Sick of stag.
June 26, 2009 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Why (in the hell) can I not bring a date to this wedding?

So let's say I have this good friend, Larry. Larry and I have been pretty tight for about 10 years, but work has taken me away to the other side of the world (literally - Larry's living in a major US metropolis, I'm living in a far-flung country that's [roughly] 2 (count 'em: two) 12-hour flights to get to where Larry is).

Larry's getting married to a nice gal. Its pretty much expected that I'll be at the wedding, Larry and I were even roommates at one point. I consider him a pretty close friend, and he knows more about me than most, but I'm an introvert and Larry's a pretty popular guy. I had almost expected to perhaps be an usher in the wedding or something, but I wasn't particularly surprised when that didn't happen - Larry has a lot more friends than I do.

So I get the invite, its addressed to me, specifically (i.e. not "and guest"). However, the RSVP card does have a field for "Number attending."

Larry and I are catching up recently and the wedding comes up. I talk about who I'm going to bring as a date (he and I would discuss my interest in particular dates often, back in the day), and Larry very pointedly states that nobody is bringing dates to this wedding and only the names on the envelopes are invited. He apparently thinks that all weddings are like this, and says as much - according to him only married or engaged people get to bring a date.

This puts me off a great deal. I am literally making plans to travel around the world, at my own expense and on my own vacation time, to be there to celebrate Larry's special day, and now I am essentially forced to do it "stag," probably sitting at a table with people I do not know, likely next to some friend of the bride that she thinks I'll be just perfect for, who I will have no interest in. I've been in these shoes before and choose to avoid it these days.

1. Am I on a high horse I need to get off of? I don't have anyone in particular I desperately want to be there with me, I would just not like to be "alone" and ostracized as such at said wedding (large protestant WASP group where its generally assumed if you're diddling around in you're 30's and not married or fast approaching, there's something fundamentally amiss with you).

2. Are Larry and his fiance as pretentious as I'm currently now wondering? (Picture Tim Robbins' character in Shawshank Redemption - I feel like asking Larry "How can you be so OBTUSE?")

3. Where do I go from here? I don't know why this throws me off so much, but I'm at the point of considering not even going. I know I will, in the end, to avoid the headaches of "why didn't he make it to our wedding," but at the same time, I don't want to show up and concede the point that I've failed at being relationally successful.

4. Bonus: Why am I so angry about this? I know I shouldn't be, and I'm mad that I'm letting it get to me. It just strikes me at its core as something I shouldn't let pass with a sad, sunken gaze. It should be alright that I'm not engaged or married, and yet still want someone to be with me, right?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (92 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The expense and time involved to travel to the wedding seems to be a sticking point for you.

I wonder if your reaction would be as extreme if it were five minutes down the road.

In your position, I would decline to attend, citing the distance involved and the cost of travel, and then buy them a very nice gift.

Otherwise, you're just going to show up stag, seething the whole time at a perceived slight, whether it's real or not.
posted by wfrgms at 8:33 AM on June 26, 2009 [10 favorites]

Yes, get off your high horse. Weddings are expensive. They can afford to invite more friends if they don't have to pay for people that they don't even know. The reason that you're going to this wedding is to support your friends as they start their life together.

While their decision may not be Emily-post approved, it's their wedding and their decision. Suck it up and go have a good time with our friends.
posted by chrisamiller at 8:35 AM on June 26, 2009 [19 favorites]

You are on a high horse, Larry is completely right and operating in accordance with standard U.S. etiquette procedures (see Miss Manners). Honestly, I would skip the wedding because of the flights -- I wouldn't expect most family members to make a trip like that, let alone a (disgruntled) friend. But this isn't a pageant to show off the fact that you're relationally successful -- it's a time to get together with the people who love your friend and want to support his marriage.
posted by katemonster at 8:35 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

1. Yes

2. No

3. If you don't want to go to the wedding, you should not attend. You are responsible for your actions, not Larry's reactions to those actions. If you choose to go when you know you don't really want to be there, that's on you, not Larry.

4. It's embarrassing to be talking about bringing a date to something then to be told that you've misunderstood and no one else is invited. It sounds like Larry didn't handle that with world-class tact. You feel this embarrassment and, not knowing what to do with it, you've decided it must be about Larry being an asshole.

Seriously: if you don't want to go, don't. If you do want to go, go. All else is you making life more complicated and drama-filled than it needs to be.
posted by iminurmefi at 8:36 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

This has more to do with your feelings of insecurity than with the wedding invitation. Pretty much every point you bring up has to do with how you will be perceived by people, and little to do with whether or not you want to go and have a good time with a friend who is getting married. It's his wedding, and he gets to call the shots.
posted by billysumday at 8:36 AM on June 26, 2009 [9 favorites]

Am I on a high horse I need to get off of?

Are Larry and his fiance as pretentious as I'm currently now wondering?


This is normal. From their point of view, why would they want someone there that they don't know and you don't even particularly care about?

Go, mingle, have fun. It will be fine.
posted by Pax at 8:36 AM on June 26, 2009

When my uncle got married, he specifically had a similar policy which was basically "no dates unless they're a longterm partner" I was a little taken aback, as you are, and he explained pretty reasonably that he did not want to get introduced to anyone at his own wedding. Since then it's become clear to me that especially for expensive weddings, there are a finite number of people who can get invited, and everyone who brings a +1 (especially a distant +1, not like your long term SO) is basically bumping another friend/family/etc. off the list. For many people, at many weddings, this is standard operating procedure: the only +1s are long term SOs.

I have gone to many weddings alone as a result of this sort of thing (most were excellent, some were not) and really it's just one of those "hey life is not fair, you can decide what you want to do about this particular situation" examples. As a side note, there seems to be an undercurrent of you feeling bad about not having some sort of SO to bring in the first place here, which might help you answer the "why am I angry" question. No one at the wedding will know you're single unless you make a thing about it, or they do. There are many reasons people don't bring dates.

Additionally, it seems to me that it's not Larry's fault that you live 24 hours away; he's not having a destination wedding generally speaking, it's that you live far away. It's totally appropriate of you to not go to this wedding if it's a major hassle for you. If I were you, I'd only go if you think you can go, be gracious, not be a grump about not having a date, and have a decent time.
posted by jessamyn at 8:36 AM on June 26, 2009 [25 favorites]

I'm sorry you're in this position. It sounds like Larry's objection is based on marital status and not on expense; if it were a tiny shoestring wedding I guess I could maybe see not allowing dates, but even at our very budget, DIY wedding we assumed all singles would be two people. It's traditional, because no one wants to be in the position you're in, not knowing anyone else at the wedding. Yes, Larry's weird for thinking that only married or engaged people get to bring a date to a wedding.

I'd go with sfrgms's suggestions.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

1. Yes.

2. No. It's their wedding, and they have the right to invite whoever they feel like, and to not pay for people they don't know.

3. You're right that there will be hurt feelings that you weren't there. But if you're going to go and have a chip on your shoulder, you should stay home. Don't turn their celebration into a pity party.

4. Great question. I can see being angry that your significant other was purposefully excluded, but you don't even have anyone lined up to bring.

Sounds like you're a little bitter that your friend is getting married and you're not attached. It sucks, but it's not fair to punish your friend for that. And I don't think you've "failed at being relationally successful". You just haven't met the right person yet. No biggie.

Besides, isn't going to a wedding stag supposed to be a great way to meet girls/hook up with bridesmaids/whatever?
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:40 AM on June 26, 2009

They have to shell out the money for each and every person, that might be ten dollars a head, it might be 100. Its their party, why do you feel entitled to show up with someone they don't know on their special day, then expect them to feed this stranger?

I get how marrieds might chafe you a little, but you almost have to consider them as one. You really can't invite one without the other without stepping on toes.

If you don't want to go, don't. If you are really close, ask if he can make an execption for you, but you are being exceedingly self centered in this dialouge.

(How did you come up with this as being pretentious?cheap, perhaps, desiring a small crowd of those they hold dear, more likely, but pretentious?)
posted by stormygrey at 8:41 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think the fact that you have no one in particular you'd like to bring is what this question turns on. It is very, very common for people planning wedding invitations to only grant the "plus one" to those in long-term, or at least serious, relationships that they know about.

"Larry" probably has no idea about all these other reservations and considerations floating around in your head, and sees it as one of his guests trying to schlep along a buddy for free. The expense of the wedding is probably at the forefront of his mind, and anything that even incrementally adds to that is seen as unwelcome.

I would definitely not push the issue of bringing a date. Go to the wedding if that's what you want to do, but don't make things even more awkward by insisting on bringing a pal.
posted by Pomo at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2009

It's pretty common to not get a +1 for weddings anymore. If you have a long term SO, the invitation is usually addressed to both people. Weddings cost money and it's just too expensive to host a catered party for a bunch of people you don't know.

Besides, if you go stag then you have a better chance of getting off with a bridesmaid or one of the bride's single friends.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2009

it's his wedding and he can decide how it's supposed to go down.
it's your money and you can decide how you want to spend it.

I wouldn't go.
posted by krautland at 8:44 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I disagree with most of the replies. I don't think you're on a high horse at all, though maybe it isn't the lowest horse either.

1. Of the 15+ weddings I've attended in recent years, I can't think of a single one that did not allow dates (regardless of engagement/marriage). These were all in the US and Canada.

2. THEY sent you an invitation with a "Number attending". That implies you could bring a guest. If they did not intend for you to bring a guest, they should not have sent that invitation to you, or they should have included clearer instructions.

3. If you are truly expected to spend all your time and money to be there, the least they could do for you is allow you to bring a guest.

4. All that said, the other posters are right - it is their wedding and they can do whatever they want for it. But if it doesn't add up, just don't go and don't feel bad about it. In this case, especially being on the other side of the world, you have plenty of excuse for not showing up.
posted by mbatch at 8:44 AM on June 26, 2009 [8 favorites]

Firstly, I've never heard of such a "rule." My boyfriend and I are not engaged and we've been to plenty of weddings together (including some that were fairly conservative). In fact, we even flew to the other side of the planet for one (I know what those two twelve hour flights are like.) However, every person's wedding is their own and if Larry and his fiance don't want anyone besides married and engaged couples at their wedding, that's their call. Though I do think it's a little silly that he's invoking some rule and can't just say, "That's how we want it."

Secondly, from the sounds of things, the wedding is going to be a big cost and hassle to you and, even if you did bring a date, based on your description these WASPy types might be looking at the two of you with disapproving eyes the whole time. Sounds like a very expensive, time consuming, and not a whole lot of fun date. I would follow wfrgms' advice. Unless you have another reason for visiting the states, like seeing family and/or other friends.
posted by paralith at 8:45 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

On second preview, krautland said what I meant, but much more concisely.
posted by mbatch at 8:46 AM on June 26, 2009

If this were a movie, you would totally tell everyone (except the date of course) that you're engaged. And then she'd find out and be mad and then you'd fall in love and actually be engaged by the end. Maybe that only works if she's Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock. Laser print up a fabulous engagement announcement and you're in! (Ooohh! Put a blank for your bride to be's name since you don't know who you're bringing yet!) /passive aggresion.
But honestly, you're going to get a bunch of responses on your side and a bunch saying, "But paying for weddings is expensive! We can't have everyone bringing strangers!" For example.

On preview, you're not getting any on your side. Ouch. I didn't have that kind of wedding. I was in a wedding once where the bridesmaids were not allowed to bring fiances to the rehearsal party. The groomsmen were. And that was at least 15 years ago and I'm still annoyed with her. ($200 pepto bismol dress and I can't bring my fiance. I kind of recall that the maid of honor wasn't allowed to bring her husband.) So yeah, you can't bring a date, but in my opinion you get to be kind of annoyed.
posted by artychoke at 8:46 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you are doing all the giving and he is doing all the taking. Don't go unless he's paying for the flight.
posted by heather-b at 8:47 AM on June 26, 2009

I don't think you're on a high horse at all! Sure it's his decision and he can do whatever he wants with his wedding and you should be happy to be there at the start of their life together and it's about HIS wedding and not about whether you get to bring someone or not... BUT!!! If a good friend was coming halfway around the world to my wedding, I would try to do the best I can to make this experience worth it for him - which would probably include allowing him to be there with the person he wants to be there with, not saying he has to go alone. Yes, vacation days and thousands of dollars in travel expenses are a big deal, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I've never heard of NOT bringing dates to a wedding. I mean sure, I've been to weddings alone, but that was by choice or circumstance, not because I was told I wasn't allowed to bring anyone!

So if you wanted to come to Larry's side of the world sometime anyway, then go to the wedding and spend the rest of the time doing stuff you'd want to do anyway. If it wasn't part of your plans at all, then skip the wedding.

Oh, another thing to consider: is your date flying with you, as like a vacation for her? If yes then I think it's horrible for Larry to say no to her coming - what's she gonna do, hang out at a hotel while you're at a wedding? If your date was going to be someone you know from Larry's area who would just go to the wedding with you but not be spending time with you otherwise, then it's not that big a deal, and you can decide if you wanted to fly over here.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 8:48 AM on June 26, 2009

I think the key point here is that it's Larry's wedding, not anonymous's weekend-o-fun. Larry gets to invite who he wants. Period. I don't know why so many people think they're entitled to bring a guest to an expensive party that someone else is paying for. (Katemonster linked to Miss Manners, the authority on all things ceremonial. Read the article.)

You're angry, and the trip would be a huge hassle. Don't go. I wouldn't want a disgruntled friend ruining the atmosphere at my wedding.
posted by philotes at 8:50 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

Right, everybody -- but Larry's friend has to take two 12-hour flights to get to the wedding, and two 12-hour flights back, and would feel a lot more comfortable if he could bring a date. Larry knows this. Surely these circumstances -- while not Larry's fault -- are unusual enough that Larry could give our guy a break if he wanted to. Yes, yes, it's Larry's special day and everything, but it is more than a little douchy to expect your friend (a good friend, a former roommate) to put himself out to that extent and not do what you can as the host to make it less onerous for him.

Wedding guests are your guests, not your audience.
posted by Methylviolet at 8:50 AM on June 26, 2009 [36 favorites]

Wedding guests are your guests, not your audience.

Yay Methylviolet! I shall embroider that on a pillow.
posted by artychoke at 8:53 AM on June 26, 2009

When we got married we were paying for it ourselves and money was tight. We were concerned; there were several people we wanted to invite but inviting their children and such could make the party get out-of-hand expensive very fast. So we started really researching etiquette because we didn't want to be out of line or rude, we didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but our budget was finite.

We found a lot of advice on the internet made several decisions along this route. And it turns out that many weddings today do not follow the rules of the weddings I attended when I was a child. Open bars are the exception, not the norm. And the same goes for having a finite number of guests. To leave every guest card blank and have a reception that could explode with people just isn't feasible for the majority of Americans anymore.

So how we handled it: For childless couples we knew who were long term, we invited them both, and left the "number of guests" field blank in case one could not attend. But for families with children, we simply wrote the number "2" on the invite (Our dinners were $25 a plate, and most of our friends have multiple children, so the cost of having the children there would have been in the thousands).

And for long term relationships that were established and we knew both parties, we invited both. But for people who were normally single and either dated around or some such, we just invited that one person.

ONE person asked about bringing a date (a girl he'd been seeing for a couple months only, we'd never met though he was a good friend of mine) and I explained the cost issue, and he was fine with it.

So I think they are within the bounds of etiquette to do this, from my research back then. That said, like the others have stated, if it will cost you so much to go to the wedding, you have every right to decline. And if you will be there the entire time resenting being forced to not bring a date, then you should decline.
posted by arniec at 8:55 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm going to contradict everyone here: Larry doesn't want you to come. No, I mean he wants to invite you sure, and would be delighted if you were there. He doesn't want you, as his friend, to come. This is not mean. How long have you been physically apart? Most assuredly if you were as close as you say you were, and even if you stay in touch, you'd want some Larry time wouldn't you? I mean sometime where it is just you and Larry? Not with the entourage that manages to gather around the bride, the weird assortment of friends and family that by protocol must be around him in the days leading up to the wedding? You might say no, you don't need buddy buddy time, but in reality what is going to happen is even if the odd soon to be brother-in-law is always there making dinner or whatever, you're going to go all buddy buddy on Larry? Talk about living half a world away, bringing your date that no one knows, describing your adventures. It is inevitable, it absolutely will happen, and if it doesn't, you'll feel burned (even if you can rationalize it now).

By your own admission you won't know anyone, hence the date. Do you really want to fly 12hrs*2 to see a bunch of Larry + bride's relatives and friends? It'll be like watching a home video except you just spent several days trying to get there.

Larry, however, being the good guy he is, invited you to his wedding despite knowing your distance. This is sort of surprising, look at other wedding invite questions. He's saying come if you want to come and hey I'm getting married, but do you really want to bring a date no one knows halfway around the world to see someone you probably won't even get to talk to that much? The answer is no.

If it were me, I'd plan sometime next summer to come and visit post-marital Larry, go ahead bring a date if you want, but hands down you'd have a better experience than the whirlwind of a wedding.
posted by geoff. at 8:55 AM on June 26, 2009 [16 favorites]

Just to point out that it's not always the expense that forces someone to limit the invitations to their wedding. Venues have a limited capacity. Whether or not your date should be further up the priority list isn't something I'd comment on though.
posted by edd at 8:57 AM on June 26, 2009

Keep in mind that there will probably be many other people there in the same situation as you- without their SOs, strangers to many of Larry's friends. Bond over that and enjoy the wedding if you decide to go.
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:59 AM on June 26, 2009

Why (in the hell) can I not bring a date to this wedding?

Because the people getting married said you cannot.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:05 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I feel a little bit of the OP's anger.

The sticking point for me is the invitation . . . providing a space for "Number Attending" would certainly imply to me that dates are welcome. I'm sorry, but I must have missed the day we were all taught the unspoken rules of wedding invitations which are so evident to many of you.

If Larry didn't want anyone but spouses and quasi-spouses to join invited guests, he should have said so in the invitation. I would have pointed that out to him when it came up, then regretted it later.

posted by General Tonic at 9:05 AM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]

Not inviting dates isn't uncommon. I mean, who wants a random stranger you might break up with at their wedding? They don't know her, and if she's not there, some one else they do know might be able to come. I've been to weddings where this is the case. (In Toronto.)

This is actually why planning weddings is a big pile of crap. People get worked up about shit that they really shouldn't. If you don't want to go because you can't bring a date, that's fine. I just think declaring your friend and his wife are now pretentious jerk-asses is a bit much.

I suspect you're mad that you weren't asked to take a more important role in the wedding, since you consider him to be a good friend of yours.
posted by chunking express at 9:08 AM on June 26, 2009

(And the weddings I've been to that said no to dates did so because they simply didn't have space for more people. I don't think it was a cost issue.)
posted by chunking express at 9:09 AM on June 26, 2009

They extended you an invitation to bring a guest by sending you that RSVP card. Now they are backing down from that, which is a douchy thing to do. If they hadn't intended you to bring a guest, they should have sprung for a set of RSVP cards that didn't have a "Number attending" space.

"according to him only married or engaged people get to bring a date" -- if he believes this, he is a grade-A dipshit.

Regarding the general issue of prohibiting dates. Now, many couples getting married are to one degree or another under the thumb of their parents, or the bride's parents, as far as planning goes. But to the extent that a no-dates policy is of the couple's choosing, it's... well, it's not outright douchy, but it is less than fully considerate.

Weddings cost money. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows that there is therefore some limit on the number of people who can be invited, even if that limit is beyond the number that the couple wishes to invite. If a couple is faced with the situation where they need to prohibit dates in order to keep the wedding within financial bounds, the thing to do if they actually do give a crap about their guests is scale back the festivities so they can afford to allow dates. Just going ahead with the expensive fanciness and prohibiting dates tells you that the expensive fanciness is more important to the couple than is the comfort and enjoyment of their guests. Which is, well, inhospitable (in the southern sense of "worse than Hitler").

Which is also probably why you're angry: Larry has told you that having a champagne fountain or prime rib or whatever is more important than your comfort and enjoyment.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:14 AM on June 26, 2009 [10 favorites]

Forget everything Larry said. Call up the bride, ask her if you can bring a date, she'll say "of course you can", and away you go. I f Larry says anything, tell him the bride said it was ok.
If she says "no", to hell with both of them.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:15 AM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]

It's fine to not send "plus-one" invites and so I think Larry is fine in that regard.

However, you are under no obligation, at all, to attend. Generally I view holding weddings at a great distance from where a guest is imposes no expectation that they be able to attend. People _should_ be understanding that distance can be very prohibitive, so I'm certain there will be no hard feelings if you can't attend. Even within the US, traveling a long distance is a big commitment and usually would be restricted to only very close friends, relatives, those in the wedding party. But no expectation of such. So I think your not attending for travel reasons is more than a-okay.
posted by davidnc at 9:19 AM on June 26, 2009

The RSVP card has a blank field for number attending so that the OP can say "1" or "0". It's not multiple choice; it's either-or.

As others have commented above it seems like the not having a specific date to bring might be a slightly touchy subject. Also, I suspect that OP is feeling that Larry is perhaps more important to the OP as a friend than the OP is to Larry. That may or may not be true but feeling that imbalance between friends is no fun.

As the OP has discussed the time, effort and expense to attend the wedding, I'm going to throw out an alternative suggestion. Skip the wedding. If you go, you'll get to see your buddy from a distance but not really have any time to talk even for a moment. Instead go see him a month afterward, or after they are back from their honeymoon if they are taking one. Then Larry will actually have some time to hang out, and you can get to know Larry's new wife, without all the stress and chaos of the wedding looming over their heads. You won't be competing with nine thousand other people for Larry's time and attention. They will be much more relaxed and you will vastly increase the odds of enjoying your visit.
posted by ambrosia at 9:20 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Other than cost issue... there's also capacity of the venue. Especially if he is someone that knows a ton of people, or they have a large extended family. Wouldn't you feel worse if they let you bring a date and ended up 50 seats short?
posted by ejaned8 at 9:23 AM on June 26, 2009

Neither of my cousins permitted me to bring a date to their weddings. My parents and I were seated at the table with couples who have adolescent children. I was in my mid-twenties (as were my cousins), the rest of their friends were seated with other couples our age.

Yeah, it pissed me off. I recognize that it's their prerogative to plan their event this way, but that doesn't mean I thought it was very nice. There's some middle ground between "bring the whole world" and "most of my friends are already married, but desuetude's not, so she'd probably appreciate bringing a date."

It would have been nice for Larry to make an exception for you, knowing that you were traveling far, and more introverted. On the other hand, did you ask him if it would be okay, or just blithely start discussing your possible dates as if he made a mistake in the invite? If the latter, that's rude, too.
posted by desuetude at 9:24 AM on June 26, 2009

I could not disagree more with the people who say a blank response card is an invitation to bring a guest. The last several times I was involved in catered events with pre-printed response cards, the "___ attending" blank was NOT an invitation to +1 your invitation. If you are accepting, you write 1, if you are declining you write 0. It's some bizarre headcounting system, allowing the host to keep track of parties who must be seated together, who can fill holes in seating charts and who goes in the "declined, but still gets sent the post-event card/photo/swag bag" pile.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:29 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

providing a space for "Number Attending" would certainly imply to me that dates are welcome.

I guess all it implies to me is that they only had one type of response card printed up, and/or didn't personalize the contents of each envelope.

I know when I got married we stuffed however many invite envelopes and then addressed them later. Every one had the same stuff in it.

They send invitations to "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith" and "Bob Jones and Mary Johnson" and "Anonymous". Every response card has a space for "number attending" because John or Mary might come by themselves, not so Bob and Mary can bring the bridge club along and write in "12".

Using the existence of that blank as incontrovertible evidence that dates are welcome seems like pretty thin slicing.

That said, I think Larry's being kind of a douche here, but he's got a lot going on. If I were Larry, I really wouldn't expect you to come, date or not. You're going to get maybe an hour or two of time with him, and he's going to be distracted during that.
posted by chazlarson at 9:39 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

BEER is the answer. Do I get the points?

I went to a wedding recently, and one of the bride's friends, not best, but a friend, came from Australia to be there - that's a 24 hour flight too.

She barely knew anyone - she's been out in Oz for two years. But you know what? She's shy but personable, and a couple of beers sorted that first part right out.

Don't worry about whether or not it's your problem or his - he's your friend and you clearly value him however dumb he is/nt being. So go, if you can afford to, have a beer or two, and enjoy it :)

You might not know many, but that's sometimes how you meet the best people!

(I met one of my closest friends at a training event where I knew NO-ONE, 5 years ago)
posted by greenish at 9:40 AM on June 26, 2009

to hell with both of them. - nice.

if you think you have a case to plead like you are doing here, then call up your friend and tell him you would really like to bring someone to keep you company. if he can't accomodate your request, decide to go or don't.

it's his wedding and you have no idea what sort of hassles he might be going through. he might already have made a sacrifice to get you a place at the wedding at the expense of a family friend.

meh, the invite was a bit screwy but getting everything right for a wedding is far from easy. you wait til its your turn.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:42 AM on June 26, 2009

scale back the festivities so they can afford to allow dates.

Something tells me then we'd have the OP complaining that he flew 12 hours each way and they didn't even feed him!

My husband and I had a very not-fancy wedding for only 60 people. No flowers. No cake. No DJ. No arranged seating. Simple buffet. We still had to limit the guest list to keep the event within our meager budget. Friends in relationships could bring dates, but we did not extend +1s to those that weren't in a relationship. If we did that for one person, we'd have to do it for all, and that would have been an additional 10 people attending. Cutting out dinner to allow them to bring dates wasn't a feasible option when 80% of our guest list was from out of town.

When you are planning a wedding, you just can't win. If you spend too much money and invite a large number of guests, you're superficial or gift-grubbing. If you try to keep the event small, you're ungrateful and pretentious. If you don't allow special-circumstance +1s, you're insensitive. If you do, then you're unfair to all the other people that wanted to bring guests. I can just about promise you, if your friend is a good enough person that you've been friends for so many years, he and his bride did talk and fret about their guest list decisions.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with deciding that the long trip and being alone at the event isn't worth your attendance. Send a polite regret and try not to harbor any resentment.
posted by misskaz at 9:45 AM on June 26, 2009 [7 favorites]

Larry and I are catching up recently and the wedding comes up. I talk about who I'm going to bring as a date (he and I would discuss my interest in particular dates often, back in the day), and Larry very pointedly states that nobody is bringing dates to this wedding and only the names on the envelopes are invited. He apparently thinks that all weddings are like this, and says as much - according to him only married or engaged people get to bring a date.

Actually, according to Emily Post's On Weddings (which I was reading just two nights ago!), married or cohabiting couples get to come in pairs. In fact, the invitee is obligated to invite both.

Otherwise, though, Larry's right on, and you should let it go. If you're really worried about seating arrangements, why not (politely) ask if it would be possible for you to be seated with mutual acquaintances?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:46 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Wedding customs & expectations are completely fractured beyond all reckoning these days. Any talk of "this is how it should be" or "wedding etiquette states such-and-such" are but dust in the wind.

It's your friend's wedding, he (and his fiancé) get to say how it goes down. Nobody else gets to complain when their expectations are different from the reality. It's THEIR day. You are THEIR guests. If you can't hang with their stipulations, don't go.

As a wedding guest, your expectations of how the details of the wedding should be handled are completely moot. Your job is to attend, enjoy, witness & support your friends on their happy day (unless they've given you other duties). If you can't do that, you don't belong there.

Harsh? Maybe. True? Definitely. Leave your opinions about how the event should be handled at home. If you can't separate those opinions from your actual physical presence, then you should stay there, too. (I'm looking at you, interfering mother-in-laws.)

(On reread: anonymous, I apologize that this comes off like I'm on your case specifically; this advice is meant more generally for everyone with concerns like yours.)
posted by Aquaman at 9:47 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

THEY sent you an invitation with a "Number attending". That implies you could bring a guest.

They extended you an invitation to bring a guest by sending you that RSVP card.

No, that's a standard RSVP card. Everyone gets the same card. OP gets to write in 1 or 0. Married couples who were both invited get to write in 1, 2, or 0.

I have an angry rant about someone who invited themselves to my wedding by writing their name in on someone else's RSVP card, and how I had to call that person and tell them they were not invited and would not be welcome if they showed, but I'll save it for another day.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:49 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Every wedding I've been invited to (guest or not), the "_____ guest(s) attending" has always been standard and always been blank. It's so whomever is invited on the front of the envelope can respond accordingly with a number or 0 if they cannot attend at all.

If you're that fucking pissed or you can't get over this enough to show up, be a gracious and well-wishing guest, then send a nice gift, fake a sincere note of congratulations and don't go. This is not worth burning bridges or ruining friendships over. Weddings are expensive, this is their day and this isn't about you and your travels or how put out you are and how you deserve to bring some random stranger.

Given that you're a million miles away, Larry and Future Mrs Larry probably weren't counting on you being there anyway.

Forget everything Larry said. Call up the bride, ask her if you can bring a date, she'll say "of course you can", and away you go. I f Larry says anything, tell him the bride said it was ok.

Yeah... but you know, I am going to guess that the decision to limit guests was not solely Larry's, and probably made out of budgetary constraints. Don't put this bride in an awkward position and don't do the whole "Dad said no, so I'll ask Mom" childishness just so you can get your way. You're only going to look absolutely terrible.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:56 AM on June 26, 2009

Mod note: fe comments removed. question is not "how does wedding etiquette make you feel?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:01 AM on June 26, 2009

It is fairly standard that if your envelope doesn't say "and guest," then you're being invited solo. Those response cards are all printed the same way, and are intended to provide a headcount for a number of meals. Just because it's a blank space, you should not assume that you can bring your entire bowling league, or even one date. The invitation is extended to whomever is listed on the envelope.

My ex and I had invited a number of our friends as solo since they had no significant others. They did have a lot of friends at the wedding though, and we thought they'd all have a good time together. I don't remember how much we were paying per head, but once you put +1 on one card, you put it on every card. And don't assume that the bride and groom are the only ones with an agenda as far as the guest list goes. Both sides of the family will have "must invite" people. Numbers can get out of hand very quickly.

We had two solo friends who decided that they were going to write in a guest on their response card and, not having the heart to call them and tell them they couldn't bring someone, we added their write in guests to the head count. Both friends were no shows, which meant that not only did we pay for our friends' dinners, but we also paid for their non-attending guests. Our fault, of course, for not calling them and saying no, but this is what happens.

Because you're traveling so far, it would have been nice of your friend to make an exception for you. It's entirely possible that this fact didn't occur to them in the rush of a million details and when you brought it up he was just giving you the same response they give to everyone else who asks.

What you should do is really up to you. If you continue to feel slighted and are certain that you won't enjoy the wedding, then it probably would be best to just send your regrets and a gift. I'd just ask you to consider the fact that wedding planning is a big mess of emotions, pre-conceived notions and unrealistic expectations on the part of multiple personalities with differing agendas. It's very likely that if your friend had full say he would have invited you +1.
posted by contrariwise at 10:03 AM on June 26, 2009

mbatch writes "THEY sent you an invitation with a 'Number attending'. That implies you could bring a guest. If they did not intend for you to bring a guest, they should not have sent that invitation to you, or they should have included clearer instructions."

No one orders two different sets (one for singles and one for groups) of RSVP cards. Invitees are expected to be able to parse an invitation.

paralith writes "I've never heard of such a 'rule.' My boyfriend and I are not engaged and we've been to plenty of weddings together (including some that were fairly conservative)."

Are you living together? If so you are considered to be secretly engaged as far as formal etiquette goes. And Larry may be using "engaged" as short hand for long term committed partner.

Straight up, a wedding is a party. A host is always welcome to control the guests at a party. And an invitee is always welcome to not go for what ever reason. If it's going to be too much of a hassle (and 24 hours of travel time would place it there for me) don't go. Larry isn't going to be offended; most weddings get negative RSVPs.
posted by Mitheral at 10:07 AM on June 26, 2009

Wedding guests are your guests, not your audience.

True. And as guests, they get to abide by the wishes of the person that invited them. Unlike audience members, who can pay for as many tickets for random people as the venue will hold, guests are are chosen group that are given special accommodation. In turn, a gracious guest doesn't try to make their own rules, and bows out if they cannot deal.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:12 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're not even sure who you would bring to the wedding, then it's certainly not unreasonable to exclude guest from the invitation - it's not up to Larry to pay for one more person just so you feel more comfortable walking in the door (no one likes that walk in alone). Presumably there will be at least one other person there that you know. Also - given the two twelve hour flights - how likely is it that you will find someone who would be willing to go with you if you're not even dating?

But the answer, really, is easy. If you want to go, go. If you don't, don't. Larry probably sent you the invite thinking that it would be nice if you came but not expecting you to. If you really would like to be there don't 'make a stand' and not go because you couldn't bring a date (you'll regret it someday), but don't spend thousands of dollars out of a false sense of obligation to someone who will probably understand if you're not there.
posted by scrute at 10:37 AM on June 26, 2009

I'm not an expert on weddings so take this as you will. I think it helps to not worry about the wrong or the right but work a solution to your problem. To me the problem seems to be that you're introverted and dread going to this wedding alone. Your friend/his fiance are probably stressing out about the wedding (cost, seating arrangement).
I don't think your friend is singling you out for not being able to bring a guest. He's probably been getting hit with a lot of requests and feels he needs to take a hard stance or be overwhelmed. If you talk to him and try to be sympathetic to his point of view, he might be willing to bend the rules for you.
If you want to go, could you tell you're friend how uncomfortable being by yourself makes you feel and offer to pay for your date's dinner? This isn't going to be much money compared to how much you're spending on airfare/hotels. If it's too huge of a headache for your friend to rearrange the seating, then you can skip going and visit some other time (like others have suggested). I'd opt for skipping the wedding and sending a gift but that's totally your decision.
posted by stray thoughts at 10:39 AM on June 26, 2009

If this were my wedding and someone who is (I can only hope) a good friend was considering cross-hemispheric travel to see me and my bride-to-be exchange our vows, and if I knew (as is evident, here) that apparently nobody else at the wedding is already acquainted with said friend, I would probably allow them the extra invite if I really, really wanted them to come. The OP is an admitted introvert, and IMHO it's reasonable to expect "Larry" to consider this in being considerate to his guest. (I would favorite Methylviolet's comment a thousand times if I could.) There may also be some insecurity issues going on here, and perhaps some significant asymmetry RE: whether the OP and "Larry" are as good of buds as previously thought, but regardless I don't think it's quite as simple as "It's their wedding." If there were ever a time to make an exception to accomodate the needs of a dear friend seriously considering blowing thousands of dollars to see you, now's the time, and I think "Larry" blew it. (In another sense, I think: Weddings are already gobs of money... making one small exception for a good friend is... still going to result in you having a huge bill on your hands.)

However, I agree with the sentiment that it'd be best to avoid any further drama on the question. It doesn't seem like "Larry" is going to budge much, unfortunately for you. Barring a just-world-phenomenon situation where you miraculously meet the perfect people or person at the event, you're in all likelihood going to be on your own in a sea of WASPS. It seems like you're the type of person who would not enjoy feeling alone at this event, and that alienation is totally legitimate to you. You say you've "been in these shoes before" and it's implied that you hated previous times you were in that position, so follow your own advice and avoid something that makes you feel so negative. Neither you nor your friend need that bad mojo at the wedding. Unless you find your malcontentment diminishing to the point that seeing your friend get married is enough of a good to you that the very expensive trip and potential isolation are not an issue, send a polite, travel-related excuse and spend your money on a nice gift for the newlyweds. If he wants to read it as being related to the date thing, it's up to you whether you admit it if he presses the question or if you maintain your excuse.

As for "Larry," don't necessarily write him off because of this event -- as others have posed, it's entirely possible that sans the social clusterfuck of planning a wedding, he might have let you bring a date. You are allowed to feel frustrated, certainly, but understand that there's still a good possibility that your friend is still the friend you've always thought he was, but that he's simply gone mad from the pressures of organizing a wedding... so don't burn your bridges. Maybe even save your money for a trip home to visit him after the wedding?

However, I'm confused a bit about your "pretentious" remark -- I'm parsing this as being because your friend cited some nebulous construct of wedding etiquette instead of engaging you in an honest discussion of the situation? Not sure if it's the right word, but... yeah, I'd ignore all the abstract etiquette discussions and pare your thoughts down to the core emotions and relationships flying around here.

(... aren't weddings fucking awful? OP: Take this as your lesson to elope and avoid any future drama, sheesh.)
posted by Keter at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you're thinking that maybe it's not such a big deal and are you really his friend or not? Drop that. There's a number they're both trying to hit. There's family he hasn't invited. There's friends that aren't coming. There's a limited amount of space. There's catering costs. There's debt. Go, be happy for your friend, and you won't regret it. For the rest of their lives they will know you were at their wedding.
posted by xammerboy at 10:57 AM on June 26, 2009

They are within their rights, and propriety, to choose to invite you and you alone. That said, it's stupid of Larry to think that you won't be insulted. Given his reaction, and lack of a good grip on the sense of what your relationship with him is like, I suggest that you not attend.
posted by Citrus at 11:00 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have no idea why you're so wound up about this but if it's too much of an expense or hassle, just don't go. They'll understand, and your absence won't break their wedding day or their marriage. (One of my husband's groomsmen, his closest friend from college, had to back out at the last minute and we still had a great time. It was a bummer but it didn't cause any heartache.)

And the bride and groom are correct: the invitation is extended to the person whose name is on the invitation. The field for "number attendending" is there in case, for example, Mr. and Mrs. X are both invited but only one of them can make it.
posted by Neofelis at 11:07 AM on June 26, 2009

The OP said; "It should be alright that I'm not engaged or married, and yet still want someone to be with me, right?"

I just wanted to say, yep, that's alright.

Look, you want larry to acknowledge that you are traveling miles for him, and would be making a number of (vacation day, money, convenience, time) sacrifices to be there for him. As a good friend, you'd think he could make an exception. It may feel like he's not doing that or acknowledging your friendship, but sometimes it help for someone to do that (even if its not the person), so, with all sincerity and no snark:

OP - you're doing a very kind thing in wanting to support your friend who is obviously taking a big step in his life. Clearly, you're willing - like a good friend - to consider sacrificing a bit of time and money to support him in a way you feel is meaningful - by showing up to his wedding. And it can feel like he's not returning that acknowledgment by not making an exception and being there for something in *your* life - like the conversation about your social life and what woman you'd like to invite. He didn't even go there. He kind of shut you down.

It can be difficult to not compare yourself to the milestones in other people's lives (all the friends in relationships, married, kids?), and in his cutting off the conversation, it sounds like you feel you just got 'dinged'. But your friend is just following his path, and you might less resentful if you firmly followed yours. You can support your friend, whether you attend or not. That's what a great gift, a kind word, something personal are all for. Your path may include doing other things with that vacation time and money. If it does, just thank them for the invitation and apologize that you won't be able to attend. Then seriously wish him and his wife the best and say you hope you guys can have dinner sometime soon - on you.

I'm just saying that declining attending doesn't have to be out of spite. Just like attending doesn't have to be a capitulation. It's a choice, like everyone is saying here, and it's yours. But it's just another way of being supportive. (like that kind word, etc.). As a good friend, he really should understand if you've reconsidered the amount of time/money/etc. if would take for you to come (based on what's going on on your path), and appreciate you telling them as soon as possible so they can tweak their plans.

I'm just saying that either decision you make - to attend or not - doesn't have to be a greater statement about whether or not you support them, or are a good friend. It's a party. A far away, good party thrown by a friend. Make your decisions in alignment with your values and your path (regardless if you feel that other people are judging you), and you'll probably feel more ok with the outcomes (regardless of how people judge the decision you've made).

Hopefully the wedding is somewhere beautiful.
posted by anitanita at 11:10 AM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

OP, apart from issues of money and space, maybe Larry would like to spend whatever time he has for his friends during the run-up and the wedding with his friends, and not with their random dates that he doesn't know. This was true for us, and we did have people fly in from around the country and the world for our (small) wedding.

Larry has behaved properly here, even if it's not what you wanted him to do. Whoever sent the invitations is the host of the reception. They invited the people on the envelope and no, those cards don't mean you get to bring a friend. They're a shortcut because guests don't write their RSVPs any more if they don't get a card to do it with. Some people think proper manners are pretentious, so I can't judge that. I don't think Larry's being pretentious, but then again, I'd never have considered asking to bring a guest to a wedding.

You sound like you're feeling imbalance in the friendship in that you're willing to fly around the world and he's not willing to let you bring a (random) date, as mentioned upthread, or have you as an usher. You also seem focused on Larry's social success, comparing it to your relationship failure, as demonstrated by not bringing a date to the wedding and the imagined censure of other guests. If you don't like them and won't ever see them again, what do you care what they think?

Where do I go from here? is the big question. I'd say go, but arrange the trip so you can do fun things with the part of it not devoted to the wedding. If you go and have a good time, you'll remember that, but if you bail out because of this, or go and hate it, it's likely to poison the friendship in the long run. Alternatively, if you can come up with a great work/school/family excuse, decline on that basis. Just don't decline on the basis that you didn't get to bring a random date to the wedding, or in a way that makes Larry or his fiancee think that's why you did it.

Good luck in resolving this, and if you go, good luck having fun at the wedding.
posted by immlass at 11:18 AM on June 26, 2009

And the bride and groom are correct: the invitation is extended to the person whose name is on the invitation. The field for "number attendending" is there in case, for example, Mr. and Mrs. X are both invited but only one of them can make it.

This. I just designed some wedding invitations last week and that space is to write if the full number of invited guests are attending or just one of them. I shouldn't be surprised that people think they can invite more people than were invited as addressed on the envelope. People just don't personalize the reply card for 100+ invites.

OP, I think that you might be taking it a little personally. If it were me and you specifically asked to bring someone and were coming from so far away I would probably relent. I'm with the people who think its an awful long distance to fly when you probably won't be able to talk to your friend for more than a few minutes. If you press this and force him to let you bring someone then the whole day (and perhaps your friendship) could be a bit strained.
posted by Bunglegirl at 11:51 AM on June 26, 2009

I don't have anyone in particular I desperately want to be there with me, I would just not like to be "alone" and ostracized as such at said wedding (large protestant WASP group where its generally assumed if you're diddling around in you're 30's and not married or fast approaching, there's something fundamentally amiss with you).

If you could bring a date, then, whom would you bring? Someone from your part of the world (which would involve plane tickets for two)? Or someone who lives near the wedding location? In my experience, it's typical wedding protocol for the couple to add "and guest" if they know that you're either engaged or part of a long-term or committed relationship. If you're a single person (male or female), it's not unusual for them not to encourage you to bring a date in order to cut down on costs. If you don't have a SO, and weren't thinking of bringing someone with you who also knows the betrothed couple, whomever you brought with you would be inconvenienced and bored silly, anyway. No one there cares if you're stag; if folks ask why you're alone certainly you've got the perfect excuse - you flew in from halfway around the world and it was too expensive to bring the person you're seeing.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:59 AM on June 26, 2009

There's this weird illusion people have that weddings are for the bride and groom. I'm probably the minority dissent here, but this strikes me as complete baloney. The honeymoon is for the bride and groom and the wedding is the bride and groom's gift to everyone else. If I had the option to spend some cash on a party for my friends or on a romantic getaway for me and my freshly minted wife, which do you think I'd choose?

However, if you are going to have a wedding and invite guests, I think it is totally rude to invite someone to your wedding and then have the gall to insist that they must come alone. If you don't have enough funds to accommodate all your guests and their potential +1's, then you simply don't invite them. If your friend here is not willing to bend at all to acknowledge the fact that you're flying across the world to be there, then he's either not a very good friend at all or he's so dominated by what his fiance might think that he's refusing you out of hand. It's entirely possible that he wants you to be there, but doesn't think he can afford another spot for a plus one. Fine. But in that case your friendship probably isn't worth enough to offset the cost of that expensive plane ticket either.
posted by scrutiny at 12:43 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

The sticking point for me is the invitation . . . providing a space for "Number Attending" would certainly imply to me that dates are welcome. I'm sorry, but I must have missed the day we were all taught the unspoken rules of wedding invitations which are so evident to many of you.

If Larry didn't want anyone but spouses and quasi-spouses to join invited guests, he should have said so in the invitation.

General Topic has it.

Your friend sounds like a douche. Don't go to the wedding. Weddings are no fun and an expensive pain in the ass. Especially for you, so far away.

I've vowed never to have a wedding if I ever got married. Metafilter has reaffirmed that decision many times over. I'm a woman, although I'm not sure that's relevant.

You're right to be pissed. Stay at home and send a card if you want.
posted by vincele at 12:47 PM on June 26, 2009

Except he did say so, but only inviting the OP, and not saying OP + GUEST or whatever it is people do on cards.
posted by chunking express at 12:52 PM on June 26, 2009

If there's a space for number attending, bring someone (if you're still planning on going). What is he going to do if he sees that you've brought someone? Stop the wedding? Kick you out? He won't even have time to give you the what-for. I highly doubt that the couple to be will even remember if you put +1 on your RSVP card.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 12:58 PM on June 26, 2009

Dude if you are not married and not with anyone you really care about, why not just try to have fun, be a little more social than you usually are, and maybe meet someone at the wedding? It's known to happen (to me, a couple of times. I effed it up both times but that'sa whole other story).
posted by sully75 at 1:10 PM on June 26, 2009

I am going to play the "my wedding was 7 weeks ago" card here.

Before I relate my personal experiences with this issue, I want to say this: "am I right to be upset by this?" is a horseshit question. For one, it plays into a childish Star Wars outlook about emotions that implies some are good and bad and that we, as people, should somehow have love and joy without ever experiencing anger or despair. Second, and more important, it ignores the salient fact here: you can be bothered by something without it being someone else's obligation to deal with it, assuming they're even aware of it.

So, weddings.

Other people have told you above that there are quite reasonable etiquette constraints on the obligations a couple has regarding who gets invited as themselves and who, as a matter of course, gets a +1. All true.

That said, you don't need to take that fact as some sort of proof on its face that you can't be upset anyway. That's a rule that the bride and groom have to follow as a minimum - if they choose to bow to etiquette in this. You want something and the world isn't cooperating. This is a tough situation for you and a financial and personal challenge. Go ahead and be peeved, it beats the shit out of resentment and that's the inevitable result of suppressing how you DO feel because you think it's not how you SHOULD feel.

But, be aware that your buddy is dealing with a billion different pressures here with regards to guests. You're entitled to your wants, but he similarly is dealing with his wants and desires and how they may or may not match up with his reality and outside constraints. Someone above commented that he and his fiance are paying for each guest, maybe $10 or maybe as much as $100.

I would kill each and every one of you reading this message to have only paid $10 per guest. I am only barely not kidding. That's not true. I am not at all kidding.

One of the biggest challenges my darling not-yet-wife and I faced in planning this wedding can be summarized by a conversation we had early on.

"We can't afford to do that," my darling fiance said.
"That's not true, and that's the problem," I said. "We CAN afford it, we just have to decide whether or not we're willing to spend the money to do it."
"You're right. If we just couldn't afford it then it would be an easy decision."

It's almost certain that your buddy has one of two situations: He's either desperately trying to restrain costs because he and/or his fiance is paying for this out of pocket and/or some other family member is paying and they have a budget they're steadily failing to meet.

For you, this +1 is a big impact on your trip. For him, it's something that he'd probably love to do for you but you are just one out of grod knows how many guests. You describe this as a large group. How large? Our per-person cost to have people in a fairly cost-contained location (such as they exist within 200 miles of our home) was just shy of $100 per person.

That does not factor in, by the way, the base facility cost.

We could have done that a lot cheaper if we hadn't had an open bar, but we and our friends, quite frankly, like to drink. We probably wouldn't mind a wedding with a cash bar if they were cheap but they never are - they're like the priciest, snazziest bars we ever go to, only without the snazz or quality of service. So we sucked it up and accepted almost doubling the cost per-guest.

This is a long-winded way of saying that your friend is probably completely sick and tired of the guest list. It has probably been a royal pain since day one and he and his fiance have been making hard choices and having this conversation with many more people than you. If his answer felt curt and as if he was making a statement of fact it's because he's learned that stating these things as anything other than fait accompli simply turns the conversation into an extended debate which requires him to support a position that he's probably not at all thrilled about.

Because chances are, he's love to make you happy. And Aunt Ginny and his other friend Carlos and everyone else. He'd like to invite his 5th cousin once removed - even though he couldn't pick her out of a lineup - because Uncle Jim can only afford to travel once a year and having her there would make Jim happy and give him someone to talk to. He'd have rather opted for the more expensive cut of meat for dinner and the premium liquors and the red carpet and the extra servers and blah blah blah fucking blah.

But wedding planning is inevitably triage. It's going into every decision with gritted teeth trying to stop the bleeding. You don't have to be happy about your buddy's decision and you can probably think that he could have handled it better with you and be right. You are entirely within your rights as a friend to call him back up and say "listen, I understand your guest policy but I really don't want to spend 24 hours in a plane and not know anyone at your wedding. Any way you can sneak me in a spot?"

Maybe he'll go yeah, okay. Maybe he'll stick to his guns. Maybe he'll be better about it or maybe he'll stick with his hard-line etiquette decision. Maybe he'll want to accomidate you but isn't able or willing to take all the shit he'll then get from everyone who he didn't make an exception for, and maybe he'll flat-out tell you that or maybe not.

You should then make the decision you need to make and if you really dread doing it alone, don't go. We didn't want anyone to come and not have fun - whether it be because of our decisions or their personality - and I'm sure they feel the same way, even if they will be sorry you're not there.

As far as the "why didn't he come" blah blah, you tell people you just couldn't work it out with all the travel and leave it at that. If they press you then you say "I really wish I could have, and I'm sorry I couldn't, and I'd just as soon not dwell on it because it makes me sad."
posted by phearlez at 1:22 PM on June 26, 2009 [19 favorites]

What is he going to do if he sees that you've brought someone?

Not have room for her in the church, so make her wait outside. Not have food for her at the reception, so she doesn't eat.

And this for a girl that the poster does not even know -- a hypothetical girl who will travel two 12-hour trips to go to a stranger's wedding so the poster doesn't have to tell others that he's not in a relationship.

I get that he's "Sick of stag" as he titled this question, but honestly I think it's a bit silly to be put out. He's invited to go, and go alone. His choices are:
A. Go, alone.
B. Don't go.
posted by Houstonian at 1:24 PM on June 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'd be annoyed too. As others have pointed out, they are the hosts and get to do what they want.

BUT -- they are still hosts and have a responsiblity to make guests happy and comfortable, which your friend is not doing for you.

Personally I think that if you can't afford to be a good wedding host, you can't afford a wedding. Obviously I'm in the minority.

Either go and enjoy yourself, or send a nice gift or wait to visit them later.

Just don't go in in a huff and wind up resenting your friend. Weddings make people crazy, but they do return to normal afterward.
posted by cestmoi15 at 1:32 PM on June 26, 2009

ThaBombShelterSmith, I had two people crash my wedding. The caterers pulled me aside after the ceremony and let me know our head count was off and that they didn't have enough alcohol to cover everybody now. They then forced my new husband and I to write another check for $500 before they would allow the servers to start serving guests at our reception in the next room or let us into our own reception.

We were dazed and did it without protest because weddings are mentally and emotionally exhausting.

So, Anonymous, please don't sneak-attack the wedding. That's fucking rude.

I am still pissed off at my two wedding crashers--and I'm divorced now. They only showed up because they felt they deserved to be there (they lived in the same apt. complex that we did) and I barely knew them and they dressed shitty and were loud and rude too
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:36 PM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]

I've never been to a wedding where people brought a random '+1'. In the last few years my sister, my brother, half a dozen cousins and some friends have been married, and in all cases partners were invited by name or not at all.
posted by jacalata at 1:46 PM on June 26, 2009

1. Yes.
2. No.
3. Better to not go than to go and spend the whole time stewing over how you feel you've been injured. It's fine to not go because you're far away; I'd even say that Larry probably didn't ask you to be an usher on purpose because he didn't want you to feel obligated to make the trip. I would spend some time thinking about what issues are really at play here, which leads to-
4. I agree with those above who say it sounds like you are projecting a lot of unrelated emotions onto something as simple as a wedding invitation. All the talk about how the wedding guests will judge your relative relationship success and you won't know anyone... this sounds like it's more about you than about the circumstance. If they're anything like weddings I've attended, they'll either ignore you in favor of catching up with people they do know, or they'll make small talk of the "and how do you know Larry? Ah, and doesn't the bride look lovely" variety.

Planning a wedding is incredibly stressful. You try REALLY REALLY HARD to do everything right and not slight anyone or piss anyone off, and to make it nice but not overspend, but it is literally impossible to please everyone who feels they have a right to have input into what you are doing, and people are super quick to judge when you don't do something the way they think you should. The fact is- probably every single person on their guest list has SOME kind of special circumstance - they want to bring a guest, or they think they should bring their kids, or they are allergic to lilies, or they're on a low-carb diet, or whatever- and it is literally impossible to make it all happen. You just can't do it. But you WANT to.

Also, I offer an anecdote from my own experience. When my husband and I were wedding planning, he was trying to decide who to have in the wedding party. He wanted to ask a certain friend to be in it, but said friend had recently gotten a new job and had practically fallen off the face of the earth from its demands. My husband didn't want to make Friend feel bad by making him either have to turn him down or be in the wedding party to the detriment of his job, so he decided to just invite him to the wedding. But it turns out that Friend's feelings were hurt and then there was drama.

So basically, I'm saying, I know from experience that you can be completely well meaning and trying to be nice and STILL piss people off when it's wedding stuff. So I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. You can never know the byzantine dramas that led to their decisions.
posted by oblique red at 1:52 PM on June 26, 2009

It's pretty clear to me that all the responses from people saying "every wedding I've been to I've been allowed to bring someone" are coming from people who have not recently planned a wedding of their own.

From a planning perspective, weddings are complex, expensive, logistical nightmares. The bride and groom (and both sets of parents, if they're lucky enough to only be saddled with two) beg, borrow and steal to get "their" friends invited. You haven't seen your friend in years. As far as he knows (and as you've confirmed), you're not attached to anyone. This event is NOT about YOU!

Sorry if I'm coming off as a bit brash, but for my wedding (four years ago yesterday!) we employed similar restrictions. We simply couldn't afford to invite everyone we wanted to, nor could the venue seat them. If we could have afforded it and there was room, our wedding would have been twice the size it was (already very large!). Add to those calculations the fact the fuzzy "math" surrounding how many people you can expect to decline, and I'm brushing the surface of how complicated this planning is.

There were two people who chose not to attend my wedding because of our restriction - an ex who was friends with 50% of the guests, and said she would be uncomfortable without a date (reasonable), and a formerly dear friend who had just started seeing a girl nobody had met. To this day, I'm bummed that neither of them attended, but you know what? It was their choice, not mine.

You are being selfish, and unreasonable. I'd also agree that the fact that you're 24 hours away means you are probably expected not to come - not that they don't want you there, you got an invitation after all - but that they simply don't think you'd make the (substantial) effort.
posted by pkphy39 at 2:08 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

fyi: "number attending" just means if a whole family is invited, but maybe mom and dad get a sitter and don't bring their kids, or just one partner from an invited couple is attending.

i think it is rude to invite someone from that sort of distance and not invite a date, unless you are known to have family and other connections in the area where the wedding is being had. that said, larry's a guy and doesn't think about these things.

i would decline the invitation, but invite them to visit.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:39 PM on June 26, 2009

No matter what other married people think: Sending an invite that says "Number attending:" when you just mean "Will you come?" is stupid and inconsiderate.
posted by themel at 4:11 PM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

Worth considering...

Complaints like this is exactly why my husband and I just got married at a courthouse with no guests. I understand you're upset that you have to travel so far and that you can't bring a date, but please consider what your friend is going through and whether you really want to put him through that.

Think about the following:
- It is your friend and his fiance's special day, not yours. Would you rather your wedding feel like it was shared with the people closest to you, or with a lot of people you don't know? Chances are they're already having to invite people (mostly family) out of a sense of obligation, so why should they invite someone that they don't know at all and whom you're not even close to? Do you really want to be the kind of person who makes a big deal about yourself in this situation?

Weddings are already difficult because you have to manage the wishes of the different families involved. I guarantee they have family members that are trying to make your friend's wedding about themselves. Do you really want to add to that?

- Money is a big issue. Asking to bring along a serious partner is one thing, but asking to bring along someone just so you aren't bored is a bit much. You've known this person for ten years, I'm sure you'll find someone to talk to at his wedding. And, I'm even speaking as an introvert here, it's not the end of the world to talk to new people. My husband routinely drags me to stuff where I don't know anyone or have much in common with them, and I get along fine. So will you, if you choose to go.

What's the worse thing that could happen? It will be a little boring. So what? Your friend will still be happy that you came. Sometimes life doesn't give us choices that are clearly awesome and clearly crappy. When that happens, you pick your best option and keep perspective on it. If I were in your shoes, I would just think, "Well, not going might hurt his feelings, and my being bored doesn't outweigh that. Complaining about going undoubtedly stresses him out and lessens his enjoyment of his big day, and my being bored doesn't outweigh that. If I stop complaining and go to the wedding, it will make him at least marginally more happy, if not more so, and some boredom is a small price to pay for that."

If you don't like any of this stuff, you ultimately don't have to go. There's nothing wrong with that. But please don't put your friend through any more stress. If you go to his wedding, don't show up and be resentful.
posted by Nattie at 4:30 PM on June 26, 2009

themel: "No matter what other married people think: Sending an invite that says "Number attending:" when you just mean "Will you come?" is stupid and inconsiderate."

The invite doesn't say that, it's the RSVP card that does. And in theory one shouldn't be including RSVP cards in the first place, people aren't supposed to be so rude as to not RSVP. But it's a necessary evil and if you don't (and maybe even include a SASE) practically the only people you'll hear from are unmarried aunts.

Do you really need to be married to see the logistical difficulties in sending out personalized RSVP cards?
posted by Mitheral at 4:41 PM on June 26, 2009

Yeah, Larry's being dickish about this, no question.

But that's not the real issue. It's that you're an introvert facing the prospect of traveling for a whole damn day to deal with the WASPy and judgmental crowd where you'll hardly know anyone. A fate worse that death, right? If I, a fellow introvert, where in your shoes, these are several options I'd try:

1. Pointedly ask Larry if you could bring someone, citing the long trip and lack of familiarity with anyone. Don't push it, just ask nicely.

2. If he says no (and he probably will) just drop it. Ask if there's something you can do to help out, so you'll have something to do rather than just sitting there like a rock.

3. If there's nothing you can do, now is the time to find out making light conversation. Search the AskMe archives for pointers.

4. Don't be negative about it. A long time friend is getting married and while you won't be able to do whatever you want there, it is a happy occasion. Go to it with positive mind, so that you can have fun and you're not that awkward, anti-social guy at a wedding.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 PM on June 26, 2009

It's not clear if the OP has a significant other or not. If so, it's a bit rude to expect someone to make an intercontinental trip while leaving his partner behind. Yeah, it's $50 more or whatever, but you're asking the guy to spend a couple thousand bucks to come.

If not, well, a wedding isn't a prom, somewhere you bring "a date".

But the best advice above is to decline the wedding-- being on another continent is an excellent excuse-- and visit Larry another time when your visit can be properly appreciated.
posted by zompist at 5:57 PM on June 26, 2009

This is indeed the Way Of The WASP, for various traditional and practical reasons gone over above, most of which really should have occurred to you without asking.

I'm wondering if you would have been quite so willing to set this post if you were, say, WASP and your friend was inviting you with (to your mind odd and unreasonable) conditions to his traditional wedding in Uomballawaniuchulistanistan?

Or might you consider that to be a little judgemental of Other Peoples' Ways?

Speaking of ways, if you want to indulge in a little schadenfreude, I can pretty much guarantee that there will be people who have not RSVPed who will show up regardless, people who did RSVP who will not show up because they couldn't be bothered, people who will drag their uninvited and unwanted children who will cry when there's no macaroni and cheese, and people who will bring along uninvited significant (or even not so significant) others whom nobody knows and who sits rabbitlike in the corner whispering to the invited guest who brought him/her and no one else - all of this causing greater or lesser headaches and possible serious extra expense for whoever's picking up the tab just because these people just as self centered, insolent, rubish and rude as - well, you know who you are.

Such people get talked about, by the way. And not fondly.

And yeah, it is about the bride and groom. Without them - no wedding, no party. Fact is - and let's not lose sight of this - there is a deeper dimension to this whole ceremony. And it ain't about you having a good time. (Though we would certainly hope you and everyone else involved does.)

I could go on about the obligations of good guest, but that's a rant for another time.

(By the way, you've been quiet since this thing began. Does any of it make sense to you, or are you just siding with those above who are dissing your old friend? And as a serious sidenote, please, to understand the way of the wasp, do try to get ahold of an emily post or a Miss Manners.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:59 PM on June 26, 2009

It's not clear if the OP has a significant other or not

Actually, it is clear. He says this:
I don't have anyone in particular I desperately want to be there with me, I would just not like to be "alone"
posted by Houstonian at 6:26 PM on June 26, 2009

Seriously, don't go. And don't feel bad about it. Make up an excuse, yours is easy: I live 2 12 hour flights away from you and just can't afford it/take of the time. ta da. You won't even see him, he'll understand. You won't have any fun, it'll be really expensive and waste a lot of your time. Don't overestimate how much he'll care you're missing his wedding. Tons of his other friends and family will make it. Send a super nice gift with a really thoughtful card. They'll probably appreciate it more after the wedding that seeing you for 2 second at the wedding.

Trust me this will not negatively impact your friendship especially if you go above and beyond with the gift and attached note.

I totally get why you are upset over this. It's taking you an extraordinary amount of effort and money to come to their wedding and you can't even bring a damn guest so that you have some fun at this wedding where you know no one.

So make life easier for everyone and just skip it.
posted by whoaali at 9:47 PM on June 26, 2009

You're overthinking this.

When I got married last year, I sent invitations to lots of friends who lived all over the place. I didn't expect (or really even want) most of them to actually come, since I knew I wouldn't have time to see them anyway... If old friends are going to visit me, I want to be able to spend some time with them, not shake their hand and then move on to the next guest! I was very happy to receive their good wishes and I'll get to see many of them this year instead, when I don't have a wedding to plan.

Just don't go. Get them a gift, and plan a future vacation to see your friend.
posted by voltairemodern at 10:51 PM on June 26, 2009

mbatch, you misread the OP when you said:
2. THEY sent you an invitation with a "Number attending". That implies you could bring a guest. If they did not intend for you to bring a guest, they should not have sent that invitation to you, or they should have included clearer instructions.

The OP actually said:
However, the RSVP card does have a field for "Number attending."


That being said, it's fairly common knowledge to anyone who's read any etiquette guides whatsoever that dates are only appropriate if this is spelled out in the invitation. For those who don't read such guides, common sense should rule: it's their wedding day, not your date.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:44 PM on June 26, 2009

mbatch, I owe you an apology: it is I who can't read.

posted by IAmBroom at 11:48 PM on June 26, 2009

follow-up from the OP
Thanks for all of the really great and thoughtful responses. I think I fall somewhere along the middle:

1. I do need to get off my horse a bit, and stop being so ignorant about the stresses and constraints of planning a wedding. I'm sure this hasn't been easy for them and that they didn't do this out of spite towards me, but out of all the different directions they're being pulled in.

2. Larry is being a bit on the douchy side here, considering the circumstances. Its alright, nobody's perfect, me least of all (see also: getting worked up about this trivial thing). I can go and be of positive mind and support their big day and not have a chip on my shoulder about being alone (also, yes: beer).

I think at the end of the day I'm in that very small minority of people who think a wedding should be more for the guests than the bride and groom. I hear all of this "its THEIR big day" and "THEY get to decide what THEY want to do" - and while I get it, it still comes across to me a bit like Veruca Salt wanting the whole world, and now. And then I find myself kind of wishing they'd just disappear down a chute so that we could enjoy the rest of the candy factory, or something.

Regarding clarifiers:

- I don't have someone here that I'd be bringing along with me (traveling) to the wedding. I was thinking more along the lines of a good friend from my days when I was roommates with Larry - possibly someone he already knows or maybe even someone he's invited separately, for all I know.

- Yes, I'm a bit angry now, but that doesn't mean I can't get good feedback, process the emotion, and move on in good time to attend the wedding with nothing but well wishes (thanks in part to you fine folk).

- I did "just blithely start discussing your possible dates as if he made a mistake in the invite" and have since apologized for my rudeness. I'm clearly not as versed in the mysterious language of wedding etiquette as some are.

- I'm leaning towards getting over it and going, but I do think not going and sending a nice gift, and perhaps visiting at a later time, is also a viable option to be considered.

Hopefully that caught most of the open questions. I think I've learned a lot about how I'd want my wedding to go down should I ever have one. Thanks again for all the thoughtful responses.
posted by jessamyn at 7:22 AM on June 27, 2009

I'm going to skip your questions 1 and 2, which have been largely answered, and skip to 3 and 4:

Where do I go from here? I don't know why this throws me off so much, but I'm at the point of considering not even going. I know I will, in the end, to avoid the headaches of "why didn't he make it to our wedding,"

It's okay not to go, if that's really what you want to do. Really. I promise. If you live at such a distance, your friend is likely already prepared for the possibility that you can't or won't make the trip.

If you've already RSVPed yes, this gets a little stickier, but if you decide not to attend, the sooner you alert the couple, the better for everyone.

There are perfectly good reasons not to make such a long, expensive trip to attend a wedding. Here, have some of mine!

My own wedding is in two weeks. Among our guests are my very oldest dear friend and her husband, who live on the other side of the globe from me and my partner. When I realized that they were actually considering making the trip, I told her:
- I love you, and would obviously love to see you and [husband's name redacted] at the wedding;
- but it seems like a crazy-long trip to make;
- especially since my partner and I will be so busy with family and frippery that we would hardly get to visit with you at all.
- maybe we should plan a visit next time you're in the States, when we can really catch up.
- if, after all this, you decide you can make it, we'll be thrilled!

If you do decline to attend, you might think about couching it like that, emphasising how happy you are for them (you say yourself that your good friend is marrying a nice girl! That's great!) and you'd love to be there for them, but it's impractical. Suggest that next time you're on the same continent, you get together and celebrate. If you're wary of hurting your friend's feelings or creating drama, phrasing it that way will help a lot.

And I second the possibility that perhaps your friend chose not to ask you to usher or otherwise have a role because he wanted to avoid pressuring you to make the trip. Even if it's not true, or not the entire truth, it won't hurt at a time like this to put the most generous construction possible on events.

If you do chose to attend, you can (as suggested above) ask your friend if there are assigned seats and, if so, ask if he can seat you with people you know --- maybe one of the prospective dates you mention in the response Jessamyn posted for you? (Also recognize that seating charts are $%@#ing difficult for the novice to assemble, so if your friend refuses to rearrange the charts, there may be good reason.)

4. Bonus: Why am I so angry about this?

Because your friend is going through a big ritual event, and you're on the other side of the world where you're missing a lot of the bonding that would occur around this event.

That also means you're not privy to the in-person tidbits of his anxiety or frustration --- and no matter how happy he is about getting married, planning a wedding (or any big party) is a lot of frustration and anxiety. That's why you jumped in with a (somewhat) tactless assumption, and why he jumped in with a (somewhat) tactless response.

You probably can't really see how put-upon and stressed he is, and he probably can't see how hurt you are. That's too bad, because good friends usually try to ameliorate these feelings when they can see 'em.

In your shoes, I would try to take extra steps to be a good friend at this moment, even though I felt wronged --- not because "it's their special day," but because he's your friend and he's under pressure at a time that should be joyous, so here's a good chance to cement the friendship by being good to him.

To people saying they've never heard of the [spouses/fiances/sig.others]-only rule: it's not an absolute rule, but a handy cutting-off point used when cost or space issues require the hosts to limit the guest list.

Further, it's not meant only to exclude people, but also to include those people whom politeness demands you invite: if you're inviting Meg Example, who is [married/engaged/in a longterm relationship], you must invite her partner, too. If you invite Harriet Sample, who is single with no particular partner, you may choose to invite her to bring a guest, but if you invite her alone, you're not being rude to her partner, because she has none.

posted by Elsa at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

One final observation - it's just possible that you are being invited in part because you are single. If we're talking Wasp stereotypes, the bride may have had to invite cousin Bitsy, or sorority sister Muffy, or BFF Trixie, none of whom is currently attached and who could use an unattached dance partner. And of course, things can happen....

You might want to look on this as him doing you a favor.

if you're inviting Meg Example, who is [married/engaged/in a longterm relationship], you must invite her partner, too.

(Not sure I agree. I've had longterm girlfriends invited to weddings and me not because they were friends of hers and knew me not from Adam. Vice versa as well. Can't say it bothered her or me, and I think either of us would have felt a little out of place being there.

But then I don't understand why Larry is still being called douchy when all he did was explain a fairly standard protocol to someone who was clearly clueless. No easy way to do that, maybe, but that doesn't make him a douche.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:16 PM on June 27, 2009

I'm afraid it would appear, in my opinion, that Larry does not really care if you attend or not. He certainly could make an exception for "a friend" traveling such a distance. Especially, when he knows that you would like to bring someone. I'm sorry but just because you are single should not mean that you are destined to attend a wedding alone. I'm very shocked at all the responses that you are overreacting. I'm tired of the BS around the fact that if you are not in a relationship you get treated differently. When you are invited to a show or award ceremony everyone gets to bring a guest, it does not discriminate on relationship status. Why does this seem only pertain to weddings? If you are a close/dear friend you should be able to bring whomever you like, be it your mother if you please. I understand the call outs about headcount & cost. Then the not so close folks at the bottom of the list get cut.

I have just wrote a big thank you note to my dear old friend who invited me & a guest (she knows I'm single) to her wedding last week. I pointed out what a classy gesture this was & how much it meant to me. I know they do not have much money. And may I add that is was the most genuine and fun wedding I have ever been to.
posted by sequin at 9:23 PM on June 27, 2009

He'll be divorced in 5 years. Go to his second wedding if you're closer then.

Jesus, I wouldn't travel 2 days for a wedding of a sibling.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:39 AM on June 28, 2009

It was for this reason that I insisted on asking all single people if they would like to bring guests. Because it does suck to not know anyone at a wedding.
posted by jb at 6:54 AM on June 28, 2009

One dynamic that has not been mentioned, as far as I can tell, is the tit for tat of "I invite you to my wedding" and "I give you nice present for your wedding." Or am I just being too mercenary about it? I think it's a little on the asshole side of Larry to not let the OP bring a guest, particularly if they are traveling halfway around the world. He should not attend the wedding and visit the newlyweds a few months later. Give them a killer present with the money you saved by not traveling to the wedding, and they'll remember that more.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:18 AM on June 28, 2009

I hear all of this "its THEIR big day" and "THEY get to decide what THEY want to do" - and while I get it, it still comes across to me a bit like Veruca Salt wanting the whole world, and now.

The problem with this analogy is that Veruca was a guest at the factory tour. Willy Wonka was the host. And Willy Wonka, you'll recall, got to do pretty much whatever the hell he wanted. In this analogy, Larry and his fiancee are Willy Wonka; you can be Veruca Salt, or Charlie Bucket.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:56 PM on June 28, 2009 [8 favorites]

Everything's been covered six ways to sunday, but I've been thinking about your question and had to chime in with the cheesy suggestion that just because we feel angrily wrong done by doesn't mean that anyone's done anything wrong. It seems like there are a couple of things going on that aren't anybody's fault.
1. You didn't understand that the number you put for ____ Attending can't be greater than the number of people invited on that invitation. Make no mistake - this card is completely standard and normal and it is in no way to be understood as a blank check to bring as many people as you want. And you didn't know that - and it seems like you feel embarrassed for not having known this. And you shouldn't be embarrassed - why would you know if you'd never been involved in planning an event like this or hadn't been reading Emily Post? Chalk that one up, and move on.
2. I've been to many weddings and I don't know of one where EVERYONE got a plus one. I'm sure that happens when it can be afforded, but most people are financially limited and can only provide so many plates of chicken cordon bleu - it's not an insult, it's typical and understandable.
3. I also think you feel embarrassed about being single, because you've projected a reception hall full of jerks who'll look down their noses at you for not being coupled... and this is the saddest part, to me, because I promise you that there will be people there thinking - "Gosh, I stayed close to home, got married, kids, blah blah and there's Larry's jet setting friend who's been all over and lives in another country and he's checking out the bridesmaids and he must think I'm the dullest person on earth."
4. In the end, I think you should go if you think you'll have fun, stay home if you don't. It's ok either way. But before you choose, stop fretting over whether you won't know anybody or whether your mutual college friends will be there and just ask.
posted by moxiedoll at 12:14 AM on June 29, 2009

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