etiquette on inviting specific family only

valarie_1958April 5, 2008

I am having a luau b-day party for my DH 50th. I am having it at VFW w/ open bar. my husband has 1 family member that brings not only his grown kids w/their kids to evrything. but they usually bring 3-4 other people we dont evn know. they even did this to our wedding. i want to specifically say in their invite "brother and spouse only" but dont think they'll get it. im paying for the cash bar and their group will cost me couple hundred by themselves. in addition to being loud and rude.

also how rude is it that i do want to invite a couple other nephews in the family???

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Some people do "open" bars via drink-tickets. Host pays for one or two tickets per guest only. Otherwise they buy their own. Covers the courtesy and controls the cost.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:16AM
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That is, one or two tickets per INVITED guest...typically sent with invitation. This way guests are covered but tag-alongs are on their own. .

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:20AM
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asolo - very, very good idea. Make sure though that the tickets cannot be easily duplicated by someone. With these tickets, you won't have to worry about any extravagant costs from the bar. You'll be able to relax more and enjoy yourself.

also how rude is it that i do want to invite a couple other nephews in the family?

You can invite whoever you want. It's your party.

Why not indicate on the party invitation "By Invitation Only".

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:27AM
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Ok, from a strictly etiquette view point, drink tickets are probably a big no no. This isn't a college comedy night. If you have a party, you provide refreshments. If you can't afford alcohol, then don't serve it at all. Totally, totally disagree with using bars tickets (duplicatable or not), but if you do, may I suggest you also do tickets for the meatballs and mushrooms on the cocktail table (I am being sarcastic). I would seriously laugh if I received an invite with drink tickets in it.

I would consider either not inviting the relative in question or if this really is a continuous type problem call them to verify exactly who is coming for your records... make it clear no one else is invited. "Oh, I'm sorry we only have space for John and you, I've already told Victoria she couldn't bring her boyfriend and Adam he can't bring his neighbor. It just wouldn't be fair if I allowed some people to bring extra guests and told others they couldn't. I'm sure you understand but the invitation is for you and John only."

Regarding inviting the other nephews... Generally, when in doubt, I would invite, but if there really is a specific good reason, you don't have to. Not everyone has to be invited to every party, but you may be risking having these nephews never talk to you again if they are the only relatives in a group of many that are excluded. Guess it really depends on your reasoning why you want to exclude them.

Family and family events (like weddings, etc) usually come with an all or nothing type list. Either all cousins are invited or none, either all nephews or none, etc. If you start picking and choosing just some or exclude just a couple, feelings can get hurt real quickly. Keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 5:52PM
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I agree with Carla 100%

If you can't afford the alcohol then don't have it. If you are on a budget do beer wine only.

I also agree about inviting or not inviting.

I hope the party goes well for you!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 12:18AM
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With people like that, you have to be crystal clear and they warrant a special phone call from you, pretend you are calling for the rsvp, and just say:

"I hope you understand that you cannot bring additional people, the invitation is for you and Vicky only, so that's 2 people."

You don't have to justify why you are including other nephews you are fonder of, they'll see them at the party and gossip about that afterwards.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 11:00AM
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I, too, agree with carla's post and those that follow, on both issues. Don't do drink tickets or make guests pay cash -- just provide what you choose and can afford, period.

The OP knows that it's asking for trouble to invite some but not all nephews. But it depends on so many things -- how many are we talking about? I mean, if there were one nephew who was like a son or was the only one who lived nearby and 12 that aren't, and it's a small party, I don't think it would seem like a pointed exclusion. But if you invite 10 out of 12, I wouldn't blame them or their parents for being hurt.

So here again, it's a situation in which the OP needs to be careful of HOW she does whatever she does. She certainly can go ahead and invite some but not all. But if she does, then the less said, the better -- trying to justify her decision with logic will just make it worse -- and she might try to think of something else inclusive to do soon after (a holiday gathering?) or some other way to soothe any hurt feelings.

If there are guests who don't seem to get it that only those named on the invitation are invited, I wouldn't put anything on the invitation. I'd discuss it very gently in private with the most responsible member of that group. Something like, "Lurlene, I'm not quite sure how to bring this up, but I need to ask for your help with something about our party. I seem to recall that once or twice one of the boys brought an extra guest to an event. I wish we could just say, 'The more, the merrier!' but this time unfortunately we have to keep a limit on the guest list. Please make sure the boys understand this; I'd hate for anyone to be in an awkward position. Thanks so much."

Obviously, you don't have to follow a script, but I do encourage including two essential elements: (1) Do NOT give a REASON -- can too easily lead to hurt feelings, if personal, or arguments, if logistical; (2) ask him/her for his/her HELP -- i.e., rather than try to get the person to agree that you are RIGHT, let him/her be the gracious one.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 12:56PM
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THanks for all of your suggestions. i have invited DH's brothers and spouses only. having a casual get together next day w/ entire family in our back yard. its not really a matter of affording alcohol. its a matter of prefering not to spend my $ on unappreciative family that would guzzle just because its free. i liked the idea of tickets and even printed them out,but decided against them. ive prepaid bar bill of $500 and vfw said when thats gone i can decide if we have a cash bar or pay for more drinks.there is 2 nephews who would do anything for us ,and i did invite them. youre right,i can invite who i want.thanks again!!!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 9:03PM
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