Q: Dear jareesa,
My boyfriend and I have been together for three years and lived together for four months. He comes from a large extended family with about seventy aunts, uncles, and cousins.
An older cousin is getting married in March and the invites just went out. My boyfriend’s invitation went to his parents’ home, listing him and his sisters (also adults who don’t live at home anymore). There was no “and Guest.”
I thought for sure I would be included, and am struggling to figure out why a live-in, long-term partner (who is known to the bride and groom) wouldn’t make the cut. I believe the couple have the budget—it’s a black tie wedding in a luxurious venue, and they are inviting a hundred-plus guests. We are currently the only couple in the family at the cohabiting stage. The bride and groom are aware we live together and the length of our relationship; they asked us about our recent move.
Some people have told me that I’m not family and should suck it up. Others said my boyfriend should call and ask if there was an oversight (which I know is also rude). My boyfriend says we don’t have to invite this couple to our own wedding someday, but I think that would be a very rude response. But how do I respond? I have a feeling I can’t really do anything, regarding the wedding or how it will color future interactions with the family. Or can I?
—odd one out
A: Dear ooO,
This is a tough one. You’ll been together for awhile, you’re cohabitating, and the engaged couple knows that you’re in the picture. All that should spell plus-one for you, if the couple is following the rule that all coupled folks are invited as a unit.
I could speculate on all the things that might be happening here—they are not giving anyone a plus-one, they only invited extended family to keep the peace in the family, or, you know, they were just being rude. But the only way to know for certain is for your boyfriend to have the uncomfortable conversation with his cousin, which frankly might not be worth having.
If I had to guess, I’d bet that the couple was trying to balance between inviting the extended family and also keeping the guest list manageable. They did this by treating your boyfriend’s parents as the “invitees” and the grown kids like the “plus-ones” in the situation, hence the family invite that went to your boyfriend’s parents’ house. While they know you’re coupled, it’s very possible that you were never even on their radar as a possible guest. Think about it: your boyfriend’s family has seventy people in the extended family, and the couple is having a hundred-plus person wedding, which means the extended family and their guests could make up all of the guest list. Does that take away the sting of not being invited to a family function? Nope… but it’s an explanation.
No matter what the reason behind your lack of invitation, don’t use your own wedding invites as a “tit for tat” situation. When the time comes to craft your own guest list, think about who you want to share that moment with you.
Overall, I think your instinct that you “can’t do anything” is the right thing here. At the end of the day, people have the right to decide who they want to invite to their wedding, even if it’s rude or doesn’t follow etiquette. The classy move is to wish them well, send a nice card or a gift, and let go of the slight.
—Jareesa Tucker McClure
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