can serve as intervention with Aunt Chloe/Megan before your wedding–talking it up about how you really want James to come with Megan, etc, etc. Just a thought.)

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Shoebox November 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I don’t know if I’d make too much out of the ‘James is not allowed’ crack. Could just be that Megan hasn’t matured enough to find a better way to say ‘I really want to hang out out with my friends!’

That said, yeah, the lack of maturity generally is a real problem, and that neither she nor James apparently don’t see a problem with his not attending her important family events is an even bigger one.

I’d suggest sitting her down and having a variant on this conversation: “Megan, I know how much fun you have seeing your friends when you’re in town, but we’re really wanting to meet James, and I’d like to ask as a personal favour that you bring him to our wedding. Otherwise, we want to share our day with those that mean the most to us, so I’m afraid Karen (or whomever) won’t be invited.”

The reaction to this should tell you all you need to know about handling the situation.

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doodlemor November 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I POD Cora and clairedelune. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that “James” is not real, and that Megan doesn’t want to tell her family that she is gay.

I think that the OP is subconsciously picking up on the vibes when she commented how close Megan is with Karen.

FTR, I think that it is sad that Megan feels that she can’t share this part of her life with her family. I hope that she will find them to be loving and accepting of her if and when her presumed secret is out.

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Pamela November 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Have Megan and James set a date for their wedding, and/or made other preparations? If she calls to complain about your refusal to allow Karen/Jane to attend, you might try (after repeating your polite refusal) asking her a bunch of questions about her own upcoming festivities as a distraction.

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ferretrick November 19, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Y’all are coming up with a lot of very entertaining, but kind of extreme reasons for the situation. I agree it’s unusual, but I think the suggestions that James doesn’t exist/Megan is gay/James is a sex offender (!!!), while all certainly possible, are a little over the top and reality TVish based on the facts presented.

Ladies, I’m sorry to tell you this, but the simple fact is that most straight men do not care to attend weddings and view them as necessary evils. They just don’t care. I find it much more likely that Megan simply prefers attending with a girlfriend and having fun, then dragging along a reluctant boyfriend who would rather be home watching sports. I think the “James is not allowed!” comment was meant jokingly-I think it much more likely that she simply wants to make weddings girl time and James is more than happy to comply with that. Not that that is acceptable or that Megan isn’t rude, but I think we are drawing some wild conclusions based on little evidence.

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RC November 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

But it’s far more fun to suppose James is imaginary! ;) I agree with you though, he may just not want to.

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La November 20, 2013 at 3:39 am

Nah, James is actually a fictional character and they’re going to be married on the Astral Plane. :P

… This was actually a thing in some of the stranger parts of various fandoms for a while. To be fair, given the characters it applied to most, I wouldn’t trust them to behave properly at a wedding either.

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Kirsten November 20, 2013 at 7:58 am

I did think the same! I would want an awful lot more evidence even to think that Megan might be gay/delusional/with a sex offender than just her not bringing James to 3 events over 2 years apart. And I’d be very wary of encouraging the OP to wonder this, given she knows Megan; this kind of speculation can be extremely damaging in real life.

Most straight men in my country like weddings. But then in my country they are just massive piss-ups!

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E November 20, 2013 at 9:33 am

Now I think it is you who are jumping to conclusions! “Most straight men do not care to attend weddings”??? So half the attendees of any given event are their begrudgingly or almost against their will? I’m sorry, but I’ve seen absolutely no evidence of this in my family, friends, and wide circle of acquaintances. That is a very immature attitude to ascribe to “all straight men.”

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Sarah Jane November 20, 2013 at 10:38 am

I have to chime in, too…my husband wouldn’t fit in this “most straight men ” category. He is very romantic, he loves getting together with family, he enjoys seeing me get all dressed up (he doesn’t care much for dressing up himself, but he’ll do it), and he looks forward to being with me in a beautiful, romantic setting. Plus, he likes the food.

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Rhoda November 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Speak for yourself rather than generalising to all straight men.
At the wedding I attended earlier this year the groomsmen had travelled across the world to be there.

Perhaps straight men might be put off attending a wedding where they don’t know anyone except their partner but I’m sure plenty of women would find that offputting as well.

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Sarah Jane November 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

OP, please write back and let us know if you have ever met James! What is he like? Does he seem like an introvert? Like a pushover? Like someone who was raised by wolves and wouldn’t know how to behave at a wedding?

I agree that several of the suggested scenarios here are possibilities. I’d like to add that maybe James doesn’t want to go to these events…maybe doesn’t want to be around Megan’s family, and maybe even is a real jerk about it. Maybe Megan is highly embarrassed by this and brings a friend along to divert the family’s attention from those possibilities.

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Toreen November 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I am so glad that I’m not the only one who suspects James may be fictional

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Jett Jaguar November 19, 2013 at 6:37 pm

You just have to wonder….will James be allowed to attend his own wedding to Megan? Or is Megan organising a stand-in for him at that event too?

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Weaver November 20, 2013 at 6:21 am

Ha ha! Brilliant!

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Joy November 21, 2013 at 11:10 am

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! You are my favorite poster today!!

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NostalgicGal November 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm

As I read this, Megan is married to James.

Simple, if someone’s going to invite Megan to the party, send the invite in hardcopy (preprinted) to only her. If James is to be invited, send him his own invite also hardcopy. And the same for the RSVP cards, already preprinted to say Megan on hers and James on his. If she tries to add anyone or change James’ to someone else’s name, the polite spine and the ‘We’re so sorry James isn’t able to make it’ if his is hijacked… and if she tries to add one ‘I’m sorry but we’re unable to accommodate another guest. The invitation was for (just) you.’ And stick to it.

It seems OP met James at the Megan-James wedding so he exists. Why he doesn’t come and instead Megan shoves someone else in there, is a place not to stick nose, toes, or an 11 foot pole.

Just Megan can come by herself. Nobody owes her a ‘fill in the blank as you desire’ spot.

Yes it sounds weird, but it’s not for polite people to crowbar their way in about.

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b-rock November 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I think that when the OP mentioned “Megan’s wedding” she really meant “Renee’s wedding,” and Megan and James are not married yet. I believe it was just a misprint.

And I agree with those who say that (although anything is possible) James just doesn’t like weddings and Megan prefers to go with someone who will have fun with her. It’s the same reason that even though my husband will watch American Horror Story with me if I ask him to, I know he doesn’t enjoy it and it’s more fun for me to watch it alone! None of that, however, excuses Megan continuing to substitute guests at other people’s weddings. Question though: Has anyone ever told her this is unacceptable? Or are you just assuming she should know that? I see a couple of “horrified looks,” but no real explanation of why. Not being snarky, just wondering. Maybe she genuinely does think that since you were going to pay for another person, it doesn’t matter who that person is.

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Stacey Frith-Smith November 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm

It’s a confusing round of substitutions, is it not? Maybe the simplest option is to omit worrying about possible substitutions Megan might entertain. The word “no” is a complete sentence and was designed for cases exactly like this one. (Or “That won’t be possible” if you prefer.) Angst, drama, explanations and stratagems just needlessly complicate a simple question, namely “who is on my guest list?”. It really isn’t open for discussion. Regrets are, of course, an option for those who don’t care for the terms of the hospitality being offered.

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Kimstu November 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

This, THIS, is the problem (well, one of the problems) with pre-printed fill-in-the-blank RSVP cards in wedding invitations.

If the invitation invites two people, and the printed form on the RSVP card asks how many people will be attending, there will always be some guests rude or clueless enough to think that the number is more important than the identities of the invited individuals.

It’s nice to include RSVP cards in order to save your guests a stamp (and to make sure they send the RSVP to the correct address), but if I had my way they’d be blank cards. Somebody who’s enough of a functioning human to be a guest at a wedding ought to be capable of writing an appropriate message to accept or decline a wedding invitation in their own words. (I realize that this may be a hopelessly optimistic expectation nowadays!)

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Lisa Marie November 20, 2013 at 6:54 am

What is wrong with not wanting to attend a wedding alone? So her fiance might not have wanted to come. She could have “forced” him to come and he would have made her miserable for doing so or she could go with a friend. Who the wedding party knows. Did they cause a scene? Didn’t sound like it. As long as
she didn’t bring her friend and James because the event was for two does it matter? I think this is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

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Kirsten November 20, 2013 at 10:33 am

She brought someone who was not invited and whom the couple might not have wanted there. It isn’t just about numbers. It’s rude to assume you can bring someone that the couple did not invite to their wedding and force them to pay for it. If James isn’t coming, the HC might want to keep that money. Or they might have been asked if someone else could come, and want to say yes.

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to attend a wedding alone, but in that case you can ask politely if it would be possible to bring Karen (still a but cheeky though) , or you don’t go.

This was not a ‘free space’ that Megan used. It was the couple’s space to use as they wanted, not hers. So, so rude.

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Sarah Jane November 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

I don’t think that the concern here is that they “didn’t cause a scene.” The issue is that the bride and groom have a right to dictate their own guest list, and unless the invitation includes a “plus one”, it is not open to interpretation. They very specifically invited James…not just any guest of Megan’s choosing.

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Cat November 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm

That “mole hill” may mean that one ends up with a wedding reception in which half of your guests are total strangers to you. Think about it: no one wants to go alone so you give everyone the right to bring one guest. Everyone thinks, “What a great time to let my three year old see a wedding reception.” or “I can take auntie out of the nursing home for a nice meal without it costing anything.” or “Jimmy is out of prison on release that day. He can come and socialize! He’ll find a new girlfriend.” or ” Boyfriend loves free booze and he’s a hoot when he’s drunk! I’ll take him!”
Good luck with the moles in your hill.

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JackieJormpJomp January 8, 2014 at 4:41 am

“Good luck with the moles in your hill.”

I’m stealing that.

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Tanya November 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Not to pile on, but I see this as a situation where two people were specifically invited– just because one can’t attend doesn’t mean that the other gets to choose someone else. Otherwise any guest could say “hmm, I know that so-and-so was invited to the wedding, but they said they couldn’t make it. Cool, that means I can bring my boyfriend/aunt/babysitter’s cousin! After all, there’s an extra space, right? And the couple’s wedding is clearly about making ME happy rather than about who they want to celebrate with them.”

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Kimstu November 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm

@Lisa Marie: “What is wrong with not wanting to attend a wedding alone?”

It’s a tip-off that maybe you shouldn’t be attending that wedding at all.

As other posters have noted, a bridal couple’s guest list is about who THEY want to celebrate their wedding with. Not about who the various individual guests would prefer to party with if they had the choice.

If you don’t know (or want to get to know) the couple and their family/friends well enough to share a joyous celebration with them unaccompanied by a “date” of some kind, then just decline the wedding invitation. You’ll be spared the hassle and tedium of mixing with a roomful of strangers you find uninteresting, and they’ll be able to invite somebody else who will be better company.

If, on the other hand, you DO know and like the couple’s social circle but you STILL feel you need a “date” of some kind at their wedding, then the problem is with your social skills and/or maturity level. No functioning adult should be so incapable of socializing independently with congenial people that they have to take advantage of their hosts’ hospitality by dragging along an uninvited companion.

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Lisa Marie December 1, 2013 at 6:10 am

I don’t go to weddings to party. I go to weddings to witness the ceremony and enjoy the
reception afterwards. Sitting there by myself or as a third wheel to other couples would be most uncomfortable. Have you ever had a begrudging DH do something he doesn’t want to and
had to hear about it for weeks? I will admit the replacement should have been ok’d by the
bride beforehand.

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Pamela November 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Don’t be surprised if Megan says (after being confronted with a polite spine) “Oh, all right. James will come with me” and then Megan shows up with a friend instead, laughingly saying, “James couldn’t make it at the last minute. But I was sure you wouldn’t want to waste the food” or “But I needed a ride, so my friend brought me, so you owe her dinner” or something like that.

If she does do this, you’d better have a response ready, because you shouldn’t have to think of one after you’ve just gotten married. The problem is that if you say, “No, the friend wasn’t invited. She has to leave”, you’ve just started a family feud, even though it’s her fault. Is it worth it? But maybe you (or another commenter) can think of something more polite. Or maybe I’m wrong and Megan will behave herself. Or maybe Megan will show up with James!

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Mags January 21, 2014 at 11:11 am

I don’t think it would start a family feud to turn away an uninvited wedding crasher at the door, especially if Megan had already been told not to bring her. Aunt Katherine, at least, would be on OP’s side.

And if that does cause a rift with Megan . . . Well, in my opinion, I think it would be worth it to be known as someone who will not put up with those kinds of antics. Discourages Megan and others like her from trying to pull nonsense with you. Think about it — did your opinion of Aunt Katherine go down when she refused to submit to the last minute request to have her subsidize Jane’s hotel stay?

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Lo November 21, 2013 at 8:58 am

I don’t think this is really that big of a deal.

You already know she’s going to bring a random person. Either deal with the random person or issue an invitation to her alone. If she complains tell her that you know James isn’t allowed at weddings and so you didn’t bother to invite him. Problem solved.

I don’t like weddings. I didn’t even enjoy my own that much. I definitely wouldn’t want to go to one alone so I’ve brought friends instead of dates when offered a +1 in the past. Now this was for a general plus one, not when I was issued an invitation with my spouse. I do agree that what she’s doing is rude an inmature.

On the other hand you know it’s going to happen so you can put the brakes on it immediately.

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The LW November 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Hello! I’m the letter writer. A few things:

1. Yes, I meant “At Renee’s wedding”. Sorry about that! Megan and James are still engaged.

2. James is real. I’ve seen him at the beach and at Christmas once. He does not like to fly, so I’m told, which is why he doesn’t come up very often.

3. My issue with the substitute wedding guest is that it says to me, “Sorry. I cannot attend an event with all you boring people. I have to bring my own friend to amuse me.” We have 24 cousins, and 18 aunts and uncles, so it’s not like she’s “alone”.

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Kimstu November 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Actually, I think @Lo had a good suggestion for how to deal with this. Since Megan has made it abundantly clear that James does not attend weddings with her, just send an invitation to and for Megan alone. No plus-one, no number options on the RSVP card, just an invitation for Megan herself.

It would be gracious to send a little note saying that you would love to have James there too, but since Megan’s already explained that he can’t make it, you’ll just look forward to seeing her on her own.

If Megan is so confirmed in her mannerless and inconsiderate habit of treating her fiance’s personal wedding invitation as an extra “party admission ticket” for herself, the only solution is to cut her off at one “ticket” for herself alone. Maybe at some point she’ll get the hint that her friends’ and family members’ weddings are not her personal Girls’ Night Out opportunities.

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Lex November 25, 2013 at 6:05 am

I’m still curious about the ‘Not allowed’ comment. This implies absence of choice rather than a travel preference. I think you’re right to be peeved about guest substitution – you have invited James because he is soon to be a member of your family. This is a named invite, not a ‘plus 1′ or ‘plus guest’. Megan does not have a right to choose who she brings unless your invitations state ‘and guest’. If I were you I wouldn’t give her room to manoeuvre. Depending on your relationship with Aunt Chloe it might be worth having a chat with her and explaining your concerns. Alternatively as I said before, send separate invites to James and Megan with an RSVP card making it obvious the invitation is for 1 only.

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Whodunut November 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Omg!! Why it’s posters write stories that are so hard to follow? I don’t even understand what the question is but I think it may have something to do with splitting hotel costs? Oh my dizzy head!!

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Kimstu November 21, 2013 at 11:09 pm

@Whodunut: “Why it’s posters write stories that are so hard to follow?”

Well, why it’s other posters mangle the syntax in their replies? ;)

This phenomenon is known on some other messageboards as “Gaudere’s Law”, namely, “Any post complaining about poor writing or language errors in a previous post will itself contain at least one glaring error in its composition.”

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MichelleP November 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I didn’t have the first problem following the OP’s post, except for the honest mistake which was cleared up. I totally get the OP’s POV and have been entertained by the replies.

Some of the posters’ suggestions were what my ex was like. He wasn’t raised with manners, didn’t like weddings, picked fights with me in front of my family, etc. He was and still is a decent guy, he just didn’t have the filter between his brain and his mouth he should have and simply wasn’t taught how to keep his mouth shut and how to act. I’m not crazy about weddings, either, but would go if it was my family. Therefore, I didn’t drag him to my family events unless we absolutely had to go. I didn’t even like him hanging around my family at their various homes; a wedding would have been a nightmare. (One of the many reasons we are divorced.)

That doesn’t excuse Meghan bringing random friends to family events. I have a similar problem with my sister; she spent her teenage years where I live now and she now lives out of state. Every time she comes here she spends increasing amounts of time with her friends. I put a stop to her using my house like a hotel when she’s here, but it’s still a problem.

Thanks for the update OP.

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Enna February 8, 2014 at 9:45 am

Megan is a very strange person. I agree with admin: this behavhiour needs to be nipped in the bud.

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Cheryl July 22, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Ok Megan is beyond rude and her mother follows the same frame of mind. It is beyond rude to write someone else’s name in the response to the invitation, period. If changes are being made than the guest is to contact the bride/groom to inform them of the change and make sure it is ok, because if they are going as single then a plus one isn’t necessary. As for telling the soon to be bride over a year in advance, is another rude thing to do since you probably do not know who will be invited depending upon the number of people that can fit into the venue. As for the hotel room, if Megan and her mom wanted to thank Jane for her driving then the two of them could pay for her share and have left the one aunt out of it. I know it is rude to point this stuff out, however, unless you inform people like this then they will continue, you will still be appalled and the cycle starts over again. Either pull Megan to the side and inform her of her rudeness, even though, I think her mother will try to get you into trouble or do something stupid to prove that you were wrong or give them an etiquette book.

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