Thursday, March 29, 2012

What Would Emily Post Do?

What is ruder:
Crashing a party to which you weren't invited,
or sending your regrets at the last minute?
Emily Post, that saucy minx, would know what to do.
I've been agonizing over this question for nearly two weeks.

I haven't said anything personal here lately because I've been upset and confused. Have you ever had someone unexpectedly turn on you, leaving you feeling shaken and wondering what just happened? That just happened to me. It started almost two weeks ago, when a bridal shower was held for an acquaintance I haven't seen in months. It ended with an avalanche of unexpected hostility, and now Keith and I are uninvited to the couple's wedding. That's kind of a big deal for him, because he was supposed to be the Best Man. I feel so confused and anxious about it. My intentions were good. I keep asking myself, "What would Emily Post have done?"

It started innocently. When the Bride-to-Be invited me via Facebook, she told me the place and day of the shower, and told me to contact the hostess if I needed more details. I wrote "Bridal Shower!" on my calendar, checked her registry, and got a gift for her. I don't know the Bride-to-Be very well, but my boyfriend is very close to the groom, and I figured it would  be fun. I was looking forward to it.

Two days before the shower, I realized that I didn't know the time of the event, so I e-mailed the hostess (who I have never met). I never received a response. The Bride-to-Be had explicitly told me to direct shower-related questions to the hostess in such a way that I didn't feel comfortable contacting the Bride-to-Be about it. She gave me a chilly vibe. I started to feel uncomfortable about attending. I didn't want to wander around the hotel at noon if the shower started at 2:00.

I asked Married Ladies Who Know Wedding Planning, and they said, "Jen, the shower is tomorrow. If you were invited, you would already know what time it's happening," and "No offense, but the hostess didn't invite you. She might have booked a small private room at the restaurant, and she isn't responding because there isn't room for you." I was told that crashing a party is ruder than sending one's regrets. 

On the day of the shower I put on a party dress in case a response came, waited until noon, and then I sent a message telling the Bride-to-Be that I wanted to attend but didn't know when the shower was taking place, I hoped she had a fun day, and I would give her present to her when I next saw her. 

I don't think it's appropriate for me to post the Bride-to-Be's responses because they make her look a little unhinged. I will say that her words didn't make sense in the context of the situation, or in the context of our very casual acquaintance. It upset me a lot, though, and her harsh criticism of e-mail as a contact method left me scratching my head. I repeatedly told her I did not know the hostess' phone number, but I'm not sure she absorbed that information. Keith saw me cry over her messages, which prompted him to ask the Bride-to-Be to apologize. They exchanged some nasty words, and the next day he was asked not to come to the wedding or the bachelor party. He lost his best friend, and I'm aching for him. 


I have two questions:
1. What the heck is wrong with e-mail?!
2. What would other women have done in my place?

10 comments:

  1. Y'know it sounds like the bride is taking out some sort of frustration on you unnecessarily. Totally uncalled for. She goofed up by not telling you the time. She has no reason to be mad at you for following her instructions. And the rudest thing of all would be kicking people out of the wedding party. I can't get why on earth people would do that. You can't undo those harsh words.

    Was it the groom that did the uninviting? That is just too painful. Especially after grown ups have had a chance to sleep on everything and wake up (hopefully) with more level head about the situation.

    All I can do is wonder WTF. I'm so sorry friend.

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    1. Oh, and I guess to answer your questions. I love email. It's great. It's fast and efficient and globally accessible.

      And I probably wouldn't have gone to the shower. I really hate going to parties where I won't know anyone and I felt like I was just added on out of formality.

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    2. You may be right that the Bride-to-Be took other frustrations on me. Keith said the same thing to her when he asked he to apologize. They've had a hell of a time with wedding planning: The booked a venue, put down a $3,000 deposit, and the venue went incommunicado. They weren't even sure the place was still in business! The couple sued and only got half their deposit back, then had to scramble to secure another venue on that date. Their new venue is smaller, and the guest list had to be trimmed. Invitations hadn't been sent yet, so it could have been worse, but it was still bad.

      And the Bride-to-Be's response to me indicated that her good friends may not be supportive: "I'm done with people not willing to help me out with all this. You truly find out who your close friends are in these situations and I'm glad for it, it helps me see who I should put my time and energy into."

      On the morning of the bachelor party, the groom did the uninviting via text message. At that point, Keith and the Bride-to-Be had exchanged such nasty words that it wasn't a big surprise. The surprise was that it turned into such a vitriolic exchange at all. Keith was also uninvited to the bachelor party, which sent a strong message that their friendship is over. I feel SO BAD for Keith.

      But e-mail is great, right? I especially like using it when I have to contact someone I've never met face-to-face. People don't answer calls from strange numbers, but they'll open an e-mail if the subject line clearly relates to their life (like "Pseudonymia's wedding shower").

      Thank you for offering an outside perspective, because I've been thinking too hard about it and wondering "Did I REALLY do the right thing?!" You just made me feel a LOT better. :)

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  2. There is nothing wrong with email. I hosted a shower for a friend not so long ago and I prefered getting questions about details via email, especially when they were from people I didn't know. From eveything you shared, it doesn't look like you could have done anything differently other than randomly hung around a hotel lobby for hours (which would have been crazy). I've actually lost one of best friends to crazy bride syndrome and it does suck. I'm sorry you and Keith had to go through that.

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  3. Sorry you and Keith had to deal with that. To answer your question, email is an excellent channel of communication and the hostess not checking or answering is all on her. Also, no matter how insane wedding planning is, the bride allowing the stress to get to her to the point that she was rude to an acquaintance, not to mention precipitating the end to a close friendship, is appalling manners and shows lack of character. I can only imagine how hostile she got to you, but if it made you think mentally unhinged, then I don't see good things to come for the big day or marriage. That really sucks, but in a way, she's absolutely right: you and Keith did learn who your friends really were. So sorry you were both attacked and hurt and I hope she comes to realize how poorly she's behaving while the groom realizes what he's lost.

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    1. Oh, Dori. You make me happy. Thank you for confirming that e-mail isn't obsolete, and I'm not a crazy harpy who subconsciously had it in for the bride and the groom. I hope they can work out whatever anger is driving this behavior so they can be happy together, even if we're not friends with them anymore.

      I know who my real friends are! :) Let's get together soon for a TV marathon or dinner or to kidnap Emmy and make her go out with us?

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  4. I had a similar situation just at the end of last year when I was a bridesmaid for my childhood friend's wedding. Due to an injury I sustained running, I was unable to make the food tasting after previously saying I could and I emailed her the morning of to let her know. I took a day off work that day and didn't check my emails all day. Due to my ineptitude I had accidentally sent the email to her fiancee not her and he didn't tell her. I followed up closer to the time by text to see if she got my email and didn't hear back until later that evening with a decidedly chilly sms. I then got a very long text the next day about informing her earlier since she had to pay money and find other people to replace me for the tasting which I apologised profusely for. But I was confused that she was so angry about me using email as a form of communication (which in my line of work is THE way to communicate so it's second nature to me).

    We talked later and it WAS the stress of the wedding that made her act that way which I understood, but I was still left with a slightly bad taste in my mouth. I didn't expect to get vilified for emailing and definitely not have my commitment to her wedding questioned.

    So I feel for you and so much more so for Keith who has lost a friend over such a silly situation. Dori summed it up perfectly, and I really hope that one day they realise that they acted very poorly indeed.

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    1. Sig, thank you for taking the time to read and respond. Every person who has offered support has made this a little bit easier. An injury that requires you to take a day off from work is absolutely a valid reason for you to stay home from pre-wedding festivities, even if it's a last-minute decision. E-mail is also the best form of communication in my line of work; often if I tell a colleague something face-to-face, she'll say "Thank you for letting me know. Could you send me an email about it so I don't forget?" Having the info in writing so we can go back later and check the details helps prevent mistakes. E-mail forever! <3

      I guess all brides fret about other people's commitment to their weddings. When this girl questioned my commitment and criticized my "priorities," I was hurt and confused. Since we aren't that close, it didn't make sense that I was supposed to be committed or ranking her in my list of priorities!

      I'm so glad that you were able to salvage your friendship. At this point, the groom met with Keith to trade back their belongings, because Keith had borrowed the groom's tools, and the groom had borrowed Keith's books. The groom then blocked me and Keith on Facebook, and has given Keith no explanation. It can't be just about the shower, but we don't know what it's about! We're beginning to think it's funny because it' so outlandish and sort of silly.

      Again, thank you so much for your kind words.
      Sincerely,
      Jen

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    2. Just reading your blog. What has happened to the relationship - if anything since your last post.

      You and Keith don't need to have friends like that. Even if there were a "make up" session, things would still remain strained.

      BTW - Do you have an "Engagement" yet? LOL

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    3. Hi, Bonnie! I'm glad you found me here.

      We never heard from either of them again. Keith took it hard, but he doesn't talk about it very much. Last month we attended a music event and saw them in public. They didn't acknowledge us, and we didn't acknowledge them. It wasn't a big deal.

      And no, Keith and I aren't engaged. You must've read the later post about how much that question flusters me! :-p

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