This delightful person was published in Ask Amy this morning:
Dear Amy: Please help me think generous thoughts regarding an invitation to a wedding “reception” I just received from a cousin in another state. All my siblings got an invitation, even the one who lives 1,000 miles away.
We cousins rarely meet up. We all have little kids, and it’s a no-kids evening reception, a three-hour drive from our homes, with no indication that a baby-sitter will be provided, though a motel’s business card was included with the invitation.
This couple is not young. They’ve been married for a few months now, so it’s just a reception at a VFW, and at that late hour, dinner is probably not even included.
If she really wanted more distant relatives to attend, she would have planned a more hospitable event, right? Or she could have sent an announcement — to let us off the hook.
I probably will send something out of a sense of obligation, but my heart’s not in it. At least no registry junk was in the envelope. But honestly, isn’t this invitation just a grasp for gifts?
— Hunting for Good Will
JEEBUS! Really? I guess this means I can cut from my list all those people our parents want us to invite–I mean God knows I don’t want them to feel obligated. This person is a real pill. “If she really wanted more distant relatives to attend, she would have planned amore hospitable event, right?” Yes. Because the wedding reception is actually designed to be dinner and a show, a free date for you with babysitting for your children. Given the attitude this person is displaying, I find it hard to believe the couple would even want them there. Likely they invited them NOT for the gifts, but to placate either their own parents or the cousins’ parents (B&G’s aunts and uncles). And most likely they invited the most distant one because they felt it would be rude to include some but not all of one group of cousins.
I have to say the whole thing is even MORE distasteful precisely the because B&G seem to be having a reasonable, well-contained event. This letter doesn’t say anything about their personalities or tastes, but for an older (well, not overly young) couple to have a late evening reception at the VFW several months after their wedding (elopment? Destination wedding?) suggests a low-key, informal, fun and festive celebration with friends. They didn’t include their registration stuff with the invitation because they’re NOT tacky and trolling for gifts. And because you’re never ever supposed to. Just because you get together “rarely” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the effort at major events like weddings and funerals…though if I were the B I would be praying this sourpuss didn’t show. Or even send a gift, because I know my thank you note would be misconstrued and judged.
Also, this is the second condescending mention of a “VFW wedding” I’ve come across in less than 24 hours (the other one was in a Carolyn Hax chat transcript from 1999, but still). I didn’t know there was such a rage against holding the reception in a VFW. I mean, if you’ve had lifelong dreams of your princess wedding, it might not be ideal–but then no one’s FORCING you to do it there–you could be at a park, a restaurant, someone’s home–work it out. If you’re a GUEST commenting on the lameness of a VFW wedding….you have no soul.
The cousin has kids and speaks in the royal/married “we,” so likely has been through a wedding of her own–perhaps she’s harboring bitter memories about it? The gift she didn’t get from this cousin? Or the fact that she cut this cousin because she couldn’t afford to host her, and now feels like she’s being shown up and judged because she HAS been invited to this one? Who knows??
Thanks, Amy, for telling this person off:
Dear Hunting: Please forgive this couple for having the nerve to invite you to a party to celebrate their wedding. Evidently this event is not to your liking, but I have been to many rollicking good parties at the VFW, featuring beer, chicken wings, music and dancing. This modest party might be all the couple can afford, and if so, then they should be commended for adhering to a reasonable budget.
If you don’t want to attend this reception, then don’t. If you don’t want to send a gift, then don’t. But don’t blame this couple for throwing a party and inviting you to it. That’s just rude.