Q: My husband’s sister just sent him the following email: “Did you guys forget to give them a gift? Do what you like, but I was generous with your kids, even if I wasn’t invited. You will be getting an announcement as soon as the photographer is done editing.”
My niece was married five weeks ago and invited close friends and immediate family members. Although we were not invited to attend, we had no hard feelings and understood her desire to have a small wedding. We are very fond of our niece and her new husband.
At present, we are not in a good financial situation as we are living off a first-year teacher’s salary and dipping into our savings account to make ends meet. We have been putting aside money for a wedding gift with the understanding that we have three to twelve months to send one (depending on what advice column you read) and had planned on sending a check once we had enough saved.
I don’t believe that we should have to explain our situation to a family member who has never been in our shoes, and would appreciate your advice on responding to this tactless email that has made us very upset.
—Stunned At the Lack Of Decorum
A: Dear SALOD,
You’re right, of course. Totally rude, completely uncalled for. But the best you can do at this point is probably whisper ranty complaints between yourselves, maybe get someone on the Internet to confirm that you’re right (hi), then just move on. Don’t bother trying to justify yourselves to her—like you said, your financial position is your own personal information, and it’s likely that telling her wouldn’t appease her any, so why bother.
Folks are sometimes rude around weddings. (It’s basically why I have job.) Specifically, folks who care very deeply about the ones getting married (like, for example, the mom of the bride) are often the rudest. It could be that these are people who are tactless all the time, but more likely, it’s the stress and pressure of the wedding and a crazy fierce desire for the best for your kid, all combined into a formidable beast.
That obviously doesn’t make her right. She’s wrong here. But it does give you the room to not take this personally, step back, and be the bigger person.
Send a chipper reply back. If you want to make her squirm simply say, “Nope, we didn’t forget! Can’t wait to see the announcement!” If you’re more generous than I am (and want to save yourself the potential headache of another rude email), you can include a little notice that, “Our gift will arrive in a few months.”
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