Curious about "and guest" etiquette.

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Dunebug Posts : 30 Registered: 11/8/10
Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 12:14 PM

Hi ladies! I have a few questions about the etiquette concerning guests-of-guests. I understand that one rule to follow is the "No Ring, No Bring" rule. I think this is probably a good way to keep the guest list in check for budget reasons, but not everyone follows this. I know some people believe that, if two people are a "social unit", ie. in a committed relationship, engaged, or married, then both must be invited. My question is this:

If one decides to follow the "social unit" rules, what is the cutoff? How does one decide who is in a "committed" enough relationship to bring their SO?

I ask because my boyfriend and I have been dating for over a year and a half, and there have been (and will, in the near-ish future, be) several weddings in his family. I haven't been invited to any of them (nor do I expect to be), but I could see my boyfriend's sister's boyfriend of one month being invited, simply because they are four years older than us. Sorry about the syntax of that sentence :P

Anyway, I'm not offended by the non-invites at all, but I'm just curious about how you ladies would handle the "cutoff" of who gets a +1, etc. And I am also procrastinating.

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 12:31 PM Go to message in response to: Dunebug

My attitude is either all can bring guests or you limit it with 'no ring, no bring'.

'No ring, no bring' means if the couple is engaged or married, they are invited as a unit. I also include same sex couples who may not have the option of marrying or legal commitment ceremony where they live.

The whole idea of 'no ring no bring' is to avoid that whole question of how long is long enough.

 

 

 

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 12:45 PM Go to message in response to: Dunebug

Dear SL,

There is a lot of confusion about this.

In the Bad Old Days, there were only three public relationships possible between unrelated-by-blood people: Marriage, Engagement and Friendship. (Never mind the Sneaking-Around Affair. That was not officially public.)

There was a very clear line between Friendship and Engagment/Marriage. That line was crossed with the Proposal, the Acceptance AND Permission From Papa.

Thus: If two people were Friends, but not yet Engaged, they need not be invited together to a mixed-sex social event. If two people were Engaged or Married, they must be invited together to a mixed-sex social event.

That was great in the days before Living Together or Seriously Dating became an option.

Fast forward to 2011, the Better New Days when young women are not restricted to (1) virginity or (2) marriage, and young men are not faced with a choice of (1) prostitutes or (2) a wife when their gonads took charge of their brains.

" How does one decide who is in a "committed" enough relationship to bring their SO? "

An excellent question. You are wondering where you and your boyfriend fall in the 1 to 10 scale of committed enough to be invited as a couple.

There's no real one good answer. I will tell you what I advise brides planning a wedding:

1. Make a budget and decide how many people you can afford to host.

2. Make a list of the really truly "must invite" people. (Grandma, BFF, Fav Aunt, Cousin you grew up with, etc.) Add spouses and fiancé(e)s to that list. In this enlightened age, I include marriage-like same-sex couples who do not have the legal option of marriage.

3. What is your total number? Lower than your budgeted number? Great, now you get to add optional people.

4. Make a list of the optional people (sort-of good friend, next door neighbor, Dad's business partner, etc) and add their spouses and fiancé(e)s to that list. Have you reached your budgeted number yet? If not, lather, rinse repeat.

5. Once you reach your budgeted number, stop adding "optionals".

So, you see, there is no one solid "committed enough" cut-off. Couple A might have more funds and fewer friends than Couple B. You would be invited with your boyfriend to Couple A's wedding, but not Couple B's.

The fact that Couple A are both Only Children and children of Only Children (no aunts, no uncles, no cousins) and Couple B come from humongous, fecund families has nothing to do with the "committed enough"-ness of your relationship.

If you get invited, great. If not, then also great. If you have affection for the couple, but are not invited, just take the high road and send a congratulatory card with a warm note wishing them eternal happiness.

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CatStandish Posts : 2,766 Registered: 6/20/08
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 6:55 PM Go to message in response to: Dunebug

Hey Silver...

Since you've called him your boyfriend, rather than FH or fiance, I'm going to go with you have 'no ring"

If I were inviting your boyfriend to my wedding and I were inviting your boyfriend's sister to my wedding, I would not invite your boyfriend's sister's boyfriend of one month just because they were 4 years older than you, if I did not also invite you. The exception to that would be if I somehow knew you on your own enough (or him enough on his own) to warrant an invitation.

It would have nothing to do with the age, but rather the relationship I had with each entity. If I didn't know her boyfriend and I didn't know you, neither of you would get an invite.

I had to pare my list down of a lot of people I wanted there. I'm not inviting unnecessary ands :)

((( That being said: I had a few of my guests who called me when they RSVPd and asked me if, once I had all my RSVPs in, if they could bring a guest. I didn't do a B list...so those 'if you have space for hims, I'd like to bring my beau' plus one REQUESTS were granted. )))

Misty

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 7:26 PM Go to message in response to: CatStandish

Dear CS,

I think she's trying to parse things too much. At what point, she asks, is the cut-off between

"Invited As A Serious Dating But Not Engaged Couple"

and

"Not Invited As A Serious Dating But Not Engaged Couple".

There is no hard-and-fast rule. It depends on the funds of the hosts, the other people they need to invite and their own particular feelings about Serious Dating But Not Engaged couples.

In one case, Bride, Groom, or both might personally know both halves of the couple and invite them together, but not personally know both halves of another couple and only invite the person they know. Never mind that the second couple has been dating years longer than the first.

The bottom line: No one is entitled to an invitation, unless you are publically, officially engaged or married to someone else getting an invitation, and it's a mixed-sex social event. (And, as always, I include same-sex couples in a marriage-like situation.) (I'm excluding work-related events, of course, and one-sex-only events like showers.)

If you want to be treated as a married couple, get married. If you Seriously Date for a decade, you are still not married and don't necessarily get the social privledges of a married couple. Saying "We've been together for five years, so people should just pretend we are married when they have parties" is baloney.

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Dunebug Posts : 30 Registered: 11/8/10
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 10:36 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Thanks for the replies!

I totally understand the reasoning behind different circumstances (like having different budgets, and different, individual friendships with the guests). There are three main reasons that I wouldn't expect an invitation to one of these weddings:

1) I haven't had the pleasure of meeting most of my boyfriend's extended family. Most of them are scattered throughout the country.
2) Like you all said, we are not engaged or married. If we did get engaged, it wouldn't be until after we complete our undergrads, which isn't for two years.
3) Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I am a real, legal adult. I probably won't start to feel like a "real" person until I'm no longer dependent on my parents. Anyone ever experience that? :P

However, I would feel slighted if it seemed like I wasn't invited because my boyfriend and I are young. I would feel as though my relationship was being judged as inferior because of my age. Thankfully though, this is a total non-issue :) It was more of a burning curiosity to see how you ladies would handle it. I personally think that knowing more about etiquette really helps you understand people better.

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 10:51 PM Go to message in response to: Dunebug

Dear SL,

I am a bit older than you are. I am 56 and have been around for a while.

Here is something that took me a long time to learn: It's not all about me.

Sometimes things happen for reasons that have nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with my age, my situation, or anything about me.

I'd like to bet the brides and grooms in your situation are just faced with budgets, family members that HAVE to be invited, limited space, needing to "pay back" prior invitations with one of their own, moms and dads with their own demands, etc.

Could be they all think you are a wonderful person, which you are, but the stars are just not aligned your way this time.

Here is my suggestion: Chill. Realize that by the time you are 56, you will have been invited to dozens of weddings. I've gone to some where I can't imagine why I was invited. (A co-worker's sons's wedding? Huh?) Focus on getting through school, enjoying your time in college and working on making yourself into one really fantastic adult.

Stuff will come your way.

" I probably won't start to feel like a "real" person until I'm no longer dependent on my parents. Anyone ever experience that? :P "

Yes, I did. I truly felt that way, way back in the early 1970s when I was dependent on my parents.

I'll tell you a funny story. My husband and I got married almost 35 years ago. We have owned two houses, we have adult children and we are doing very well financially. We have fully funded 401(k), other savings, etc.

My husband's company had a retirement package that started to kick in at 55. In other words, if you got fired younger than 55, you were just fired. If you got fired older than 55, you got a pension and retirement benefits.

So, my husband got to his 55th birthday some years back. He came home from work, I told him "Happy Birthday Honey", and here is what he said:

"Hey, I'm 55! If they fire me, I'll get a retirement pension. I WON'T HAVE TO MOVE BACK IN WITH MY PARENTS!!!!"

We have much more money than his parents ever had. However, in the back of his mind he was like you. He did not feel validated as a grown-up until he was guaranteed he would not have to move back in with his parents if everything came crashing down.

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Dunebug Posts : 30 Registered: 11/8/10
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 15, 2011 11:18 PM Go to message in response to: Aunt

Thanks Aunt, that is good advice. Particularly the "Focus on getting through school, enjoying your time in college and working on making yourself into one really fantastic adult" bit. I recently realized that I need to make the present as substantive as possible, or I won't have the future that I've dreamed of. I wouldn't call myself a "typical" college student, so it seems odd to be in school with so many other people who are! I'm starting to find my niche though, and it's very fulfilling. I hope that makes sense :)

That's so funny about your husband :) As much as I can't wait to be a "real" adult, I'm learning to enjoy the fact that I still have my parents to take care of me when I really need it!

And you bring up a good point. I know that the reason I'm not invited isn't because my boyfriend's cousins or whoever the bride and groom are sat down one day and decided that my boyfriend and I are too young to have a "real" relationship. The only time I would feel slighted is if, for example, his sister's boyfriend got an invite and I didn't. Of course, that will change as we form different relationships with people in the family.

I have thought entirely too much about my boyfriend's family for one day.

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PharmToxGirl Posts : 5,446 Registered: 8/30/07
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 16, 2011 7:28 AM Go to message in response to: Dunebug

I recently realized that I need to make the present as substantive as possible, or I won't have the future that I've dreamed of.

I can't think of ANYONE, myself absolutely included, who doesn't need to do this more often/realize this. It's the stop and smell the roses.

Off topic, but I recently lost a friend suddenly at 34 years of age. She had some health issues, but nothing immediately life threatening, so it was a shock. But with her health issues, they were long term and it was a long hard road. She had every right to be PISSED at the universe. Instead, this was the person who always had a smile on her face and a kind word for others.

And while, she isn't getting to live her future - she was on her way to living it by making some major life changing decisions. She had a great man who loved her more than the world and so many friends and family that just loved her.

I think that she made her 'present as substantive as possible'. And makes me realize I need to do the same.

Edited by: PharmToxGirl on Feb 16, 2011 7:29 AM

 

 

 

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Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Feb 16, 2011 9:47 AM Go to message in response to: Dunebug

dear SL,

" I recently realized that I need to make the present as substantive as possible,"

Excellent advice to yourself.

Do you ever wish you could go back to your 4th Grade self and say "Hey, kid, enjoy 4th Grade"? No worries about boys, no worries about pimples, styled hair, money, makeup, paying bills, etc. 4th Grade is actually really fun and care-free compared to college.

However, the average 4th Grader will say "I envy you. You can do whatever you want. You can wear makeup without fighting with your mother. You don't have to go to bed at a certain time. You don't have to sit in the same boring classroom all day and listen to the same boring teacher. You can eat whatever you want for dinner, not just the stuff that Mom cooks."

It's the same here. I realy enjoyed college, but I wasted a lot of time wishing I were out of college and out there making some real money. Now that I'm out here making some real money, I look back, wistfully, at my college years when my responsibilities were focused on my education, not as they are now with house payments, retirement investments, adult children with their issues, etc.

(What was my glamorous, exciting, grown-up activity yesterday? Calling septic tank service companies to see if they can get out here next week for our regular pumping. I can't say I spent a single minute in college worrying about where my sewage was going.)

Look at what you have, now, and where you are, now. Take a few minutes to let it sink in that you are at a GREAT place in life and by attending college you are doing something that many people in the world can only dream of doing. You have incredible privledges and you are in a place where you can have a lot of fun, exercising your mind and gaining new insight about yourself and the world every day.

" The only time I would feel slighted is if, for example, his sister's boyfriend got an invite and I didn't. "

And if that happens, seriously I tell you, don't worry about it. Stuff goes on that you don't even know about. For instance, sister's boyfriend might just be the grandson of some other family friend, and the family has known his family for years. I don't know.

If your boyfriend's family DELIBERATELY insults you, then it's up to your boyfriend to say something to them. ("Hey, Sis, I noticed that a lot of cousins from the Smith family, who we have not seen since they were babies, and who we never correspond with are invited, but there seemed to be no room for my girlfriend. What gives?")

It is not up to you to worry about it. If your boyfriend does not stick up for you when there is a deliberate, obvious insult, then it's time to reconsider your relationship with your boyfriend. In such a situation you might be well advised to find a new boyfriend with (1) a backbone and (2) a nicer family.

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Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
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Uberoom1 Posts : 26 Registered: 12/10/12
Re: Curious about "and guest" etiquette.
Posted: Mar 4, 2013 10:54 AM Go to message in response to: Dunebug

hi Dunebug,

On this modern times, it depends on the person who is taking care of the reunion, party, etc. Most people do still use the "no ring, to Bring" but most of them use the "I don´t now you, don't come". Especially if the gathering is an informal one.

For weddings the most normal rule is a +1. Been alone in a weeding with out a partner is never recommended; since everything is about couples, if you are alone, you never fit in to it.

Take that into consideration, if you were going to a wedding alone, and you´ll see all does happy couples dancing and laughing together. How would that make you feel?

Try to always have pairs, make people be comfortable, it may be your celebration, but you are still the Host!

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