Not Sure What to Think (Etiquette Question)

December 26, 2009

I'm a bit flabbergasted. A few moments ago there was a knock on my door. Opening it, I encountered a lovely young couple standing with a sheaf of papers. I at first thought they were selling magazines or something and said I wasn't interested...

But that was not why they came by. Seems they are getting married next weekend at a neighbor's house at the end of our street. They gave me a little card, pre-printed with this:


We're Getting Married!

This Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 5 o'clock in the evening, we will be having an outdoor wedding ceremony at our family's house in your neighborhood. We hope this will be a very special day and would be so grateful if our neighbors could:

-Please avoid using any loud equipment (lawn mowers, blowers, chain saws, etc)

-Please avoid playing any loud music outside (car stereos, outdoor speakers, etc.)

-Please be aware that due to limited space, there will be guests parking along the street

We sincerely hope that this does not cause any inconvenience and are so grateful for your cooperation. Thank you very much for your respect and understanding on our special day.

All the best to you and your family in the new year.


I had a pleasant little chat, but I was a bit flummoxed at the whole thing. Once I closed the door I began thinking about it and...I'm not quite sure what to think!

Is this something normal? I've never seen anything like it. They were obviously going door to door up and down the block. I asked how many people were coming and they said about 130, so there will definitely be a lot of cars all around.

The more I think about it, the more irritated I'm feeling. I should say, this is a VERY decent, upper-middle class suburb. We're not living in a place that ever features blaring car speakers, etc. OTOH am I supposed to forbid my son from driving into or out of our house in his souped-up truck, which is pretty loud? Is my husband not allowed to run his boat engine while cleaning it, which is pretty loud. And as far as being aware, shouldn't they be somewhat apologetically asking ME if it's okay if people park on my front yard?

Anyway, curious about others' reactions on this one.


Comments (66)

  • happyintexas

    We hosted our son's wedding in our backyard last August. (Yes, Texas and August.)

    We went door to door a few days before and just gave a heads up to our closest neighbors. Since our ceremony was going to be just at sunset, we didn't figure anyone would still be out mowing or weedwhacking, but it didn't hurt to ask nicely, either. Our neighbors sometimes have parties with lots of cars and music, so it would have been a time to figure out the logistics of it all.

    130 guests will not be 100 cars. Most people come in family you could have fifty or so cars, but probably not many more than that lining your street. We have acre lots here, so the length of the street is generous, even if the width was not. We considered a lot of parking plans and went with a park on your own system...mostly because we were out of gas at that point. KWIM? lol We live outside the city limits so no permits or anything. Our 'crowds' and music were all gone by 11:00 pm.

    Our son married here because we have a beautiful garden area (and worked like slaves to make it so in August) and because it was a small wedding. Our new daughter in law wanted white lights in the trees and we couldn't find or afford an alternate venue that fit our needs.

    It's just a few hours on a Saturday evening. Wouldn't you want the very same consideration if it were your family?

  • trailrunner

    Hope the reception isn't there also...

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  • Oakley

    I haven't read the replies yet, but I think it was a very sweet request from them. In fact, I think it was an excellent idea to tactfully and respectfully ask all the neighbors.

    I don't know if it's a new trend or not, but I think it's a good trend!

    So I'd tell the DH and DS to "can it" during that time. lol.

    What I'd also do is, if I lived close by,I'd sit out on my front porch and watch the guests arrive, and then listen to the cheers when the ceremony is over. It'd be a fun night for me!

  • gail618

    I too think that this is a reasonable request. Someone using a chainsaw or lawnmower could ruin the ceremony and reception, and it's not much to ask for the neighbors to refrain from such things for one short evening. I think home weddings are lovely so I would hope my neighbors would understand and oblige.

  • teacats

    A fair and very reasonable request -- and nice of them to give advance notice!

    In fact I'd probably send over a bucket of fresh rosemary from my bushes (trust me, there's lots to go around! LOL)

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  • beache

    Boy, I wish I had thought to do this at my own outside wedding! As we stood before the JP at my in-laws house for our 5PM summer ceremony the neighbor fired up his chain saw! One of the guests ran over and told him what was going on!

    Honestly, I think the couple handled it very well. The wording is respectful ("We sincerely hope that this does not cause any inconvenience"). I'd just keep in mind what's going on when that afternoon comes and wish them well.


  • runninginplace

    Wow, lots of thoughts and interesting comments! A few responses:

    "I think if they had switched the wording around the note could have been a bit more graceful. As it is, it seems kind of bossy. If they had started out explaining and apologizing and THEN asked for favors it would have been a bit more tactful."

    That's what my husband said when he read the note. The tone is not a request, but more commanding. "Please avoid" loud music, blowers etc. Oh, and to the person who mentioned videotaping, I actually asked the young woman 'so, you're taping the wedding?' and she said no, they just don't want to have their vows interrupted.

    "Not sure what Running's neighborhood is like, but many in FL do not have actual curbs. The lawn just runs down to the road and if the road is narrow, people do end up edging onto the lawn."

    Bingo, Amy! There are no sidewalks and the streets are just wide enough for a 2 cars to pass in either lane; ie the cars will indeed be parking on people's front lawns. Even 50 cars is going to be a major blockage on our quiet little suburban street.

    As for the neighbors who told folks about the party by going door to door, this note was passed along by a couple who do not live here. They told me their uncle is holding the wedding at his home. And, the note is completely unsigned and with absolutely no contact information. I retyped it in my original post in its entirety. For people who don't even have the courtesy to sign "Bob and Susie" much less a full name or address to be handing out instructions to the entire block on what to do and not do-it seems high handed to me.

    My daughter cracked me up. She suggested we should treat it like one of the funniest entries in the Email from Crazy People blog. See link below :).

    And as for all you soft hearted folks, I'm not an ogre. I am not going to be rude. I certainly understand that having a leaf blower or loud noises would be disturbing. Still, as I mentioned earlier if they are having a wedding at a private home they don't have any reason to expect to dictate what happens at other people's houses and yards. In fact my daughter also pointed out that it is only a week's notice. Suppose another neighbor has their own party scheduled? One week would certainly not be much notice, and I can see someone being miffed at being told they can't play music at their own party.

    That is part of the issue too. Our block doesn't have a lot of turnover; most of us know each other enough to be friendly, and we do invite each other to get-togethers. The uncle who is hosting this event, OTOH, doesn't have any contact with anybody on the block. They have iron gates around the property, they don't talk to anybody else and they certainly don't participate in any kind of social contacts whatsoever with anybody else living here.

    So to conclude, no I'm not feelin' all warm and fuzzy about a wedding down the street for which I've been given instructions on what not to do in my home and yard by people who don't live here, don't know me and don't give me the courtesy of identifying themselves or the neighbors who actually are residents. Who don't ever speak to us either for that matter!


    Here is a link that might be useful: How I Should Have Handled The Note

  • kgwlisa

    Personally I think you are working awfully hard to be put out by this... I mean, picking apart the note? They say please. They say thank you. They say they would be grateful to you, twice. They say they sincerely hope to not inconvenience anyone. Do you want them to beg or something? They are not dictating, they are asking. "We would be grateful if you could please" is not dictating. I think the list format was just to be clear and concise.

    I believe that in cases like this WE are the ones who CHOOSE how we take something. You can blow it all out of proportion and turn it into a huge inconvenience by awful, rude, dictating neighbors or you can just be happy for the couple (even if their uncle doesn't socialize with you) and refrain from making noise for a couple hours in the evening. I'm not even sure why this is an issue to be honest.

  • neetsiepie

    For my DD's 17th birthday we had a local rock band play. We'd cleared it with the city (no permits required) and I had her go to all the neighbors with a note explaining what was going on. We instructed the band to stop playing before 10pm. We later found out that our neighbors were tickled with the band, and were all grateful that we'd given them advance notice. Our neighbor next door planned to be gone that evening, too. Worked out great for all involved.

    I think the couple doing this with the note is a nice touch. They're not the Uncle...they're probably not aware of the dynamics of the neighborhood. Park your car at the end of the driveway and call it good. Tell your son to come before the wedding or later. It's only a couple of hours, and if it were a neighbor you like, would you be willing to abide by their request?

  • SheeshareeII

    As far as them not signing the letter I do think it would've been nice but I'm sure with everything else they have going on, right or wrong, they just didn't think about. They did do it in person and I would think they introduced themselves? A week before my wedding I was pretty hyped about everything. There are things I would've done different. I think the notice is nice and that it was done in person. They could've just put notes in the mailboxes or on the door steps and ran. lol They're just wanting the best for their day and probably hoping that it would at least cut down some noise if people were aware a wedding was going on.

  • gail618

    I don't see how the uncle's not socializing with you has anything to do with it. That is not a crime - some people just like to keep to themselves.

  • lukkiirish

    I also feel what they did was appropriate and would not be offended by someone doing that in our neighborhood at all. I don't think the type of neighborhood you live in is any consequence so I'm not sure you felt it necessary to throw that out there. As rude as this may sound, I'm just going to say it like I see it.

    Sometimes we need to get over ourselves, look at the big picture and think about someone other than ourselves for a change. It's their wedding, they're being courteous enough to give you notice and ask for simple consideration in return. Get over it and cut them some slack.

  • sable_ca

    Our neighbors just behind us and slightly up a hill threw a big college graduation party for a son last summer. About a week before the party they went around to all the neighbors and hand-delivered a printed note. It explained about the party, that it would be outside, with about 70 people, and there would be a d.j. and extra lights. It apologized for any inconveniece, promised that the music would be over at 10 pm and the extra lights off an hour later. And it included a $10 gift certificate for Peet's, an upscale coffee cafe nearby as a "thank you for your forebearance".

    Turns out the music was terrific, quite a few golden oldies, and it was over promptly at 10. Everyone was happy and the visit to Peet's was great.

    In your case, I would comply with their wishes, just because it's better to be more neighborly than not. But I don't care for the "please avoid" phrasing at all.

  • les917

    I think it was a very kind and considerate approach, respectful and far enough in advance to allow you to plan around those few hours. I don't think they were trying to tell anyone how to live in their own homes - just asking for some consideration.

    Our neighborhood didn't have curbs for the first few years we lived here, and people parking on the street were 'technically' on the lawn, I guess. But our village has a setback, so that the property along the street is the village's, not ours. I would never have considered cars parked along the edges of the grassy parkway as parked on our front lawn.

    I would comply with their wishes, and appreciate their effort as a sincere attempt to have the lovely event they desire while being considerate of the neighborhood.

  • work_in_progress_08

    I think the couple were trying to be polite by informing the neighbors of the upcoming inconvenience. I wasn't party to the conversation, but sounds as though there was a nice little chat?

    DH and I were married at home so I guess I can relate to their concerns. I was not so concerned back in the day, but do see now how it might put that type of neighborhood in an uproar having all of the guests parking and the like.

    I would say congrats to the new couple and just call it a day where good karma prevails.

  • graywings123

    Oh, Ann, that link is snort out loud funny! Thanks for sharing.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Emails from crazy people

  • lyfia

    I'm sure you like me wouldn't do anything to disturb the party, but like you I also find the tone a little off-putting. I'm guessing the conversation that went with it was supposed to smooth that over, but I think there are plenty of ways to have said it without coming across as "bossy" which is how I read it.

    I get those same feelings you have described from reading it. I've actually recieved a note in the same spirit as this one - except delivered in my mail box in my old neighborhood. However the wording was much different and very apologetic and I got more of a I hope everything goes well for them reaction than the reaction I get on this one which is just like the one you seem to be describing. I get the reaction "who are you to tell me what I can and can't do in my house" kind of feeling. Although I wouldn't act on it I would entertain the same thoughts you have too because I don't like people acting as authority over me when they have no reason to.

    The one I got started up with apologizing for any inconvenience to the neighbors and any noise they might be causing, described the music they'd be playing and that they would be quiet by 11pm. They ended it with something like the following "we know we are inconveniencing the neighborhood, but if you could please find it in your heart to try to keep quiet during our ceremony from xx to xx we would be forever grateful". Not an exact quote as I can't remember every detail.

    I never met them as I wasn't home much and hence in the mail-box is my guess as my neighbor said he'd met them when they came to his house. All I had was the written note and I was more than happy to be quiet and appreciated the heads-up vs. the one you posted. I'm guessing the talking to them was meant to help that, but I don't have that part of the experience.

  • sergeantcuff

    To me, their note seems like a list of demands wrapped up in a few niceties.

    The sort of note Sable describes would have been so much more polite, and would have ensured both complete quiet and good feelings all around.

  • igloochic

    Goodness how sad that such a nice gesture is seen in such a negative light. I also think you're trying to find fault where no fault should be found. Perhaps it's because you have issues with the Uncle? I don't socialize with many of my neighbors you socialize with all of yours? Do you always penalize someone for not making the attempt because I'd be right up there on the top of your bad girl list...DS is often ill so I don't make an effort to go chat up the neighbors regularly because I often don't want to have to visit with folks. I'm too tired and just want to hibernate in my house.

    If you look at it with a more open mind...

    Is there a requirement that you be notified if someone is having guests over? In any number? If your other neighbor had a bbq and their guests parked in the street (not pulled straight into the front yard) would this be a problem or is this where people park when they visit the neighborhood? They didn't have to tell you that they were doing this, nor did they have to appologize for any possible inconvenience...but were kind enough to do so and in today's rude world, I see that as a really kind and polite gesture.

    Asking a week in advance for you not to make a lot of noise isn't such a hardship...isn't it an easy request to comply with? Why on earth would you want to make noise just because you were asked not to?

    And as to DS's truck....have you ever considered that it might be an annoyance in the neighborhood? That sort of thing on a regular basis would really bother me. As parma says, it would warrent a call to the authorities. A once in a lifetime party? One evening compared to daily loud cars is a pretty simple trade.

  • theroselvr

    IDK, I think I'd be happy they walked around and wrote the note, but annoyed at the bossy tone of it.

    As was mentioned a 5pm wedding is pretty late to be working in the yard this time of the year. I also think more then a weeks notice would have been nice.

    I think what would annoy me is that they never mentioned how late it will end; which would have me freaking out. We go to bed fairly early; usually 9. If my hubby was working; he usually gets up at 2:30am; yes, even some Sunday's; depends on what load he's picked to deliver.

    With no curbs & a narrow street; I also like the shuttle idea. While technically the town does own the front land; it is me who up keeps it & if anyone puts ruts from driving on it; it's me who fixes it.

    Christmas day was pretty mellow at my house. After my kids (24 & 16) opened gifts, they left to go to their fathers houses. I went outside & shoveled out the hydrant; sewer & side walk. I also went out and chopped up all the ice on the road by the mailbox so that my mailman would have more room when he delivered. With my bad back; I was only able to do so much when it snowed and haven't had time to get out there to finish it due to having to go to Philly every day with hubby. Wouldn't you know it; 2 of my neighbors had guests; and although there is no parking on my side; many people tried to park where I just cleaned; partially blocking my driveway. Had my son come home or had I needed to get out; there may not have been enough room for me to pull out because someone was parked directly across the street as well. To add to this; people would pull in my driveway to turn around & sit in my driveway with their headlights shining in. My neighbor directly across from me always complains if someone parks on my side (a quick park to pick my girl up) but never thinks their car might make it hard for us. What annoyed me was that when I was outside shoveling; some of the neighbors were out but none were cleaning up in front of their houses even though they knew they were having guests.

    I guess my own experience with my neighbors is making me annoyed for this wedding situation. It;s one thing if the neighbor is neighborly to begin with...

  • Ideefixe

    I used to live in Pasadena, CA, right along the Rose Parade route. That's a circus. My neighbors (and every house on the block was huge, and gorgeous, and lavishly decorated) always notified the block whenever they were planning on entertaining--valet parking was the norm, for graduation parties, debut parties, anniversaries, etc. The house next door was frequently used as a film location, and trust me, I'd go for a small wedding any day of the week.

    I don't think this couple are out of line, and I'd rather have the heads up, so I can choose to be elsewhere.

  • themommy1

    I think the note was a nice thing for them to do,that said I would first have been anoided, and then I would think that they did not mean it to sound bossie. They like many others now days just don't know how to word things the best way,but try they did, wich is more then most would do these days.

  • maddielee

    roselvr wrote: "As was mentioned a 5pm wedding is pretty late to be working in the yard this time of the year."

    I wish I could send you the sounds of my neighborhood...its 5:45 pm on Sunday...gas powered pressure washer being used directly behind our house and a chainsaw going a couple yards down... we have to close the windows and doors to hear one another talk (and I have guests from the North arriving soon who would love to sit out back on the lanai!!!). We'll need more wine!

    ML (Florida)

  • mcmann

    Our neighbor in the cul de sac had a party and the cars parked along both sides of the entry street and all around the circle at the end. When the party was over they were all surprised to find parking tickets on the cars. The police ticketed them because there were so many cars they considered it a safety violation- there wasn't room for an ambulance let alone a fire engine.

    I hope you neighbors checked with the local police department to make sure the parking is legal. They might be better off having parking on one side of the street only.

  • natal

    I applaud them for notifying neighbors that there would be a lot of cars in the neighborhood that evening and to please understand the need for on-street parking, but asking people to curtail their own activities is extremely presumptuous. The wording of their letter leaves much to be desired.

  • redbazel

    If you had already planned your own party for that day, then, I could understand why you might be concerned. If your husband had taken off that one weekend to work on his boat, then, again, you might wonder how you could really accommodate their very nicely worded letter. And as for your son's loud truck? Well, all I can say about that, is that I am assuming there is nothing you guys know how to do to fix that? The other neighbors may wish that distraction gone anyway.
    In other words, I think that in times gone by, most people in a 'nice' neighborhood would be happy that their area is charming and nice enough to hold a once in a lifetime event. Neighbors would be inclined to be neighborly and respectful of someone else's request for just a few hours on one day..........for a little respite from leaf blowers and loud vehicles and other noise, so that they could have one very joyous event.
    What if it were your own son getting married, and for financial reasons or sentimental reasons, you wanted to host his lovely day in your own charming back yard? Would you not be pleased to know that you lived in a neighborhood where your neighbors actually cared about you? Would you not be happy to have neighbors smilingly accede to your polite requests for just a few hours of quiet? We should always be willing to do towards others as we would have them do unto us. And it seems to me that their letter was very carefully worded. In truth, I can't conceive why anyone would rush to take offense, or begrudge them their wedding joy.

    If their party offends or their guests intrude or your lawn is ruined or their groomsmen throw confetti on your sidewalk, then, later, after the wedding, perhaps you should walk over and mention it. But for now, why not do the kind and considerate thing and be a good neighbor?


  • learn_as_i_go

    "Well, to be honest I wasn't actually going to *suggest* that my husband or son make extra noise. But, the contrarian in me almost wants to ;)."

    IMHO, you are overreacting in an ugly manner. This couple had the kindness and consideration to provide notice and make a few simple requests for your consideration during what is a most special time of their lives. Obviously they must feel a compassion toward this neighborhood if (1) they have chosen to have a home wedding here and (2) they took the time to meet with each neighbor personally to discuss the impact of the wedding. I have tried to see this from your point of view, but each time I try to do that I am stuck with the glaring differences between what they actually said/requested and the way that you've interpreted it - in each instance, it appears that you've expanded upon their words. For example, a notification that there will be increased parking along the street does not equal cars in your yard. Sheesh. A request to refrain from using a leaf blower (an activity that usually persists for at least 1/2 hour) does not equal a prohibition on driving a truck to/from the home. Not unless your son likes to sit in the driveway and rev his engine for 30 minutes! Can you see the difference?

    You should just let it go and be happy that these folks have a reason to celebrate.

  • harriethomeowner

    I think people should always try to be quiet except in unusual circumstances. I hate the leaf blowers, chain saws, gas-powered lawn mowers, and all the rest of it at any time.

  • IdaClaire

    To me, their note seems like a list of demands wrapped up in a few niceties.
    The sort of note Sable describes would have been so much more polite, and would have ensured both complete quiet and good feelings all around.

    I completely agree. And frankly, I'm surprised at some of the "tone" taken against Ann in this thread. I don't think she needs a good scolding in response to her initial reaction to this couple's note. I would have bristled initially myself, but (like Ann) I wouldn't go out of my way to be disruptive during the wedding.

  • sweeby

    I think the note's wording could have been improved a bit (though overall, it certainly wasn't the worst) --

    But to me, it sounds like that particular neighbor's perceived 'stand-offishness' set up the initial impression of bossiness. If the wedding hosts were 'beloved neighbors' instead of this guy...

    "The uncle who is hosting this event, OTOH, doesn't have any contact with anybody on the block. They have iron gates around the property, they don't talk to anybody else and they certainly don't participate in any kind of social contacts whatsoever with anybody else living here."

    ... I suspect the note's tone wouldn't have come off that same way.

    We live on a tiny cul-de-sac with only eight houses and NO passing space if anyone were to park on the street. Whenever any of us host a party with more than the 5 or 6 cars our own driveways can accomodate, we always ask the neighbors if they would allow guests to park in their circular driveways. No one ever refuses because there simply isn't a good alternative...

  • IdaClaire

    Something along these lines happened this past summer in our neighborhood, when a neighbor who lives across the street came over to introduce himself and invite us to a party he was hosting. We're certain that what he really wanted to do was give us a head's up that there were going to be cars lining the block on both sides and to let us know that things might be a little louder than usual at his place. The way he handled it though was so very thoughtful, inviting us to come over and join in the festivities.

    Perhaps if this couple had extended an invitation of some sort (inviting neighbors to stop by the reception for a piece of cake and a drink maybe?), instead of issuing a thinly-veiled mandate for the neighbors to keep it quiet, it would have been much nicer all around.

  • natal

    ...thinly-veiled mandate...

    Good description!

    We have a neighbor who lives catty corner. His house sits on a larger lot than most on our street ... 2 acres compared to 1/4 acre lots. He has a number of parties during the year ... the next being the King's Whiskey/Queen's Tea as the Mardi Gras season kicks off. Even though they have ample parking space on their property they always place a large sign streetside reminding guests to park on the street. Our streets are the same as Ann's ... only room for 2 vehicles, no sidewalks, and no real space for vehicles to park on the street without encroaching on lawns. We can also expect an illegal bonfire in his backyard before the night is over. Someone will call the fire department to report it ... or not. Some people just have a different mindset. It's all about them.

  • maddielee

    I'm still not getting the "a thinly-veiled mandate" part of this...

    The original post referred to the couple as " a lovely young couple" and the note stated that they would be grateful if the neighbors could refrain from making loud noise during the wedding.

    Maybe the wording could have been better, but in most correspondence wording can always be better.

    ...and the idea of inviting unknown people (neighbors) to stop by their wedding would more then likely have implied (to some) that they were looking for more gifts, wouldn't it?

  • cyn427 (z. 7, N. VA)

    I don't get this either. I have read the note several times as I have gone through these posts and I think it is okay. I suppose it could be more gracious, but then I think they did try. I am another one who thinks the OP is overreacting and probably because of the uncle. I think it was lovely that the couple took the time to meet everyone in order to ask their forebearance here.

    We live on a street that sees out-of-neighborhood people attending events nearby which can slow traffic on our street and which has also caused us problems getting in or out of our driveway. It doesn't happen often, so we let it go.

    Also, a week is plenty of notice unless another party is planned in which case a solution could have been worked out by both parties together. More than a week's notice would likely result in people forgetting and being surprised once the actual day arrived. I would have much more of an issue with the noisy truck on a regular basis than I would with a one-day wedding.

    It seems that "very decent" neighborhood in this case does not mean very pleasant people.

    Also, I think maddielee is right about asking people to join them for cake-what in the world would the OP have made of that?!

    I hope the young couple has an absolutely splendid day filled with joy and laughter and no power tools-lol.

  • IdaClaire

    It seems that "very decent" neighborhood in this case does not mean very pleasant people.

    Wow. Really? Are you calling Ann "unpleasant"? Because I can assure you, she isn't.

    The more I mull this over, the more I think that it's highly presumptuous of this couple to ask neighbors to put their lives on hold - yes, even for a couple of hours - so that they can have a quiet outdoor wedding. It's entirely their choice to hold the event outdoors in a neighborhood setting, and they should be fully prepared to hear planes, trains, automobiles, dogs barking, children shrieking ... all of the attendant sounds that go along with people living.

  • lowspark

    This is my own attitude but I've observed others having the same feelings. Someone I like can say/do/ask something and it's just fine and dandy. Someone I don't like can say/do/ask the very same thing and it bugs the tar outa me.

    I agree that at least some of Running's attitude probably stems from the fact that she doesn't have great feelings toward the uncle. But honestly, being the way I described above myself, I can really sympathize.

    I admit too, that when I first read the words "Please avoid", I was a little bit put off. But part of what put me off might have been the way the sentence was separated, so that "Please avoid" was on a separate line from the beginning of the sentence, "would be so grateful if our neighbors could", and the way it was bullet pointed.

    So, after reading all the replies and thinking about it, I think the main problem is the way the request is structured, combined with the fact that the uncle is not Running's favorite person.

    The thing is, the wedding is going take place, the cars are going to be parked and the inconvenience to the neighbors will be there no matter what. I mean, 130 people and 50-60 cars are going to show up on Saturday regardless of whether the couple had brought this note around. So that part is a done deal.

    Now it comes down to whether or not people will use their noisy lawn implements and such between 5 & 530ish, because let's face it, the wedding itself isn't going to last more than about a half hour. Even if the reception goes on for a few hours after that, someone's noisy car pulling in or out of the neighbor's house won't be that big a deal.

    So... looking at it that way, I'd probably just bite the bullet for the sake of the couple and not get too upset over it. In the long run, it's just one evening for you but an extremely important moment for the couple.

    They might not have done the best job of asking for the favor, but I've always felt better afterward if I took the high road, regardless of how others behaved.

  • runninginplace

    Well, it's the OP herself, the unpleasant, intolerant, engine-revving, narrow minded uncle-hater here to respond :).

    I deliberately sat on my hands for a couple of days. As always, when one starts a topic it is fair game for people to respond as they choose. Maybe doubly fair when one asks for opinions and puts hers out there first.

    But since this conversation has proceeded apace without my participation I find myself being inexorably drawn back into the fray. So herewith my response to everyone's comments. And here we go starting with a couple of details:

    I never said I was planning to deliberately make loud noise to disrupt anyone's wedding. In fact I said I will be careful not to let anyone in my household do so. Usually 5 pm on a Saturday finds me either napping, reading or getting ready to make dinner. So no decibels will be unnecessarily emanating from my house.

    I don't have a hate on for my neighbor, the uncle who is hosting. I don't even KNOW the guy. And I don't particularly care if he is or isn't friendly or in contact with me or any of the neighbors.

    And lastly, I'm still not won over to the school of thought that it was a lovely, generous, neighborly gesture. I see the validity of the point made by several folks that they were being thoughtful to notify us about a big event coming up on the block that might inconvenience all (the parking). However they were also requesting a favor by asking everyone to be quiet (the noise).

    I appreciate the reminders not to sweat the small stuff, as well as the comments from folks who understood my perspective.

    As for the rest, it's asked and answered and that is what I expect when I ask--it will be answered!

    Thanks for all the responses, every one was interesting if not always 'pleasant' to read :).

    I'll post a follow up if anyone's interested after the wedding, if I"m not in jail for letting all the air out of the tires of the cars parked in front of my house (JOKING). Someone made the very astute remark that we're all-neighbors and bridal party and uncle alike-blessed to be living where a January outdoor wedding is even an option. So far the weather has been beautiful. The South Florida winter light has a gorgeous luminous tone; the bridal pictures should be incredible.

    And last but not least, my own anniversary is 2 days after the wedding. I hope the lovely young couple ends up realizing what I have, which is that as nice as the wedding is, the days and years of marriage that flow afterward are the true treasure.


  • yogacat

    I'm a quiet person and have an intense dislike of noise, so being asked to be quiet wouldn't bother me in the least. Cars parked on the street wouldn't bother me as long access to my home wasn't blocked. I would hope that the wedding wouldn't be noisy.

    In my neighborhood noise after 10 pm results in a call to the police - not just from me, but from others as well.

  • kgwlisa

    It's entirely their choice to hold the event outdoors in a neighborhood setting, and they should be fully prepared to hear planes, trains, automobiles, dogs barking, children shrieking ... all of the attendant sounds that go along with people living.

    Jen, you are making it sound like they requested that people keep their pets and children inside. How long is the typical wedding ceremony? Around here, a half hour at most. Longer if it is included as part of a significant religious ceremony such as mass but not TOO much longer. They specifically said "ceremony" which to me is maybe what? From 5-6pm to be safe? And they asked that no chainsaws and the like be used during that time of the day. They asked that people not play "loud" music outside. I'm sure if you are sitting in your backyard listening to something that doesn't leave your property line it would be no big deal - and really, that's common decency anyway. But suddenly these awful selfish unrealistic people are now telling you to keep your children chained in the basement and your pets locked in the closet lest a peep escape from them at an inopportune time during their wedding ceremony.

    This is exactly what I meant is that YOU can choose how YOU read things. You can CHOOSE to see the horror and start taking things to what you think are "logical conclusions" or you can just choose to take it in the best and nicest way possible and see it as an attempt to let the neighbors know what will be going on, give them a chance to air any concerns (hence hand delivering the note rather than just dropping it in people's mailboxes) and request that no one fire up their chainsaw and pick THAT moment to take down the 100 year old dead tree in their yard.

    I prefer to see the good in people and take it the better way but I can't say I am surprised to see so many people do not.

  • natal

    I still think it's presumptuous to ask people to curb whatever is normal behavior in their own homes/yards in order to accommodate someone's choice of wedding venue. If you want quiet ... choose a location where that occurs naturally.

    In all likelihood, the noise issue will be a non-issue. Most people aren't doing any of those things at that time of day in January ... even in the south.

  • natal

    And btw, we got married in someone's backyard 30 years ago. Never entered my mind to make any of those requests.

  • IdaClaire

    Lisa, I think you read a bit more into what I said than what I intended to convey. I'm really not in the mood to argue, but I do want to add that just because some of us feel that the couple in question was presumptuous doesn't mean we don't "see the good in people." We simply don't view this particular situation the same way. And there's nothing in the world wrong with that.

  • kgwlisa

    That's EXACTLY my point Jen. Not arguing, just agreeing with you. I believe that anyone who got offended by the note read a bit more into what they said than what they intended to convey. Of course they are the only ones who know their true intentions but I prefer to go through life believing that people have better intentions when there is grey area - and obviously from the responses, there is grey area in this case. It's just easier and more pleasant that way than making offense when none was ever intended.

  • lukkiirish

    One issue no one has touched on in this thread is the difference in maturity levels between older adults with some life experience and these young adults who are just starting out. I don't think it's fair or reasonable to expect 20 somethings to word a request like that perfectly and in a way that is not offensive to some. As we've seen here, it's all about perception and that can vary from one reader to the next. So how can we possibly expect that these kids have an etiquette and maturity level that is simply beyond their years? Is that what you would expect from your own children? I think by taking the extra step to knock on doors, this couple was at least trying to do the right thing. As an older adult (and parent) I believe they deserve some slack. Getting married is stressful, having to knock on doors in a strange neighborhood and request quiet is stressful too. Honestly, IMHO it's Mr. Uncle who dropped the ball on this one. It's his neighborhood and he who is hosting the ceremony. If he's willing to host a ceremony of that size, he should be responsible to notify HIS neighbors himself or at least have the decency to have accompanied the bride & groom (to be) in that walk around the neighborhood. For some of the responses I just wonder, what happened to that idea of doing something that's possibly out of the norm just to be neighborly?

    These are tough times and getting married isn't cheap. They may be having a back yard wedding out of necessity. Under the circumstances, I think compassion and tolerance are called for.

  • runninginplace

    "I prefer to go through life believing that people have better intentions when there is grey area - and obviously from the responses, there is grey area in this case. It's just easier and more pleasant that way than making offense when none was ever intended."

    But you posted recently in the holiday rudeness topic about being annoyed when someone who was trying to be nice held the door open at the market for you and your baby, because they didn't give you enough space to get through. Maybe you should practice your compassion and tolerance a bit at home, so to speak.


  • roobear

    The Pretty Lady & Two monks

    Once upon a time a old monk and a young monk were traveling together. They came to the bank of a river and found the bridge was damaged. They had to wade across the river.There they found a pretty lady stuck at the damaged bridge who couldn't cross the river on her own. The young monk offered to carry the pretty lady across the river on his back. The lady accepted. The old monk was shocked by the move of the young monk. "How can my disciple brother carry a lady when we are supposed to avoid all intimacy with females?" thought the old monk. But he kept quiet.

    The young monk carried the lady across the river and
    the old monk followed unhappily. When they had crossed the river, the young monk let the lady down and they parted ways with her.

    All along the way for several miles, the old monk was very unhappy with the act of the young monk. He was making up all kinds of accusations about the young monk in his head. This got him madder and madder. But he still kept quiet. And the young monk had no inclination to explain his situation. Finally, at a rest point many hours later, the old monk could not stand it any further, he burst out angrily at the younger monk.

    "How can you claim yourself a devout monk, when you seize the first opportunity to touch a female, especially when she is very pretty? All your teachings to me make you a big hypocrite."

    The young monk looked surprised and said, "I had put
    down the pretty lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?"

    This very old Chinese zen story reflects the thinking of many people today. We encounter many unpleasant things in our life, they irritate and make us angry. Sometimes, they even cause us lot of hurt or make us bitter. But like the old monk, we are not willing to let them go. We keep on carrying the baggage of the "unpleasant memory" with us. We let it keep on coming back to hurt us, make us angry, make us bitter and cause us a lot of agony. Why?

  • igloochic

    I read this to DH last night. He does not "know" anyone on GW so his thoughts were without prejudice. So let's talk about not wording the request right, and the first post.

    He literally rolled his eyes at this line:
    "I should say, this is a VERY decent, upper-middle class suburb." He asked what the heck that had to do with the price of tea in China. Would this be acceptable behavior if you were in a low income neighborhood? Accepted because if you're poor you're naturally loud or rude? The line comes of snotty and I know that wasn't what you meant, but that's how it came out.

    He laughed at this line:
    "OTOH am I supposed to forbid my son from driving into or out of our house in his souped-up truck, which is pretty loud?" and suggested maybe there really isn't a wedding going on and they're trying to give you a little hint that your son's truck is annoying and they don't want to have to hear that anymore? And is it ok with you that your son's truck is loud (which is annoying) but not ok for someone to ask to tone it down for half an hour?

    His last comment..."I hope the young couple does not read those posts because the comments of the poster are really out of line. It would be a real damper on a deed that was well intended and would likely discourage them from caring what the neighbors think in the future".

    You probably didn't mean to say that or to come across that way, but you perhaps giving these kids a bit of slack is in order? You're older and wiser and should know how those comments would read to many....these are just kids trying to do the right thing :o(

  • kellyeng

    Shoulda, woulda, coulda . . .

    The kids could have done a better job wording their card but do you really want to hold that against them? I applaud their effort and sincerity for just wanting a couple hours of bliss at their wedding.

  • kgwlisa

    But you posted recently in the holiday rudeness topic about being annoyed when someone who was trying to be nice held the door open at the market for you and your baby, because they didn't give you enough space to get through. Maybe you should practice your compassion and tolerance a bit at home, so to speak.

    lol, I wasn't upset that she held the door open, I was upset that she yelled at me when I didn't move through fast enough. The fact that I couldn't get through with her in the way was an explanation of why I didn't just go through, not why it irritated me. I would never be irritated by someone attempting to do something nice even if it didn't quite work out. Selective memory there. Her tone and volume left no grey area as to her meaning.

  • redbazel

    Kgwlisa, I like the way you expressed yourself very much. Very kind.

    Perhaps Ann is getting as misunderstood from her writings as the family having the wedding may be from theirs. I don't see the initial card with the explanation and requests as being in any way dogmatic, but I do see that some here think that it is. And since I have been reading Ann as trying to find fault, although she says she is not, I thus need to adjust my opinion. When I am misunderstood and mean no offense, it is frustrating to me when offense is taken. However, I don't think it was particularly nice to search another forum entirely for something to nip at Lisa with. I'm not going to seek it out for context but I am going to say this.......Sometimes I get bent out of shape over something simple or something that was not directed at me personally. I may react badly or thoughtlessly. That does not mean I am in general a thoughtless or unkind or angry person. And I often feel ashamed when called to account for my comments or actions. Most often, the person who readjusts me is my 22 yr. old daughter. She's not a goody-two-shoes or without humor or satire, but she does not react well when other people, including her mother, don't give others the benefit of the doubt. She read the original post when I shared it with DH and herself the other night. Her comment? "Shame on her. She needs to get over herself and let them have their wedding without her picking them apart. It's only a couple of hours...."

    I hope their wedding is lovely and everything they hope it will be. I hope their marriage is happy and prosperous. I congratulate you, Ann, on your upcoming wedding anniversary. May you have many more happy years together!


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