So, now, is it rude to decline?
July 25, 2013 11:40 AM   Subscribe

my friend invited me alone to her wedding. I asked her about it. I'm invited with no guest. now, do I have to go?

So my friend is getting married this fall, and invited me alone to her wedding.

because I am brash and often talk without considering HUGELY my manners, I asked her if it was a mistake and if I was supposed to have a guest: not just a guest, my boyfriend, whom I live with, own a house together. anyways, awkward conversation short, boyfriend is not invited.

so now.. do I have to go? I'm not impressed with the situation, the wedding isn't in the city we live in, so I'll have to travel (under an hour, but still) and it's not a dinner, it's just an evening thing, and it's THEMED so it's expected I'd buy clothes/costuming, AND I did a bunch of steeply-discounted at-cost jewellery work for the couple for the wedding.

I've been involved enough in gifting my skills and effort for their wedding that I'm pretty upset that it's not worth inviting my partner to them. bridesmaids necklaces and cufflinks and the wedding bands and the bride's custom engagement ring, all done at my cost for materials. that's probably about $2500 worth of labour at even my normal friends-rate pricing I've gifted them.

however, I already rudely asked about my lack of a guest (isn't it weird to break up couples for a celebration of your own love? I really assumed it was a mistake) so now is it too much of a "message" if I decline the invitation? I don't really want to be rude in return, but I can't see this being much fun to go to alone, weddings are romantic and I love my boyfriend. And I guess I'm a little bitter about my apparent "worth" to them as a guest.

so... if you KNEW your friend wanted to bring her boyfriend, and KNEW that she was free the day of your wedding, and received a decline on her invite, would that be a ending-the-friendship kind of offense? I don't want to end our friendship, I like the bride a lot, and weddings make people act weird, but I don't want to go without my own person I've chosen to spend MY life with.

should I grin and bear it? it's just one night? maybe I'm overreacting.
posted by euphoria066 to Human Relations (125 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You're not overreacting. Unless the wedding is sub-10 people, yourself included, your significant other, with whom you OWN A HOME, should be invited. Politely inform the bride that you will be brining your beau.
posted by banannafish at 11:42 AM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

You are not required to go. If they ask, say that you really don't want to go with out your someone special.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:43 AM on July 25, 2013 [47 favorites]

Best answer: Do you honestly think you HAVE to go to this wedding? I'm a bit confused about the circumstances in which one would be literally REQUIRED to go to a friend's wedding. If you want to go alone, go alone, if you don't, don't. Traditional etiquette does not require she invite your boyfriend (that is reserved for spouses, and, sometimes, engaged couples), and though in practice most people invite any "serious" couples, she is not required to invite anyone who she doesn't want to.

On preview: HOLY CRAP do not just "inform" her you are bringing your beau. That is beyond rude, to completely socially inappropriate beyond anything reasonable. Your options at this point are to go alone or not go at all, not a third option.
posted by brainmouse at 11:44 AM on July 25, 2013 [85 favorites]

You are not overreacting. I actually think the bride's behavior is a contender for Etiquette Hell.
posted by lalex at 11:44 AM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

Wow, that seems really weird of her not to invite your boyfriend, especially after you called for clarification.

I'd just send her a note with my response, "I will be unable to attend. I wish you and Groom a very happy life together."

If she's miffed, it's a shame but you would have the right to drop her as a friend for snubbing your boyfriend, and you're not doing that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:45 AM on July 25, 2013 [12 favorites]

I give you permission to skip it with a clear conscience, and I am notoriously cranky.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]

How large is the wedding? Is anyone bringing SO's that are not also friends of the bride or groom? It seems weird to have a wedding and not allow people to bring their long-term partners regardless. But it might alter your decision to know if you are being treated equally or singled out.
posted by rocketpup at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you don't go, you can kiss that friendship good-bye -- not that it sounds like it was much of one to begin with, frankly.

If you do go and take your boyfriend, you can also kiss that friendship good-bye, and the whole evening is likely to be awkward.

If you go alone, you're going to hate it because you'll spend the whole time upset that Boyfriend isn't there with you.

Decline with regrets. If she calls and asks why you're not coming, say, "I would love to, but I also love spending time with Boyfriend." If she comes to her senses and says, "Oh, shit, I'm sorry, of course he's invited," then go and be happy for them. If she puts her foot down, then say, "I'm sorry, that won't be possible."
posted by Etrigan at 11:47 AM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

You definitely do not have to go. Plus ones are pretty standard at least for guests in longer-term relationships; this is especially odd as you are close enough that they felt they could ask you for custom, discounted jewelry services. Do not invite your boyfriend.

Whether just sending a nice card and best wishes will dramatically impact your future relationship with this couple is something you will have to weigh out, but it seems far kinder to you to avoid an evening where you are cranky, pressed for time, and missing out on your own partner.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:47 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Politely decline, they know why you're not going to go. Don't make drama out of it, just say you're not going to be able to make it.

You're not overreacting, it's horrible not to invite someone's SO to a wedding and it's even more horrible since you've been helping them out significantly. It would make me seriously reconsider my friendship with the couple.
posted by lydhre at 11:47 AM on July 25, 2013 [15 favorites]

After reviewing the details here I don't see anything compelling you to attend this event.
posted by bleep at 11:47 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

You're welcome to decline the invitation. You're also welcome to attend the event by yourself. Whatever you do, be classy about it, even though it might be hard to turn the proverbial other cheek.
posted by evoque at 11:48 AM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

It's ruder for her not to invite your boyfriend than for you to decline. Stay home.
posted by something something at 11:51 AM on July 25, 2013 [11 favorites]

They get to pick who they ask to come to their wedding. They did not pick your boyfriend. There are many considerations in planning who to invite and who not to, and they aren't necessarily driven on the individual level (that is to say that the bride knowing you want to bring your boyfriend may not change her ability to invite him, let alone her desire to).

You get to pick whether or not to go. It is ok to choose not to go.

(You do not get to pick to go and bring your boyfriend anyway, of course.)
posted by brentajones at 11:52 AM on July 25, 2013 [24 favorites]

I think, you can politely decline without explaining why, but feel free to not offer them anymore jewelry services in the future. It's strange that they're being so skimpy with not allowing plus ones at an event where there will be no dinner served, since catering is a big factor in the cost of a reception. I don't think it's out of line to mentally consider the jewelry your gift to them. The event sounds like sort of a gift grab to me.
posted by SillyShepherd at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]

Wait--did you ask specifically "Can I bring a guest?" or something more like "Is Frank invited?" Does the bride know your SO? How close is this friendship? Is she usually like this? I'm just asking because I can imagine a scenario where I have a VERY LIMITED amount of guests I can bring and I would have to make some tough choices. One wedding spot we almost chose was going to be for 50 people only and that would have limited me to family and a few close, close friends. Just one scenario to consider but there may be something else going on?
posted by biscuits at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

it's horrible not to invite someone's SO to a wedding

Opinions vary on that. I don't think it's necessarily horrible at all, just very traditional, presuming that only friends and their spouses will be invited, without exception. If it pains you to be without your boyfriend, don't go. The bride, unless she is in fact horrible, will understand or even more likely not notice because she's so busy. Send her a nice gift with a note. If it's insulting, decline and never speak to her again.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I agree that its crappy to invite one half of a couple but not the other. However, it's been made clear that you can either a) go by yourself, or b) not go at all. Do not just bring your boyfriend along anyway, that's rude rude rude. Doesn't matter if she was rude first, you shouldn't retaliate by being rude back.

Bottom line is, it's not your party, it's theirs. She gave you your options, and now you have to choose between those two not-so-awesome scenarios.

And, personally, I wouldn't toss out the whole friendship based on this one situation. Weddings can turn the most normal of people into raving lunatics. Give her a pass this one time and revisit the friendship once she's back from her honeymoon and things have a chance to return to normal.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

bridesmaids necklaces and cufflinks and the wedding bands and the bride's custom engagement ring, all done at my cost for materials. that's probably about $2500 worth of labour

Are you sure she's inviting you as a friend and not as a much-appreciated vendor?
posted by headnsouth at 11:54 AM on July 25, 2013 [76 favorites]

If this were just you not getting a plus-one I'd say it's a little bit off-putting but not that unusual especially if a couple is trying to save money or manage the size of the wedding, and you should either go alone or politely decline, depending on your preference.

Given the time/money you contributed to the wedding not being invited with a plus one is capital R Rude. I agree with everyone else that bringing your SO uninvited is gauche and a terrible idea, and your options are still suck it up and go alone or decline to attend. It's probably a waste of energy to get upset about things like this but you would have the right to, in my opinion. You certainly have the right to (politely) decline the invitation.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:54 AM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

Skip it with a clear conscience.

I join my voice to the chorus of OH HELL NO to the ludicrous suggestion above that you show up with your BF anyway. That is a bad rude idea.
posted by elizardbits at 11:55 AM on July 25, 2013 [16 favorites]

No one ever "has" to go to a wedding (well, outside immediate family, I guess). It's hard for us to judge exactly how rude this bride is being, though, without knowing a bit more about the situation here. Is this one of those things where you and she are good friends but she never sees your partner in a social setting? Are they in a situation where the guest list was really overstuffed in some way and they had to make some really hard decisions about who to invite (both partners have a zillion cousins and the wedding's in a small hall)? There are all kinds of constraints that potentially could be in play here that make her actions less egregious than they seem from your perspective.

In the end, I guess, the decision of whether or not to go should be based on whether you, personally, value this friendship and what to celebrate her marriage. Weddings are famous for making otherwise reasonable people do crazy things. If the friendship is an important one to you then presumably that means you don't normally think of this friend as selfish or ungenerous or unthinking. If this isn't a kind of "last straw that made me realize what a bitch she always was" situation then maybe the bigger, more generous and ultimately more fulfilling response is simply to go along by yourself, show her how happy you are for her on her wedding day, have as good a time as you can without your partner, and assume that when the wedding craziness wears off she'll return to being the person you were friends with in the first place.
posted by yoink at 11:57 AM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I like to say that you're never required to go to a social event. That's why you're sent an invitation instead of a summons.
posted by xingcat at 11:57 AM on July 25, 2013 [44 favorites]

Would you regret not being at this person's wedding if you didn't go?

I mean, it seems a shame to miss it out of spite, and some of your reasons not to go are silly. (Travel of less than an hour?)

That said, I've declined on plenty of wedding invites because the barrier to going was high and my relationship to the couple was not that close. You're not obligated to go to every wedding you're invited to.

That said, if this is a close friend and you'll regret not going, you should get over it and just go.
posted by Sara C. at 11:57 AM on July 25, 2013 [14 favorites]

There are some people who honestly believe that if a couple isn't legally married, you aren't obligated to invite them both to the wedding. I ran into one of them during a friendly hypothetical conversation at a party recently and it was one of those bizarre "So YOU are the person we keep talking about on MetaFilter!" moments.

You're not obligated to go, as has been stated to death already. If you want to maintain the friendship and chalk this up to wedding related battiness, make up a good excuse, send an OK gift, and put it behind you. Not attending "on principle" or making clear that's why you're not going will effectively kill the friendship -- your choice.
posted by telegraph at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2013

Well, of course you don't "have" to go to any wedding, but we don't know enough about her/your friendship to guess whether she'll take offence if you don't. Going with your SO is not an option, IMO.

I understand your feeling slighted, and it does sound like she has been rude, but my guess from what you've told us is that she is probably trying to keep numbers to a manageable amount, therefore doesn't want to give everyone a +1, and is therefore being cautious about who she does give +1s to in order to avoid a slew of "well, euphoria066 got to bring her boyfriend, why can't I bring my boyfriend/girlfriend/aunt/goldfish?!" i.e, the charitable interpretation is that she's trying to make sure she can invite as many of the people she really wants to have there as possible.

I'm also going to go out on a limb and guess that she probably doesn't have a good handle on the value of the work you've done for her, unless you've told her.

It's not the Miss Manners approach, but if she's otherwise a good friend you don't want to lose, I'd tell her you feel hurt. Not in a "I did all this work!" way, not in a "you MUST give me a +1!" way, just as a friend who wants to share in her love with the person you love. I think sometimes we get so caught up in etiquette ideals that we forget that etiquette is supposed to be about smoothing social interactions and communication.
posted by lwb at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

I think I might say something like "Since live-in bf is not invited to this celebration of love, I am not coming. Thanks." If you haven't already, you might also make a point of spelling out to them the value of what you have gifted. People routinely underestimate the value of such things. They might even view it as a "cheap" gift since (unless I misread that) you only gave of your time and didn't spend anything on it. They might be thinking you are being a cheapskate.
posted by Michele in California at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

You have to travel at your own cost. Dinner will not be served. You have provided the couple with extensive labor for free. You are now expected to go alone and spend additional money on dressing up for their theme.

I hesitate to say this so bluntly but I don't think this person thinks of you as a friend, as an equal, or as a person with agency and her own life and interests.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:01 PM on July 25, 2013 [35 favorites]

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Be loving and magnanimous in your gratitude for the generous invitation and your sincere regrets that you will not be able to attend. No excuse, no reasons, just a simple, loving "Declines with regrets."

Also, although I know it is well intended, I think if you write "I hope you and [groom] have a happy life together" you are inviting the inference that you will not be a part of that happy life. If you add anything like that, say that you're so sorry you'll miss their special day.

Then, on the day of the wedding, have a "hen" party with your boyfriend during which you bitch about your wasted time and expense and her ingratitude, but not before swearing him to secrecy for life.
posted by janey47 at 12:01 PM on July 25, 2013 [9 favorites]

Thing is, the decision-making process regarding +1s can be complicated in ways you're not necessarily taking into account. Maybe she's got a bunch of younger relatives with loud, obnoxious recent SOs that she's hoping to discreetly slough off by making this blanket policy. Maybe somebody else is paying for part of the wedding and that person has very strong traditional views about what constitutes a "couple" for social purposes. Maybe if they invited everyone's partner, the total wedding party wouldn't fit into the venue. If you think she's kind of a bitch anyway, then you're certainly within your rights to assume the worst about her motives, but I'm just saying that there are possible explanations for this scenario that don't involve any kind of deliberate insult to you and your boyfriend.

With that said, I also don't see that there's any reason you should go to the wedding if you think you wouldn't have a good time. But in your place, I'd invent some excuse scenario (BF has a colonoscopy, need to drive him home that day/ suddenly turns out you're required to travel for work/whatever) to provide a plausible reason for your declining. It doesn't have to be airtight or anything, since I doubt the bride will be running reconnaissance, but making this ostensibly about something other than the lack of a +1 (while less satisfying for you) might help preserve a relationship that it's not clear deserves to be completely jettisoned at this point.
posted by Bardolph at 12:03 PM on July 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

Uh, you hand-made their rings? That's fucked up.
posted by rhizome at 12:03 PM on July 25, 2013 [64 favorites]

Yeah, she's being rude, but I can completely understand how she could have come up with a "no +1s" rule - it's probably, as someone said above, that she can't accommodate all the +1s and doesn't want to make bad blood with picking and choosing.

Of course you don't have to go. The travel time thing is silly, but the fact that you'd have to sink more money into costumes and whatever is... eh, I just hate that stuff, so maybe I'm not the right person to opine, but it sounds like an annoying imposition to me.

I would totally tell her why, though. Just "sorry I can't come, I really don't go out to big events without my partner."
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:05 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pretty much it depends whether you wanna preserve the friendship more than you want to bear the inconvenience of going alone and/or the bad mojo that has been stirred up in general for her.

It's weird, I'm in a similar situation right now. I very callously (via text message!) got un-MOH'd because I couldn't drop everything to get a fitting this weekend (prior plans, but I let her know I'm free the 12th onwards) -- this for a wedding that is eight months away. My feeling is, she's not much of a friend to treat me like that anyway, and refuse to listen to why I need to reschedule. And I apologized (even though I didn't do anything wrong). We've known each other since elementary school, and I'm totally willing to not go at this point. So, seriously, you have every reason to not go given you've invested way more for way less.

Either way you're kind of stuck, and someone is going to be hurt. Thing is, you're already hurt, so... and you don't exactly wanna be at her wedding all bitter about things, either. She should have people that wanna be there. So unless she apologizes profusely and somehow makes everything okay by inviting both of you suddenly, don't go, don't waste time thinking about it.
posted by Dimes at 12:05 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Does the bride or groom dislike your boyfriend for some reason? And what exactly did the bride say when you asked if the lack of a guest on your invitation is a mistake? I can't figure out whether she is deliberately excluding him because someone doesn't like him (in which case I'd say don't go to the wedding but try to figure out sometime after the event is over why the dislike is there, is something up?) or whether your friend is being extremely selfish in asking for your extremely generous jewelry services without shelling out for a boyfriend invitation (but I agree with Michelle in California that she may have no idea what the value of her jewelry gift is). In the latter case whether or not I'd go would depend on what she had said I guess. But I'd be leaning toward no.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:07 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't think it is rude to decline, but to avoid it being awkward you may want to come up with a less confrontational explanation, such as having a scheduling conflict or needing to be present with your boyfriend for something else.

My wedding was quite small (less than 50 guests) and we had a few guests that we needed to invite without their boyfriend/girlfriend (spouses were always included) but we talked candidly with them up front about this. We also made it clear that we understood if they couldn't make it but that we had some constraints and that is how it played out. Everyone was cool about it. Maybe your engaged friends are in a similar decision but they have not been as pro active as they should have been about it. Certainly they should have broached this before accepting such a generous jewelry gift from you.
posted by dgran at 12:07 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just don't go. If she asks why, say its because you weren't give a plus one for your long term partner to attend.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:12 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

I view "live with" & "own a house with" as easily comparable to "spouse" so differentiating doesn't make sense to me, either.

If she's a good friend, I'd probably explain (if it's true), that what she's doing is seriously & possibly permanently, damaging a long term relationship, just to let her know what the stakes are. She's probably consumed by financial fears and maybe not looking at things properly.

If she sticks to it, or gives in with a huge amount of pissyness, I'd decline with regrets and write her off as a friend for the time being.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:13 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I totally get that weddings are expensive and guests lists are fraught with problems and trimming has to happen somewhere. But. The flip side of that equation is that weddings as a single person with no plus-one can frequently suck donkey eggs, and people need to balance those competing interests.

It's entirely possible that your friend is a lovely person, and this wedding has made her temporarily go insane. In that case, I would encourage you to skip it completely, decline with regrets that you have to miss their big day.

Make plans to do something you really enjoy with your boyfriend, and see if she regains her sanity after the wedding.
posted by ambrosia at 12:16 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think it's odd that people are suggesting you dissemble about the reason for non-attendance. You don't have to be accusatory about it, just be honest -- it isn't a good time without him. And furthermore, I think it's fine for you to let her know that you're taken aback by her not stretching to invite him as a courtesy to you, since you cared enough about her to have done all the jewelry work for free, and she was fine accepting it. She can't apologize if she doesn't know how she offended you.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:16 PM on July 25, 2013 [9 favorites]

I think it's disrespectful not to invite a live-in partner, and whatever etiquette you may have breached by asking for clarification, I think it's doubly disrespectful that she didn't say, "Oh no! That was a mistake. Of course Jim is invited!"--and, frankly, if you've been involved with the preparations for this wedding AND she knows about your relationship status AND you're good friends, I'm not sure it's actually rude to ask her a direct question about bringing your SO when you genuinely thought it was a mistake.

I think you have a couple of options. You can certainly decline with a clear conscience, without further explanation. But you could also call her up and say something like, "I'm pretty hurt that Jim is excluded from your wedding. I understand that you're working under the constraints of your budget and venue, but I'm struggling to understand this particular choice. I'm in a serious committed relationship with Jim. I assumed you'd invite both of us. Can you help me understand what's going on?"

I realize that having the above conversation goes against all kinds of wedding guest etiquette advice. But, if she's a friend you value having in your life, I'd try to have a conversation about this while she can still make it up to you.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:18 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

She has an RSVP card, right? Just decline. You don't need to say anything. You don't need to speak to her. I think that "well, sure, euphoria put in 50+ hours of labour as a free gift, but we don't need to invite the person who she owns a house with" is so rude (even if the wedding were 10 guests) that there is no way to top that.
posted by jeather at 12:19 PM on July 25, 2013 [22 favorites]

As a general point, I think it's poor etiquette not to let your guests bring their serious partners. I also think people should plan the expense of their wedding by first figuring out who should be present and then figuring out what they can afford to spend per person, rather than vice versa.

On the other hand I've also seen a lot of wedding situations where weird logistical or interpersonal issues came into play. ("I can't invite *your* SO because I'm telling people 'no significant others' because otherwise I have to also invite my coworker's boyfriend who gets drunk and goes on racist tirades at all social occasions" or "The venue pulled a fast one and it turns out there's room for 50 fewer people than I thought and I'm not sure what I'm going to do" and so on.)

If you're willing to give the bride the benefit of the doubt, then really commit to that: tell yourself she has an unknown but presumably excellent reason why she can't include your boyfriend.

If you don't want to give her the benefit of the doubt but want to work it through and retain a close friendship, then find a time (maybe not in the middle of wedding hecticness) to say something like "When you didn't let me bring my boyfriend, I felt sad because it seemed like maybe we weren't as close as I thought we were, especially in contrast with all the care I put into making a gift for you," and see what she says. (I would not bring up the monetary value of these items myself. YMMV, obviously, but I think actual dollar amounts mean different things to different people, whereas the real crux of the matter is that she doesn't seem to reciprocate your degree of devotion.)

If you don't have a sufficiently close friendship with the bride that you can either discuss it openly or tacitly forgive her, then I would decline the wedding invitation and quietly dial back involvement in her life to the point where you feel like your investment in her is being reciprocated. Which might mean doing a total fade from her life, depending.

From the other answers this is obviously not everyone's style, but I don't like sending ambiguous social signals, especially when there's the potential to ruin a friendship over it. I would try to be as clear as possible while also trying to be charitable in interpreting why the boyfriend wasn't invited.

So even if I didn't delve into the "I felt sad" portion of the conversation, I would straight up say something along the lines of "I would have loved to come to your wedding with my SO, but I'm not comfortable coming alone. Best wishes, and I look forward to spending some time with you later." But I'd also first spend a little while processing my annoyance and griping about it to someone from a different social circle so that it would never get back to her. :)
posted by shattersock at 12:21 PM on July 25, 2013 [12 favorites]

Don't go, and don't do any more freebies for this Bridezilla.

If you were totally single --- as in not even dating --- then yeah, I could see inviting only you without a guest. But not merely dating but actually living with someone, let alone owning a house with them.... that kinda says "longterm relationship here! no surprises, nothing new in this situation, we've been known as couple for quite a while!" to me. But knowing you have a signifigant other and refusing to either specifically invite them by name or even invite you +1? Majorly rude on her part: far more rude than your asking if that was a mistake.

Decline to attend: "thank you, but I'll be unable to attend your wedding. I hope you have a lovely day". Do not accept and then bring SO anyway: that just brings you down to her level.
posted by easily confused at 12:23 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Send her a nice gift with a note.

You have already gifted this couple with the labor involved in creating their engagement ring, wedding rings, bridesmaid necklaces, and cufflinks. You don't need to send a gift.
posted by lalex at 12:27 PM on July 25, 2013 [60 favorites]

I wouldn't be surprised if they decided against all plus ones for space/budget reasons, and they're following a wedding etiquette guide that says only married couples can be invited as couples, and they've gone letter-of-the-law with it. Maybe they're oblivious, maybe they've realized after the fact that they've fucked up. Maybe a super-conservative relative is in charge of the guest list. Maybe it was a case of "if we invite euphoria066's boyfriend, these ten other people are going to insist on bringing dates and it'll be a disaster."

If she's a close friend, I'd tell her, "I'm a little disappointed that my boyfriend's not invited. You know how close we are and I don't feel comfortable coming without him." Be clear, but softball it, because if you two are good friends she will feel bad at the realization, and it's very possible that her hands are tied at this point. And don't try to guilt her into changing the invitation, just let her know how you feel.

If she's not that close, decline with regrets. Give the "I wouldn't feel comfortable coming without my partner" line if pressed, but otherwise don't make a fuss.

It'll be hard to do, but err on the side of cutting her slack about the decision unless she's being a real jerk. It's really hard to plan a wedding without inadvertently upsetting someone.

Regardless, it's okay to decline. Going and having a terrible time might end up being worse for the friendship than not going.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:27 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I got married about a year ago. I invited a good friend that I hadn't seen in years, and mistakenly left her boyfriend off of the invitation. She sent me a very kind note saying she was really looking forward to coming, and didn't want to throw off our numbers, but wouldn't feel right not coming with her boyfriend of 3 years. I felt like an ass and assured her that the BF was welcome.

I read and reread your question, reeeeally hoping that your situation, like mine, could all be an honest mistake. Sounds like it isn't. Crap.

While I don't believe your friend is obligated to invite everyone's SO, you're clearly in a very serious relationship--it's not like you just met this guy--and considering all you've done for the bride, it's callous beyond belief for her to (a) not invite the both of you, and (b) turn down your request. (All that said, if you bring your boyfriend to the wedding regardless, you will be perceived as the asshole in this situation.)

After everything you've done, if you opt not to go, you owe it to yourself to tell her why. You don't need to raise hell about it, but be firm and be clear. Fingersandtoes said it best above: "sorry I can't come, I really don't go out to big events without my partner."
posted by duffell at 12:28 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Decline. You don't have to go. If there is a silent message sent with that, it's on her for sending you the silent message by not giving you a plus one.

You are not required to spend any more anguish or thought on this. Ball's in bride's court.
posted by inturnaround at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wow. Whole lotta grar here. To answer your key questions directly, if I structured my wedding this way and my friend said they wouldn't come because they didn't have a plus one, I would be a little miffed because isn't my marriage and company enough? But it wouldn't be a friendship-ending ordeal by any means. Then again, your friend may hold grudges more than I do, so it's tough to say how it will play out. You aren't required to go to a social event like this by any means, but you obviously must realize that your friend may be hurt if you don't attend. You need to weigh that against your own feelings, obviously.

As for the friend's decision not to invite your SO, weddings are fantastically complicated things in our society, with lots of different social and familial waters to navigate. Those waters differ for everyone, and how they react to the outside pressures is different for everyone. Maybe your friend straight-up doesn't like SO; finds them obnoxious and doesn't want them to get all drunk and obnoxious at the wedding. Or maybe Friend has a secret crush on SO and doesn't want them there. Or parents are at the purse strings are are dictating the guest list. Or the Wedding Book from 1950 said that only married guests get to bring spouses, and the Wedding Book must be obeyed. Or a million other reasons. Don't let it keep you up nights, and if you can give Friend the benefit of the doubt and accept that it probably isn't personal, because it probably isn't, then let it slide. In my view, the bride and groom basically get a pass on their wedding day; as long as they're not being malicious and are being, at worse, selfish, they get to be selfish for this one event. Don't get caught up in thinking this event is All About You, because in most situations if Your feelings are getting stepped on, it probably has a lot more due to the crushing weight of everything else that is going on and pure carelessness, rather than any sort of malice. Give them the benefit of the doubt and try not to worry about it, whatever you decide.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [6 favorites]

Just as a data point, I have been with my fiance for about 7 years, and he has been invited to several of my friends' weddings. And his cousin got married when we had only been together for a year or two and I couldn't attend because it was out of town, and the family was mega-disappointed that I couldn't go. So yeah, this is not okay, or normal, especially since you made the jewelry.
posted by radioamy at 12:38 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

If you were not a jewelry-maker, is this friend someone you're close enough to that of course you'd be invited to their wedding? I'd almost read the situation as: since you're doing a favor for them (jewelry) they're doing a favor for you (invitation they wouldn't have extended otherwise)... but they've forgotten the fact that being invited to a wedding that involves expense, hassle, and going solo isn't exactly a favor simply because they'll be spending another $40/plate on it. Just say "no thank you" and move on; you don't have to explain the situation, and honestly, they may be in such wedding-centric (self-centered) mode that they won't even wonder why.
posted by aimedwander at 12:39 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

The more I think about this the more annoyed I am getting with the bride. It is not a dinner where you might have to spend $30-100/person on food where I could understand a bit better the cost being a real limitation. It's not even clear that there is any food at all. The only reasons I can think of are the venue having hard limits on how many are invited where the wedding itself is pretty small, but even then this is hard to accept unless she doesn't have any idea how much you "spent" in labor on her gift (to me it seems possible that you donated more in labor than they are spending on their wedding) or has a personal reason to exclude your bf.

All that, plus costumes? No food, but please wear a ridiculous outfit to satisfy our whimsical desires? I would not go.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:40 PM on July 25, 2013 [11 favorites]

Your friend is treating you badly here, no question.

You have the opportunity to give her a wedding gift more valuable than any tangible item: your forgiveness. In days to come, she will remember that she treated you badly and the extraordinary grace that you showed her on her wedding day. It's the sort of act that can change you in her eyes from an ordinary friend to an extraordinary one.

Probably not an easy task by any measure. But it's an excellent thing, and you sound like an excellent person.

Good luck with your decision.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:42 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's a bummer that she didn't invite your BF but if you want to stay friends with her, don't poke the crazy. We don't know why he's not invited. It could be something totally benign. I'd decline the invitation and send a card, saying something like, best wishes and hope to catch up when you get back from your honeymoon. If pressed about it, I'd probably defer with "something came up" or "we have a family thing," either of which can comfortably accommodate your real reasons for not going. And I would do something fun with your BF instead. She might not want to talk to you again but if so, that's her choice. You chose to be classy and assertive without being a doormat.

And please don't just bring your boyfriend. My wedding day was a bit of a blur but one of the few things I remember is who said they would show and didn't and who brought uninvited guests.
posted by kat518 at 12:43 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

There are some people who honestly believe that if a couple isn't legally married, you aren't obligated to invite them both to the wedding. I ran into one of them during a friendly hypothetical conversation at a party recently and it was one of those bizarre "So YOU are the person we keep talking about on MetaFilter!" moments.

Count me as one of "those people". In fact, I will go as far as to say that the bride and groom are not obligated to invite anyone to their wedding ceremony. Not OP's boyfriend, not their own parents, and not their guests' children.

Of course, this lack of obligation goes both ways. OP, you certainly have no obligation to attend this social event. If you won't go without your boyfriend, do not go and send back your response card "declines with regrets". If you decide to go, go by yourself. In either event, there is no need for further discussion of your "plus one". You had that discussion and it is over. Further ado about it is just drama. I do not think this is a friendship-ending event.

On preview, what craven_morhead said.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:44 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

and my friend said they wouldn't come because they didn't have a plus one

This isn't "I hate to go to weddings by myself, wah!" It's "I am ignoring the fact that you and your partner are a social unit, just as I am with my fiance, soon to be husband."
posted by small_ruminant at 12:45 PM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

Can you discreetly ask anyone else who is invited whether their partner-but-not-spouse is attending? I am planning a small wedding. I am fairly budget conscious. I have read everything about how to graciously keep your guest list small. It pretty much all says, "technically you CAN invite married couples only, everyone else comes alone, but that's a pretty clear way of saying "your enjoyment of this event is my lowest priority".
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:48 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

but that's a pretty clear way of saying "your enjoyment of this event is my lowest priority".

Pretty much. We ended up having our wedding at a regional park because we decided that having everyone there, even small and rambunctious kids, was more important than having the perfect, gorgeous venue.

(And it turned out really fun!)
posted by small_ruminant at 12:51 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

Even if your friend has a very good reason for not inviting your boyfriend, you still are not obliged to attend. You are not obliged to think this very good (but yet secret, because she didn't explain it when you asked about it) reason is good enough, and you're not obliged to stay friends or to end the friendship. Even if you forgive her, you are not obliged to stay friends.

Some of this depends on how close you are, but if it were me, I'd probably send regrets and then see my friend does or says after this to decide what to do from then on.
posted by jeather at 12:51 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Hey friend, I am really sorry that I caught you off guard by asking you about whether or not there had been a mistake regarding the attendance of [Insert BF's name here]. After giving it some more thought though I wanted to talk to you about it again because him not being invited when he's my defacto husband and when other guests are bringing their partners really threw ME off guard. I was under the impression that after all the work we did together on the jewelry for your wedding you had come to know BF and that it was clear he and I are a unit. He's definitely disappointed about not being invited. Is there a cap on your attendance list? We were really hoping to be able to celebrate your marriage as a team since we are so excited and happy for you and your partner."

If she says anything other than something that changes your mind, you can then say, "I totally understand, but it would feel really strange for me to go solo, so I'm going to have to decline with regrets. Much love to you and your partner -- we both will be sending you lots of good thoughts the day of."
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:53 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

anyways, awkward conversation short, boyfriend is not invited.

Would you terribly mind expanding the details of the awkward conversation a bit? I kind of feel like there are details in it that might help us answer the question. In particular, the reasons that your boyfriend is not invited.

In particular:

Is there a rule that a +1 only applies to married couples? In other words, is he not invited because he's not married to you?

Or are other unmarried couples attending?

Is there some sort of disagreement or bad blood between the bride or groom and your boyfriend?

How did she handle it when you asked? Did she shut down the conversation, or was it more of a, "You know we love (boyfriend's name), and we'd love for him to be able to attend, but we can't make that happen because of (reason beyond our control). I'm really sorry!"

The answer to your question will depend really heavily on the answers to these questions.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:55 PM on July 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

How big is the wedding? Are they inviting everyone as a single or just you? I ask because what if they are really really broke and they are just trying to have the wedding that they can afford? What if they can only afford to have something with the 15 closest people each for the bride and the groom?
posted by cairdeas at 12:56 PM on July 25, 2013

When Mrs. Brownrd and I got married, the MIL informed us that she and her husband could only pay for 75 people. Our guest list ended up looking rather cruel - some co-workers invited, some not. Some friends invited, some of their SOs not. In hindsight what we should have done is elope, but we were young and stoopid. Your friend may have a similar issue. Don't be offended - either go or don't go but there's something going on here that you may not know about.
posted by brownrd at 1:00 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

To answer your question: No, it would not be a friendship-ending offense if I were the bride, because behavior this bad implies to me that either she doesn't want you at the wedding and is doing everything shy of not inviting you, or has such bad blood with the partner that your not coming is preferable over him coming. Send regrets with a clear conscience.

Whether this is friendship-ending on your part is entirely another matter. Were I in your shoes, it might be.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:00 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Some potentially mitigating factors on the bride's side, which you can probably rule out or not: maybe she didn't quite realize how serious your relationship is for whatever reason; maybe the numbers had to be decided a long time ago (relevant if the relationship hasn't been a long one?); maybe she doesn't realize how much the work that you did was worth (not that unlikely, especially if the cost of materials was high enough that they did still have to pay what seemed to them like a large sum).

I would probably go and be gracious about it, just for the sake of not cutting off my nose to spite my face (you say you like this friend, and maybe it really was just a failure to think things through on her part). I'd rather look back and think I erred on the side of a boring evening than otherwise. On the other hand I'd also probably disregard the theme, not stay for all that long, and go do something nice with my partner after.
posted by egg drop at 1:01 PM on July 25, 2013

God, what a jerk.


Later on in life (and out of spite) invite only the bride or only the groom to your wedding. Make sure the one you choose to invite is also the one who makes you the rings by hand for a sweet ass deal. Don't serve them dinner or drinks, but make them dress up in a costume.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2013 [13 favorites]

should I grin and bear it? it's just one night? maybe I'm overreacting.

You clearly don't want to. So don't go.

(And you're not overreacting. And don't make up a fake excuse if she asks, which she sounds too self-absorbed to care.)
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 1:12 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thing is, the decision-making process regarding +1s can be complicated in ways you're not necessarily taking into account. Maybe she's got a bunch of younger relatives with loud, obnoxious recent SOs that she's hoping to discreetly slough off by making this blanket policy...

I hear what you are saying, but that's a total cop out. If you are not adult enough to deal with these conflicts without hurting your own friends, you shouldn't be getting married. Even if she has some crazy blanket policy against SOs attending (gosh, won't that be a fun party!), the bride should at least make an exception for the friend who, at personal cost and labor, made her wedding rings for her.

To answer your key questions directly, if I structured my wedding this way and my friend said they wouldn't come because they didn't have a plus one, I would be a little miffed because isn't my marriage and company enough?

Nope. Sorry, but friendship goes both ways. If you really want your friend to attend your wedding, of course you invite her live-in boyfriend as well!

OP, I don't feel that it was rude at all for you to ask for clarification about your invitation. The situation is so bizarre here that, frankly, if I were you, I would have assumed a mistake had been made when I saw that my very good friend had excluded my SO. Friends don't pull that crap on each other. It's not like, when she asked you about the rings, you said, "Oh, hey, I will make a wedding ring for YOU, but not your groom-to-be, because I don't do plus ones!"

The people above suggesting you politely decline with no excuse, so as to protect your very selfish friend's feelings are better people than I am, I guess. Ditto anyone suggesting you send an additional gift on top of all that you have already done.

Personally, I would call her up, and say that while you are very disappointed that you will not be able to share in their special moment --you know, when they exchange the rings you handcrafted for them, which you were particularly looking forward to--you cannot see any way you could attend without your SO, as it would be so needlessly disrespectful and hurtful not to include him that you just can't justify making the trip alone. And then I would hang up.

But that's just me.

Hopefully, if she is really your friend, as soon as you hung up she would realize her faux pas, call you back up and apologize to both of you for excluding your guy in the first place.

If that didn't happen, though, at least I'd have the consolation of not having spent umpteen more dollars going out of my way to attend the wedding of a "friend" who valued me so little.
posted by misha at 1:16 PM on July 25, 2013 [12 favorites]

You been invited to a party with the instructions to leave your partner at home. You are not overreacting.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:21 PM on July 25, 2013 [9 favorites]

Please please don't jump to the conclusion that this speaks loads about how she values you as a friend or values your relationship with your SO.

Weddings can easily get out of a bride's control. Sometimes budget or family politics make it tough for a bride and groom to invite every one they wish they could.

Before you make a decision, I would suggest asking why your SO wasn't invited. If it is just an issue of not having enough space, then ask if he can be on the short list if someone RSVPs "no."

Regarding the jewelry, consider that as your gift to the bride and groom. Yes, it was a higher cost to you than you wanted, but you probably originally lowered the price as a favor to a friend instead of expecting something in return. Consider raising your prices for friends if it regularly puts you in the red.

Also, there's nothing inherently wrong about attending a wedding without your significant other, but if you feel uncomfortable doing so, just RSVP no.
posted by donut_princess at 1:28 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

If I still wanted to go, I would go, jerky bridal behavior aside. And if I didn't want to go, I would send a very friendly decline note, i.e. "Sorry I'm not going to make it -- I wish you the loveliest day ever!" She'll be a little surprised and/or hurt, and she'll probably understand why you're declining. She might turn it in her head into a story where you are a big jerk ("euphoria wanted us to invite her SO, and we said no because my mother-in-law would only pay for 35 people at the reception, and then euphoria wouldn't come at all! i had no power in the situation! what a petty jerk! i'm not going to talk to her in the future") -- but if she does so, then I think she has such a low level of self-awareness that she is probably going to be a crummy friend in the long term anyway.
posted by feets at 1:29 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

AskMetafilter is filled with people who think there's some absolute moral value regarding wedding invitations. You're welcome to think that way and prune your circle of friends accordingly, if you like, but I hope you look above and see what a variety of positions there are before you listen to the They Are Wrong And Bad People crowd as if they're speaking inviolate truth. Your feelings are your own but don't convince yourself there's some factual Right and Wrong.

My now-wife and I considered eloping but decided we like throwing a party, so we reached into our pockets and spent an amount of money that exceeded what I had ever paid for a car. We didn't have a firm rule about relationship statuses and plus ones and decided we'd err on the side of generosity of spirit - our goal was to be happy in celebrating with people we care about and we wanted to have people who wanted to come. And if anyone had called us rude for where we drew the line or complained about how we prioritized who we invited (or much of anything else about our wedding choices) I would have encouraged them to go fuck themselves sideways with a rusty pole and that they should feel free to invite who they wanted to their own event.

Dealing with the list is hard, and if you feel like this indicates something about a disparity in your friendship you're entitled to that. But your friend is dealing with this challenge times 100 or so, depending on family and friends and friends of family. If they're not the only people opening their wallet they also have other folks with a say in the matter.

As far as this sense of quid pro quo about your crazy discounted work for her, take it as a lesson - never do this sort of thing w/o deciding up front that the gratification is its own reward. If you approach favors with a need for balance in your friendships you're going to have a lifetime of anger over it. They may not realize just how much you've done for them or what you passed up to do this. Bail people out of jail, lend them money, help them paint, cook them a meal, whatever - do it because you want to and without expectations you're going to get reciprocation.

You may decline this invitation w/o explanation or guilt. If you really want to make an issue about your friendship over it you may feel free to say more, but you can be reasonably certain that she's not going to give a hot buttered damn until after it's all over - she's got a bazillion other things on her mind beyond one guest.
posted by phearlez at 1:29 PM on July 25, 2013 [12 favorites]

I agree with most people: she is being a giant jerk (you made her fucking WEDDING RINGS) and you should not go. I would probably respond with a polite-but-bitchy comment explaining the expense you've undergone, and that you don't make a habit of going to parties without the person who is for all intents and purposes, your husband. But you should be a better person than me!

(And yes, I get that guests lists are limited, but if you're really so limited that you can't invite someone's live-in co-homeowner boyfriend than I think you're just kind of an asshole. Or you should be having a talk with every person on the guest list whose SO you're not inviting to explain the situation. Even then I still think it's rude.)
posted by good day merlock at 1:36 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

You absolutely cannot invite your significant other to the wedding over the wishes of the bride. It is not your call, and it's entirely possible that they can't allow anyone in who wasn't invited or didn't RSVP without exceeding the maximum legal occupancy of the venue.

Do you know how many people she's invited relative to the capacity of the wedding venue, or some sort of financial constraint that might stop her from giving everyone a +1?

If I were you, I would decline to attend.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, as far as the financial constraint goes: unless the OP bringing the SO approaches even one tenth of $2500 of cost incurred to the couple for said SO to come to the wedding; wear a costume; and not eat dinner, that shit is fucking rude. Call it Jesse's Less Than One Tenth Of The Amount Means They Are Assholes rule of etiquette.

Or maybe the wedding is on a schoolbus and there aren't enough seats for everyone.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:47 PM on July 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

I find that social relationships are so much easier if one doesn't get emotionally involved in other people's weddings. Just let it go, and feel good that you did a nice thing for your friend by way of making her the jewelry.

Attend the wedding, or not, but don't give it too much more thought.
posted by stowaway at 1:47 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

If you must attend, don't follow the theme, just dress nicely. Attend the ceremony, say hello to the bride and groom, and then leave to go home to the loving arms of your SO, no different than if you stopped by a professional development lecture after work.

Quite honestly, without a dinner, it sounds like you could get away with having the wedding consume less than 30 minutes of your time, not counting travel.
posted by deanc at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

You are free not to go, and it's not rude of you not to go; it's perfectly reasonable not to go to an event you won't enjoy without your boyfriend. Weddings are big enterprises with many moving parts and it seems very unlikely your friendship will end over this, unless you want it to.

It would certainly be rude to bring your boyfriend unannounced, or to announce that you're bringing him and force her to fight or back down. But even this would not be a friendship-ender if you didn't want it to be. I have a friend who brought her boyfriend to our wedding unannounced -- well, what am I going to do, cut off someone I like for all time because they did something rude? We are still friends.

The couple is also free not to invite your boyfriend; as many others have said, they are under multiple constraints, and whatever choices they make are going to make some people angry and unhappy.

By making their jewelry at cost you have given them a rather expensive present. I agree with those that say you don't have to add a saucepan from their registry on top of that.

All this has been said in the thread by others. I just want to add one more thing. The fact that you gave them a very expensive present has no bearing on whether your live-in boyfriend gets to come while other peoples' boyfriends are excluded.
posted by escabeche at 1:56 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think the key is to discreetly figure out who this "no plus ones" rule is being applied to, and make your go/no-go decision based on that.

Are all plus-ones excluded? OK, they're cheap, but suck it up and go.
Are all unmarried plus-ones (such as common-law partners) excluded? OK, they're prudes, but suck it up and go.
Are most people, but not you, allowed to bring their plus ones? She's not your friend. You've been used. No go.

If you don't think you can probe discreetly/diplomatically without causing more trouble, then just skip it altogether and give them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by wutangclan at 2:00 PM on July 25, 2013

If it were me, I'd go solo and dance myself silly with friends who I don't see often without my SO.

If I didn't know many people on the guest list, I would go for the ceremony and decline the reception (if the bride were to ask, I'd make up some excuse about work or stress or whatever).

I guess I don't get the outrage, though I understand that you feel kinda miffed and irritated. Again, if it were me, I'd assume that the capacity was not enough to accommodate all significant others.

You agreed to make the jewellery cut price. Surely you did it because you love her and you wanted her to have beautiful jewellery? It gets you off the hook with regards to bringing a gift, but that's as far as it goes really. In future, don't agree to do things you end up resenting. Turn your invite down if you want, it's not rude, but don't make a fuss about it.
posted by dumdidumdum at 2:02 PM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

The fact that you gave them a very expensive present has no bearing on whether your live-in boyfriend gets to come while other peoples' boyfriends are excluded.

There's a difference between giving an unsolicited gift out of the kindness of your heart where you should not expect anything else in return and being asked by the bride to "be involved" which results in this work being done.
posted by deanc at 2:02 PM on July 25, 2013 [13 favorites]

I feel like you're being used. It's really shitty, but that's what it would appear. I mean you asked her if it was a mistake and it doesn't even appear she offered any apology or explanation for not inviting your boyfriend. Despite the fact that you have contributed greatly to the wedding. Any rule she may have had for +1s should have been broken for you. And there isn't even a dinner so how costly or difficult could it be for him to attend? She won't even have to rearrange the seating chart.

Just RSVP no with no explanation and reevaluate if you even care whether it ends the friendship (which I doubt it will at least from her end).
posted by whoaali at 2:05 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't get this "Oh, maybe she's gone crazy-balls, or there's a fire-marshal limit on the venue, or there are no plus-ones for anybody/unmarrieds," interpretations. OP talked to the bride, the opportunity to offer these plain and reasonable explanations has actually already occurred. I agree that there may be illuminating details in a description of the call itself, but a plain, "bf isn't invited," doesn't really allow for much charity in assuming clearly spoken reasons from the bride.
posted by rhizome at 2:05 PM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

Weddings are the most horribly dramatic things we can inflict on our families and friends.

You are not required to go.

Cutting costs is important with an event like this, but honestly I'd want to be around couples that make do with less to have more people there. Maybe their priorities put extravagant flower displays higher than their guests' partners. I don't think it'd make you the rude one to decline the invitation.

I also don't understand breaking up long-term couples to invite one person to your celebration of becoming a long-term couple. Like seriously what is that. Please serve pizza if you have to instead of pulling that stunt.
posted by Tequila Mockingbird at 2:13 PM on July 25, 2013 [16 favorites]

I don't really want to be rude in return

It is not rude to decline in the RSVP card. Fill it out with your "regrettable decline" or whatever and pop it in the mail.

Send a nice congratulations card signed by you and your boyfriend. Lessons in etiquette are frequently lost anyway.
posted by mibo at 2:24 PM on July 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

Decline the thoughtless invitation without comment and please don't buy a gift for them. You've already extended yourself above and beyond for them and given them singular gifts and they can't show minimal respect and consideration for you and your partner. If you must, send a card and let that be it. This woman has shown you and told you how she really feels about you.

You're not the rude one in this equation.
posted by quince at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

a. You've gifted her 2500.00 worth of labor
b. It's THEMED, so you would need a costume
c. She didn't think it was weird not to invite your partner
d. There will be travel expenses

Lord, why WOULD you go? She should be embarrassed at her rudeness. I would think the rings alone would be worth a plane ticket and/or hotel room.

And if I was on a tight budget, I wouldn't have a theme wedding with no +1s, I'd have a cheaper wedding where all my friends and family could bring their significant others. So I don't buy that as an excuse.

I am sorry she took advantage of your generosity, and I hope you will not feel pressured/obligated to continue to allow her to do so by paying good money to be a lonely prop at her theme wedding.

posted by emjaybee at 2:39 PM on July 25, 2013 [16 favorites]

I don't think the invitation is particularly thoughtless, although that's not how Mrs. Lurgi and I did our wedding (a couple of people brought their kids. Of course, we love their kids, so that was fine). It's not uncommon and lots of the +1s would just as soon not go to a wedding where they don't know the people involved, so it's a win all around.

Go by yourself or don't go. Either way, don't fuss over it. It's just not worth it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:44 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Don't go. It was incredibly rude of her to accept your gift of time and creativity and tben snub your boyfriend. What a b****. I'll say it over and over on meta filter. If you can't afford to treat you guests well, scale back your plans. Guests should feel valued. They should not feel like automatic gift dispensers.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:48 PM on July 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

They're either poor or cheap. They're having a reception without much food, they're not paying more than the materials cost for things like rings, and they're being parsimonious with their guest list. (There are totally valid possible reasons for all of those things, lest anyone think I'm dissing affordable weddings!)

If you can imagine there are extenuating circumstances for this, even if they might not feel comfortable sharing them, then give them the benefit of the doubt, go by yourself, and have a good time. (Their parents are paying and gave them a set guest limit? They just filed for bankruptcy?) If, however, this feels consistent with them not thinking much of you in other aspects of your friendship, you're under no obligation to go.
posted by MsMolly at 2:48 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I also don't see why one night without the BF is such a big deal, even if it is a wedding. In any of the multi-year LTRs I've ever been in, including the ones where we've lived together, it wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by that. In all my relationships we've had plenty of evenings where we go out by ourselves and do our own thing.

Less than an hour's drive also really doesn't sound like a big deal to me at all, either. Of course, YMMV, but I'm surprised by all of the very strong opinions that going without your BF is a terrible horrible thing.
posted by cairdeas at 2:59 PM on July 25, 2013 [9 favorites]

I was going to say to make sure that it wasn't just a simple oversight. When I got married we didn't put "and guest" because we just forgot it somehow. Some people asked, some just brought a guest, but we were cool with whatever.

But since you were flat out told not to bring the live with boyfriend, you're fine not going.

Being not where you live doesn't even matter. If I was invited to a wedding I could walk to and told I had to come without my wife I wouldn't go.
posted by theichibun at 3:07 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Huh. Maybe my friends are wired differently, or maybe I'm naive, but I think it's remarkable how many people are failing to give Friend the benefit of the doubt. Don't get me wrong, I think under most circumstances Friend should have invited OP's SO, but these things have a lot of moving pieces.

the opportunity to offer these plain and reasonable explanations has actually already occurred.

The explanation could very well be hurtful, as in "SO is a dick when he's drunk and we don't want him at our wedding." Or maybe Friend has decided that she's tired of explaining to everyone why the guest list doesn't look exactly like Mom wants it to or Grandma wants it to or whatever.

Also, it can be a poisonous attitude to imagine that because someone has provided some service to the couple for their wedding, they're entitled to special treatment in return. As with most gift-giving, you're probably going to be unhappy if you don't approach the situation with the mindset that the giving of the gift and the couple's happiness is the reward.

OP, you asked whether not going to the wedding would be friendship-ending material. My answer was, and is, still no. But something like this:

I would call her up, and say that while you are very disappointed that you will not be able to share in their special moment --you know, when they exchange the rings you handcrafted for them, which you were particularly looking forward to--you cannot see any way you could attend without your SO, as it would be so needlessly disrespectful and hurtful not to include him that you just can't justify making the trip alone. And then I would hang up.

THAT might be friendship-ending material for me, and I don't consider myself a terribly dramatic person. Especially if there is some crazy behind-the-scenes shit going on; Auntie from Chicago wants white roses and Auntie from Minneapolis will murder everyone if the roses aren't red; Grandma won't pay for the wedding if That Boy attends, etc. etc., getting a call from someone who wants to make me feel bad because I cut the guest list down to size, which I probably already feel bad about, could be fodder for grudges for years to come.

If you think you'd be happy going to the wedding solo, go. If you think you need SO to be there to have a good time, don't go. Fill out the little card and check "Regrets" and let that be the end of it.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:08 PM on July 25, 2013 [11 favorites]

There's a difference between giving an unsolicited gift out of the kindness of your heart where you should not expect anything else in return and being asked by the bride to "be involved" which results in this work being done.

There is indeed a difference, but I saw no indication in the question that the OP was asked to deliver the work at a reduced rate, throwing in the labor free; I was assuming that she did that unsolicited, out of the kindness of her heart.
posted by escabeche at 3:17 PM on July 25, 2013

We don't know your history with this woman, but the most favorited reply asks if you were invited as a vendor or a friend. That's a good point to ponder. (I don't put much stock in favorites, but sometimes they cut to the heart of the matter.)

To answer your question, I'd just remind you that some invitations are meant to be declined. Last December I was invited to sixteen Christmas parties. Some of those? They were being polite but had no expectations that I (and/or my wife) would actually show up. That's true sometimes if you are self-employed or own a business or do anything charitable. All of those would've been +1, but weddings are more confined than mere seasonal parties.
posted by 99percentfake at 3:25 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Send a very large and ostentatious card politely worded:

I'm so sorry I must decline your invitation, but SO and I wish you the best in your new life together. I hope the 'bridesmaids necklaces and cufflinks and the wedding bands and the bride's custom engagement ring' bring you great pleasure both on the day of your wedding as well as in the future.

If she never speaks to you again, well, that's her loss.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:39 PM on July 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

Regardless of whether you plan to attend or not, you should lean towards the un-dramatic in your actions with a person who you consider a friend and a customer.

Some people take this wedding etiquette business uber-serious. Decide whether you do before you do anything.
posted by sm1tten at 4:00 PM on July 25, 2013

Honestly, I also don't see why one night without the BF is such a big deal, even if it is a wedding.

A night without my partner is no problem. I/she/we might even find it a treat, if I'm bein' honest.

Being invited to a major invent and told I may not bring my partner - that's a bit of a problem. Not that I'd respond with drama, but of course I would decline.
posted by ftm at 4:04 PM on July 25, 2013 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I come from a culture where it is assumed that every wedding invitation addressed to an adult includes a "plus one", and specifically being told not to bring a partner is the gravest of insults, even if the invitee is the cousin of that guy you pass on the way to the watercooler every other day twice removed. This is why I was going to stay out of the thread - such different cultural perception of what is and isn't done that I had no useful contribution.

But I wanted to address this:

Also, it can be a poisonous attitude to imagine that because someone has provided some service to the couple for their wedding, they're entitled to special treatment in return. As with most gift-giving, you're probably going to be unhappy if you don't approach the situation with the mindset that the giving of the gift and the couple's happiness is the reward.

because I sense that thoughts like this might be preying on OP's mind as they have on mine in similar situations.

Whilst I think it is a noble sentiment, and in the rare cases where people actually manage to live up to this ideal it can make for a more peaceful life, I think most people don't, can't and shouldn't try to approach gift-giving in this fashion. And here is why: with the exception of genuinely philanthropic acts (and arguably even then), gift-giving NEVER occurs out of context and without a reason/cause, and the expectation is that the gift will be received in the right spirit which honours and reinforces the respective context and cause. For example, a gift made for a casual acquaintance as a social obligation will be very different from a gift to a beloved friend, because they have a very different emotional charge. This is why, for example, a casual acquaintance making an uber-expensive gift can feel inappropriate, why people get upset if they are given an obviously thoughtless gift by someone they are intimate with etc.

The OP may have volunteered the free work, but from the sounds of it she did it as a way to honour the friendship and her friend starting her married life. Personally, and maybe to my shame, I would only make such a lavish present for someone who I feel is very close to me. If immediately after, and in the context of the same event, I would get an extremely cold response which is not very clearly explained to me, right then or post-event, I’d feel moved to reassess what I know of our relationship. Because I was obviously wrong in considering it a friendship which is close and intimate enough to create the kind of goodwill out of which my own generosity has sprung.

I’ve observed this time and again – people do things out of love, friendship, affection, their gesture is met with lack of love, friendship and affection, the giver/doer tries to take the high-road and go all “my payment is their happiness” (regardless of how nonchalant or outright disrespectful the giftee is), and resentment, mistrust and passive-aggressiveness ensue, because people are people and we need some symmetry in intimate relationships to not feel hurt, regardless of whether we want to acknowledge that or not.

So even if the bride did not specifically ask the OP to throw in the free work, to my mind by re-enforcing the “no plus one” rule she makes it pretty clear that she does not view her relationship with the OP as symmetrical, rather she assumes she is for some reason entitled to be treated with extreme generosity by the OP whilst at the same time she can treat the OP fairly casually. Whether this sense of entitlement carries over to the rest of the relationship, or if it can be chalked up to wedding stress is for the OP to know. I would factor that knowledge in my decision to go to this wedding, alongside other things such as how close you two are and how keen your SO would have been to go (you’ll have even less fun knowing that he is sitting wistfully at home). But, unless the explanation for the “no plus one” is really good (and by really good I don’t mean “My mum doesn’t like red roses and she will also not pay for one extra person”, cause the couple can easily pay that one extra from the change left over by not paying for their jewellery), I’d certainly try to fight the guilt I may feel over declining.
posted by miorita at 4:13 PM on July 25, 2013 [59 favorites]

Will there be other people at the wedding that you know? In that case, I (personally) would go, because I think weddings are important things to attend. If not, I would go to the ceremony and skip the reception, because, ugh, dress-up party with no food and no one I know - my least favourite type of party. I wouldn't decline just because my boyfriend couldn't come.

However, I would be hurt. And I probably wouldn't trust this person enough to let myself be vunerable with them again, i.e. they would be downgraded from 'close friend' to 'aquaintance who lacks social skills'. I chose not to be friends with people who don't value me, as it hurts when they demonstrate that I'm not a priority.
posted by kjs4 at 4:37 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is maybe a little tangential, but I think that the attitude that wedding gifts are a sort of payment for dinner or vice versa is really poisonous, and people who start calculating who spent more on whom are just going to make themselves stressed out and sad and bitter. (But I come from a culture/region where a cocktail reception with just hors d'oeuvres is seen as just as classy, if not more so, than a sit-down dinner reception.)

But anyway, I think Sara C. basically has it. If it's a valuable friendship and you'll be sad later about having missed it because you were mad at her, go. If it's not that important to you, or you really will be miserable alone (you're shy and you don't know the other people who will be there, or whatever), it's fine not to. You're certainly not under any obligation.
posted by naoko at 5:01 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

so... if you KNEW your friend wanted to bring her boyfriend, and KNEW that she was free the day of your wedding, and received a decline on her invite, would that be a ending-the-friendship kind of offense?

...only if I was a total asshole.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:16 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

The only reason to go to this wedding is if it benefits you, like if it's going to be a good work networking event. Sometimes I go to weddings (or other events) for business networking, because there will be interesting/useful people there. It's no longer about the bride and groom, who have just behaved their way right out of your inner circle, and maybe out of your social class. So only go if it benefits you. The answer might well be "no."
posted by htid at 7:42 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Um. No you're not overreacting in any way. You are a permanent couple and you are properly invited as a couple. That's the standard.

And after you made them a giant pile of bespoke jewelry including wedding rings? Yowza.

And this is one case where you were not in the wrong for asking if a mistake had been made. You had every reason to expect to be invited as a couple. Neither would I blame you if you had been hinting! (Not suggesting you were) because I think in this case it would have been perfectly legitimate to hint too!

What troubles me is that you're worried about her friend-dumping you if you don't want to attend on these terms. You seem to be a very generous and giving and forgiving person. I tend to think that this is one occasion when it is worth laying your cards in the table because this has all the hallmarks of a friendship about to hit the rocks. You can just tell her what you told us: that you're surprised she's not following the custom of inviting people as a couple (she'll say 'but I have circumstances, and motives, and you're wrong because the custom is to do what I want and in my circle we do what I want' so be prepared for that) and you feel taken advantage of.

Yes you have to be careful how you say it. Choose your timing carefully (it would be great if you could have the conversation after the wedding but, uh, that isn't really gonna work here) and also assume that you are really angry and that your anger is going to seep through your words, so you have to say the things you would say if you weren't angry, the way you'd say them if you weren't angry.

Yes, you risk being seen as causing the dreaded "DRAMA" but there won't be a good moment after the wedding when the damage is done, and I really do think this risks being the beginning of the end if you just let it all slide. She may not be swayed (it's her day! You can't please all the people who hector you about a wedding and are full of complaints about the wrong kind of napkin rings! Etc) but a friendship is worth some risk to try to save from a bride's acquired situational narcissism.
posted by tel3path at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not over reacting. Epic rudeness. I would decline with a succinct friendly reply.
posted by parki at 8:35 PM on July 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

While I agree that it was thoughtless of her to nix +1s without being explicit when originally asking (or at least before sending the invite, so you'd have appropriate expectations) and that you're not compelled to go, I don't necessarily think you should skip it.

If you know anyone else who will be there and are friendly with them, especially anyone else coming in from a distance, you could have so much fun having a night out/sleepover/ghost-story party after they've swept off to their nuptual bower. Sure, yes, these things are so much fun with an S.O. But they're also fun without one, and you can have a different good time with people there you know than if you did have him along. Maybe just consider it. Weddings bring people together who might not ordinarily see each other very often. Maybe go in on a hotel room and have a ridiculous after party or something.

However, if you don't know anyone else who will be there...yeah, I'd bail. It's not like the couple is going to have time to keep company with you and supply a fully connected social experience for you, considering the circumstances.
posted by batmonkey at 9:26 PM on July 25, 2013

Best answer: This is maybe a little tangential, but I think that the attitude that wedding gifts are a sort of payment for dinner or vice versa is really poisonous, and people who start calculating who spent more on whom are just going to make themselves stressed out and sad and bitter.

I agree with this generally, but that is not the situation here. The OP is not expecting a $2500 dinner, or asking her friend to give her a gift that costs $2500 when she gets married as a kind of quid pro quo.

The bride felt comfortable enough with their friendship that she had no problem asking for and accepting the OP's very generous gift. That suggests an intimate friendship to me, but maybe that's just because I'm one of those people who hates to put anyone out. I would gladly do anything for a friend, just to make a friend happy.

I would rarely, if ever, ask my friend to do something for me, though. Only if it were really important would I even think to impose on her (and I would still feel awkward just asking(. I hate to impose on anyone, even the people I'm closest to. That's just how I am.

So if I were a the bride, asking my friend to make these very personal things --my bridal party gifts and my own wedding bands--that would be huge. I know I would be asking a lot, and I would be very appreciative. I would want to go out of my way for my friend, just to show my thanks. Not because she expected it, or because I had some kind of running tally in my head where I was keeping score, but just because I would be so grateful for what my friend had done for me.

I certainly wouldn't go in the other direction and do less than what I would do for just any acquaintance. To me, inviting couples to attend together is like the bare minimum invitation for a wedding. It's the default, it's just what you do.

If I had budget constraints, I might choose to only invite close friends and famiy rather than the guys at my workplace. I might have to limit the humber of couples I could invite. What I wouldn't do is split any of those couples up! That's just an alien concept to me. If anyone chose not to bring aplus one, that would be fine, but it would be their choice.

On top of that, the bride here also wants all her guests to wear costumes for her theme wedding, though she is not even planning on having any food served, which, again, is like the bare minimum the bride could do.

So any way I look at this, despite all the excuses people are making for her, the bride comes off as incredibly selfish to me. I am not normally a drama lama, but I would be put off by her selfishness, and hurt that she excluded my partner.

OP, again, you are not the rude one here! Please do not feel the least bit guilty if you choose not to go to this wedding!
posted by misha at 12:16 AM on July 26, 2013 [13 favorites]

Gee, misha just saved me writing a post!

Given all the circumstances, the bride is flat-out rude, IMO. OP, I think you're off the hook from any obligation to attend. Send a nice card (NO more gifts!).

Sometimes I think the modern wedding monolith has given people a warped sense of what's okay. Personally, I don't think all these excuses people are giving for the bride's behavior hold much water. If two adults can't handle planning a wedding without acting in ways that are rude and selfish, they've got a problem.
posted by Salamander at 12:43 AM on July 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

This is rude so you don't have to go. But.

This is your opportunity to go, promote the crap out of yourself and your madskillz, take photos of all the jewellery being used in a real setting, and use the crap out of the experience for your own purposes. I mean, why not, right?
posted by heyjude at 12:48 AM on July 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

A close friend got married several years ago. Before the invites went out she called me and asked if it was okay for my then partner (of several years) not to be invited as it was a very small wedding and they didn't know him so well. She was so apologetic and sweet. Of course it was fine. I went and had a lovely time (it was such a small wedding there wasn't even a dinner), my then partner was understanding and lovely about it. It was her day, but she was very thoughtful of my feelings.

That's how you do it.
posted by mooza at 3:00 AM on July 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Perhaps I'm picking the wrong place to wade in and post my first ever comment on Metafilter, but I do have some thoughts on this that may be relevant to you.

I got married last year, and we had a situation similar to this. I won't go into all the long, boring details of why, but we ended up limiting +1s to spouses, engaged couples, or couples that were living together. So I don't necessarily agree that it's rude to not include a +1 for every guest that is a relationship, though given the details in your post, if I were the bride in this case I certainly would have invited you and your boyfriend as a couple.

Of course, you are under no obligation to go to this wedding. I wouldn't have been offended if any of the people I invited without a +1 had declined, even if they had told me that's why they were declining.

However, if I were you in this situation, and I was close to this person and interested in maintaining a friendship with them, I would just go alone. Not becuase I felt like I owed it to the bride or anything, but because I would want to be there for her and be a part of her wedding day. For me. If I didn't feel this way about her, then I would decline, for whatever reason.

If I were you, I'd be much more likely to decline because of the costume thing. That is really weird to me and would make me extremely uncomfortable as I hate dressing up, but I would still probably grin and bear it for a good friend.

That said, if you do choose to decline, it shouldn't be a friendship-ending offense. And if it is, then obviously this bride is not that good a friend of yours to begin with. And since you've directly said you don't want to go, you should feel perfectly free to decline.
posted by loreleileigh at 8:49 AM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

In my understanding you must always invite the significant other. We invited spouses of my hubby's work colleagues, so, not only did I not really know the colleague, neither one of us knew the spouses, but invite them we did and come they did, and a good time was had by all.

The way I see it, one of the following situations is happening here:

1. You are not as good of friends as you thought you were, and she felt obligated to invite you because of the jewellry work you did.

2. She booked a venue that will not hold as many as she would like and/or cannot afford the catering above a certain number of people, but is embarrassed to admit it (I would be too if I were awkwardly cutting the guest list this way).

3. She does not like your boyfriend.

4. She just has poor etiquette.

You can't fix any of those situations. I would decline, politely, and not look back. You might go so far as to send a lovely congratulations card, but nothing more. Absolutely do not send a gift, you've already given them a gift. They owe you a thank you card (but I wouldn't count on getting one).
posted by vignettist at 9:12 AM on July 26, 2013

I was just recently complaining about this! Most of my friends, late twenties, are getting married and doing "no plus ones" weddings. Personally, I think it's kind of tacky. I mean, I get it that people are broke and trying to keep things on the cheap, but...

To me it seems unfair to expect guests to pay more to attend/provide a gift for a wedding than the bride and groom are spending to have you there. Especially if they're not evening paying for catering or an open bar.
posted by forkisbetter at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think this is an ending-the-friendship kind of offense on HER end.
Obviously she doesn't value your friendship as much as you do hers. No, she isn't obligated to give everyone a plus 1, but she should have told her good friends this earlier on. My good friend just did this! She is getting married in October and spoke with all her good friends back in May letting us know that its really important that she keep the guest list down to 50 people (its at a private residence) and that she is dismayed but besides spouses and life partners (we have gay friends) she can't give any plus 1s. Also due to safety concerns (there is a swimming pool) no children are allowed. As far as I know, there are no hard feelings.
But to accept an EXTREMELY generous gift of labor and then blindside you with 'your partner isn't allowed to come' after all that? Uh-uh, thats not a good friend.
posted by hellameangirl at 11:31 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Politely inform the bride that you will be brining your beau.

Either go on your own or decline and don't go. However low you think she's stooped, please don't go even lower by turning up with someone who isn't invited.
posted by mr_silver at 4:58 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

One way or another, your friend the bride is the rude one here, not you. If she refused to invite anybody's longterm partners, not just yours, that was rude. If she specifically singled out your SO to not be welcome because what? she doesn't like him or something?, that was rude. If she refused to give you a +1 because she's inviting you more as a business guest/vendor than a friend, that too is rude. If she needs to invite only one-half of longtime couples to cut down the guest list, then maybe she needs to scale down her expectations to something she CAN afford.

You would not be rude to decline this invitation; no explanations necessary, just your regrets.

But.... if you do decide to go by yourself, I personally would be inclined to match her rudeness with tacky behavior of my own. Definately no costume; I'd totally refuse that silliness and just go in a nice wedding-appropriate outfit. But I WOULD take a stack of business cards and treat it as a networking opportunity for your jewelry-making business. Granted, it would totally guarentee the end of the friendship; but its fun to contemplate doing it, isn't it?
posted by easily confused at 6:38 PM on July 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I am staunchly in the half of the world who thinks that waaaaaay too many people feel entitled to a plus-one invitation to weddings because they've been dating someone for a few weeks or they don't want to go alone and would like to find a date or whatever, and even I know that inviting someone without the partner they live with is so not acceptable. Live-in partners are treated as spouses for social purposes.

You can't turn up with an uninvited guest, but you can decline the invitation, and you probably should.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:13 PM on July 26, 2013

Invoice her.

For the jewellery work. Invoice her at your standard rate.

The friendship is already compromised, probably fatally. You will never be able to interact with her again without thinking of this extraordinary behaviour. Invoice her. And when she phones you—which she will—and says, "But I thought you were doing the work for free", say, "That was when I thought we were friends."

Either it'll kick some sense into her and open a dialogue, or you'll get paid.
posted by Hogshead at 1:24 PM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh Christ, when did setting limits on who you invited to your wedding become this huge thing? People complain all the time about bridezillas, but seriously there's a lot of grouchy attitude getting thrown around what's essentially supposed to be a celebration of your friend's love.

Honestly, it's like elementary school, where if you want to invite Joanna from your Brownie troupe you got to invite 8 other girls, even when you don't like them or want to bounce in a bouncy castle with them. It's silly and we are grown ups.

OP, you don't sound like you want to go, so don't. There's no need to send a passive aggressive note, or to be all I'm not coming because of your guest list. You'll have other opportunities to hang out -- maybe even on a double date!

Re: the 2500 dollars of materials and time.

Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Don't give your time and resources away with the implicit expectation you now deserve something in exchange. No one forced you at gun point to make jewelry for your friend. You are making this a Karpman triangle when it doesn't need to be.
posted by spunweb at 1:49 PM on July 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

There are all sorts of limits you can't set when you're inviting people to parties if you don't want to alienate people. Prohibiting significant others from attending weddings is one of them. This is not a new thing.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:02 PM on July 27, 2013

yeah, sure, it's a social convention that the wedding party can impose whatever limits they want on their celebration, but it's not the only social convention in play.
posted by rhizome at 11:51 PM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

No, it's not... but unless the OP's boyfriend is secretly Maleficent, inviting him or not should not be this big a deal, particularly since this question doesn't include how long they've been together, whether they're a high conflict couple, OR whether he knows the bride and groom OR if they like him. I really doubt his "worth" to the couple has anything to do with the "worth" of the OP.

I'm not saying that the OP is wrong for being hurt, because you can't control your feelings. But I think a lot of unrelated feelings and whatever over the jewelry and labor are getting balled up in this one thing.
posted by spunweb at 5:34 AM on July 28, 2013

Man, pretending to be someone's loving boyfriend to get to a wedding years in the future would really be a new low for Maleficent...
posted by cairdeas at 10:37 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

You say there's no dinner and it's an evening thing, but at what point in this does the actual wedding ceremony take place? I can't work out from your question whether a) the ceremony is earlier in the day and you've just been invited to the evening reception or b) the actual ceremony is in the evening (perhaps this is obvious to everyone else, but I've never come across a wedding where the whole thing happens in the evening and there's no dinner or anything).

Anyway, if it's a) then I'd be more annoyed at not being invited to the ceremony than I would at my partner not being invited - if I thought I was a good friend of the bride, the most important thing to me would be to actually see the moment when they got married.

If it's b), then what I personally would do is go to the ceremony so I felt like I'd witnessed the important bit, say a few congratulations etc, and then go home. I wouldn't mind that my partner wasn't there since I wouldn't be talking to anyone during the ceremony anyway, and for less than an hour's drive I'd think that was worth it. I've gone to weddings without my husband when he has been invited, because it's not like seeing one of my friends get married means anything to him, or like it would make any difference to the couple getting married whether he was there or not - but I wouldn't want to hang around for too long if I didn't know anyone else there at all (though if that was the case I wouldn't want to hang around for too long even with my husband there).

I think this leads in to a difference in ways of seeing this that hasn't been mentioned yet. I don't expect everyone who cares about me to care about my husband by extension - if he isn't invited to something, I don't see that as any kind of reflection on how the non-inviter feels about me. I think I'm in the minority here, but it's entirely possible that your friend is exactly the same. Whether she should invite your partner anyway from an etiquette point of view is a separate issue, but the point is, it doesn't diminish your "worth" as a friend.

I do, incidentally, think it would be entirely unreasonable of her to think for a minute that your non-attendance was anything other than completely acceptable - I would defend the right of any couple not to invite plus-ones (personally, I was a little weirded out by people neither me nor my husband had ever even met celebrating our marriage with us - not to mention one person neither of us could stand...) but if they do that, they must remember that they are in no position to complain when people decline to come.
posted by raspberry-ripple at 9:08 AM on July 29, 2013

"Honestly, it's like elementary school, where if you want to invite Joanna from your Brownie troupe you got to invite 8 other girls, even when you don't like them or want to bounce in a bouncy castle with them. It's silly and we are grown ups."

Well, it is a themed party with costumes soooo..not exactly a grown-up occasion.

OP, let us know what happens! Its obviously a hot topic ;)
posted by hellameangirl at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: This is obviously very late, but if anyone does stumble back I'll clarify a few things!

first off, I RSVP-ed my regrets that I couldn't make it. Thank you metapeeps for validating my decision and alleviating my guilt!

I have a little trouble remembering the exact specifics of the awkward conversation, I think my brain went in to "oh god this is embarrassing" mode and started blocking memories. I essentially just asked if it was a mistake that I was invited with only one reserved seat, she said there wasn't room for everyone to have a plus one, I naively asked if she'd consider adding boyfriend if they get some "no" rsvps, which she didn't respond to, and just mentioned that there's 3 of us on each "side" who didn't get +1s so we could just hang out together there. (I will know two of the other girls from college.. one is a close friend, one I have.. spoken to a few times.)

It turns out that there were.. some plus ones. Family members and for lack of a better word "high stakes friends" got plus ones (ie: people who traveled longer, bridesmaids and groomsmen and close family friends) but not just general friends... it's a small wedding, but I can't help thinking that 6 more people wouldn't have broke the bank.

it isn't a slight on my boyfriend and I's marital status, spouses also weren't invited (thank god, that would have been the worst scenario)

my boyfriend is crazy lovely adorable, and no one dislikes that guy. (he also would have loved to go and got all lighted up at the idea of dressing up in theme. so he was pretty disappointed with the "one seat" thing.. I told him to open the envelope to see what it was while I wasn't home so I got the string of "oh fun! awesome! a wedding!" texts followed by the "I'm.. not invited.." text. poor boyfriend.)

for the record, I don't treat friendship or favours as some kind of "tit for tat" situation. I actually really like doing favours for friends and definitely speak "acts of service" as a love language all over the place. I like to be the one who can help someone out, and I'm happy to do it. but I feel there's a difference between doing favours for friends who act friendly and love you in return in their respective ways and doing a favour for friends who then make you feel like a small and unimportant person in their life instead of an appreciated friend. and then I do start to calculate and feel like "hey this is feeling pretty one sided, this friendship right now" and then it feels bad, and I feel maligned. I had actually never calculated the hours worth until I posted the question, because it wouldn't have occurred to me to do so when I was still feeling secure and happy about our mutual friendship.

essentially, what misha and miorita said is how I felt about the situation, they summed up the way I was feeling really exactly.

thanks guys. sorry for the late reply. you are all wonderful and great!
posted by euphoria066 at 6:10 PM on August 7, 2013 [6 favorites]

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