Thursday, May 19, 2011

Odd or Not?

My oldest son, about to start middle school, has a very good friend with whom he's inseparable. The friend is a very smart and well-behaved boy, and we love having him around, which is pretty much all the time (the two have sleepovers almost every weekend and shorter playdates even on weekdays).

The friend's parents have been divorced for a number of years and the mom is getting remarried. We've known about the wedding for a few months and I usually ask her how the preparations are going, because it's a good topic for small talk at pick-up/drop-off, and she seems really excited and always eager to chat about it.

The wedding is this weekend and there will be about 150 people (that strikes me as fairly large, but maybe not according to American standards). We were not invited to the wedding. Today, as we were doing kid pick up/drop off, the bride-to-be told my husband that they (the bride, groom, and the bride's kids) would come over to our place before the wedding, at 11-ish am on Saturday, all dressed up and in the limo, to say 'hi' and have some pictures taken with us.

That struck me as really odd and, in all honesty, ticked me off a bit. Why exactly are they coming over to our place to take pictures? If they wanted to share the wedding day with us, they should have invited us to the wedding, it's not like it's a small intimate affair. This way, they are honestly just disturbing our Saturday routine (which pretty much involves the kids lazily lying about watching TV, me talking on the phone while trying to wake up with coffee before preparing brunch, and my husband sleeping late after playing World of Warcraft till wee hours the night before). Are we now supposed to get all dressed up or what?

I suppose they want to show off their fancy limo, dress, and tuxedos, but still -- I think the whole thing is a bit rude, assuming we'd be available and interested in the showing off. We are not part of the event and they can show us pictures after the fact.

Am I the only one whom this strikes as weird or inconsiderate? Or maybe it is acceptable as a cultural peculiarity that I am not familiar with? Whaddaya think, Intertube friends: odd or not?

22 comments:

Postdoc said...

That's completely bizarre, and, in my opinion, completely rude of them. I've never heard of such a weird breach of etiquette - not inviting you to the wedding, but showing up at your house uninvited first to show off and show you what you'll be missing. I thought people usually squirm awkwardly to explain to friends why they're not invited to their wedding, not flaunt it! Can you just tell them you're busy that morning, but you wish them well? Maybe that would help them get the point that their weird behavior is not appreciated... I might be getting jaded as I get older, but I'm starting to think that going along with people's rude idiosyncrasies and playing on their turf is like feeding the dragon...

AnotherPostdoc said...

This is rude by my standards. I agree with postdoc's suggestion above: saying you will be busy and getting the message across their thick hides.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that it is their son who really would like to show off to his best friend? That would make some sense in my opinion. Otherwise I find it very odd but I am not an American.

Anonymous said...

Completely odd! (by my European standards...) but it could really be the son who wants to spend some time with his best friend, that would be the only half-acceptable excuse.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the commentors that it's unbelievably rude and also second (third?) the suggestion that this might be the son's idea. Maybe you can get your son to make some discreet enquiries?

prodigal academic said...

Definitely odd (and I was born in the US).

Alyssa said...

That is really odd, and totally rude. Like Postdoc said, most people squirm around trying to explain why they didn't invite certain people - not show up at their homes to take photos before the wedding. I would also suggest saying you're busy. Or, if you're feeling ballsy, say you've never heard of anyone doing that before and are they doing it with other people too!

Anonymous said...

1- odd and rude
2- I'm an american and think it's funny that you all assume that such rudeness might be an american tradition. we have such a good reputation!

studyzone said...

As a US-born woman who read Miss Manners and Emily Post religiously growing up, this is definitely odd, and Miss Manners would have penned the most delightful put-down for their behavior. I agree with postdoc's comment. Their behavior suggests it never even crossed their mind to invite you (which also suggests that anon@1:43 am is on to something, since I don't like to think people are intentionally this boorish.)

Anonymous said...

It is odd, however people do a lot of seemingly odd things about weddings. Keep in mind that inviting more people cost a lot per person. If your family is 3+ people that may not be a trivial amount of money. It may be the case that they had a hard cap on the number of people to invite and you guys were borderline. They felt bad, so wanted to do something. Maybe the kid wanted to do something if he couldn't invite his friends family.

Given my experiences trying to plan a wedding I give people a lot of slack if I don't know the whole story. Weddings often have a lot going on under the surface.

Rebecca said...

I concur that this is weird. It could stem from the son's desire to include his friend. But yeah I think if it is really inconvenient for you, then by all means decline graciously and say that you will enjoy seeing the wedding photos.

emily said...

It seems odd to me. It also seems like something that might be more heard of in smaller towns. When the couple has grown up in a small town, knows a substantial fraction of the people, but still can't really invite everyone to the wedding this kind of traveling wedding party might seem to make more sense.

I have no idea if that fits. It could be a tradition one or both of the people grew up with but that doesn't match the current location.

It seems like a lightweight invitation (to be invaded) and thus needs only a lightweight refusal with regrets.

An American said...

Odd. For sure.

Dr. O said...

Odd for sure, even for us Americans. ;)

I agree that it might be due to her son wanting to share the day with his friend, though. Which inviting your family, even if it was later than the initial invites went out, would be a better solution. I also wonder if she's feeling guilty about not inviting you when she's shared so much about the planning, and this is her way of trying to alleviate that guilt/include your family. Either way, there are better ways to deal with the situation than stop by after and offer up a consolation visit.

Dr. Sneetch said...

This is a tough one and really really odd. But if it were me I would get dressed, open a bottle of something and celebrate with them. For the kids sake.

To me it sounds like they got their group and don't want new friends (experienced this for five long years in previous place). But they still want to include you in the wedding somehow. This would make me feel bad, then mad as hell.

But just go with it for the kids and to make their day special and you can remind them what you did for many years.

FrauTech said...

I should say too that 150 is considered small by certain types of people. So it could be they wanted to include you but chose not to given the relationship is between your sons rather than you. And that their boy wanted to show off his mom and new step dad and maybe whatever he's wearing or whatever (is he part of the wedding party?) hard to tell though.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you all dress like county bumpkins with those horrible big fake crooked teeth and mustaches and be sitting on the porch all prettified for them when they arrive? Make it memorable. Don't forget to give them a card your family all signed!

GMP said...

Why don't you all dress like county bumpkins with those horrible big fake crooked teeth and mustaches and be sitting on the porch all prettified for them when they arrive? Make it memorable. Don't forget to give them a card your family all signed.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Thanks everyone for the comments! Yes, I agree that perhaps the reason is that their boy wants to share the event with his best friend, my son... If my son were older I hope they would have invited him alone, but at 11 he needs supervision for the event and they clearly didn't want to invite all of us. So I get that it may all be for their boy's benefit, but honestly the mom should've known better than to just inform us they're coming over on their way to the wedding to grace us with their presence.

I emailed her today that we actually had other plans and wouldn't be available, but that we wish them a fun wedding and all the best.

I should say too that 150 is considered small by certain types of people.

Wow... What would be considered big? What would be typical/average?
It's really hard for me to wrap my head around these numbers -- hub and I had a total of 10 people at the wedding (us and 8 of our friends from grad school). The whole ordeal -- the rings, my dress, his suit, the marriage licence, the chapel/minister fee, and food for all was about $1 K. And it was lots of fun!

Namnezia said...

It is definitely weird. But for your kid's sake I would just humor them and then let it go. Its not worth getting mad/offended by someone else's rude behavior.

Massimo said...

I think I am going to side with the hard-liners on this one. Maybe I am getting to be an old fart too, but man, some people need to be taught lessons every once in a while, or they'll keep being rude and inconsiderate -- and that is not kosher, and yes, even their kids need to learn that.
I would politely but firmly excuse myself and say "sorry, we shall be unavailable", and make sure not to give any reason, real or fake. Why should you explain why you are unavailable ? You don't expect them to explain why they did not invite you, now, do you ?

I don't know if the purpose is to keep their son happy or maybe that of throwing you a bone, some kind of "loser consolation prize", as in "you know, you did not make the cut but you were a close runner-up -- don't hate me for drawing the line right there... here, I'll let you take a picture with me, just make sure you don't step on my dress".

There are many reasons for not inviting someone at a wedding, and usually one should not take offense. One hundred and fifty is not particularly large, in my observation, but if that is what they can afford, they have to draw a line somewhere between "ins" and "outs". If in their mind inviting you would mean to be unfair to many other people to whom they feel equally close, thereby going above the maximum number, then it is fair that they make their choice.
But expecting that you be there for pictures on a Saturday morning ? No way Jose...

Anonymous said...

odd

Unbalanced Reaction said...

This is the strangest thing I've heard all month.

(and I work at a PUI!!!)