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Apr 13, 2012 12:00 PM

Was it rude to assume I was invited?


My husband was invited to a corporate cocktail party by the publisher of some of his works.
He RSVP'd, and we were planning to attend together.

We just found out, however, that no guests are invited, due to limited space.

Should they not have specified that on their invitation?

This isn't an 'office party'.

it's a party in honor of the writers who the company represents, of which my husband is one.

My husband is not the greatest network-er, and is only comfortable at these kind of events with me.

Was it wrong of us to assume that I could come?

Thanks so much for any feedback!

  1. I wouldn't say it was rude, but it was presumptuous. My partner gets invited to a lot of things like this and I never once assumed I was invited unless it was stipulated. And I've always been correct.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy

      I agree with ttoommyy. If the invite did not specify "and guest," you just presumed. If your husband is not comfortable at things like this (mine isn't either, so I sympathize), he can politely decline or just say something came up at the last minute, if he has already RSVPd, and he will be unable to attend.

      1. re: ttoommyy

        "My husband is not the greatest network-er, and is only comfortable at these kind of events with me."

        I will also add that the exact opposite is true at my house; my partner is a big schmoozer while I get extremely anxious at an event like this. On the rare occasion that I have been invited to something that is for me only and no guest, I might decline based on the type of event. I never even think about asking if I can bring someone or assume my partner can accompany me.

      2. Well, you start by saying that your husband was invited, so there you go. You were not invited. I would never assume that I'm invited to an event of my DH's work unless specified, such as a Holiday Party.
        You're not rude, but made an assumption probably influenced by your DH's social anxiety.
        You're not invited, and that's par for the course with work-related events.
        And, you don't rsvp for two unless you see that you *and guest* are invited. That's usually made clear on the invite.

        11 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          My presumption had nothing to do with his social anxiety.

          As I stated, this is not an office party or holiday party. It is a party in honor of the artists who are represented by this company - which include my husband.
          I think it was a natural presumption on our part.

          Anyway, thanks all, for the feedback.

          1. re: Michele212

            note the word "probably". I don't know you, so that's why I stipulated, and didn't mean to state as fact.
            I inferred that from your OP. I guess we both made presumtions ;-) However, I think you will see even by the limited amount of responses to date, it's not proper etiquette/natural to assume what you did.
            Anyway, good luck to him at the event!

            1. re: monavano

              He's not attending.
              We were going there on our way to another event, so there it is.
              Thanks again, all.

            2. re: Michele212

              Did your husband receive a written invitation? How was it worded? Did it say "Mr. & Mrs." , or "Mr. and guest"? If not, only he was invited. If he feels he will be unable to cope with the situation, well he can just tell them he can't make it. On the other hand, if it is important to his furthering his career, maybe he can go for a short time, and then make a gracious exit.

              1. re: CookieLee

                The invitation was via email.
                "In honor of our authors, etc."
                I don't have the invite any longer, but it obviously must not have said "and guest"
                He needs no help furthering his career there - he's actually one of their "big cheeses."
                Thanks again for replying.

                1. re: Michele212

                  YW. I found myself in a similar situation at one time. It was quite surprising to me as well.

              2. re: Michele212

                I don't think you were incorrect to assume you were invited. My husband is often invited to receptions by the various publishers he is affiliated with. At every one, spouses or partners of the authors/editors have been present.

                1. re: dulcie54

                  Well, thank you Dulcie...I'm also a pretty well established artist in this field, so it seemed kinda kooky to us.
                  This situation was a first for me.
                  So, I decided to do some kind of reality check, and found ChowHound.
                  Glad to know of this site, now.

                2. re: Michele212

                  ""It is a party in honor of the artists who are represented by this company - which include my husband."" - Michele212

                  Well, there's your answer. Are YOU an artist represented by that company?

                  1. re: NE_Wombat

                    They're very much interested in one of my properties, and I'm very involved with them in three of my husband's titles, - so it was a real FAUX PAS in our book.

                    1. re: Michele212

                      But their "faux pas" doesn't change the fact that you were clearly not invited. Two separate issues.

              3. If your name, or "and guest" appear on the invitation, you're included. Otherwise, no.

                1. I don't think it was rude of you, you were merely mistaken. It's not a big deal, and now you'll know for next time that you need to get clarification on the situation if it's not completely clear to you.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Muchlove

                    Thank you for you kind and civilized reply.
                    Though many intend to be helpful here, I can't help but detect a hint of hostility in some of these replies.

                    1. re: Michele212

                      i think you are right about the note of hostility and I can;t imagine why it's there. I think it's quite rude of the host of this evening (corporate or otherwise) to invite a guest without their mate. I work for a small company, we would never do that. Especially if the night is to honour your husband, it should be a pleasure for him to attend- with his mate!

                      1. re: nummanumma

                        There are internal policies, for better, or for worse, that preclude spouses, SO's, guests, or similar. Wife has worked for hospitals for decades. One had a standing policy that no spouses were to be invited to ANYTHING. It was expressly forbidden - only the employees, with zero exceptions. At others, family was ALWAYS invited, and they made a big deal of the family. It just depends. Now, the Sisters insist that I attend every event, though there are some, that are being hosted by other entities, so I always ask.

                        Were I charged with hosting MY authors, I would certainly invite one guest for each, but then I hold the "family" pretty dear. Heck, there have been some professional events, where I assumed that I was NOT invited, only to find that the people in charge demanded that I attend, but I know that they just wanted me to pick the wines... [Grin]

                        To the OP, sorry that things went down, as they did. It can be a harsh world out there, as I have found out. That is why I always ask.

                        Good luck,


                      2. re: Michele212

                        LOL get used to the hint of "hostility" LOL!
                        I've been in the same situation and learned the hard way. Boyfriend at the time was taking a course and there was a Course Party. We assumed I was included, and I showed up only to find that I was the ONLY non-Course person there. AAAK!
                        After that experience 20 odd years ago, I learned to ask specifically "does the invitation say guest/spouse/significant other?". Throughout the years, my Dear Hubby (DH) has been to a number of work events where guests were specifically not invited. Even yesterday, DH (not the boyfriend above LOL) came home and said there was a function at a restaurant that night (he just found out). I asked, AM I INVITED? and he said "I'm NOT SURE", meaning I stayed home. Just as well, as it turned out that guests weren't invited.
                        You certainly weren't rude. It was a reasonable assumption. Sometimes these invites aren't clear, and I personally prefer to err on the side of caution.

                        1. re: freia

                          "Sometimes these invites aren't clear, and I personally prefer to err on the side of caution."

                          Great point. Hosts should be specific, and too few are.

                          Same for the "requested attire," but that is fit for a different thread.

                          Well stated,


                        2. re: Michele212

                          Try not to worry too much if you get snarky or hostile replies. It's the internet! Also, sometimes it can be hard to read tone and people aren't necessarily trying to be rude, it just comes off that way.

                          In addition I will note that I have noticed many people on Chowhound have much stronger feelings about correct etiquette than I do. Generally I am a forgiving person and don't mind if other people don't do things exactly "right". But apparently there are lots of things which are considered "tacky" and certain posters seem to think that everyone in the world lives in exactly the same culture and should behave in exactly the same way. Personally, I believe in treating people like...well...people! Sometimes people make etiquette "mistakes", but this does not mean that they are rude and should be shunned.

                          1. re: Muchlove

                            Yes, I have observed similar.

                            In similar situations, I ask, and then ask again. I hate unpleasant surprises.


                            1. re: Muchlove

                              Love this post and I definitely agree on culture/etiquette.
                              There's also the internet oppositional force in effect. People like to take the opposing view to an OP.

                        3. Thanks for all of the replies.
                          Though we both feel this was a terrible error on the company's behalf, we'll be more careful in the future.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: Michele212

                            It probably was presumptuous, and maybe a bit rude.

                            The best course of action would've been to have your husband ask around the office to see what the protocol was.

                            Live and learn.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I find your response a bit rude, too.
                              My husband doesn't 'work' in this 'office', so there
                              s no "asking around."
                              He is an award-winning, established artist, who has several prominent titles represented by this publisher.
                              It is an evening in celebration of their writers, of whom he is one.
                              To invite a celebrated guest, and not allow him/her to bring a spouse/guest, seems like a truly stupid move to us on this company's part.

                              1. re: Michele212

                                I agree it is pretty stupid and short sighted of them. Skip it and enjoy your other event.

                                1. re: Michele212

                                  I went back and re-read the thread when you opined that answers here were "hostile." I just don't detect that, nor did I see rudeness in an honest answer you just gave a snarky reply to just above here. The one who introduced the possibility of rudeness of your attending into the discussion was you, in your topic header. Otherwise, I suspect no one would have characterized it as rude, just mistaken.

                                  Sometimes it's a good idea to lurk in a new site for a while to get the feel for how folks communicate before jumping in with a question that might bruise your feelings if folks answer it with candor and directness.

                                  Those aren't synonymous with "hostile" or "rude."

                                  1. re: Michele212

                                    It DOES sound like a 'stupid move', especially if you are involved with them too, but that sort of thing happens. I guess your choices are to just do whatever you wish about it (neither one is going) OR contact the person you work with there and ask if it's an oversight. Nothing gets accomplished by ignoring it IMHO.

                                    My wife and I just went through a situation where a good friend of ours was invited to the wedding of another friend's daughter. The invited friend has been living with a man for five or six years but he wasn't invited, so she was very hurt and wouldn't go. we looked into it a bit and found that the bride had done all the inviting, not letting her mother help or .advise, and the bride really didn't know about the 'boyfriend'. Should she have checked all that kindof thing with her Mom...... sure. But she didn't! In our opinion life's too short to let this stuff get to you.

                                    1. re: Midlife

                                      We should probably just let it go.

                                      The OP now has her answer.

                                      The OP may think some of us were rude or snarky or whatever.

                                      But she asked a question, and got responses (some of which maybe she did not like).

                                      Whatever. Life's too short to dwell on such things.

                                      To the OP: No rudeness was intended in my reply. Simply trying to be honest and frank.

                                      1. re: Midlife

                                        Yes, were I hosting the artists, that I represented, I would want each to be as comfortable, as is possible, and would have done everything to see that they were.

                                        Maybe I am just old fashioned?


                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          Reminds me of the wedding of my college roommate. I had been dating my boyfriend for 6 months. He was not invited because we weren't considered serious enough. ( we have now been together 5.5 years). I believe this was a budget issue but I was very uncomfortable at the wedding because of several additional reasons. My current roommate was not invited because of a request by the best man even though she was also a friend/roommate o the bride. And the only other friend I knew who was invited had declined to go. After the ceremony I ended up getting in my car and crying because everything was so awkward.

                                          1. re: melpy

                                            Ugh. I had the same experience back in my early 20's. A childhood friend was the first of us to get married at 22 (shockingly, it didn't last). She didn't invite me to bring a guest because she had not met my boyfriend. She only invited her friends who had boyfriends she had met to bring them as guests. Adding insult to injury, she invited my old high school boyfriend and his new girlfriend. Then she invited my parents and sat me with them!

                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                              Aww sorry! I was sitting next to the twin and new girlfriend of the best man who was the ex of my current roommate (the girl not invited). It was terrible because I was relegated to the task of also breaking the news to my roomie that she wasn't invited.

                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                Shockingly, I got married at 22 and today is our 35th anniversary. Hey, ya never know! Weddings can cause a lot of animosities, intended or not, I know ours did. We didn't want any children, for money reasons not that we hate kids, but my little sister was my flower girl. So my husband's cousins made a big stink that their similarly aged kids should also attend. My poor (and I mean POOR) father.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    Thanks, we're keeping it simple this year for a change!

                                          2. re: Michele212

                                            "He is an award-winning, established artist, who has several prominent titles represented by this publisher.
                                            It is an evening in celebration of their writers, of whom he is one.
                                            To invite a celebrated guest, and not allow him/her to bring a spouse/guest, seems like a truly stupid move to us on this company's part."

                                            Ah, so you feel slighted in some way that you were not invited to a party celebrating someone else's achievements. It was their party. They can invite whomever they choose. Maybe next time organize and fund your own party.

                                            1. re: Fowler

                                              They can invite whomever they choose, but if they want to follow etiquette they need to invite people with their significant others. That is the cut-and-dry Emily Post etiquette of the situation. Couples constitute a social unit and are thus invited to social functions together. Were this a work function instead of a work-related social function, they could get away without inviting them.

                                              1. re: LabLady

                                                so was this a social function or a work function? it is the in-between events that cause the confusion.

                                                1. re: LabLady

                                                  LabLady I guarantee you that you cannot find anything in Emily Post or any other etiquette guide that makes this anywhere near as clear cut as you try to make this. This was a "corporate cocktail party" given by an entity with which the invited guests had a business relationship. Couples are definitely not always invited to "social functions". If you can site to something that shows that I am wrong I would like to read it.

                                              2. re: Michele212

                                                Michele, this is a pretty tight community for such a big one. Please understand that we're a pretty straightforward crew and that while some straight answers aren't being padded for your benefit, they're still well intended.

                                                And remember, you didn't come in here asking whether or not it was a politic move on the company's part, but whether or not your presumption was kosher. A lot of the slightly critical voices here probably agree with you - the company would have been smart to invite spouses.