Dear Amy: Months ago, my wife and I were invited to a wedding that will be held in a month’s time.
It was to be a big formal church wedding with eight or nine bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girl and ring bearer, followed by a reception.
At the last minute we received a postcard announcing that plans have changed and that the wedding will be a closed private ceremony, and that guests should just plan on showing up for the reception afterward.
If I had known this was going to be the plan, I probably would have declined attending at all.
We feel like we’ve been jilted, and are curious to know your thoughts.
Dear Curious: If you don’t want to attend this reception and suspect that you would hold onto your jilted feelings throughout the event, it’s not too late to let the hosts know that you’ll be “declining.”
This recent notification regarding their wedding ceremony means that they are likely shuffling numbers for the reception.
Marriage ceremonies can be profound events to witness, but there are other aspects to a wedding celebration (aside from the ceremony) that are also communal and joyful.
It’s possible to attend a reception and still feel as if you’ve been a part of the wedding, but this is very much up to how the couple designs the event, as well as the attitude you bring to it.
There are a number of reasons why a couple might choose to change their ceremony plans at this late stage; you need to respectfully accept whatever explanation they supply for this change.
Dear Amy: Our son’s in-laws, who live in Europe, have repeatedly invited us to stay at their house, including over the upcoming holidays.
We are considering going, and told them so.
Then I got a text from my daughter-in-law with an Airbnb listing where she said we could stay to be “away from the mayhem.”
Amy, mayhem is part of the holiday experience! (And by the way, this Airbnb property is already booked over the holidays.)
We think this might be a dis-invite, but don’t know how to formulate a response.
We are on good terms with everyone and want to keep it that way.
As the parents of two sons, I feel like we need to “hear” from our daughter-in-law.
What do you think?
– Holiday Housed
Dear Housed: “Mayhem is part of the holiday experience,” while true, is not necessarily a selling point – certainly for anyone contemplating hosting for a presumably long-ish overseas stay.
Your daughter-in-law might be trying to deftly discourage you from staying with her folks, and I think you should take this message, accept it, and assume that if you make this trip, you will have to find a place to stay.
Because the property she recommended is booked, you could circle back to your DIL and note: “We totally understand about mayhem. It sounds as if you think it would be best if we didn’t accept your parents’ invitation to stay with them. The property you linked to is already booked, but we note a few others nearby. Do you have thoughts about any of those properties?”
Dear Amy: “Guilty Friend” reported that her friend’s husband had repeatedly sexually harassed her.
Personally, I feel that in the case of sexual harassment women should not be afraid to “rock the boat.” We are autonomous creatures and have nothing to be embarrassed about.
Don’t go run to the wife and tell her what her husband is doing. Solve the situation yourself by loudly repeating what the perp is saying! Involve your social environment in that moment.
For example, if this happens during dinner you can loudly say: “I am not interested in your private parts.” Or, “Could you please remove your hand from between my legs?”
It is always a power game. Predators look for weakness and embarrassment. They count on women not calling them out.
I say to embarrass them right back! Not by pulling them aside and being discreet about it, but publicly in the moment!
By doing this, I even managed to get apologies from a four-star general!
– Been There
Dear Been There: I agree that predators are counting on the social conditioning of others to be embarrassed when they are harassed or assaulted.
It would be great if future perpetrators were socially conditioned not to sexually harass people.
I do think that people are becoming more assertive about calling out this behavior, and that’s a good first step.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.