Stealing Thunder, or Whose Day is it Anyway?

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Source (edited by me)

Over the summer, Mr. S and I met up with his brothers and sisters-in-law for a long weekend in Chicago. While we were away, Mr. S’ older brother’s wife told us that they planned to start trying to conceive in early spring 2011.

When I mentioned this in passing to a friend of mine, she gasped, “You better hope that they don’t announce that she’s pregnant at your wedding.” I asked her why, and she said, “Because it’s your day—you don’t want anyone to steal your thunder!”

A few months ago, a coworker and I were discussing the episode of House that had aired the night before, in which one of the characters proposed to his girlfriend while at a wedding. My coworker was horrified, and said that she’d be furious if someone else got engaged at her wedding.

Another friend of mine was really stressed out earlier this year when her cousin absolutely freaked out because she wanted to get married two months before their wedding. She thought that my friend and her fiancé were infringing on her special time as a bride to be.

And then there’s that episode of Friends, the one where Monica gets angry because she catches Ross and Rachel kissing right after she and Chandler got engaged. She thinks they’re stealing her thunder.

Now, I have a short fuse and I often get stressed and/or pissed off, but this kind of stuff wouldn’t bother me in the least. I don’t consider our wedding day my day. If anything, it’s our day, Mr. S’ and mine. And it’s not even our day, it’s just our wedding. And we want our wedding to be a celebration for us and our friends and families. If a family member announced that they were expecting at our wedding, we’d be thrilled! If friends got engaged, reunited, or scheduled their own wedding around ours, it’s not a problem! It’s just one more reason to celebrate, in our opinion.

Now, I won’t be so forgiving if someone, say, gets drunk and causes a scene at the wedding, or gets into a fight or something like that. But that’s less about stealing thunder and more about people acting like raging douchebags, right?

Would you be upset if someone else got a lot of attention on or around your wedding day? What do you think constitutes “stolen thunder”?


Ms. Sloth

Wedding Date:
May 2011
Sewn Together: At-Home Reception Part 1
"Bridal Under-Achiever" Is My Middle Name!
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  1. Member
    Miss Olive 559 posts, Busy bee @ 12:16 pm

    No, I wouldn’t be upset. I actually suggested that my bridesman propose to his girlfriend before the wedding reception because that would be the time when she would least expect it!

  2. penguin Member
    penguin 3490 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:16 pm

    I think to me, it’s not so much that I would care that someone would announce their engagement at my wedding, it’s the sentiment behind someone doing it. I think it’s rude. I think it’s common knowledge that people KNOW it’s a rude thing to do. So why would someone do it? Commonly, to be rude. Does that make sense?

    This is not to say that people get engaged and talk about their engagements and this is rude. That’s not true at all. I’ve found out that my friend (a friend I didn’t see in a long time) was engaged at the last wedding I went to. It wasn’t a huge “announcement” though, just a comment that turned into an excited discussion. It wasn’t some sort of “announcement,” just a natural part of conversation. I think in my head, I see an announcement being a glass-clinking-everyone-listen-up kind of thing. And would that bother me? Like you, probably not. But do I think that it’s totally rude to do something like that? Absolutely. I know after such announcement, many people would go, “Um…wtf was that?”

    I think in the end, intentions behind announcements are more important than the actual announcements/actions. For example, an engaged American woman wore a white dress to my wedding. Did I care? No, especially because several of my aunts were wearing white (they are Thai, and in Thailand it’s good luck for the couple to wear white to people’s weddings). BUT, the girl was American, and ENGAGED. I knew she knew that this was a faux pas but she did it anyway, and that’s totally obnoxious. Obviously she wasn’t alone in wearing white, but I didn’t care that my aunts were wearing white, I just thought of what a bitch she was for doing it KNOWING it’s a faux pas. It wasn’t about stealing thunder, it was about her obnoxious intentions.

    If someone wants to make a sweeping pronouncement of their engagement at your wedding, while you may not “care” I still think it’s rude because people know that it’s kind of rude to use someone’s wedding day as a platform for their own attention whorrieness.

  3. Member
    cabanagrl9 466 posts, Helper bee @ 12:17 pm

    I think what would bother me most is that the others couldnt just wait to say anything the day before or the day after. I mean, what would they gain by announcing something like that on your wedding day? It really makes no sense to me, so I would probably be annoyed if someone got engaged at my wedding!

  4. Member
    MrsPinkPeony 3274 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:22 pm

    I would probably be a little mifted if someone proposed at my wedding but I could care less about the other stuff. I agree its not “my” day. I’m growing to hate that term more and more…

  5. Member
    heather25 1959 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:22 pm

    @Mrs. Penguin: That sucks…maybe she had read up on Thai traditions and was trying to fit in. Eh, probably not.

    As for stealing thunder. Well they can try but it won’t happen. I do think it is in bad form to announce these things at other’s weddings. I do believe in letting people bask in the glow of their own celebrations. Plus, I love days and days of celebrations so I would want my special moments to have their own space.

    Lastly, I would be pissed if I get engaged at someone’s wedding. I DO WANT MY OWN DAY for that LOL. And I would always be thinking, geez, is this all he could come up with? I would much prefer a private, emotional moment with just the two of us over that any day.

  6. sloth Member
    sloth 3196 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:25 pm

    I will say that if Mr. S had proposed to me at someone else’s wedding, I probably wouldn’t have liked it, but that’s because I wouldn’t have wanted a public proposal.

    @Pengy – I can see where you’re coming from about the rude intentions.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Anne, Guest @ 12:25 pm

    My sister-in-law announced she was pregnant at the same time I announced my engagement. We were all at dinner together and after my proposal we made calls together to let our family members know the exciting news at the same time. It was really fun to hear the excitement of our family for both my engagement and her pregnancy. I think it just depends how you look at it. I couldn’t have been more thrilled for my brother and his wife. Everyone was excited for both of us!

  8. Member
    Bubu82 1312 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:26 pm

    Honestly, to me it would depend on who did it. If it was someone who was known for attention-seeking behavior, then yeah, it would get under my skin. But if it was someone who doesn’t normally do anything to purposely “steal someone’s thunder”, I would assume it’s an innocent thing, and just be happy for them. And I’ve never seen anyone make a big announcement about their own life at someone else’s wedding…I’m assuming it would be more like what Mrs. Penquin described where it would just come up in conversation and then people would get excited about it. If someone purposely stopped the music, asked for a mic, and then made a big announcement about their own life at my wedding, I would see that as inappropriate and rude.

  9. Member
    tall_jenny 454 posts, Helper bee @ 12:27 pm

    Hmm…. I don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t normally prescribe to this whole “its MY DAY!” kind of attitude, but then again I don’t get many opportunities for people to make a fuss about me….. It will be kind of nice to have people actually paying attention to me for a change. I say ME rather than US because my fiance is an only child and the only male grandchild, so he gets plenty of attention 😛

    A friend of mine just told me that she’s pregnant again and the baby is due about 2 weeks before the wedding. If she brings the new baby I suppose that will “steal my thunder” a little bit. I haven’t decided if this bothers me at all. Of course I’m thrilled for my friend, and its not her fault the baby is due at the exact same time as my wedding…. but I know that there will be a (small) population at the wedding who will be WAY more interested in the new baby than in us.

  10. Member
    MsJeep23 1376 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:31 pm

    I figure there’s a difference between telling your family about a pregnancy/engagement/what have you at a wedding, since they’re all in one place and everyone’s excited and happy, and grabbing the mic and saying, “drumroll please……” The latter seems rude, whether its meant to be or not.
    I admit I don’t really get the whole draw behind big staged “announcements” anyway. Maybe cause I am a big dork whenever I end up in the spotlight…which, thankfully, is not often…

  11. octopus Member
    octopus 1439 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:33 pm

    My cousin announced to the family that his wife was pregnant the day before our wedding, which did not bother me in the slightest, and made a lot of sense. She was starting to show a little, and everyone was together, so it was just a sensible time and place to let everyone know at once. I was just really excited to hear there would be a new baby! Also, it kind of made things a little easier because I don’t know my cousin’s wife well at all, and a new pregnancy is a really easy way to make chit-chat with someone–“so, how are you feeling? when do you find out if it’s a boy or girl?” etc.

    If someone actually staged a proposal during my wedding reception, well, that would annoy me. Mostly, because like Penguin said, I just think it’s rude. I certainly didn’t need or want a shining spotlight on me at all times on my wedding day, but I think I’d be like, “man, I did not spend all this money and do all this planning so you could use it as a stage for your own purposes. Go plan your own shit!”

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Ariella, Guest @ 12:38 pm

    At my cousin’s wedding, the bride’s MOH was proposed to right in the middle of the dance floor. It seemed to upset my aunt more than the bride and groom. Conversely, another cousin wouldn’t announce that she was expecting while we were at my great aunt’s 90th birthday because she didn’t want to be a thunder stealer.

    In terms of getting engaged, while I don’t think I’d be upset, I feel like there are more appropriate times to ask your girlfriend to marry you. It HAD to be at a wedding? It couldn’t be over a romantic dinner or Christmas celebration? Of all the days in the year, there has to be a better day, right?

    As far as announcements go, I think they’re fine if the bride and groom are in the loop and can help with the announcement. Then it’s clear that the bride and groom were cool with it and the person doing the announcing doesn’t look like they’re seeking the spotlight or being disrespectful.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Christine, Guest @ 12:39 pm

    I guess I might be upset if someone tried to make a glass clinking type announcement about something at my wedding, but honestly, nothing much along these lines would ruffle my feathers. In fact I found out my cousin and his wife were going to have a baby at my wedding and I was thrilled for them. I also got engaged two days before a friend of mine’s wedding (but my now husband wasn’t even invited to it, so it wasn’t so much a stealing of thunder, but a couple of my friends congratulated me…I don’t think my friend was bothered.) And then another girlfriend got married three weeks after me, and I wasn’t upset in the slightest. If anything, it gave me someone to commiserate with who wasn’t going to be sick about talking about things like guest lists, etc.

  14. Member
    mightywombat 5038 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:39 pm

    Sloth, I am 100% with you. I would not be upset if someone wore white, announced they were pregnant, got engaged, or pretty much anything else happy at my wedding. I WOULD be upset if they had a screaming fight, puked somewhere other than a toilet, or was actively hostile. Beyond that – hey, follow your bliss. The more happiness on my wedding day, the better.

  15. Member
    jo.lee 6573 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:48 pm

    @Mrs. Octopus: “Go plan your own shit” *love*

    It would definitely depend on what I would think the person’s intent was and how the announcement was done. Personally, I have someone I’m worried about pulling the “I’m pregnant!” thing during the reception, but if it came about in natural conversation or even at the rehearsal dinner, I wouldn’t be that upset.

  16. panther Member
    panther 1112 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:04 pm

    I was JUST thinking about that House episode (I believe it was the last new one, actually) last night! One of Mr. Panther’s groomsmen called him to tell him that he had proposed to his girlfriend, and I caught myself thinking, “Thank goodness he didn’t wait to do it at our wedding.” I don’t know why that thought popped into my head!

  17. Member
    commoshin 180 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:07 pm

    Our friends got engaged at our wedding–they didn’t make a show of it. In fact, the guy proposed in the PHOTO BOOTH so now they have a photo series of him getting on one knee and her freaking out. How awesome is that?! They told us quietly after it had happened and we were both so so happy for them!

    I feel like weddings are a time when friends and family get together to celebrate love–why can’t other people share in that? We were so psyched to have been a part of their engagement. It was special for all of us and something that connects us with that couple forever. I personally think it’s sad when people try to make the wedding just about them… people won’t forget who is getting married. Weddings are events to be shared by everyone!

  18. Member
    moderndaisy 6691 posts, Bee Keeper @ 1:14 pm

    I would be upset if these things happened at my wedding, because I’d feel like it was disrespectful to me and my groom. Like it or not, the event is about us. We spend 1.5 years planning it, tons of $, months of stress over how to make our guests most comfortable – and they get to just show up and make it their own show? I think when you attend a wedding, you agree to let the event be about the bride and groom by not making a scene or doing anything to take away from their happiness. It’s true that maybe some couples might not mind an event like this, but for the most part it’s rude so just wait until the wedding is over.

  19. Member
    glamfish500 262 posts, Helper bee @ 1:23 pm

    I had a dream that one of my friends caught my bouquet and her boyfriend used it as a chance to propose. It was all very romantic in dreamland and I would be okay if it happened at my wedding. I think I would be okay if somebody wanted to use our wedding as a chance to announce something, I would just like to know first. I would be all for it, I just think it would be polite for them to mention it to me beforehand.

  20. Member
    MUI831 730 posts, Busy bee @ 1:41 pm

    My FH proposed to me the day before his friend’s wedding in Maine between the rehearsal and the big dinner that followed. I was completely caught off guard since why would you expect to get engaged at someone else’s wedding??? However, I learned that he asked the bride and groom for permission to do it sometime that weekend as he didn’t want to “steal their thunder.” Because we were out of town at the most beautiful place, he thought it would be perfect. Not only did the bride and groom say think it was a good idea, they were the ones who set it all up!!! I was touched that they went out of the way to make it special for us when they were probably stressed out of their mind! That being said, if it had happened at their actual wedding, that would have been plenty awkward.

  21. jam Member
    jam 310 posts, Helper bee @ 2:03 pm

    @commoshin: OMG a photo booth engagement picture series? Like you, I would be so happy to be a part of it all. Nobody is going to forget whose wedding it is…and if they do, they probably shouldn’t have been invited in the first place ; )

  22. Member
    FaceReality 308 posts, Helper bee @ 2:24 pm

    I would be furious! Call me selfish but its “Our” day and i intend to try to keep it that way. I think that its a rude gesture to be honest.

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    AMK, Guest @ 2:51 pm

    I agree this whole “my day” thing is so ridiculous – but it is an important day to the couple and guests and family should at least respect that. Proposing at a wedding is just bad taste and weird. I wouldn’t have wanted my proposal to go down that way – really the guy can’t think of something better??

    I also get mad when guests think it’s “their time to party” or want their needs put first in some way that inconveniences you – that’s not really fair either. It is still the couple’s wedding, not theirs…

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Carla @ I Run, You Run, Guest @ 3:04 pm

    I wouldn’t care one bit. I would be excited for them! We had friends of ours that hooked up at out wedding reception, and got a lot of attention as a bunch of us were going “OMG, Look at them!” and I blogged that it’s a sign of a good party if you have random hook ups on your reception. And I DO think that! Why not share the joy?

  25. Member
    anisley 30 posts, Newbee @ 3:14 pm

    I agree with all the previous posts about being upset if any of these things happened at our wedding. You go through so much stress planning the wedding of your dreams, spending a ton of money to then have someone else be the center of attention. I’m sorry but on my wedding day I WANT TO BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION. It might sound childish but it’s my wedding. It’s as simple as that.

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    K, Guest @ 3:59 pm

    I have to say this, I was that person. My now husband and I got engaged and immediately decided on a really short engagement. A few days after he proposed very close friends of ours were getting married. We saw this as a perfect time to announce in person to our friends (since we live so far away from most of them). We asked the bride and groom if we could do so, discretely at the cocktail hour after the ceremony. Without hesitation they said yes and they were so happy we chose their wedding to announce. While about 20 of our friends were standing around (seperate from the bridal party and family) we got up and announced our engagement and thanked the bride/ groom for allowing us to take a little bit of “their special day.”

    We were also those people who scheduled our wedding the month before our friends very large (two years in the making) wedding. But again, we asked them their opinion and explained the importance of that date to us. Once again, they said nothing but good things and were super excited for us.

    I think as long as the announcing party does so with tact then the bride/ groom shouldn’t feel like their day is being infringed on.

  27. Member
    Megrit 478 posts, Helper bee @ 4:16 pm

    I wouldn’t care if it happened but I can see how other people would be upset. I had a friend who had a very long engagement, she got engage last year and is getting married end of 2011. I got engage in Sept of 2010 and we planned on end of 2011 ourselves to which this friend responded “I’M getting married in the fall.” I’m sorry, but your long engagement is not my fault.

  28. Member
    gymdive22 184 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:08 pm

    I wouldn’t care if people privately told some friends or family members during my wedding that they were engaged, having a baby, etc., but I would be upset if they made it a big, public moment, like in the middle of the dance floor or announcing it over the loudspeaker or something. Like others have said, it’s rude. I feel that a wedding is a time to celebrate the bride and groom and their relationship.

  29. Member
    sapphiresun 9092 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 8:53 pm

    I remember reading a post on here about a girl who’s sister got proposed to her at her wedding, and then she commandeered the DJ and had him play her and her new fiance “their song” before the bride and groom had their first dance. Then she left with some of their mutual friends to go research wedding stuff.
    I’m fairly easy going and open to other people’s happiness on our wedding day but THAT to me, was pushing it.

  30. Member
    Merry02 346 posts, Helper bee @ 11:57 pm

    I usually don’t like to be the center of attention, but if someone had gone to the trouble to make an announcement about their pregnancy, or had been obnoxious enough to propose at our wedding, I would have been really upset. Like Mrs. Penguin said, it’s the intentions behind it that are rude. The bride and groom deserve that day; they planned for it, and they worked hard to get there. That’s their moment, and it’s well deserved.

  31. Member
    Lexsy 537 posts, Busy bee @ 4:29 am

    All this “it’s my day” thing does make me laugh a bit. I think that when planning a wedding, some brides forget that their guests are not just an audience, but people, with lives and feelings and thoughts. Regardless of if something happens to “steal the thunder”, all these people will be enjoying the wedding their own way, which is thinking of their own business, talking about topics that interest them, and definitely not focusing all their attention on the bride and groom for the whole day.
    So yes, it would also bother me if someone intentionally did something considered rude or obnoxious, but I do not expect people to focus on me the whole day.
    This is why I’m trying to plan a day which will be fun for everyone, and am focusing less on myself (e.g. less budget for the dress, more for entertainment)

  32. Member
    SpicedWine 26 posts, Newbee @ 12:07 pm

    I didn’t think I would ever have any of those types of feelings, but my sister announced her pregnancy to my family at my bridal shower, I felt a little bit sad ( even though i thought I would be OK), becuase the day turned into baby questions, oh, and the bridal shower.

  33. Member
    KB 169 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:58 pm

    I think it depends on how it’s done. If something quiet (like the photobooth proposal mentioned) I think that’s cool. However, the in the middle of the dance floor? I think that’s a big much.

  34. msjellyfish Member
    msjellyfish 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:04 pm

    I used to think that something like this would upset me, but I now realize it wouldn’t. The day after our wedding, one of my best friends from law school told me that she and her long-term bf were engaged. I was so excited to think that he proposed at our wedding! Turns out, he had proposed a week before, but she kept it under wraps because she didn’t want to “steal my thunder.” I wouldn’t have minded at all – I was thrilled for her. I do think it’s a bit different when people make a big spectacle of it and take the attention away from the bride and groom, though. Then it might be a bit much.

  35. msjellyfish Member
    msjellyfish 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:05 pm

    Also, my dad proposed to my mom when they were at a wedding, but he whispered in her ear while they were dancing. That wouldn’t bother me at all. It’s the obnoxious staged public proposal at a wedding that would bother me.

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