Opening wedding gifts-not invited

bumblebbeeOctober 7, 2011

My son recently married a girl from a very rich family and it was a beautiful wedding. Our family even helped pay for the wedding because her family met with us months prior and requested we pay for the flowers and the bar tab, along with the rehearsal dinner. We did agree and couldn't have been more gracious. This is our oldest son of four, and we didn't want any bumps in the road. The day after the wedding both families met at the bride's parents home for brunch, to have the couple open gifts. When I asked when they would begin, my son said the bride's parents said it wasn't a good idea to open gifts in front of us, so not to hurt people's feelings. We left shortly after, and the next day my son said they opened everything with her family. I have been upset all week, not sure how to handle this situation. I'm extremely disappointed in my son for allowing this to happen.

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I can see how your feelings were hurt. I would feel very insulted if I were you. You have a right to those feelings.

But I think you said it best yourself:
"we didn't want any bumps in the road."

It sounds like you have managed that very well so far. I think that, if you can manage it (I know it's hard), you would be wise to keep employing those skills now and try not to respond to this.

Perhaps it really is true that they -- mistakenly -- thought that this was the more sensitive way to handle the situation. Maybe they had once been, or had heard of others being in, a situation where a family with friends and relations of lesser means felt humiliated when the much more lavish gifts of the other side's guests were opened, and were trying to spare your feelings.

They ended up doing exactly the opposite, didn't they? But based upon what your son said, that was evidently their intention.

Maybe sometime when an opportunity arises naturally to discuss this with your son and his wife, you can let them know that you aren't so sensitive about such things, and that you would feel more comfortable not to be "handled" even with the best of intentions.

You actually said that it was your son, not his bride or her family, that you are disappointed in. I get that, too. As another recent (last month) mother of the groom, I can relate! I can only tell you that I noticed my own son bending over backward to try to understand his bride's family, their special sensitivities, and and their preferences. There were moments when we thought he was really kind of overdoing it -- but I am glad we didn't say anything. It was important for him not to be appearing to take sides, or something like that (I'm making it sound like there were conflicts -- there really weren't, it was more like he was afraid for no reason that there might be, or that they would be super-sensitive. In truth, they're not, and we all get along great.) If he doesn't calm down a bit about it, we'll talk, but I bet he will -- and I bet your son will, too.

So I end as I began: I can completely understand your disappointment and sense of insult, and you aren't wrong, but I think you will all be happier in the end if you can let this go. Having a great relationship with the machetunim is worth a lot, and it's a wonderful gift to give your son.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 12:19PM
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If I'm reading your post correctly, wasn't the reason you were going over to the bride's parents' home was-to watch them open their gifts? So why did they wait until you were gone to do just that? I don't understand the "didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings" part. That sounds pretty lame to me. I would not have left myself. And you have every right to be disappointed in your son. He should have spoke up. Sorry Your feelings were not taken into consideration. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 3:56PM
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Was the purpose of the get-together to have brunch before you left or was it also to open gifts? Did the bride's parents, when extending the invitation, specifically say that gifts would be opened, or did you assume that? If the bride's parents invited you to come for a gift opening, it would appear that your son changed the plans and he is the one who felt uncomfortable about you seeing the gifts they might have received. Or perhaps he was speaking on behalf of his bride. If that was the case, I would also be unhappy.

I do agree with Gellchom, however, that it is best to let it go. Perhaps one day in the future you will find out who changed things and you can perhaps talk with your son about it.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 6:08PM
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We had a brunch at our home the next morning for the immediate family of bride and groom and wedding party when our daughter wed. Almost everyone came in from out of state or from a far distance. His parents wanted to get on the road quickly for the rest of their vacation, and others had thought to spend the day until time to go to the airport at the pool either in the hotel or our development, but it was grey and cold. So we just chatted after brunch until it was time for the airport for everyone. The bride and groom were the last to depart that evening, so there was plenty of time to relax and enjoy everyone's reminiscenses of the Big Day. It was fun.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 4:51PM
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I don't understand who's feelings might have been hurt. Yours, theirs, anyone's? Didn't they think it was worse to exclude you? Is it ok to hurt your feelings but not others? I'm not sure what that part meant or who it referred to. I must be slow on the uptake.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:01PM
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gr*day, the way I read the OP was that the groom's family was invited for brunch and to see the wedding presents opened. What happened was that the bride's family, which is apparently wealthier than the groom's family, decided after extending the invitation that it would be hurtful to the groom's family to see all the expensive, lavish presents that the bride's family and friends gave the Happy Couple.

The bride's family seems to have been working on the assumption that the gifts given by the groom's family and friends would be much, much cheaper. Therefore the groom's family would be embarrassed by the clear distinction in the value of the gifts.

What happened instead is that the groom's family was invited to the gift opening, then basically sent home before that happened, and they were left with the knowledge that their new in-laws felt a) that they would give cheap gifts and b) that they would not have the manners to hide their "hurt feelings" about the difference in the gifts.
I can see how the groom's family would have their feelings hurt, knowing what they now know about how the bride's family views them.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 2:09PM
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