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    lovetheoutdoors's Avatar
    lovetheoutdoors Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Dec 6, 2005, 10:19 AM
    Wedding help
    Hello! Could use some advice... we live in a rural area where it seems to be custom to asking neighbors (invited as guests) to help clean up the bride/groom's table, doing dishes, setting out food on buffet arranged tables, etc. My husband and I always argue every time I get one of these invites where I have to help, as he feels it is very rude to ask someone to a wedding and then make them feel like a servant. I have to agree, but don't like to "rock the boat", but then my husband is stuck handling our 2 young children, and it is impossible for him to take them through a buffet line, holding 2 kids and 3 plates (the help eats last). I feel it is ridiculous, and I usually just don't go to the weddings but I don't like to do that either. When we got married (and I grew up around here), we hired the help to do this for an extra $50 as that is all it was. How to handle the next one? I know another one is coming in Jan. 05', and I'm sure I'll be asked to help again, and I'm 6 months pregnant... so imagine trying to carry big pans of food in heals... it just isn't fun but I do want to be part of the community without hurting anyone's feelings. For some reason, it doesn't change around here. Any advice is appreciated!
    poseidon's Avatar
    poseidon Posts: 243, Reputation: 55
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    #2

    Dec 7, 2005, 02:22 AM
    Hello Angie (Lovetheoutdoors),

    I feel I must agree that to invite neighbours to a wedding as guests and expect them to lay the tables and clean up afterwards and to add insult to injury make them wait until all the other guests have had their fill before being able to relax and enjoy the rest of the wedding is not really on. When extra help is required it is not uncommon for relations to pitch in and help or indeed some neighbours offer their help but are not obliged to as a proviso to being invited.

    However if it is the tradition to do this in your neighbourhood , is accepted by your neighbours and is normal practice, I feel you that you either have to go along with the tradition or, as you have done before, decline the invitation.

    I can certainly understand your not wanting to give your neighbours the impression that you are being anti social where neighbourhood weddings are concerned, but the most important thing is the happiness of you, your husband and children.

    With regard to the upcoming wedding in January. By the time this takes place you will be 7/8 months pregnant and I strongly feel that an exception should be made in your case. You should definitely not be expected to lift and carry heavy items or have to stand around for any length of time. If I were the person getting married, I would invite you as a guest without expecting to you to 'Sing for your supper' (work). Anyone like yourself, heavily pregnant or anyone with very young children should be exempted from this tradition. It would be interesting to see if neighbourhood mothers of very young children, or heavily pregnant women were still invited to weddings if they were not going to assist in the catering etc.

    May I suggest that you speak to the organizer of the wedding when you get your invite and explain that you cannot be expected to help out in your condition and see what their reaction is. I would assume they will have the sense to realize and accept that it is not fair or possible for you to help and hopefully they will invite you and your family with 'no strings attached'.

    They may actually realize this before inviting you and let you know that you are not expected to help, merely to come and have a good time.

    If, however, they still expect you to work I feel you are perfectly within your rights to decline the invitation. Lets face it, this is going to be hard work and you need to take it easier at this late stage in your pregnancy.

    I assume when you got married, you held the reception in this neighbourhood and techinically you were entitled to invite your neighbours to help out at your wedding. If so, the fact that you did not want or expect your neighbours to wait and clean up, although extremely thoughtful and caring, was your decision.

    With regard to your husband having to handle 2 young children without your help if you are working. Being a father of 3 myself and being a one parent family when they were very young, (one still in diapers), I know how difficult it is. However being a mother you are doing this all the time when your husband is not there and he is being asked to do it for just a few hours. I am sure that if you do go to the wedding and do help out, there will be someone there who will be happy to help your husband out with the children.

    Finally, if you keep turning down wedding invites from your neighbours because it is the tradition that you help out, I feel it is likely that eventually your neighbours will begin to stop inviting you to their weddings. Of course you and your husband may think that this is not a bad thing

    I hope this has been of some help to you and I hope you have a safe and relatively pain free confinement.

    Cy
    (Poseidon)
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
    Gone, But Not Forgotten
     
    #3

    Dec 7, 2005, 02:45 AM
    I don't know much about that type of tradition, but I threw the shower for my daughter, cleaned up afterwards, and paid her mother-in-law (whose restaurant we used) for the extra room that evening. On their wedding day, I also helped wash dishes and helped pour drinks at the bar, but this was all voluntary. As the mother of the bride, if they would have insisted upon my help in this way, I would have said no. At any rate, when someone gets 'invited' that's exactly what it means, an invitation to help celebrate an event, and not cheap labor. And in my opinion, if anyone is expected to clean up or help otherwise, it should be the immediate family, not invited guests. But this is just my opinion.

    You could let them know your strife, and maybe ask if you could bring someone along to help with the kids or the heavy work, like a babysitter, and just pay him/her for the hourly rate if possible. Because, again, as an invited guest, you should not have to do this 'traditional' duty (who came up with a tradition like that?). What state and county are you living in, I'll make sure never to visit there. This tradition would fit more to a new barn being built, but not a wedding...

    On a better note, I wish you and your family all the best for the holidays, and hope your next new family member brings you joy!
    DJ 'H''s Avatar
    DJ 'H' Posts: 1,109, Reputation: 114
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    #4

    Dec 7, 2005, 03:47 AM
    I am a wedding co-ordinator and I am absolutely horrifed to hear about this.

    How can you invite someone to a wedding and expect them to work? That's what waitresses and bar staff are paid to do. It's the venues job to provide waitresses etc to do all of this for you. Ok yes when weddings are done on budget you may have family and friends pitch in to help organise the day before hand - and yes you would even get the ushers to co-ordinate everyone at the church, or organise parking and to ensure the groom is in one piece and on time - but never would you ask friends and family who are celebrating your love for each other to wash up, serve drinks etc.

    I have never heard of anything like this before. And how can they expect you to do stuff like that when your pregnant - it just is not on.
    fredg's Avatar
    fredg Posts: 4,928, Reputation: 674
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    #5

    Dec 7, 2005, 05:12 AM
    Wedding
    Hi,
    My wife and I live in the Great Smokey Mountains in SW VA. A small county of maybe 5,000 people, and the local town is much smaller. Having weddings here with others helping clean up, serve, etc, is a way of life. Of course, if someone decides to be married in a large city, maybe Charleston, SC, then they pay out up to $5,000 US for everything to be done for them, including a reception fit for Senators and the President of the US!
    Having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong in you telling them, if you are asked to help set up, that "I'm sorry, but I can't. I am 6 mo. pregnant". They shouldn't ask you in the first place, if they are neighbors, cause they already know you are "well along" with a child.
    If a neighbor doesn't understand that, then I would not be too worried about how they feel anyway. But, I will bet they will understand.
    As for your children, why don't you hire a babysitter, and leave the kids at home?
    Then, both you and your husband can enjoy the wedding and the reception. When it comes time to clean up afterwards, just simply leave.
    Small towns and areas have completely different attitudes about most everything than larger cities. I love this way of life. Use to live around Washington, DC, years ago, and would not go back to that type of life for anything!
    I do wish you the very best, and good luck. Stick to your guns about not helping... you will be OK.
    PS; Concering the comments from UK: Many, many, small towns in the US do not have bars, waitresses, etc, at weddings. Most of these weddings are in a church, with the reception in a church hall. Food is prepared by those attending, served in a "get in line at the food table" method, and get your own soft drinks from the soft drink table. Some are more "uptown" with serving drinks in a public hall, fire station, or someone's own home. Maybe this is why you have never heard of it.
    JoeCanada76's Avatar
    JoeCanada76 Posts: 6,669, Reputation: 1707
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    #6

    Dec 7, 2005, 05:15 AM
    I have never heard of that in my life. It is usually the job of the caterer, or hired help that does all that. Do not do it. Say no. Just say you are not able to attend. Under the circumstances, being pregnant. What is more important your neighbours OR your health?

    Joe
    momincali's Avatar
    momincali Posts: 641, Reputation: 242
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    #7

    Dec 7, 2005, 11:38 AM
    This sounds to me that this "tradition" was something started by some cheapskate trying to, excuse the pun, "have their (wedding) cake and eat it too".

    I strongly believe that anyone believing they are old enough and mature enough to get married (which is such a huge step and grown up thing to do) should also be responsible enough to pay for their own wedding, including hiring the help. If they don't have the money, then they need to save more or have a smaller wedding. This is a tradition the town can do without. If you stand up for yourself, you may find that many of the other neighbors feel the same way and may begin to reject this whole idea as well. The guests should feel like guests. The announcement of a wedding in your town sounds like it brings anxiety instead of joy. The dread you feel when you receive your invitation should be replaced with anticipation and excitement.

    Don't put your husband, yourself or your kids through this again, they come first! If you can't be invited to a wedding without working for your meal, then don't go. Send a small gift and best wishes. You'll be going through labor soon enough, you don't need to add to it. Good luck to you and happy pushing!
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
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    #8

    Dec 7, 2005, 06:46 PM
    ATTABOY Momincali - dumb rating messages...
    Quote Originally Posted by momincali
    This sounds to me that this "tradition" was something started by some cheapskate trying to, excuse the pun, "have their (wedding) cake and eat it too".

    I strongly believe that anyone believing they are old enough and mature enough to get married (which is such a huge step and grown up thing to do) should also be responsible enough to pay for their own wedding, including hiring the help. If they don't have the money, then they need to save more or have a smaller wedding. This is a tradition the town can do without. If you stand up for yourself, you may find that many of the other neighbors feel the same way and may begin to reject this whole idea as well. The guests should feel like guests. The announcement of a wedding in your town sounds like it brings anxiety instead of joy. The dread you feel when you receive your invitation should be replaced with anticipation and excitement.

    Don't put your husband, yourself or your kids through this again, they come first! If you can't be invited to a wedding without working for your meal, then don't go. Send a small gift and best wishes. You'll be going through labor soon enough, you don't need to add to it. Good luck to you and happy pushing!
    I couldn't have put it better myself regarding the cheapskates. I'm still curious as to how this tradition started and where in what backwoods this is taking place. Do what you think is best for you and your's and avoid stress at all cost.
    I've lived in California, Texas, and Georgia, and never had to participate in an event like this. If it is tradition, then I hope you will find understanding from the 'stars' of this show, since if they plan to have a family too, they'll probably wind up with the same condition as you are in some day.
    nymphetamine's Avatar
    nymphetamine Posts: 900, Reputation: 109
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    #9

    Dec 7, 2005, 06:56 PM
    I hear by declare it against the law for the guests to be made to clean up after a function unless said guest has volunteered in the form of written and signed contract. The honorable judge- Crankie :eek:
    Chery's Avatar
    Chery Posts: 3,666, Reputation: 698
    Gone, But Not Forgotten
     
    #10

    Dec 7, 2005, 07:00 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by crankiebabie
    I hear by declare it against the law for the guests to be made to clean up after a function unless said guest has volunteered in the form of written and signed contract. the honorable judge- Crankie :eek:
    I second that 'emotion'!.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692
    Expert
     
    #11

    Dec 7, 2005, 07:04 PM
    Tradition
    If this is a tradition, it is a bad one.

    And if you don't want to follow it, just don't. Guests are just that. If this is a very poor (trailer park or inner city projects) area and this is the only way one can have a wedding then it may be just fine.

    Or if the reception is done in a Church often church members will do the work to help ( expecting of course a donation to the church or their church group)

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