The Vine: April 23, 2014
I come from a large and (I thought) close family of six girls and one boy.
My oldest sister "Eve" has had a long time boyfriend "Adam." She recently bought a house and Adam has been planning to move in soon.
As I mentioned, we are pretty close, get along well and get together pretty often for happy hour, birthdays etc.
Yesterday, I received phone calls at about the same time from two of my sisters asking "if it was true." Eve had married her boyfriend (which is great, he is a wonderful guy), but…and here's the kicker…she announced it on Facebook. No advance emails, texts, etc., giving us a heads-up about the announcement. This was not a spur-of-the-moment thing; she had just been keeping it a secret from us.
I was stunned and a little hurt, as were my sisters. To put it in a bit more perspective, she is 53 and the youngest sister is 42, so it's not like we grew up on social media.
Am I overreacting? I feel like this is a big event and since it was posted during the day on a weekday, I wouldn't have even seen it until much later if my sisters hadn't called. In other words, a zillion people I barely know found out my sister was married before I did (yes, a slight exaggeration, but that's what it felt like).
Your thoughts? I did offer my congrats…on FB of course.
Old-fashioned, or maybe just plain old
No, you're not overreacting; you feel how you feel, and Eve lumped the family in with everyone else she knows by announcing a significant life change on Facebook. It's alienating, because you don't feel special, and the fact that Eve doesn't seem to have realized how it would come off — or realized it, but didn't give a shit — just compounds that.
It's a bit immature, really, too, because if I had to guess, Eve was trying to opt out of the emotional politicking she assumed would go with having a full wedding, or even a tiny wedding, telling anyone she planned to get married, inviting witnesses, planning a lunch afterward, et cetera and so on. She saw the whole thing turning into a series of obligations she wanted no part of and resented, so she just went and got married and threw it out there on FB all kind of "well, so there," and I kind of understand where she's coming from — I loved my wedding, I'm glad we had one, but it was not our first instinct. Our first instinct was to go to Massachusetts and get a mobile JP to marry us in the parking lot of Arnold's Seafood Shack, then go have lobster roll and take a nap, buuuuut you soon figure out that that hurts people's feelings, or they just don't get it, or whatever. People want to celebrate with you and give you things and have cocktails, which is great; people also want to use your wedding as a referendum on their relationships with you/each other, which is not great at all…
…but it is also not avoidable, period, end of story. Eloping or having a secret weekday wedding doesn't void those feelings; it just moves them around, aims them from a different angle, and it just really isn't possible to get married and not have some emotional chores to do…or not pay a price for not doing them, as Eve is no doubt finding out now from her family, and from people who thought they were close friends with her and now feel like dicks. I mean, it's also not possible to please everyone when you get married, and a couple of people you didn't predict will become offended for reasons you didn't anticipate, and that's annoying, but there's trying to appease everyone, and then there's basic courtesy. I understand not wanting to get too bogged down with making everyone happy, but some corners you just shouldn't cut.
As for what's next: maybe ask her, in a neutral tone, why she chose to announce it on Facebook instead of giving you a call first. Let her explain, and listen without interrupting; I'm betting she says something like "we just wanted to keep it private and not have it be a big deal; that kind of backfired." Whatever her reason, tell her you understand, but you wish she'd told the family first, because you felt left out and not worthy of a phone call. She'll get that or she won't, but at least she'll know — if she doesn't already, because I'm also betting she's been hearing about it since she did it.
Tags: etiquette nuptial nonsense the fam