Schedule Conflict On Wedding Day

by admin on January 13, 2014

I am a bride that is planning a wedding for April 2014. Our guest list is limited – 120 guests. That might sound like a lot, but we both come from huge extended families. I can only invite a handful of friends to the wedding. I chose carefully and decided on the group of girls that have stuck with me through thick and thin.

I sent out save-the-date cards in November, and official invitations/RSVP cards will follow at the end of February. The venue that we have booked has strict rules about the number of guests attending, so we are a bit worried that some guests will bring their children (this is an adult-only event) or even additional guests and we will be charged thousands of extra dollars.

I was so focused on this worry, that I didn’t realize I had something else to worry about until I got a phone call the other day. The phone call came from one of the formerly mentioned close girlfriends that I am inviting to the wedding. She called just to chat and mentioned that she had gotten our save-the-date card. She went on to say that she was bummed because she had just bought tickets the day before she received it for one of her favorite bands and the concert is the same day as our wedding. This particular friend enjoys Indy bands and so when she says “concert”, think hole-in-the-wall bar with tickets being $10 reserved and $15 at the door, vs. a huge arena and tickets being $100. I didn’t quite know how to respond to what she was saying to me but I said something along the lines of, “Well, I’m sorry there is a conflict.” I didn’t want to assume that she would choose our wedding over a concert, but she is one of my closest friends and I certainly hoped she would. She then asked me when the time of the wedding was and I told her it was at 5:00, with a cocktail hour and dinner reception and dancing following. She then said that what she would do is come out to the wedding and then leave at some point, probably before the reception or during the early part of the reception, depending on when the concert starts.

I was a bit stunned when she said this and changed the subject. I wasn’t sure what the proper etiquette was, but what I WANTED to say was,

“My guest list is really limited. I would hope that you could maybe see this band another time, but I understand that you have already bought the tickets. I would really prefer to invite guests that can attend the entire event. I have many friends that I was not able to invite, because of our limitations. If you can’t attend the wedding and reception, I am sorry. I appreciate you telling me in advance”.

The fact is that I don’t want her to come if she is only planning on attending the short ceremony and maybe a bit of the reception and then leave. I have others I would like to invite that would be happy to attend the entire event. I don’t think of myself as a Bridezilla by any means and I’m not trying to be in this case. I almost feel as if she is asking my permission to go to her concert and not attend the wedding, guilt-free. If I was in her position, I would have dealt with the conflict myself and never told the bride about it at all, since it puts the bride in an awkward position. I would have decided, yes I can attend the wedding or no I cannot attend.

Is the above reply to my friend appropriate, etiquette-wise? I would really like to know and I am stumped. 1227-13

Point 1:   Despite your wedding day being one of the most important days of your life, you cannot expect your guests to prioritize it as you do.    People do schedule surgeries, vacations, other weddings and events, all sorts of things on their calendar in advance and even the closest of friends and family may not be able to make it due to scheduling conflict.

Point 2:  Once an invitation has been issued, you cannot rescind it.   You invited her to attend your ceremony and reception and you don’t have any rights to insist your guests stay for some determined time.   While it is rude to leave the reception before the bride and groom do, you are not responsible to enforce manners on her.

Point 3:  Only if she declines the invitation citing a scheduling conflict can you say, “I’m so sorry you won’t be there.   We’ll miss you.”

What you are asking me is permission to put your guest in the awkward position of feeling guilt manipulated into attending the wedding by giving her far too much information and I won’t condone that.

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

Eclair January 13, 2014 at 3:01 am

I agree with the advice and have nothing to add to that, but it is really rude to leave a reception before the bride and groom? I’ve been to a few weddings where I left before the bride and groom, sometimes an hour or two into the reception either because of social anxiety, or I have work tomorrow, other issues. Some brides and grooms can really party all night when I can’t, you know? And I’m in the military so it’s not like I can call in sick if I’m hungover or take days of leave that easily (I save my leave so I can take Long trips home to be with my family and for emergency situations.)

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Cat January 13, 2014 at 3:56 am

I understand that you had to choose a few people from among many you would have liked to invite. That she wants to attend an inexpensive concert over staying for your once-in-a-lifetime wedding and reception feels like she is saying, “Well, I’ll come so long as it doesn’t interfer with what I really want to do. If it does, I’ll just leave. ”

I would be happier with her if she would just say that she will come for the entire celebration or that she will not be there and allow you to invite someone else. You cannot make her do that. You will have to accept her decision and keep it in mind for any future events.

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Charliesmum January 13, 2014 at 7:50 am

I agree with what the Admin is saying, but I can totally see where the bride is coming from – I had a very small wedding; only about 50 people, (2nd wedding for me, we wanted to keep it intimate, etc.) and I invited a couple I felt very close to, and wanted them to be there. They accepted the invitation, only to no-show at the last minute. This was not the last time they did that,two other weddings we were all invited to, they no-showed after saying yes. Now I rather regret issuing them the invitation, as there were other people I would have liked to have at my wedding, but I’d over-estimated my friendship with this couple.

So I think it’s less guilting the guest into attending and more thinking that maybe the invitation would be better spent on someone she would enjoy seeing at the wedding, and who wouldn’t ditch it to see a concert. And I do think she’s feeling a bit hurt that the friend, who is supposed to be a very close friend, would rather not spend the evening at the wedding. Hurt feelings make it difficult to do the proper thing, sometimes.

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Double You January 13, 2014 at 7:55 am

I agree with admin about one’s wedding not necessarily being the main (or only) priority in other people’s calendar.

At our wedding, one of my cousins was only able to stay for a couple of hours during the day as he already had a work commitment scheduled in the evening (he works as a deejay, and had actually already been booked for another wedding before we had even set our wedding date). We were glad he was able to make it, even if it was only for part of the festivities.

Just one question about admin’s second point, though: “While it is rude to leave the reception before the bride and groom do, you are not responsible to enforce manners on her.” This is completely new to me – or perhaps it is a cultural thing – but I always thought (and this is what I’ve seen happen in virtually every wedding I’ve ever attended, including my own) that the newlyweds would be among the last ones to leave, after all the guests have gone home. To me it would seem rude and ungrateful to abandon your own wedding and leave the guests behind…

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Mer January 15, 2014 at 1:51 am

I feel there might be cultural differences, yes. If the reception is to be short(ish) such as dinner, cake cut and couple leaves after that, I agree it is quite rude to leave before wed couple does. But around here quite common type of wedding reception is speeches, dinner, dancing or maybe games or just socializing, cake, dancing or music plays and drinks, socializing, evening snack and drinks until small hours so I do think it’s fine if guests leave after decent amount of time spent in the reception.

I have to comment about the concert too. While personally, I would rather attend the wedding, I have to say, that “small, $10 concert in local hole in the wall” does not always mean it’s not once in a lifetime chance. As an example, I’ve been in a gig that could be described as above. The band came from South America and I live in northern Europe. Chances to ever see them at different time? Probably lower than friend remarrying. That is just to say, that importance of a concert does not depend on money. Yes, there is a difference between loosing $10 or $100 but if you rate the importance of the moment in life, small gig from your favorite band might be far more valuable than crowded 13-in-a-dozen stadium filler show.

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Library Diva January 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I see where you’re coming from, but I still think this friend has her priorities out of whack.

This band will not be there for her through thick and thin. They won’t help her get over breakups, they won’t give her encouragement when she’s pursuing a new career, they won’t help her pack when she’s moving. They won’t remember her birthday every year, won’t care for her pets while she’s on vacation, won’t occasionally get her little presents just because they saw something in a store that reminded them of her or knew she was having a hard week. This band doesn’t love the friend back. OP does. Friend isn’t choosing between two forms of entertainment, she’s consciously choosing entertaining herself over being there to support her friend on one of the biggest days of her friend’s life.

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Mer January 20, 2014 at 4:46 am

Yes, you are of course correct in that. I was trying to offer a perspective because now it seems that OP feels like her wedding is being prioritized somewhere under a mundane, everyday occurrence like grocery shopping. Which is understandably quite hurtful, or who would like to hear that “oh, it’s your wedding, pity I can’t attend, I have to go buy milk from store”. And this seems to be the importance level OP think the concert is to her friend. Normal, everyday stuff.

However, tickets bought months before for a cheap, local concert speaks of much higher level of importance. So the friend is now trying to prioritize two personally important events, and trying to make OP happy. Also, it is very well possible, that the band might have her friends playing. I’m not familiar with indie-scene, but with local metal scenes I am (or was). And it was quite common, that active members would have favorite bands, where they either were friends beforehand with the members or created friendly relations because they were active listeners and gig-goers. I still have persons in my life who I met this way, even if I really have not been active in the scene in several years.

This is, again, not to say OP’s friend’s actions were perfect and according to the etiquette, but just to bring perspective that there are several point of views, and real case might be anything from selfish person who is optimizing her entertainment for the evening to person who is trying to support two of her friends both having a thing at the same evening when she had already promised to attend the other one before the second invite came.

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Leigh March 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm

I never heard of it being rude to leave before the bride and groom, either. My husband and I were the last ones to leave our reception because we had to wrap up the leftover cake, pack up the centerpieces/candles, etc. I didn’t mind that everyone already left; we had kids and elderly people there, and I wouldn’t have expected them to stay until after 10 p.m.

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Lo January 13, 2014 at 8:03 am

I feel very divided about this.

At my wedding our guest list was so limited that we could only share the day with close family members. Even still I had people ask if they could bring an extra someone and people insisting that so-and-so had to be there. We didn’t have a single invitee decline so I had to say no to a lot of people. If I had been able to invite a few friends I probably would have felt much as you feel about this issue. Those invites are precious. And I get that some concerts are can’t miss events. I’d definitely see one of my favorite bands at a hole-in-the-wall downtown than attend a wedding. But as the bride I’d feel a little hurt that a friend I invited over other friends would not prioritize the day.

On the other hand, you’re the one getting married, not your friend. Your friend may not be a wedding person. Your friend may feel (as I do) that the ceremony itself is what matters, not the reception. Your friend may feel that to be a good friend she does you credit to attend the ceremony but not the reception as a way of making a compromise.

So I would ask myself this question. Is this person close enough to me that I’d rather she attend the ceremony itself and nothing else than another person who could stay the entire time?

If the answer is yes then let it go. If the answer is no then you might try to gently offer to give her the day in a way that doesn’t come off as grudge-holding. Something like, “Hey I get this is important to you, I think you should go to the concert because ‘x’ band is one that’s important to you and I get that (you don’t have to get it but you know, offer it) and I wouldn’t want you to feel obligated to attend the wedding. I know I have your support and that’s what counts.” If she takes this out you can invite someone else who can share the whole day with you. If she doesn’t then you’re probably stuck, I’m sorry. If she’s really as close to you as you say she undoubtably believes she’s doing the right thing by you to half-and-half it.

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Stacey Frith-Smith January 13, 2014 at 9:00 am

OP- it sounds like a friend has given you an uncharacteristically “flaky” response to your invitation. It’s a good rehearsal for the other “flaky” responses that you will have to field. Maybe you could nudge her a bit by saying “I know how much these concerts mean to you. I just want you to know that we are always able to get together for a dinner later since the concert is on the same day as our wedding”. Perhaps that will indeed nudge her into making a concrete choice.

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HeartvsBrain January 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

Whenever I read about brides worrying this much about venue restrictions on guest lists I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t as big a deal as its made out to be by the venue. It isn’t as though they have someone at the door, taking count of each person who enters. Of course unexpected guests cause other problems like, lack of enough food (if seated dinner), lack of place settings, etc., but I highly doubt a few extra guests would cost the bride and groom thousands of dollars over a contract. If someone has had a different experience, feel free to correct me, but I’ve NEVER heard of anyone getting billed thousands of dollars because they had an extra guest or two – pay for an extra meal or two – sure, but not thousands.

Whether this is the bride being dramatic, or the venue is giving a very hard line stance on guest limits, I think everyone can relax a little about this. It doesn’t seem like a legitimate problem.

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Meegs January 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I totally agree with this and in fact, I actually think that most venues that host weddings are completely prepared to deal with an extra guest or two. I would consider them unprofessiona if thye were not.

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DannysGirl January 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm

It’s not just about the food, though. There is also the fire code to consider. If the venue can only hold 300 guests, then that’s *all* it can hold. Anymore guests and the venue gets in trouble for breaking the law.

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Rod January 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Absolutely right. Our wedding was in a community centre, a few blocks from our house. Due to fire regulations, we had the guests counted to the individual after considering all the staff, caterers, barman and DJ.

My Dad wanted to tack a couple of extra guests a week before the reception. My family contributed significantly for the wedding costs. Guess what? No dice. Fire regulations fines would be covered by us, but more importantly the centre would have kicked us all out if an excess was detected – that was part of the contract.

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Kirsten January 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Most venues do give hard lines less for money than for things like fire regulations and their insurance. If they say they can host 120 and you have 122 turn up, that venue is not going to be happy (at least not in my country) and would be very likely to refuse entry because it would be *illegal*. And if caught, they could be fined…thousands. This is why you give them a headcount.

Seriously, in my country they really are that strict. It’s the law and we have a LOT of very old buildings for wedding receptions that need those regulations for safety. They’re not arbitrary.

Also ‘an extra meal or two’…well, at my wedding that would have been about $250. That I would have had to pay on the day when those people showed up. Ok, I wouldn’t have because there would have been nowhere for them to sit, the venue didn’t expect them (headcount), the catering didn’t expect them, and so on.

I don’t blame people for being concerned, it’s a serious issue for some couples because of things like this. It’s not dramatic, it’s complying with the law.

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Kirsten January 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Actually, converting currency, six uninvited guests showing up would have been about $1500. So yes, thousands of dollars is entirely possible. My wedding wasn’t a huge extravaganza either, we just paid for the best food we could afford.

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Vermin8 January 13, 2014 at 9:42 am

The friend should have turned down the invitation without a full explanation – without offering to attend for part. I suspect she thought that is what you would have wanted, ie for her to attend as much as she can.
I don’t recommend second guessing her reasons. Even if it is a $10 hole in the wall evening if that is her plans please respect her choices (btw, buying tickets several months ahead of time implies a much bigger event – if it’s someone who plays regularly in the area they wouldn’t be selling tickets that early).

“I’m sorry there is a conflict” is the right thing to say and should be left at that.

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flora January 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

It’s rude to leave the reception before the bride and groom? I never heard that one. Why is that? I’m curious.

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admin January 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

It is considered rude to leave before the guests of honor have officially departed as it is considered to be disrespectful. However, there is a strong reciprocal obligation on the guests of honor to leave before guests feel compelled to devise ways to sneak out after an overly long day of celebrating. Miss Manners says, “Wedding guests should not be held hostage by newlyweds who clearly have no particular incentive to be alone together. If, after the wedding cake is served, it becomes obvious that the couple is going to hang around indefinitely, the wedding guests are free to depart.”

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Kaymar January 14, 2014 at 10:06 pm

To me, it would be rude for the hosts to leave an event before the guests, so this makes no sense.

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admin January 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm

The bride and groom are technically not the hosts, even if they do pay for the wedding. They are the guests of honor.

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Lulu February 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm

At every wedding I’ve ever attended, the bride and groom have stayed late into the night, dancing it up with all the guests until the venue kicks everyone out. I can’t imagine leaving your own reception early and not getting to enjoy it with all your family and friends. (Also, I have a small child, so when she is invited to a wedding with me, we usually end up leaving right after the cake is cut if it’s a nighttime event.)

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Kimstu January 13, 2014 at 10:14 am

What Admin said. @OP, I know it’s easy to get fixated on the problem of optimally allocating those few and precious guest-list spots, but you can’t let that get in the way of being a gracious hostess to the guests you HAVE invited. Once you’ve asked them to save the date, they must be sent an invitation, with no strings attached.

I agree that it’s very impolite of your friend to prod you for your approval of her proposed schedule juggling by bailing out of your wedding early, which is impolite in and of itself. But you did exactly the right thing by changing the subject, thus showing your lack of enthusiasm without being rude. Don’t spoil it by scolding her or suggesting that you’d rather withdraw her invitation if she can’t or won’t sign on for the full event. Two wrongs won’t make a right.

As for your worries about uninvited guests, here are some pre-emptive measures that can help:

1) Make sure you invite every guest individually by name (either via a separate invitation or by specifying their name(s) on a joint invitation).

2) If you use pre-printed RSVP cards, make sure the wording of each one unambiguously indicates whether or not the guest(s) named therein, and ONLY that/those named guest(s), will be attending. Avoid any open-ended phrasing such as “Number of guests attending:” or “[Long blank space] will/will not attend”. If your response card implies in any way that the number or identity of the invitees may be flexible, some guests will probably be clueless or selfish enough to take advantage of it.

3) Follow up on those RSVP responses and be very firm with anybody trying to bring along extra guests. It is not rude to say with regretful kindness, “I’m so sorry, we’d love to see the kids/meet your new boyfriend/whatever but our space is very limited, so we simply cannot invite them to the wedding.”

4) For peace of mind, although hopefully steps (1)-(3) will make it unnecessary, enlist a good friend or close relative to keep an eye out for crashers at the reception and act as “bouncer” if needed. That person should be able to look any transgressor(s) straight in the eye and say politely but firmly, “I’m very sorry, but the management are very strict about attendance limits, and UNINVITED GUESTS [pronounced with a little extra clarity and sharpness so that people feeling indignant about being 'thrown out' of your wedding are reminded who's really at fault here] simply cannot be accommodated. May I help you with your coat/walk you to your car/call a taxi for you/etc.?”

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No Wedding January 13, 2014 at 10:37 am

I guess I’ve been rude in the past for leaving receptions before the bride and groom. I have left early because: babysitter could only stay for a certain amount of time, I had to go to work, kids were getting tired/cranky (and yes those kids were invited).

I recently had a schedule conflict with a wedding I had already RSVP’d to go to – a family member died and the funeral was to be the exact same time as the wedding. I ended up sending my gift to the couple, along with a note explaining what had happened, I hope that was OK. I wasn’t sure of the etiquette there. Admin?

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PHW January 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

If you have to cancel, I would think a personal phone call to the bride and groom would be appropriate. Depending on the timing, this may give the couple the option to adjust their numbers with the caterer. We had two no-shows at our wedding, and there is nothing more frustrating than looking at empty seats and realizing that you paid for these people (rentals and food) and they didn’t let you know they couldn’t come.

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No Wedding January 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I found out the night before the funeral/wedding. Obviously I knew family member had died, but they had gone back and forth about when to hold the service, and I personally wasn’t informed until late evening.

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Library Diva January 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, as in your situation. That’s why it’s so crucially important for the people who can give advance notice on backing out to do so. No Wedding, I think that what you did was perfectly appropriate under the circumstances.

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Wild Irish Rose January 13, 2014 at 10:41 am

I’m with Admin. on this one. You invited this friend. She has the option of saying yes or no. It appears to me that she really would like to attend your wedding, but she’s already forked out the money for these concert tickets. In the best of all possible worlds (for you), she could/would sell the tickets and devote her evening to your wedding, but please understand that she is not obligated to do so.

I don’t understand why people think that just because there is X amount of space for a wedding, there must be X number of people in attendance. Not every single invitee will be able to be there. If you can’t afford to sacrifice a dinner or two, then don’t plan a dinner. Your guests are not responsible for how much money you shell out for your event.

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Miss-E January 13, 2014 at 11:03 am

Is it really rude to leave before the bride and groom? Even if its only a little while before them? I went to a wedding a few weeks ago that ran til midnight and left at 11 because I was dead exhausted. I had NO idea that was rude!

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AIP January 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Where I’m from we’d die of shock if a reception ended at midnight! Usually they carry on going until at least 2.30-3am. The bar will usually be licenced to serve up to 1.3o or 2am. If I have anything up to an hours drive home I’d usually leave by 1am. At my cousins wedding it was later as I was the designated driver and my dad was gossiping with my uncle and my mother was off dancing to Lady GaGa (kindly requested by the bride because myself and another cousin were going to the concert the next day… yes there was a slight freak out when I heard the dates as the two very expensive tickets were bought 6 months previous and before I knew she was getting married).

Anyway the bride wants to lead a conga at 3am, more power to her but I won’t be following her, whatever etiquette has to say on the matter- I’m the one behind the wheel, not Miss Manners. ;)

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AS January 13, 2014 at 11:13 am

I don’t agree with the admin that the OP is necessarily trying to get permission to guilt trip the friend. The friend already put OP in an awkward position by discussing her indecision. I had had a friend so this and my reply was “please decide what you want to do. If you cannot make it, we’ll miss you a lot, though we understand your position. Please let us know your decision soon, because we need to turn in the head count.

Also, OP, there are often no shows at reception. We had 4 people who had RSVPed but didn’t come. (3 out of the 4 had come to the ceremony; one lady was pregnant, and hence, she and her husband couldn’t stay for dinner; another person is not familiar with the customs and didn’t know that hors d”vouers aren’t the reception). There are others who replied late, and hence we could not invite people from second list. You have to be prepared for that.

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helen-louise January 13, 2014 at 11:14 am

Although we had the very briefest type of ceremony permissible under UK law – little more than declaring there was no reason we could not be married, saying the vows, exchanging rings, and signing the marriage certificate – I still feel that it is the ceremony which is the important part. That is what makes you married in law and/or in your religious tradition. The reception afterwards is just a party. I personally would be much happier with a guest who came to see the solemnisation of my marriage but was unable to make the party than with the other way round. You can celebrate your marriage with that friend in private later.

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Despedina January 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

I agree with OP, but I didn’t realize its rude to leave a reception before the bride and groom do. I’ve been to weddings where the bride and groom “party” till midnight or later. I’ve never stayed that late.

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Ashley January 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

I agree with Admin for the most part, but I do have to ask one thing. In point two, Admin states that it’s rude to leave the reception before the bride and groom…since when is that a thing? Because literally every wedding I have ever been to, at least half the guests wind up leaving well before the bride and groom do, for a variety of completely legitimate reasons…

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admin January 14, 2014 at 10:08 am

It’s been a “thing” for hundreds of years. In our modern entitled culture, people serve themselves by leaving whenever they feel like it instead of waiting for the guests of honor to end the festivities with their departure. No one left my daughter’s wedding prior to their departure but we also did not plan a wedding that lasted 8 hours either.

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Kimstu January 14, 2014 at 11:39 am

I agree that modern all-day and/or all-night wedding marathons have tended to undermine the traditionally ironclad expectation that the bride and groom should be the first ones to leave their own wedding reception.

So have changing customs about relationships. It used to be taken for granted that the bride and groom would be eager to run off through a shower of rice to embark on their first night alone together. Now that most dating or engaged couples are presumed to spend time alone together whenever and however they want to, bridal couples are not in such a hurry to ditch a lavish party in favor of privacy on their wedding night.

I would argue that changes in the roles of wedding hosts have also contributed to this. While guests of honor are supposed to be the first ones to leave a party, of course the hosts are supposed to be the last to leave (or don’t leave at all if the venue is their own house!). If the bridal couple rather than the brides’ parents are the official hosts of their own wedding, they can’t really walk out on the party while their hospitality is still being offered to their guests, unless they enlist a “deputy host” to take over after they leave.

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Mer January 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

I have to say, that (in my culture obviously, and I do know that this site mainly caters for US-culture) weddings these days are so short. Where are the celebrations that took the whole week? These d*mn youngsters don’t know how to have a proper wedding. (I would shake my cane should I have one :) )

But I have to admit, that many of the changes in living must affect also the etiquette around the wedding. Much of the things just are not important anymore. Wedding night used to be a big thing, as Kimstu said. Now it is not anymore. Bride and the groom are not inspected and determined not faulty, they are not escorted to the blessed wedding bed. Nor are they leaving their parents’ house to go to their new home or the woman is not leaving to join the husband’s family. The traditional reasons for their departure are mainly gone, so I do think there must be questioning what of the traditional etiquette factors should be upheld and what not.

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Rod January 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Interesting. And yeah, I think all these protocols are certainly culturally biased.

Not leaving before the bride and groom? That would never fly for the big family weddings in my country of birth (Mexico). I was a groomsman (Maidsman?!) when my sister got married 3 years ago. It is customary for many regions that the weddings will take the best part of a day, especially if travelling is involved. And it takes a small squad to ensure things are running well and people are happy.

The wedding was held in a party house – a hacienda would be a fitting description. The wedding started at 13:00 (ceremony). I think the last celebrants were finally left to their own devices at 5 am next day – after a suitable breakfast was provided (included as part of the wedding party).

Bride and groom left around 4 am. Most families with younger children left around 10. People that had to drive a bit left around midnight. And so on.

As part of my responsibilities I was in charge of supply errands and avoiding drunk driving so I drove a few people over, including a witness to the judges house to sign after she had been late to the non-religious signing. By 1 am I had driven my pregnant wife and her family to the hotel.My last round was 4 am where I was notified that I didn’t need to come back.

And to honour the intentions of this board, a few of us were tasked with ensuring that the guests were all treated well and had a good time. That includes not feeling forced to stay the whole time – my grandma’s sister (80+) did stick it to about 2 am. Well done!

Mae January 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I understand your feelings, considering the limitations you have, but there is no way to rescind the invitation without looking badly. What I don’t understand is, if this friend is such a close friend, why didn’t she know about the wedding date, even before the STD cards were sent? That seems like something your close friends would know.

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Shoebox January 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Yeah… I think that despite her best efforts, there’s a slight Bridezilla tendency developing here.

OP, I can understand being focussed on your own arrangements given the circs — even to the extent of feeling a bit hurt that your friend didn’t at least phrase her dilemma more tactfully.

However… no amount of closeness means you get to decide how relatively important events in her life should be, and especially not based on relative financial merit. (Perhaps, just for instance, this particular band is one whose music holds great personal meaning for her, or one she’s long been anxious to see perform?) Nor do you get to guilt her into sharing responsiblity for your self-created problems re: the venue. Within the setup as described it should’ve been obvious from the start that you were going to run into disappointments with guests who didn’t quite realise the honour being done them.

Just now you’re caught up in a whirlwind where everything’s naturally about you and your perfect day. Your friend is demonstrably trying to work with you; she wants to be there when you’re married. If you feel like the friendship is worth it, you need to work with her rather than assuming the worst.

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cookiemonster January 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

4. As some brides tend to hold guests “hostage” all day by having a long wedding, followed by a span of hours before the reception, then the dinner/dancing/drinking is hours long, be okay with guests coming for an amount of time that suits them, not necessarily you.

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technobabble January 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm

No matter how restricted your guest list is, you can’t force people to come to your wedding. Sometimes things happen. My fiance and I are getting married in March, and we buckled down and after looking at our families (mine fairly small, his HUGE), dear friends (I have many, he has a few), and budget, we ended up inviting only 70 people to our wedding. We had to make some cuts to people that we would have liked to be there, but couldn’t afford. One of the couples on my side that got invited were dear friends of my parents (and de facto grandparents to me when growing up). A week after the invitation was sent, the husband of this couple was diagnosed with skin cancer, and they will be unable to attend the wedding due to his treatment.

Another friend of mine will need to be out of town for work that weekend, and one of my fiance’s uncles along with his wife and children are on vacation the week before and are unsure if they will be able to reschedule their flights back to our city instead of theirs to make it to the wedding.

Were there other people I would have liked to invite had I known the above mentioned wouldn’t be able to make it? Sure. But I didn’t invite them and that’s it. Stuff happens and people have lives that don’t revolve around you and your wedding. I’m going to miss our absent guests on the day, but I certainly don’t hold any ill will towards them for not being able to come. Admin is right: My wedding is one of the biggest days in my life, but to my guests it’s just a wedding.

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Library Diva January 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I feel for the OP. I agree with the admin’s points 2 and 3, but I think the wedding of a close friend or family member is pretty darned important. Yes, if you have a surgery scheduled, if you’ve already made vacation plans, or if you’ve already accepted an invitation to another wedding, you’ll unfortunately have to decline. But a $10 ticket to go hear a band that will be through the area a couple more times on their circuit this year (and is probably playing the next night an hour away)? I think your friend should come first.

Sadly, there’s not much that OP can do about it. I just feel bad for her that her friend is behaving thoughtlessly. I think that a lot of times, people show their true colors around weddings, for better and for worse. I had some lovely surprises with my own. My husband had a few sad ones (we held a casual picnic-style reception in his hometown because he has a massive family. We couldn’t invite them all and not everyone could make the trip. Sadly, almost none of his cousins showed up, despite it being on a Saturday afternoon in their own backyards. I have no doubt that some actually drove by it on the way to do whatever else they had that was more important). I’m sorry your friend is prioritizing some indie band over you.

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gellchom January 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

I do sympathize with your feelings. We’ve all been there. I can understand feeling hurt that someone you consider a close friend would attend a concert rather than your wedding — although she does plan to see the ceremony, and that’s not nothing, and she had already paid for the ticket. We are facing a similar situation: two other families in our close community have daughters getting married the same evening as our daughter’s wedding. There are several people who are good friends with all three families, and they are literally going to have to chose among us (don’t blame us! Our daughter had that date months before the other brides were even engaged :) ). Now, we’re all grownups, and everyone understands, and no one is going to be angry at anyone. But of course in my heart I would love it if our good friends would all attend my daughter’s wedding and stay all evening. They might. Or they may come for part of the evening and go to one or both of the others weddings before or after, or one spouse may go to one wedding and the other to another. Whatever they do, it will be fine. We’ll miss them, but I have learned from experience that when the day comes, you are so busy with so many other people you really never even think about the absentees.

The admin is right. You’ve issued your invitation; you can’t rescind it.

But as this is a really good friend, I would think you could ask her to tell you for sure whether or not she will be staying for dinner. Because if she isn’t, you can go ahead and invite someone else (or just not pay for her) even though she will be there for the ceremony and the cocktail hour. One extra person for those portions of the evening won’t make a difference, and the venue isn’t going to count.

That is what I plan to do if — maybe I should say when! — our friends who are in this bind tell us they are planning on splitting the evening somehow. I’m sure they will tell us; no one is going to let us pay for dinners (and use up dinner table spaces that are, as in your case, at a premium) and then say “Bye now — we’re leaving before dinner.” I’ll simply ask them to decide and tell me their plans early enough that we can plan tables and give the numbers to the caterer. They will understand, and so will your friend if you ask her.

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kingsrings January 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm

If I were in the bride’s shoes, I would also be personally offended and shocked that a good friend would prioritize a concert ahead of my wedding. Yes, there are certain important, crucial events that would be understandably prioritized before a good friend’s wedding, but I would never count a rock concert as one of them! A good friendship with someone should be more personal and important than even your favorite artist’s rock concert. However, good manners dictate what EHell Dame said about the situation. What she said. There just isn’t a way to dictate how a guest handles an invitation you have already given them as far as their desire to attend or not attend.

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Kirsten January 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm

A friend of mine missed our graduation ceremony to be bridesmaid in her sister’s wedding, and missed the wedding reception to attend the graduation party.

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JackieJormpJomp January 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

A wedding is not something to which a person must feel honoured to be invited.
Get over it. You sound very bridezilla to rage that someone isn’t honoured to spend the whole night on your plans. She is attending. She s witnessing your ceremony (the real reason for the day) and she has promised to attend what sounds like most of it. It’s not her wedding.

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Sarah January 13, 2014 at 10:11 pm

I think the bride to be is a little sad or hurt as I would be in that situation. The wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion, the btb has chosen this person as being close to her. I do agree with admin that you cannot say “But I can only have a limited number of people, so if you are not coming for the whole event maybe you could let me invite someone else” However as soon as the guest arrives she will see that this is the case, maybe she will stay for the whole reception and fling the tickets into the nearest trash! What I hope she does not do is to buttonhole you as to why you did not say how intimate the occasion would be – since you followed admin´s excellent advice. I hope your wedding does go well and that your friend doesn´t go to the concert!

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redamazon January 13, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I would say that I think OP is correct in her belief that one should not come to the bride with personal scheduling concerns but should resolve them oneself. Mutual awareness of etiquette should always be hoped for, and in this case one should think that if the bride had to sort through 120 people’s schedules and tell them how to behave it would be rather unwieldy. While I agree with admin that the core issue is that an invitation was already sent and cannot be amended now – although we all know that weddings in particular involve events and personalities that make us wish we could – I think OP’s belief that the guest wanted absolution is correct, and the guest therefore placed an extra burden on the OP that was unwanted. Sometimes even if we can’t do anything about it, it is nice to have our feelings validated.

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Angeldrac January 14, 2014 at 5:58 am

While I agree with admin, that, really, now the invitation has been extended, there’s really nothing you can do etiquette-wise, in this situation, can we just pause for a moment and acknowledge the cheek of this friend?
Ok, we don’t know how often she sees this favourite band or just how enamoured with the band she is, but seriously!? No only considering ditching/cutting short a friends wedding to see a band, she also has the hide to discuss her “terrible conundrum” with the bride?
Seriously tacky.

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Kirsten January 14, 2014 at 6:07 am

There’s nothing you can do about this. You don’t have any right.

That said, I wouldn’t be thrilled either if a close friend of mine would rather miss my wedding reception for a concert like the one you described. I know, I know, it’s her life, it’s her choice, they might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance. She’s not doing anything unreasonable, I do understand that…I’d just be less than thrilled. I wouldn’t say anything or show I thought so, but it’s pretty human to be a bit gutted about it.

I also agree that she’d have been better not to tell you. What do you gain from knowing before you even invite her that she can’t come to the whole thing? It does sound as if she wanted you to tell her ‘hey, that’s fine!’, which suggests she’d be pretty gutted in your place and knows it = not really very cool.

Just invite and accept it.

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DannysGirl January 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

I can understand why it would seem rude to leave before the happy couple does, but I respectfully disagree that it actually is. A bride and groom holding a 6pm-Midnight wedding and reception should understand that not everyone can stay out that late. Some guests may have work the next day, other guests have small children that can’t stay awake that late, it’s a long drive home, etc. Yes, it’s the couple’s special day, but that shouldn’t give them permission to force others to spend an unreasonable amount of time with them, or be thought of as rude. To me, as long as a guest says goodbye to the HC and thanks them for their hospitality, it isn’t rude to leave early.

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Tracy January 14, 2014 at 11:14 am

I agree. I can certainly see that it’s rude to, for example, skip out before the dinner that the HC paid for. But after dinner, toasts, cake, etc… is it rude to skip dancing and partying? This sounds like one of those rules of etiquette that’s simply based on a society that we no longer live in. People have lives and jobs and babysitters and no, you don’t get to dictate that they are rude simply because they were unable or unwilling to stay at your party as long as you wanted them to.

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Library Diva January 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Society has also changed for courtship and marriage. In the past, couple may have left the wedding reception early because their first-ever private moment was coming up. The celebration may have been more about the family than the couple. Today, not only has the emphasis shifted, but there’s often a longer period between the start of a relationship and marriage that may include living together.

My husband and I lived together for several years before our wedding. Present at our wedding were family and friends we only got to see rarely. We literally shut the place down. I saw the banquet hall staff shutting off lights as we were getting into our shuttle to our hotel. Anyone who tried to stick it out longer than us would probably have been escorted out by the police!

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JD January 14, 2014 at 10:51 am

To gellchom:
“I’m sure they will tell us; no one is going to let us pay for dinners (and use up dinner table spaces that are, as in your case, at a premium) and then say “Bye now — we’re leaving before dinner.”
In most cases you are right, and I hope it will be true for your situation, but at my daughter’s wedding, two couples (in our own family, no less) did just that. They attended the wedding, which was in the same room as the reception, sat and talked as the reception began, then left just as dinner was served. They didn’t eat a bite. They weren’t mad, didn’t have other plans, weren’t unable to eat the food; they just left because they wanted to get home — at 6:30 after a five o’clock wedding! They also didn’t tell us or our daughter that they were leaving, they just left. Later, they went on and on about what a lovely wedding it was. Our daughter and son-in-law paid for every bit of that wedding, and those four uneaten meals sure cost them.

OP, I feel for you. I think you have the right to ask her if she will or will not be at the reception, but other than that, you’ll have to let it go. It’s disappointing, since you wanted her there, but that’s the way it is.

And yes, we are supposed to stay at the reception until the bride and groom leave, but with weddings lasting almost a whole day these days, often going far into the night as just a big dance party, I admit to letting that rule go by the wayside myself. One of my daughters solved that by leaving the reception “officially” with all the goodbyes, then changing clothes and coming back a little later to visit with the family and friends who decided to wait and help clean up. She and her new husband even helped clean up. They didn’t have to leave town for a few more hours, anyway.

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AMS January 14, 2014 at 11:12 am

I agree that there is little that the OP can do at this point. It isn’t ideal, but I would say as long as her friend stays through the dinner and dessert, she is not being completely unreasonable. Many people have to leave weddings early for legitimate reasons, and though I wouldn’t necessarily count a concert as a good reason, I don’t think you can force your friend to either stay or go on the invitation has been offered.

That being said, I also agree with many of the other comments questioning whether it is rude to leave before the bride and groom. That may be a very traditional etiquette rule or perhaps it is a regional thing, but in my view and experience it is acceptable to leave a wedding after dessert during the dancing. I live in the upper Midwest and pretty much every wedding I’ve been to there has been after dinner dancing from 8pm to midnight, and the bride and groom always stay until the very end. I would never expect all of the guests to stay until the last dance and I honestly don’t know anyone who would. One of the comments above has it spot on – I feel it would be more rude for the bride and groom to leave early and leave their guests!

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Ashley January 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm

I’m in the same region as you and every wedding I have been to, no matter WHEN it starts, at least half the guests leave with at least 4-5 hours left in the schedule. At my own wedding, the ceremony was at 3:00pm, cocktails and snacks right after, dinner at five. My husband and I and my father in law were the last ones left at 10:30 because we were packing up gifts and centerpieces. All our guests had cleared out by 10:00. So it was a six hour day, which isn’t too long, and still EVERYONE left before us. I didn’t think it was rude at all, people just had long drives home, or plans the next day that required them to leave early. It happens.

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Glitter January 14, 2014 at 11:36 am

At most weddings I’ve been too recently the bride and groom pretty much stay until every guest has left. I can think of only one where the bride and groom left before the majority of their guests. Usually they have things to tie up after the guests have left (payments to caters, cleaning up, ect).

Most of the weddings I’ve been too recently also had the bride and groom as the main hosts as well.

I would say it’s rude to slip out and not say goodbye to the bride and groom however. I had that happen at my BFF’s wedding. She asked where one of her other friends was only to find out said friend had just left without bothering to say goodbye or anything. She was really hurt that her friend wouldn’t bother to find her (she was the girl in the big white dress…easy to spot) and say a quick bye before leaving. But she didn’t care she had left early. A lot of people had to leave at different times for different reasons. Until it was just the bridal party and the happy couples, and our families, as we were all doing clean up/pack up.

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Kaymar January 14, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Exactly – this isn’t the 50s with some 20 year olds getting married and leaving in their going-away suits at 7pm. I also think as the hosts, it makes sense for the marrying couple to stay as long as guests do in order to make sure folks have a good time, get out safely, etc.

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Tracy January 15, 2014 at 8:49 am

I wouldn’t assume your BFF’s friend didn’t bother to find her. It’s not always easy to grab the bride’s attention when you need to leave.

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ALM January 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm

The OP is making two interesting assumptions about her friend here:

1) That the concert is a small band at a small venue as is typical of the friend (she mentions this is typical friend entertainment, but does not mention the friend describing this particular concert as such). And even if it is a ‘small indie’ band that OP doesn’t care about, maybe it’s a farewell tour, or a last chance to see someone, even if it’s not expensive. If it were not a big deal, she’d get tickets at the door.

2) That the friend is going alone to this concert and has not made plans WITH OTHER PEOPLE and in some ways is a hostess herself.

Beyond the issue of the OP’s wedding not being the most important thing in the universe for all her friends and relatives is the distinct possibility that the friend has other obligations tied to this concert that are beyond the vision of the OP. That she is trying to bend over backward to attend the wedding seems to indicate this to me.

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Harley Granny January 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

While for the most part I do agree with admin, I feel the phrase “entitled culture” is a bit over dramatic. I believe that different parts of society have different traditions that go back hundreds of years. In my social circle it isn’t a big deal if someone leaves before the bride and groom. Altho most wait until the cake is cut no one bats an eye if one leaves earlier than that.
I could go to the other extreme and say that those Happy Couples are considered “attention gimmie pigs” for expecting everyone to stay until they say they can go. (And no I don’t believe that for one second I’m just showing the other side of being dramatic.)
Just because someone in the last 75 years decided to write a book and deem leaving early as rude, doesn’t make it true in all cultures.

You could explain the situation to your friend…maybe a compromise could be reached. She attends the wedding but not the reception. That way she could be there for the important part and that would free you up to invite someone else.

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Hanna January 14, 2014 at 12:23 pm

OP, I can relate to your story and let me tell you I UNDERSTAND how frustrating it is. When I was getting married, I invited a very, very, very close friend of mine. One who saw me through thick and thin when it came to boys and relationships until I met my awesome husband. I invited her whole family, too because they felt like my family. A couple weeks before the wedding, she RSVP’d. I noticed that it was just her name on the RSVP and none of her family, which I was kind of hurt by, but it was whatever.

THEN, a couple days before the wedding she e-mails me and says, “Oh, darn. My family spontaneously planned a camping trip the weekend of your wedding! So I won’t be there, but I hope it’s great!” (She was 21 and still living at home and rarely did anything independent of her family.) WHAT! The worst part was that she was so flippant about it; like it didn’t even matter. You are missing my WEDDING for a CAMPING TRIP, at a campground that is like 40 minutes away?!! I was so hurt! My reaction is deserving of Etiquette Hell though, as I responded with something like, “Oh, okay. I’m only getting married once but I hope you have fun on your camping trip.” Eventually I told her why it hurt me that she decided on this, and brought up things in the past (that I had never told her about) that showed she had a history of being so self-absorbed, and after realizing that she hurt me, she decided to come.

I wouldn’t worry about your friend though, whether she’s coming or not. You can’t take back your invite and if she doesn’t come, well maybe if your mother’s best friend decides to bring her boyfriend, he’ll have a seat to fill. :P

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kingsrings January 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I also agree with the others that it isn’t rude to leave before the couple does at the wedding reception. Once I had to leave a reception earlier than I would have wanted to because I had to go to work. Yes, my job is the priority in that situation. There are many valid reasons why a guest has to leave early – could be job, travel, babysitting arrangements, health, etc., and they shouldn’t be flung into EHell for them. And in one case last spring, I attended a wedding reception that was held at the couple’s home, so clearly, we all left earlier than the couple. ; )

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Shoegal January 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Well – here is my 2 cents: I didn’t read every reply but I am of the thinking that you invited her and it would be wrong to guilt her into going to the entire event. I can see her trying to work it all out that she sees you marry (keeps you happy) and she goes to see her band play (hey, a party’s a party!!). She isn’t choosing a band over you – and although I get why you feel a little hurt – would you really want to hold a grudge over this?!?! In the end, you’ll still be married – and I’m sure she truly does wish you well and hopes it all goes off without a hitch and you are very happy even if she didn’t see you cut the cake!!

As for leaving the reception before the bride and groom I had 2 thoughts:

1. If the bride and groom are hosting the event (it’s a party, right) then I feel the hosts should try to be gracious and flexible to their guests’ schedules. Gee whiz, if the baby sitter isn’t going to stay an extra hour – then, of course, please go. That is not rude.
2. If someone else is hosting – say the parents of the couple – the entire event is all about their children so guests should stay, bear witness to the union, celebrate with them – support them, so to speak. Guests sometimes leave because they just want to leave. They eat and run. There is really no conflict – they just go because it is dark, 8 pm and it might rain. I think that is rude.

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AIP January 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

If she wants a way of not attending the reception “guilt free” let her. You’ll have more to be worrying about in the wedding prep. Before the invitations are issued in Feb have a chat with her that you know that it’s clashing with her concert, so you understand she can’t be at the reception – if you think she’d respond well to you saying that you’d love if she could pop into the ceremony then do, otherwise say nothing. Give her an invite anyway as well as her “replacement” it’s not worth causing drama in an otherwise good friendship. Chances are she wouldn’t be only no-show – unexpected illness etc. who knows, the concert could be rescheduled between now and then.

I do understand where she’s coming from. Music was very important to me when I was in my 20s. After not getting around to seeing one particular artist a few times when he came to my country he passed away before I got a chance (the Jeff Buckley Effect we call it – ah sure he’s always playing here, I’ll get to see him eventually). Conversely I was very very lucky to see the late great Joe Strummer, who was the picture of health, a few years before he suddenly passed away. Others who missed those concerts were kicking themselves. Life is short and full of potentially once-in-lifetime events.

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Anonymouse January 14, 2014 at 9:51 pm

I understand where you’re coming from OP, a good friend of my husband’s skipped our wedding (after RSVPing yes) to go to a My Little Pony Camp about 20 minutes away from where we had the ceremony. It’s tough to see that friends who you thought were close are not as excited for your milestones as you thought they would be. That being said, at least she has shown interest in coming to the ceremony. Be happy for that!

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gellchom January 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I agree that the rule about not leaving before the bride and groom has at least been modified (even Miss Manners is saying so, after all).

It only applies if the bride and groom themselves leave! They used to do so shortly after cutting the cake, I believe: go change to “going away clothes,” throw the bouquet, and scram. Not anymore, at least not around here.

As a clergy spouse for over 31 years, I go to a LOT of weddings, and I cannot remember the last time the bride and groom (even those who were not hosting) didn’t stay until the very end, let alone had an Official Exit. I have NEVER seen a going-away outfit since the 1960s.

It’s still rude to eat and run, but at least around here, the feeling seems to be that any time after the cake is cut, it’s okay to leave — first, of course, congratulating the couple and thanking the hosts (which usually means having most of the guests coming and hugging them on the dance floor, so that’s how they spend a lot of the rest of the evening! But it’s actually fun, at least I thought so at our son’s wedding).

I am usually in bed writing a thank you note to the hosts while the bridal couple are still dancing the last dance.

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Angel January 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I totally agree with the admin. If you really want this friend there, don’t worry about how long that she stays–be glad she came at all and is coming for the important part, the ceremony. She may decide while she is there that she wants to stay longer and be late to the concert. Who knows?

I guess I understand about the limited guests part. But it’s kind of mean to say well if you can’t stay the whole time don’t bother coming at all? That doesn’t sound like much of a friend to me! (on the Op’s part I mean)

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Dust Bunny January 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Honestly, while I would not tell a bride I planned to do so, I think the friend was totally reasonable. A lot of smaller-venue bands don’t come around very often (sometimes years between engagements, depending on the size of your city and how far it is from their home base); if you’re a music fan, missing up a show for which you’ve been waiting for five years is painful. Heck, I’d probably encourage said friend to cut my wedding short so she didn’t miss it.

Also: I resent the implication that friends are not close who are not as excited about your milestones as you are. It’s not their milestone. Nobody should be as excited about it as you are, and it’s not fair to demote them because they weren’t as gaga over it as you were. I’m glad when my friends and relatives get married, have kids, whatever, but I’ll never be as invested in it as they are, and I shouldn’t be.

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ALM January 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

LOL Here here for not having an obligation to match the happy couple’s excitement. My sister was quite upset that I wasn’t excited about the wedding she might have someday to man she has not as yet met or identified. (She was 29, I was 33).

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EllenS January 18, 2014 at 7:37 pm

The friend never should have mentioned this at all. If she had just gone through with her plans, in a group of 120 people, the bride likely would never have noticed.
Accepting or declining an invitation is the guest’s decision. The host already decided they want you there by inviting you.

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ImJustSaying January 19, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Both people are wrong here.
The friend never should have called to say she had a concert to attend. Maybe she didn’t and the OP pressed her for details. The most she should have said was “I just want to let you know I confirmed another event a day before I received your Save The Date. I will be there to share in your day but I will unfortunately have to leave a little early.
The bride then would say “Aww that sucks but thanks for letting me know Im glad you’ll be able to be there for me even if it’s a shortened visit. We must make sure to get a photo before you have to go.”

The place the friend is going doesn’t matter. The amount she paid for the tickets doesn’t matter. If she said her niece’s very first violin recital was that evening (her first real recital with tickets and everything!) that would change the OP’s view of the early departure (I’d hope). However because the OP deems indy band concerts beneath her, she feels she has the right to ask someone to disregard an important event for them personally. Your friend wants to share in your day and also the tact to let you know she had to leave early so it didn’t look as if she bailed on your wedding day. There will be people who will hug you and leave without saying anything, She was nice enough to say something and early on at that.

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NostalgicGal January 22, 2014 at 5:34 am

I had a good friend; who was also very broke. I did want him to attend; but; he had a very important meeting he could not skip or reschedule. There weren’t written invites to my wedding; mostly oral ones but that wasn’t an issue with people coming or not. We had family from both sides come; we had a few former dorm roomies and apartment roommates, and a few friends from college; that were invited and did come to a short wedding ceremony and an hour or so in the basement to eat a little and socialize.

So I did encourage this friend hard enough to at least come to the reception, please, when he got done. Part of my motivation was he could use a good meal; if I had to let my mom hijack things, she could feed my friend.

He did show a bit after things started and he did take a good plateful (plenty to go around, this wasn’t an issue). He was pretty poorly dressed but that is what he was, poor. He was as presentable as he could, and he was clean. After he got something eaten; I went over to sit down with him for a few minutes and talk to him; thanking him for coming. A few of the others that had started to circulate, I got up and introduced him; aka this is one of my friends. My mom was mortified, but only because she thought he was the church JANITOR and had come in to help himself. And was about to approach him about a few things ‘related to the facilities’. Oh, no, that’s my friend who had to do X (something related to assistance, I had had those same meetings!) and I’m so glad he could make it after all. Oh.

It can hurt for the OP, if another’s schedule oversteps her plans, but. She extended the invite; she should work around the limits. Unless the guest declines; the invite is the guest’s. I agree it’s a bit tacky about why, maybe the guest should have kept that to herself AND totally declined, citing ‘I’m sorry but I’ll be unable to attend, please accept my best wishes… and maybe we can get together later?’

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Enna February 8, 2014 at 8:57 am

I can see why the OP is hurt but then why just not let the friend do both? That way she can still see you get married. As for brides taking back invitations it does happen – it happened to me.

A firend I had known since the age of 4 was getting married. She asked me to be a bridesmaid and I said yes. Then I got a job in a city which is a 4 hour train journey away. This job was not good, I ended up depressed and on anti depressents. The friend then got pregnant and started to get a bit funny with me. I got a weekend mixed up and she flew off the handle, I told her I couldn’t handle this. She then said I was no longer invited to the wedding. So I didn’t. She was also funny with me because I asked her what time the meal would be as I have Diabetes. She said that she had asked other diabetics and they can adapt, I said I could if I knew what time the meal was.

It was sad that the firendship came to and end. I did bump into them a few months after the wedding as I had returned to the home town. It was interesting that her husband (who I had been on good terms with when they were dating) was geniunely chatty where as the ex-firend just stayed quiet. The way I see at the time of the conflict neither of us were feeling very secure at the time. She has chatted to me on fb since. A mutral firend who was the only bridesmaid (there were going to be 4 orginally including me) does say she can only take small doses of this woman and that she does over react.

She did not have a very good child hood – I don’t think that set up very well but I am truely glad she has found a good man to marry.

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dedicated1776 April 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I really understand where this bride is coming from. The only time we have left weddings early is when my husband had to work the next day (at the time he worked weekends on day shift–starting at 6 AM). And by early I mean after dinner. Not during cocktail hour. People need to learn they can’t have their cake and eat it too…which is what it sounds like the friend is trying to do.

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Cheryl July 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Ok the administrator is correct, your guests are just that, nothing like slaves or anything of that nature. Once you have invited them, end of story, what they do with their time is up to them not you. Sure you are disappointed, but at least she is trying to go to your wedding to be their for you while not wasting money she already spent. You have no clue if the concert is a hole in the wall or in a larger venue, not your call as to the importance of it. You are now being bridezilla and it sounds like the friend maybe better off not coming.

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