March 28, 2005

There's One in Every Family

Here's a Reader's Digest version of some emails I received over the weekend from someone concerned about a difficult relative. I've already emailed this person with my advice, but I wanted to open the floor to your opinions before I posted my response online. (FYI, I asked the reader for permission to post the emails and have removed incriminating details out of a respect for confidentiality.)

Post your opinions and recommendations in the comments section below.

Dear Groom,

I am getting married on April 15th. My sister, who is paying for the reception, put a cap on the attendance level at 125. (The fire code allows for only 125 in the room that we have chosen for both the ceremony and reception.)

I have an aunt who has not returned her RSVP card and refused to do so when called by telephone. She demanded that she be put on the list without having to send in her card, but the restaurant doing the catering is making a list from all of the cards. Those who did send in their cards will be given precedence. She knew this as it was printed on the invite.

My sister stated that those who took the time to return the cards would definitely be on the list. I mailed out the invitations back in January 2005. Almost everyone returned their cards immediately. My aunt was called approximately one month ago as a reminder. She told the caller that she had mailed her card. Another aunt was at her home last week and saw it tossed aside on a corner of the table.

When I spoke to her on the telephone two days ago, she said, "Why can't you just put me on the list. Why should I have to send the card back when I am telling you that I am coming?" I informed her that I needed the card because individuals were being put on the list first-come-first-served. She said she was not going to waste time to put the card in the mail. She is also insistent on bringing others with her.

At my cousin’s wedding my aunt brought her children, grandchildren we don't really know and a few other friends of the family. At that wedding, seats could be added but this cannot occur at mine.

After commiserating with a cousin who got married a year ago and experienced a similar situation, we discussed writing a letter to her stating that she cannot attend. I am worried that if she shows up she will bring 10 – 12 people with her.

Thanks for your help.

(Name Withheld)

Posted by Doug at March 28, 2005 04:56 PM

Call the aunt and tell her she can't come. What a headache!

Posted by: Sue at March 28, 2005 05:30 PM

Put your foot down. I'd say you don't need bouncers at your wedding, so don't let her come if she's going to bring people.

Posted by: Jordan at March 28, 2005 06:41 PM

if this woman had never been married nor ever been involved with the planning of a wedding, I can sort of, *maybe* see her being clueless about the rsvp card if she delivered the message via phone. if she was an otherwise nice, norma, and accomodating relative, I might just write her a card myself and be done with it. however, this whole "she is also insistent on bringing others with her" thing indicates a level of social misconduct that is completely ridiculous and shouldn't have to be dealt with. lay down the law. politely, of course. :)

Posted by: susannah at March 28, 2005 07:16 PM

That aunt--wow. I can't imaginae being so bullheaded over the concept of "just put it in the mailbox already." Sounds to me like she is planning to bring more people than just herself, and by not commmitting to a number on the card, maybe feels she's leaving herself leeway to bring a bunch.

On the other hand, this--"Those who did send in their cards will be given precedence. She knew this as it was printed on the invite."--really jumps out at me. If the couple invited 125 or fewer, why the need to give anyone "precedence," and for what? Is it possible they invited more than the room holds?

Posted by: ChgoRed at March 29, 2005 06:18 AM

Pretty simple if you ask me. The aunt isn't going to listen, right? So don't let her come. Sounds like she'd bring a group of people no matter what, so tell her she can't come. Better yet, tell her the wedding is in a different town.

Posted by: Alex at March 29, 2005 11:26 AM

By all means, tell her she can't come. She doesn;t want to commit to a certain number of guests by sending in the card. Even if it is just a matter of form, to refuse to send the card in shows a lack of respect for the whole event. Sometimes form IS meaning.

Posted by: maria at March 29, 2005 11:39 AM

This aunt seems like a pain, but you did invite her knowing that she has a habit of bringing other people to weddings, so you can't say you didn't know. I believe it would be in really bad taste to retract the invitation before she's done anything worse than not return the RSVP card. I say, call her up and tell her that you will turn in a card for her so she doesn't need to return her card. Also tell her that she cannot under any circumstances bring additional people with her to the wedding, and if she intends to, please do not come.

If she says she's going to come alone, it's likely that you won't believe her. Don't be the one worrying about that on your wedding day. Ask the most assertive person in your family (someone that's related to her, too) to handle it if she comes with additional guests.

If she says she is going to come with additional guests and you can't stop her, inform her that the attendance is limited by a fire code. I might also nicely beg that she not interfere with my wedding in a disruptive way. Then ask that assertive family member to talk to her when she shows up.

Posted by: P at March 29, 2005 03:06 PM

did this person do a b-list? is that why there is a first come first served thing on the invite?

Posted by: Dave at March 29, 2005 06:30 PM

This is why b-lists are a BAD idea.

Posted by: Brian at March 30, 2005 05:40 PM

I agree with P...that's the best way to go. Very assertive, tactful and fair.

Posted by: K-Raye at April 5, 2005 12:33 PM