My brother-in-law (my husband’s brother) is getting married in South Carolina next spring and my husband and I are very happy for him and his fiancée. He has asked that we bring our children along (ages 2 and 4), which will prove difficult considering our two year-old is VERY much a two year-old, if you know what I mean. Still, it is something we are willing and even happy to do. However, I was put off by this recent email I received from my brother-in-law, the groom (see the exchange below). His tone seemed snippy and a bit arrogant. I responded immediately and now my husband and his brother are at odds with each other AND my husband is also irritated with me! Who’s wrong?
Is the Big Day A Bust?
Email from Luke (the Groom):
So Janie and I are in SC checking out the wedding space – we figured it was a good time to get lodging and I wanted to get you a head start.
So the long and short of it is we are doing a dinner Friday May 16, an event sat May 17 am, then the ceremony in the afternoon. Finally a brunch Sunday and we all head home. It seems the best lodging will be bed and breakfasts spots in historic Charleston. I would think if you stayed in the same one it might be easier with the kids and mom and dad. Dan, can you relay dad? I will also call him. Let me know what you find, everything is very central and the closer to the historic district the better.
Email from Me To Luke the Groom:
Thanks for the update! We are excited to start planning what sounds like a fun celebration.
Question: Can anyone recommend kid friendly accommodations? The thought of Mason tearing around a B&B being a typical 2 year-old (volume control issues and general disregard for others property included) gives me hives. Not to mention how we may affect any other guests in our wake.
It’s not too late to uninvite them. Just saying.
Dear Is The Big Day a Bust?/Kate:
First, congratulations to Luke on the big day and congratulations to you for dealing with two small children – both are monumental – I know from personal experience.
So, here’s the truth: I sometimes hate email. We, me included, attach a tone of voice to email and then things tend to get squirrely. I am guessing that you read Luke’s tone as dismissive of your needs and I am also guessing that Luke felt your email was self-serving and condescending. The thing is, neither is likely true.
The first mistake here is that Luke and Janie traveled south to check out wedding spaces, got excited, sat down to celebratory lunch and immediately popped off an email without thinking through some issues including:
- Do we have enough information to share with our family and friends?
- Is it necessary to share this information right now?
- Is email or text or Facebook the right way to share this information?
- Would it be better to call my family with the details after the three glasses of champagne have worn off?
We are in this crazy world that makes us believe everything is urgent. It’s NOT. The wedding is months away, and if Luke and Janie had taken even a day to gather their thoughts, I doubt they would have sent an email that could appear flippant and lacking in thought for family situations.
With that said, I remind you that the street goes both ways. Writing back “immediately” as you stated, and questioning lodging choices based on your children’s needs, could have waited until you had some time to think, speak with your husband, or find three glasses of champagne for yourself. From your note to me, I understand that you were only trying to save your sanity and the sanity of those around you by avoiding a quaint B&B with a not-so-quaint toddler. But that message may have been lost in translation to the betrothed couple who are in a bubble of love, happiness and self-indulgence. It’s what happens when you get married. Suddenly every single thing is about The Wedding.
I have been on both the giving and receiving end of a misconstrued email. The email I wrote was happy and upbeat. The email that was read had me sounding negative and sarcastic. If I had placed a call or had a face-to-face interaction with my colleague (or teenager – wow, that was a bad scene – and you thought toddler-ville was bad…just wait! ), I would have saved us both some confusion and hurt. Sometimes it’s better not to let your fingers do the talking.