Monday, June 30, 2014

I Don't Want to Tend Bar at a Friend's Wedding!

Dear Jocelyn,
My boyfriend and I have been together for a year, and a few months ago, we went on a double date with an engaged couple, whom he is very good friends with. Other than that double date, we went on a weekend float trip together. All of us had a really good time. I enjoyed both of them very much. They are set to get married in three months. I knew that because they were on a tight budget, that I probably wouldn't be my boyfriend's "plus one", which is totally fine, however, I received a Facebook message (two other girls I know, but am not friends with) asking if I could bartend at their reception! I feel like this is very tacky, but I want his friends to like me and I'm afraid that by not participating, it will make look like the bad guy. Their special day is on a Friday night (I'm in the restaurant industry) so I would have to lose out on money just to act as their hired help. Am I being selfish?
-Not The Help

Dear Help,
There is a very good rule of etiquette stating that if a person is not invited to a wedding, it is bad manners to invite them to a bridal shower/bachelor party/etc. It seems as if your circumstance can fall under the umbrella of this rule. It is kind of you to not be slighted by not being invited, but it seems rather rude of the couple to not invite you, but rather ask you to tend bar at the reception. Either this is a lame attempt at including you in their wedding, or perhaps they do not wish to put the effort into researching good bartenders and thought you would be willing to do it.

It is unclear from your letter whether they are going to pay you for this (you stated you would be losing money - whether from lack of wages, or because they simply wouldn't pay as much, I'm not sure). If they did not offer to pay you at least the going rate, then their request is extremely presumptuous. If they did, they might simply be suffering a lack of awareness of social etiquette.

Either way, the best thing to do is simply decline the offer and wish them a happy ceremony. You might consider sending them references to other bartenders in the area. And to answer your original question, you are not being selfish. Be confident in your right to refuse this tacky request.
-Jocelyn

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Are Pictures At a Wedding a Free For All?

Dear Jocelyn,
At my sister's wedding, immediately following the ceremony everyone was taking pictures with the new couple. Until the groom's family asked the bride to step away so they could take family pictures, without her in them. I grew up thinking that all (after ceremony, pre-reception) pictures were supposed to be with the bride and groom together. Then each side of their families gets to have a picture with the happy couple. I thought it was terribly rude asking her to step away, but when I talked to my BF he said he saw nothing wrong with it. Am I crazy or is that just completely inappropriate? After all, its a wedding not their family reunion.
-Concerned

Dear Concerned,
This is something that is really up to the bride and groom. They might think that this is simply an efficient way to get pictures - after all, the whole family is together, and the professional photographer is already there (and presumably being paid a lump sum for the event). However, if the bride or groom did not wish for their photographer to be used for any purposes other than snapping wedding shots, then it is an inappropriate use of him. As long as your sister seemed to be fine with it, then there was nothing wrong with what the groom's family did. 
-Jocelyn

Can I Ask?

Dear Jocelyn,
Is it polite to ask host why someone considered important has not been invited to a party / gathering?
-Curious

Dear Curious,
It is not rude, per se, to ask about who has been invited. However, it can produce an awkward situation. If the host had a falling out with the person, then asking about why they haven't been invited can put the host in the sticky situation of coming up with an excuse without revealing private details. It is best to assume the host knows what they are doing, and simply do not ask about it.
-Jocelyn

How Do I Avoid Inviting Someone?

I am getting married, and I have a cousin who is engaged to a person who has a very bad legal record that we really do not want to subject our guest to. How do we go about inviting said cousin but not the significant other with a record?
- Cousin

Dear Cousin,
I'm afraid that there is not an easy way to do this. Since your cousin is engaged, an invitation to the person he or she is engaged to will be expected. The best way to go about this is talk plainly to your cousin and explain that you do not want the fiance at the wedding. However, since you are writing to me I am assuming this is an option you wish to avoid. In that case, you can either send the invitation addressed to only your cousin (who might assume he or she can invite the betrothed), or simply not invite your cousin. There is not really a way to do this without having hurt feelings, unfortunately. I hope everything turns out well.
-Jocelyn