Fallacious And Draconian Invitation Etiquette

by admin on January 10, 2014

One of my cousins got married early last month. I never received an invitation, so obviously didn’t attend. When I saw her for the holidays, I offered well wishes and she said “We missed you at the wedding, too bad you couldn’t make it.”

The comment flustered me for a moment, and thinking there was a mix up in the mail I responded with, “I’m so sorry, I never received an invitation so I figured you had a limited guest list.”

Her response: “You were supposed to come with your father.”

In the course of the conversation with my cousin, she also informs me that “Etiquette is very clear that you don’t invite a single woman to a wedding if you can help it. You invite the person who would escort her, and he invites her.”

This whole conversation got me thinking. I am in my 30s, single, and have never once been personally invited to a family wedding. Sometimes, my name is included on my father’s invite (who lives half the country away), but most of the time I’m just not invited at all. However, my grandmother and my older relatives will often remark about me not attending weddings. I had thought it was just family gossip and ignored it, but I started to wonder if my family believes I should know I’m invited, even when I’ve never actually received an invitation.

My father does invite me to attend with him, but I always felt awkward attending a family wedding I wasn’t invited to as a “plus-one.” Just out of curiosity, I mentioned the “rule” to my father, who responded sarcastically with, “Yes, that’s exactly what etiquette demands…in 1845.”

Well, just today, I get mail from my cousin. It’s her wedding invitation, with a sticky note saying:  “Sorry for the mix up, would have loved to have you. We’re registered at X.”

I’m thinking about sending a gift to her father. (no, not seriously) 0103-13

So, Cuz sends an invitation to a wedding that already happened and attaches a pathetic apology to it while soliciting you for a wedding gift.    Perhaps not attending this wedding was a good thing after all.

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten January 10, 2014 at 4:05 am

“Etiquette is very clear that you don’t invite a single woman to a wedding if you can help it. You invite the person who would escort her, and he invites her.”

How utterly sexist, demeaning and offensive. Your father is right, your cousin seems to have got hold of Miss Manners 1850. Either that or she (and your family) just don’t have a clue. If my name is not on that invitation, I don’t go. And when I was single, I wouldn’t have gone if I’d realized what your cousin had done, because I find that so insulting. Wait for a man to invite me? What am I , Cinderella?

I also love the way she thinks you aren’t able to be invited alone, but you CAN be hit up for a wedding present alone. My, my, isn’t that convenient? Not to mention pitiful. Just how desperate for a present is this woman? Please don’t send one. In her world, a man should buy one for you to give her, so until that happens…

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Michelle January 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

Kirsten- I don’t even think the time-traveling Victorian Miss Manners would have supported this cousin’s argument! From the literature I’ve read from that time period and previously (the Brontes, Austen, Burney) single women absolutely could be invited to social engagements directly. The polite thing to do was for the host to also invite the single woman’s escort or guardian as the plus one.

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Wild Irish Rose January 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Yup, what YOU said. I loved your last comment.

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Bibianne January 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm

BTW… Cinderella showed up by herself… ;-)

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AIP January 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Totally bad etiquette, but I would love for your last suggestion to play out. Sure, it’ll cause way more gossip, but it would be delicious. :)

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Enna February 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

I was going to say surely back in the day when women were limited in what they could do any inviation would be addressed to the woman as well as her escort and guardian? Weddings are seen to only be the “brides’ day” and whilst historcially getting married was a woman’s duty it was also the man’s duty as well so a wedding day would be one of the most important day’s in a man’s life. Heance single men and women would attend.

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anonymous February 15, 2014 at 3:58 am

Yup…

Frankly, from now on even if she knows that that’s how her family does things, in her shoes I wouldn’t attend any wedding I was invited to in that way, because I just don’t accept that that’s an acceptable way to invite somebody.

My family doesn’t do this, but they do have a tendency to leave me out of things (although I hope that will taper off now that I’m married, although it’s really sexist, as well, for people to start treating a grown woman as an adult only after she’s married). Family scrapbooks etc – with pictures of everyone but me because nobody bothered to ask me for a photo to include. “Your mom was supposed to send one” – Uh, I live in a different country from my mom and I was TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS OLD, I think I’d have been capable of sending my own photo if asked! Things like that.

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Rowan January 10, 2014 at 4:07 am

Send her Routledge’s Manual of Etiquette. Best part? The Kindle edition is free just now.

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Lady Macbeth January 12, 2014 at 3:36 am

Seconded.

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Niamh84 January 10, 2014 at 6:06 am

I am absolutely gobsmacked here!! So, no single ladies are invited at all on their own merit? They have to be invited by a man?? Her attitude is absolutely disgraceful.

I would want to send her an etiquette book and bookmark the section about invitations with a little note about “to prevent any future mix ups”.

By the way, I would have thought the same way as you about going as your father’s plus one and feeling a bit like you’re crashing as you weren’t invited.

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Ripple January 10, 2014 at 8:13 am

I haven’t attended a lot of weddings, but all except for my brother’s (I was in the bridal party) has been as a single woman, no escort. I guess I wasn’t supposed to go to those either! If you don’t live with your father (or another man who would be your escort), why would you assume you would be invited? I like your father’s response – 1845 indeed!

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Charliesmum January 10, 2014 at 8:14 am

I am seriously gobsmacked at this piece of ‘etiquette’ that seems to run in your extended family. I have never heard of that ever. Not inviting ‘single people’ if you can help it? Seriously? Why? Afraid the single woman will run off with the new groom or something? Sheesh.

And I love the irony of this etiquette-stickler of a cousin sending you a gift-grabby, after the event invitation.

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Mya January 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

No no NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Don’t send her gift!!!! What a greedy Gimme Pig! Sending a gift to her father is just petty and will cause family strife.

It sounds to me as though your family has relied on an old-fashioned set of etiquette rules that don’t really work in the family dynamics of todays society. If I were in your position, I’d write a letter to each set of relations explaining that you’d just found out about the rule and due to logistics to please send a separate invitation if they would like you to attend.

Etiquette is not designed as a rigid, inflexible system, it is there to ensure that people behave well towards each other and that everyone has a clear idea of expectations. In this case it is clear that the ‘proper etiquette’ they used falls far short of actually doing what it should, so it reverts from being etiquette to being pointless.

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Kimstu January 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

No, the OP should not dignify her relatives’ bizarre and ignorant perversion of actual etiquette rules with any attempt at explanation or accommodation.

Just go on ignoring the strange behavior of these clueless aliens from Planet Booron until they figure out that if they’re hoping for you to attend their weddings or send them wedding gifts, they will have to invite you properly.

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Mags January 21, 2014 at 8:55 am

But if the older relatives make comments about your non-attendance, tell them, “Cousin Angela did not invite me to her wedding.”

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Alie January 10, 2014 at 8:19 am

Assuming a grown woman who does not live with her father will magically know she’s invited because her father was invited is a little crazypants.

“Etiquette is very clear you don’t invite a single woman to a wedding if you can help it.” What? What? This is weird, and actually pretty mean. Single women aren’t supposed to be invited to weddings? Why? What possible non-offensive reason could there be for that?

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Lo January 10, 2014 at 8:24 am

Mind blown.

So if I’m correct about this (and I surely hope I’m not), your cousin has never been invited a family wedding and has only been a guest of her own father? Or else she was raised to believe this was the case?

If this is an old-fashioned cultural thing it’s one I’ve never heard of it and seems incredibly bizarre that a woman would go with her father?? Where is her mother in the picture? So single men in the family are invited but not single women? What if an aunt or uncle never married and the parents are out of the picture? No more weddings for them, eh?

If I were you I would take up this question with other family members. I would ask them honestly if they believe this and then you can decide how to deal with it. Because it says a lot about a person that she would go along with an archaic “tradition”(??) that relegates female invitees to second class status.

Obviously don’t get your cousin a gift. It’s obscene she would even suggest it with that lame excuse for an invite.

Though, OP, despite cultural standards being relative and all that, I still say that if your family really believes this is correct then you have a much larger issue at hand than going to weddings…

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No Wedding January 10, 2014 at 8:44 am

You don’t invite a single woman to a wedding? WOW. I just can’t even…

And put all of that insult aside (if you can), to send an invitation AFTER the wedding has already happened with registry information included – I think I’d be extremely tempted to send her an etiquette book as a gift, with bookmarks in certain key chapters and highlighted sections.

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WMK January 10, 2014 at 9:12 am

Your cousin would have a lonely wait by her mailbox if she was my cousin. What nerve!

I’ve never heard of such an antiquated rule in my life.

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Angel January 10, 2014 at 9:25 am

That is just beyond rude–on your cousin’s part. Holy crap. If you were living with your dad I could see them sending one invitation–with both your names on it–but you haven’t lived with him for quite a while–therefore they should have found out what your address was and issued you your own invite.

That email was just over the top tacky and rude. Delete and don’t respond.

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AMC January 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

You’re not capable of managing your own mail attending a wedding alone, but you still have the ability to pick out a gift from their registry? Yeah, I don’t think so. OP’s father knows what’s up. Whatever rule book the bride got that sexist rule out of is embarassingly out of date.

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AIP January 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Convenient, eh?

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Nissa January 10, 2014 at 9:44 am

I would be tempted to send them an etiquette book. :-)

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AIP January 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

With the section on not soliciting gifts as part of an invitation highlighted, since the family are such sticklers fir etiquette.

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Mya January 13, 2014 at 4:01 am

I suspect the book will also cover how to invite single, unattached relations so I’d highlight this passage too. I’ve never heard of this rule in modern society, it sounds like something either medieval or from a culture where women are not permitted to be out in public without a male escort (many societies observing sharia law will follow this custom for example – Saudi Arabia is a notable case in point). However if the OP were to belong to such a culture, she would not be living alone anyway and would either still be living at home under the jurisdiction of her father or she would be living with her husband or in-laws. It all sounds very strange.

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Kimstu January 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

Yikes!!! This alleged “etiquette rule” isn’t even old-fashioned (unless you’re going back as far as the late Middle Ages when a respectable woman never traveled anywhere without an escort, preferably armed), it’s just plain WRONG. Can you imagine what, say, the Dowager Countess of Grantham a century ago would have said to anybody who suggested that she couldn’t be invited to a wedding individually but had to be brought along by her son?!? (I know Downton Abbey is fictional but the basic etiquette of social rituals that the characters observe is not!)

ANY adult living independently, whatever their age, gender or marital status, is properly invited to any social event via an individual invitation addressed directly to them. If your extended family are so clueless about etiquette (as your cousin’s tacky gift-grab solicitation confirms) that they don’t even know that fundamental fact, then I agree with Admin that you probably haven’t missed much by not attending their weddings.

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ferretrick January 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

The Dowager Countess would say the LW’s cousin was a vulgar person, and she’d be right. Then she’d hold her down while Cousin Isobel took care of business. :)

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nuit93 January 11, 2014 at 12:55 am

Yes, THIS.

I haven’t lived at home in nearly a decade, and if someone wants me at an event they know to invite me separately. Invites sent to my mother’s house with “X family” are not assumed to include me (though there was one that I was told included me…I said if I was truly invited, they knew how to contact me to find my address).

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another Laura January 11, 2014 at 4:36 am

I even sent individual invitations to my two grown cousins who still resided with their parents. I felt they were adults and deserved personal invites.

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Teapot January 13, 2014 at 11:31 am

And on their behalf, I thank you Laura! I won’t tell you my age, but I have always been *& Teapot* on everything that’s been sent to my mother. Only once in the past 40 years have I received my very own wedding invitation. And I’ve been insulted every single time, as if, as an old maid, I’m not worth an extra invitation and postage stamp.

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Library Diva January 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm

I do this, too, and Christmas cards as well. I felt terrible that this year I had to combine them into the household because it was December 19 and I was running out of cards.

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Glitter January 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

What the…what?!? That doesn’t even, make…I mean..why would you want…huh?! I thought there was something in Miss Manners that if you are single you shouldn’t take a date to a wedding because it’s a good place to meet other single people and fall in love and get married. Not all on the same night of course, that should be spaced out over at least a few weeks.

So I’m a relationship with another woman and neither of us speak with our fathers (I’ve never known mine and toxic is the kindest word for her’s). Would we just, never go to weddings? Our moms aren’t even remarried! Or married in the first place for my mom.

What about single men? Do they go alone or do their moms take them? Now assuming your mother and father are still together, is he allowed to escort both of you to the wedding or must he only pick one? Or what if he has several single adult daughters? I mean yes, clearly he has failed to secure them men to care for them (as apparently women are so helpless on our own), but could he take all of his daughters? Maybe just the next one he plans on marrying off? Boy these rules are hard.

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Cat January 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

This seems to me to be a subtle way of saying, “It’s too bad you’re an old maid and have no man in your life to escort you. Never mind, dear, your daddy can bring you. I don’t want you to be left out now that I have a man and we’re getting married!”

I happen to be an old maid school teacher with cats. (I love being a stereotype.) I go many places alone. I won’t need an escort until I reach the age where I wander off if left alone.

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Mae January 10, 2014 at 11:11 am

I have never heard such a lame excuse in all my life.

Evil me would be tempted to print a picture of the most expensive gift on the registry or take a picture of a $500.00 check and send it to cousin with a sticky note saying “Would have loved to given you this. Sorry for the mix up”. (Can you imagine the look on her face?)

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RC January 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm

YES! Love this idea, Evil me agrees. If only we could sometimes do these things, huh?

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Karen L January 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Oooh, ooh! This! This!

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Nannerdoman January 10, 2014 at 11:15 am

OP–Send a gift to your father in honor of your cousin’s wedding, and thank him for being on your side in this one.

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Wendy B. January 10, 2014 at 11:40 am

“This whole conversation got me thinking. I am in my 30s, single, and have never once been personally invited to a family wedding. Sometimes, my name is included on my father’s invite (who lives half the country away), but most of the time I’m just not invited at all. However, my grandmother and my older relatives will often remark about me not attending weddings. I had thought it was just family gossip and ignored it, but I started to wonder if my family believes I should know I’m invited, even when I’ve never actually received an invitation.”

Okay, so is this something that regularly happens with your father’s side of the family? If so, I think there’s something deeper going on here than one snub.

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essie January 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

@Kimstu: “ANY adult living independently, whatever their age, gender or marital status, is properly invited to any social event via an individual invitation addressed directly to them.”

According to my grandmother’s etiquette books (back in the days when single ladies lived at home until they were married or buried), a single lady (or a single gentleman) receives his/her own invitation, regardless of WHERE they’re living. (For nitpickers, 2 sisters living together may receive one invitation, but – regardless – BOTH names are on it, elder’s first.)

According to this cousin, if I order a cab to take me to this wedding, the cabdriver should have received the invitation and know he’s expected to invite ME?

@LW: Don’t send a gift. If your cousin asks you about it, tell her your escort picked it out for you, didn’t he deliver it?

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Kimstu January 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm

@essie: “According to my grandmother’s etiquette books (back in the days when single ladies lived at home until they were married or buried), a single lady (or a single gentleman) receives his/her own invitation, regardless of WHERE they’re living. (For nitpickers, 2 sisters living together may receive one invitation, but – regardless – BOTH names are on it, elder’s first.)”

You’re right, it is certainly proper to send separate invitations to adult relatives even if they live at the same address. Alternatively, it is also proper to send a single invitation not only to sisters but other relatives living in one household with the same address, AS LONG AS each individual is listed by name, as you say. Only small children can properly be included in a family invitation without being individually invited by name.

To quote an exchange from Miss Manners’ Guide for the Turn-of-the-Millennium:

“Dear Miss Manners: What is the proper mailing address for the nontraditional household? There is John Jones and Mary Smith, elderly widowed brother and sister, who now make their home together. Then there is Betty Brown, widow, and her daughter, Greta Green, divorcee, and Greta’s daughter by her first marriage, Whitney White, college student. And the list goes on. We considered wedding invitations addressed to ‘Occupant’ or ‘To Whom It May Concern’ but decided that this would be in poor taste…”
“Gentle Reader: Pardon Miss Manners’ titter, but do you consider blood relatives living together to be nontraditional households? My, my.
Whether they are traditional, unconventional, or positively weird, households of unmarried adults are addressed with the individual names, ladies’ names appearing before gentlemen’s, and ladies of different generations in order of seniority.”

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Ashley January 10, 2014 at 12:57 pm

Your cousin is aware that it’s 2014 and we aren’t living in the Dark Ages, right?

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LovleAnjel January 10, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Sounds like someone invented this “rule” so they wouldn’t have to spend as much money on invitations and stamps. How ridiculous.

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AS January 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Sounds like a character from Jane Austen novel; except that the character would have been “the annoying cousin”. (Austen seems to have been pretty opposed to the weird sexist norms).

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WillyNilly January 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Wow. So I guess your father is never allowed to date or take a wife either huh? Because then he would be escorting her to weddings and would not be able to take you. And what if you were to enter into a serious relationship (or perhaps are in one), wouldn’t you be escorted by your mate?

Your cousin is a real piece of work.

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Lakey January 10, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Wow, I hope you aren’t sending a gift.
So she told you you didn’t receive a separate invitation because of this bizarre belief that a 30 year old, adult woman isn’t supposed to receive her own invitation.
Then she decided she still wanted a gift, and sent you an “invitation”, coincidentally including the information about where you could buy her a gift.

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AIP January 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm

In the course of the conversation with my cousin, she also informs me that “Etiquette is very clear that you don’t invite a single woman to a wedding if you can help it. You invite the person who would escort her, and he invites her.”

That is completely current and up-to-date etiquette akshually… In the Tora-Bora Mountains!!!

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Angie January 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Well, I must be a real bumpkin because I’ve never heard of this particular wedding etiquette. Where I live, single people are usually invited to weddings with “and escort” after their name, so they can bring a date if they want. Adult children shouldn’t assume automatically that they’re included with their parents.

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technobabble January 10, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Nobody is asking the real question here: If there’s no single women, who’s going to catch the bouquet????

Seriously, though, this is so, so rude of OP’s cousin. I am getting married in a few weeks, and as the first of my group of friends to tie the knot, many of my invitations went out to “unescorted” single women. Some of those single women were even so bold as to *gasp* invite single men to accompany them. I guess I’m going to have to revoke all those invites now.

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Kirsten January 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm

“If there’s no single women, who’s going to catch the bouquet????”

They have all been brought there by their fathers, who will herd them onto the dance floor as the auction – ahem, bouquet toss – begins and stop them from running away.

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Coffee Girl January 13, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Hahahaha I lol’d at this

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Angel January 19, 2014 at 9:21 pm

OK that’s pretty funny!

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Despedina January 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I actually have several relative on both my husband’s side and my side who do this. My aunts/uncles have been known to invite my dad (who I’m estranged from) and tell him to invite his daughters. Needless to say I never get the message and it often comes up.
My husband’s cousin is getting married this coming August, and sent a “save the date” with her Christmas card to MIL, and told MIL to let us and my BILs know.
Personally I think if you cannot send invites to each person you’re meaning to invite, you should be expecting less turn out, and should not have the “you know whats” to say “we missed you at the wedding” as if they refused to rsvp. Seriously!

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Kimstu January 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

@Despedina: ‘Personally I think if you cannot send invites to each person you’re meaning to invite, you should be expecting less turn out, and should not have the “you know whats” to say “we missed you at the wedding” as if they refused to rsvp.’

If somebody has the nerve to say “we missed you at the wedding” when they didn’t invite you, just look at them blankly and say “What wedding? Oh my gosh, you mean you got married already? That’s wonderful, congratulations!!”

Only members of a royal family should expect their marriages to be common knowledge, and then only among their own subjects. For anybody else, if you want me to be aware of your wedding as an invited guest or in any other capacity, IT IS UP TO YOU TO INFORM ME OF IT DIRECTLY. Period.

Don’t just egotistically assume that I’ll be eagerly tracking down all the details via mutual friends, relatives, your Facebook/Twitter posts, the tabloids, or any other news source. I won’t be.

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Filiagape January 10, 2014 at 7:05 pm

When I was married 25 years ago, all the etiquette du jour said an invitation with the individual’s own name on it was to be sent to every invitee 16 years of age and older regardless of gender or place of residence. I have never heard of this rule or read of it ever even being a rule. If it was, one would think these people might have noted a correlation between “she never is individually invited” and “she doesn’t attend weddings.” And how is it that her father raised in this family was never taught this ridiculous rule of etiquette?

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Karen L January 10, 2014 at 7:54 pm

You should tell her that etiquette is absolutely clear that single women are not allowed to send wedding gifts.

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Cheryl B January 13, 2014 at 8:51 am

Loved your response! Absolutely. After all, if a single woman isn’t capable of getting to and attending a wedding reception on her own, how can she be able to buy and send a gift? Poor dear would have vapors just attempting it.

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NostalgicGal January 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm

If I don’t receive an invitation, I am not invited. When I graduated from highschool and moved to college, I founded my own household. I would not and did not expect any invitations for any social or family event to continue to go to my parents; as I was now an adult.

Getting an invitation AFTER the event goes down? ‘oh so sorry, my TARDIS (time machine) is in the shop… too bad I won’t be able to attend.. Hope you had a good time’. And no gift. Someone else mentioned sending a picture of a gift or check, I might be almost snarky enough to do that, with the note ‘so sad I wasn’t able to join you and gift you with this’.

Even where I live now, which seems to be a last bastion of southern-ness for the ‘way things are done’… wouldn’t send an invitation to a parent (male) of a single woman if she was out on her own. We say sir, ma’am, hold doors, somebody gives a blessing when food is involved–and it doesn’t matter what faith you are, you shut up and bow your head…

If ‘that’s the way things are’ in that family why did nobody bother to break it to the lady in question, especially after about fifteen years, by the sounds of it? I would think if they were so concerned she never went to any family events, someone would have pulled her aside at least a decade ago and ‘clued her in, the poor dear’.

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Stacey Frith-Smith January 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm

OP- it doesn’t really sound like you missed much, does it? As for the gossips- let them rattle their bones, it’s of no consequence.

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Allie January 12, 2014 at 10:31 am

This is probably just a passive aggressive way of telling you you don’t get a plus one. The correct thing to do is send you an invitation with just your name on it. Please do not give in to the shameless gift grab. Unless, of course, the gift is an etiquette guide : )

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JD January 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Words fail me. Perhaps the OP could ask the dear cousin which etiquette book this is in, because I have etiquette books going back to 1918, and they all failed to mention this little rule.
Common sense would tell most people that a woman living on her own gets her own invitation. Did cousin not ask the OP’s father if his daughter was coming or not before the wedding? Seems as if she didn’t. So, she really wasn’t expecting the OP to know she was invited, now wasn’t she? If she had, she would have asked OP’s dad for that all important R.s.v.p. from OP to give to her caterer. OP, she knew you’d assumed you weren’t invited, and asked about your absence after the fact only to hide the fact that she hadn’t invited you, but wanted to make it seem as though she had. Either that, or this woman really believes in that goofy rule, proving she has no sense whatsoever. No gifts for her! When I lived on my own, as an adult single woman, I flatly refused to attend any affair in which my parents were invited with instructions to “let me know.” My poor mom – they did this same thing to all of my siblings, and Mom repeatedly and patiently would tell the inviters, “You’ll have to ask (one or all of us kids) — I don’t know their schedules.” I should mention that I lived 700 miles from my parents — how would my parents know if I was free to attend? You want me there, folks, speak to me directly or mail an invitation to me. They finally learned to ask me, not my mother, if I could come.

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Gellchom January 26, 2014 at 12:20 am

I agree that your relatives should have invited you directly. But it sounds like it happened several times, and to all your single siblings, not just you, from which I take it that it was customary in your community or family for people to invite families this way – invitation to the parents, who are told to spread the word. You’re right, not correct per etiquette, and I do understand why you’d take offense. But if you know that that’s how they roll, you also know that it’s not a personal dis against you. How many weddings that you’d otherwise have loved to attend did you boycott over this? Was it really worth it? I understand how you felt, and that they were wrong, but it seems to me like kind of an overreaction to a relatively minor offense — especially because they evidently don’t even realize it’s incorrect. Like, I don’t share my husband’s surname, and I do find it irritating when, occasionally, someone who ought to know better invites us as “Mr. and Mrs. Mister.” But I wouldn’t skip the wedding just to make a point.

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SW February 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

I live only a few blocks from my parents and am still (gasp!) single, as are the majority of my sisters. That said, I’ve recieved my own invitaions to weddings and such since I was about 14; in other words, since still living with my parents. Very occationally my parents will recieve such invitations for my sisters who do still live at home. She always calls up the inviter to tell them she doesn’t know my sisters scheduel. I agree. Op wasn’t really invited!

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Tracy January 14, 2014 at 11:07 am

I guess it’s conceivable that at some point, a matriarch or patriarch of this family got the idea that single women are only invited through their assumed escorts and taught this to future generations. What I don’t understand is… these future generations got married to people *outside* of this confused family. Why didn’t their spouses or future inlaws correct them? Surely your cousin’s fiance had unmarried women on his guest list – do you think she told him they don’t get their own invitation? And he said “okay, sounds right?”

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Jade January 16, 2014 at 12:35 am

So, by your cousin’s reasoning, if you were to meet someone and form a relationship with him, then all future wedding invitations would be addressed to the male partner with the understanding that he should invite you?

Sometimes the mind just boggles and spins all at once. I think I need to go lie down…

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EllenS January 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Forget the whole idea of this being “outdated” or sexist – it NEVER WAS true.

I don’t even believe your cousin, or anyone else in your family thought this was correct. Obviously good manners and gracious living are the last things on their minds.

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twik January 20, 2014 at 2:34 pm

This is a bit of a hoot. My own idea is that a family matriarch was reading a historical romance that was long on the romance, and short on the researching history, read this little tidbit, and filed it away as absolutely trufax as the way elegant people did things. Then, every time she hears of single women getting invitations, she can smirk about how they just don’t know the proper way things are done.

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Phoenix January 20, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Yeah, that excuse just sounds like a way to insult you. There is a word for her . . . and it starts with a b.

Send her a real book on etiquette and give your dad something awesome for realizing how much bull the cousin is full of.

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Abby February 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I think those that are saying Cousin got ahold of an etiquette book written circa 1850 are being too generous. It sounds to me like Cousin left OP off the guest list to make room for more A-list attendees, and decided to pretend it was a “mix-up” and see if she could squeeze a gift out of OP.

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Cheryl July 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Since you do not live in your father’s house by the sounds of it, your cousin is wrong. If they do not live together in any sense of the word then you are to get your own invitation no matter what. Whoever believes this in your family needs to be corrected, please give them this website along with several others so that they realize the other, what I am sure of, are other faux paux.

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