Addressing sister in law's HUGE mistake?

by Marcie

Our family was planning a big combo birthday for my son brother and father, each turning 10,40,60. Been planning it for a couple of years now. We had to cancel it due to my brother and sister in law having other obligations (trip to europe and work). My mom and I just learned she has since planned a solo party for my brother and not included the others. This was supposed to be a milestone celebration in our family and she effectively cut us out. Everyone is very upset by the exclusion and she seems to not understand what she has done wrong. We had been waiting for years for this to happen, people from far away were anticipating coming for the event. We cancelled it because of them.Wanted to reschedule but she couldnt nail down when they would be avilable. I am beyond hurt and upset as is my mom. we feel she has robbed us of this chance to celebrate together. I need advice on what to do. Do we attend their party? Do we boycott in protest? They are so self absorbed I am not sure how to get through to them what has happened here and the level of damage her choice has caused. please help.

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Gracious Response
by: Ms P Etiquette


If I understand your situation, your family spent two years planning a special event that needed all family members in attendance. Everyone in the family was aware of this and seemed to be on board. Then your sister-in-law made other plans. And when you tried to reschedule the event to be more convenient for your brother and his wife, she did not respond at all.

Assuming that I have the essence of the situation summarized correctly, it appears that your sister-in-law and her husband do not wish to attend the group event and prefers to make a celebration for her husband alone.

While this must be very upsetting to all of you who had your hearts set on a very lovely family affair, my suggestion is that you accept the situation the way it is and keep your plans without them in attendance. By all means, attend their party if you are invited. Be gracious. Don't boycott or cause a fuss. That is rude and poor etiquette. However, go ahead with your own celebration. If they are not able to attend, then you will have the party without them. It seems that the rest of family care more about the anticipated event celebrating 3 birthdays than they do.

As far as trying to convince her or both of them that their behavior is hurtful, give yourself a break. They know this has been disruptive and disturbing to other family members and apparently do not feel it matters. No amount of conversation will change that.

Please try to enjoy your lovely family event and not allow a couple family members to rain on it!

Good luck!

Ms Practical Etiquette

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