An Exclusion Worth Noting

A former friend of my husband’s and mine, Bradley, is getting married and we weren’t invited. Normally, I wouldn’t care, being the antisocial person I am. However, of the group of a dozen male friends from high school who are all in a very active group chat together, my husband is the only one who was not asked to join in for Bradley’s wedding.

Throughout college, Bradley was never one to be too keen on paying for food (likely hasn’t changed much either). We would often pay for his meals using our meal points. On top of this, Bradley had the habit of “forgetting” his wallet when we went out to bars, which he usually got away with because he was a decent-looking fella by societal standards and occasionally told funny jokes.

Fast forward to 2023: he and his girlfriend took us up on our offer to watch a New York Rangers game from box seats (valued at $2,000 per seat) and even accepted a pair of tickets to a concert (valued at $400) that we couldn’t make at the last-minute. All for free! We didn’t think much of it but at the very least, I thought we would be included in their wedding guest list.

Needless to say, we are quite upset about not receiving an invitation. My husband is probably one of the nicest guys you would meet and he doesn’t like confrontations, so he’s feeling confused and hurt right now. My thought is that Bradley’s girlfriend isn’t a big fan of me. Yet, if she didn’t like me, why did they agree to all those free things?

Expectations Lead to Resentments

I fully respect the decisions of others when it comes to their wedding planning – from the type of wedding they want to have, to the location they choose, and even the guest list they decide on. However, when my husband and I found out that we were the only ones being excluded from our friend Bradley’s wedding, it stung a bit – especially considering the recent exchanges of generous gifts.

Am I overreacting? Should we speak up? I would love to get your insight on this matter.

The First Rule of Giving: Expect Nothing in Return

The first rule of life and finance is this: if you give a gift, do not expect anything in return. While it is true that you may have hoped for an invitation to Bradley’s wedding, any gift or gesture should be freely given without anticipation of anything in return.

Expectations lead to resentments. You and your husband have been tested, but it is important to remember that every employee who does not receive a desired promotion or pay raise faces a similar dilemma: stay and remain dignified or leave without resentment. It is not an easy choice to make but is essential to consider before speaking up.

In conclusion, while it may sting to be left off a wedding guest list, it is important to keep in mind the reasons why you gave the gifts in the first place – not for future favors or invitations, but as a gesture of kindness.

# Bradley left my husband off the wedding guest list. Can we ask why?

Dear Moneyist,

My husband was not invited to a friend’s wedding. We have known Bradley for over 15 years and see him frequently. My husband has also been there for him when he’s needed help or support.

Your letter also says Bradley has a history of not paying his way, and that he should not have excluded your husband. So it’s not such an uncharacteristic swerve. Perhaps Bradley’s fiancée has issues with you, or has her own private reasons for not dispatching an invitation. Or maybe — and this one is a long shot — he left your husband off the guest list by accident. His choice, his life, his decision.

Don’t Overreact

Are you overreacting? No, you are entitled to feel the way you feel. If you had lost money in the stock market, I would say the same. But how you act upon those feelings and how long you choose to entertain them is a question for you alone. Give it a week, accept that people have the right to accept gifts and make their own guest lists, and let it go. When you see them, say, “Congratulations.” And mean it.

Speak Up?

Do you speak up? If your husband is part of a friend group, I don’t see how it could do anyone any good to ask why he wasn’t invited to the wedding. It could cause a rift with the other men in the friend group. Bradley will either say it was an oversight, which may or may not be true, or he will say that the numbers were limited. It will only leave you with more questions, and renewed feelings of discontent.

Let It Go

Let Bradley do Bradley. Next time you have free tickets, strike his name off the list.

Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas.

Tipping and Ticket Etiquette

As we navigate through different situations, questions about etiquette arise. Here are a couple of scenarios that may leave you wondering:

Tipping at Restaurants

When you dine at a restaurant and notice that a 20% tip has been automatically added to your bill, you may wonder whether you are obliged to pay it. Shouldn’t tipping be optional?

It’s important to note that in the United States, tipping is customary and forms a significant portion of a server’s salary. Hence, automatically adding a gratuity is not an uncommon practice, especially for large groups or parties. While you’re not obligated to tip above the automatic gratuity, it’s generally recommended to leave a little extra for good service. Of course, if the service was poor, you can speak with the manager or take it up with them separately.

Charity Events and Ticket Costs

A family member or friend may be honored at a charity event that requires tickets worth a hefty sum of money. While it’s lovely to be a part of their celebration, it’s reasonable to wonder if they should offer to pay for your ticket too.

In this scenario, it’s essential to remember that charity events serve a significant purpose beyond celebrating an individual. They provide financial support to deserving causes and institutions. It’s best to assume that everyone attending is willingly contributing towards the cause by purchasing event tickets, and additional expenses like travel and accommodation. Therefore, it’s not usual for the honoree to cover guests’ expenses, but rather an opportunity for grateful attendees to offer their congratulations and show their support.

Remembering these small nuances of etiquette can help us navigate social situations with ease and grace.

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