Dear Ellie: Our only daughter got married almost two weeks ago. I’m still basking in the glow of her beauty in her white gown (re-styled from my own of 24 years ago!) and the love she and her groom so visibly share, thanking both sets of parents profusely and visiting/thanking each guest there.
But one of those stops fell flat, when they encountered a guest neither of them knew and who hadn’t been invited.
We’re not wealthy people, nor are the groom’s parents. Together, we shared the costs of the rented venue, the reception and light dinner, being economical while very welcoming to the guests.
Our bride and groom are both working and have future prospects, but also couldn’t have afforded a larger wedding. So, a few days of honeymoon later at a local hotel, they checked with friends, and learned who was the mystery guest.
A work-friend of the groom and his wife, brought along the wife’s sister, who’d never met either of the bride and groom. She lives in our same city, so hadn’t been an out-of-town visitor whom they couldn’t leave alone. When the groom casually inquired why they brought her, he was told, “She heard about the wedding and wanted to go.”
I realize there’s nothing we can do about that now. Neither parent wants to make a big deal about this and tarnish the joy of our recent event.
But I’m very curious what your advice would be regarding an uninvited guest. Also, what should people planning a wedding or other celebration do or say, to limit the size of the gathering to what was intended, and also affordable?
Curious Mother-of-the Bride
It’s the bold impudence of the couple who brought her, and the gall of the uninvited woman to just tag along, that matter here. It’s also a strong alert to the groom that this “work-friend” and wife, are “takers” lacking the awareness of common boundaries (as in, ask first).
Whatever the per-person plate cost, this one extra guest’s food and drink aren’t the issue.
And, if your son-in-law had said anything at the time, others might’ve heard and gossip could have overshadowed the fact of an otherwise hospitable event.
Conversely, had there been a special reason and request that required adding one or even two more people to the guest list, I’m sure both hosting families would have agreed.
To readers planning a special celebration: use your invitation to clarify attendance, e.g. singles may bring a “plus one,” or, please don’t bring children under age eight, except for family members, or state other clear limits.
Reader’s Commentary regarding the boyfriend who wasn’t “fierce” on current issues (March 28):
“I’m reasonably well-informed about Ukraine, have donated to their cause, emailed the Russian ambassador my views on Putin’s war and written our own government re: strict sanctions and better-preparedness militarily.
“I’ve also, like millions of westerners, watched hours of streaming series.
“The letter-writer’s current beau may not be a good match, but that doesn’t make him inferior to her. Not everyone sees the point of hand-wringing to the exclusion of everything else. We don’t all have to be drawn into every conflict in the world. Indeed, many wars arise precisely because there are few people in the involved countries who are willing to steer a middle course and remain dispassionate. If this late-20s woman wants to “take a stand,” it should involve more than arguing with her boyfriend.”
Reader’s Commentary: “I’ve lost respect for some people during the pandemic and public tantrums by those who ‘don’t want to be told what to do!’ ”
“I’m disappointed in those who’ve dismissed science, especially people I’d previously admired, having believed they were well-read and thoughtful.
“I’m especially discouraged by people who dismiss mask-wearing/getting vaccinated without any medical reason. Aren’t we supposed to protect people who are vulnerable? And be unselfish?
“Their answer “it’s my body,” is hypocrisy.
“I don’t know how to look any of them in the eye again without my feelings showing. I’m so sad and feel things will never be the same.”
Ellie — Follow your own Covid-related beliefs. In a so-called “free” society (with driving restrictions/imposed taxes, etc.) we must accept that others have rights… until the reality of new highly-transmissible variants already in Canada, specifically Omicron BA.2, and Omicron XE, cause a change in some people’s minds through experiencing illness.
Ellie’s tip of the day
If hosting a special event on a specifically-planned or limited budget, inform guests of any restrictions regarding numbers and/or other issues.
Send relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.