Dear Wedding Maven,
My nephew recently got married in Chicago. My daughter was a flower girl in the wedding, and we spent close to $800 traveling to the wedding, buying her dress, and buying a gift. We got a holiday card from my nephew and his new wife and inside was a preprinted photo thank you note. There was no mention of the gift, no personal note, not even a signature. I’m so offended at this that I’m considering calling him up and telling him. Is this common practice in Chicago? Should I call them.
Putting “dibs” on parking spaces, eating pan pizza, calling soda "pop," and not putting ketchup on hot dogs are all Chicago traditions of various levels of taste and validity, but being ungrateful is not.
Was your nephew rude? As we say here in Chicago "Abso-f’in-lutely". But, before you pick up the phone, stand back for a minute and think about your motivations and feelings.
Are your feelings honestly hurt? If so, and you and your nephew are close then yes, you could call him and say “Junior, we loved being at your wedding, and little Jeanne was thrilled to be a flower girl, but my feelings are a little hurt that you didn’t write anything in your thank you note. It would mean a lot to me to know that you were glad we were there, and that you liked out gift.”
Frankly though, your letter sounds more pissed off than hurt. You’re angry, and rightfully so, that you went to a lot of work and expense for your nephew, and he couldn’t even be bothered to write you a thank you note. That’s natural, but I don’t think calling him up and telling him off is going to accomplish anything. He THINKS he sent you a thank you note, so for you to call and complain about the quality of the thank you note is going to make you seem petty and bitter.
As a general rule, rude people do not appreciate being told that they are rude, and do not improve their behavior because they were told that they were rude. On the other hand, people who accidentally hurt someone’s feelings, often respond to being told that.
Whatever decision you make, make sure to stick with it. If you call him and let him know that your feelings were hurt, let him apologize and then let it go. If you don’t call, then don’t sit around stewing over it. Chalk it up to a momentary lapse on his part and let go of it yourself.
Do you need wedding advice? Do you have a question about wedding traditions, etiquette or relationships? Write the Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org.