Facebook Shower and Wedding Invitations

by admin on March 1, 2010

When I was a sophomore in college, a girl from my athletic team announced she was getting married after she graduated in a few months. We were never particularly close, so I was not expecting an invitation. Imagine my suprise when I received one–as a Facebook event invitation! This was even tackier than an emailed invitation. The wedding was to take place in Florida; the bride and I went to school in Massachusetts, and she knew I had no way of paying for a plane ticket. Even better, the invitation requested that I bring a dish to pass for the reception. Needless to say, I did not attend. I desperately hope she sent real invitations to her real guests, but no one I know ever received one.

Sadly, since then I’ve received yet another wedding invitation via Facebook. I know this is the technological age, but seriously? Facebook? 0228-10

One of the unfortunate consequences of an electronic culture is the degradation of the personal invitation into mass spamming.   There is something deeply troubling about needing to check one’s spam filter for invitations that have gone missing.   I just had this happen to me this past week.  I knew I was invited to the wedding but no invitation had been forthcoming. So, at the shower, I mentioned to the MOH, who I’ve known for years, that I was unaware of the wedding day particulars since I had not yet received my invitation.  It turns out the invitations had been sent by Evite.com and I was not the only person who failed to receive it.  Many on the groom’s side had not received it via email either.

So, there is the obvious problem of email invitations not arriving at their intended addresses or getting shuffled off to spam filters never to be seen.  It could be argued that snail mail also gets lost but in 18 years of coordinating weddings, I’ve heard of one or two perhaps going missing in the mail but never dozens and dozens of them.  One emailed invitation I received required a plug-in app to launch it in order that it could be viewed and I’m just not going to do that.   Another required me to click on a link and I’m not doing that either.   If you send me an electronic invitation, the odds are quite high I will never see it.

For a while among the ladies of my church, sending invitations to various showers and parties via Evite.com was very common.  That is, until I read the privacy policy of the site and discovered that while they swear to never sell the personal information its site collects, they will share it with their “business partners” which, at last  count, numbered about 64 “partners”.  The “price” to use this free online service is the real names, email addresses and another pertinent data of not only the event hostesses but also their guests.  Pairing up real names with valid email addresses is the equivalent of Internet marketing gold. I really dislike someone else giving away my personal information to sites I have not approved to have that data so we block Evite.com and others of its kind at the server.  No wonder I didn’t get the wedding invitation.

Facebook event invitations have their place.  I use the event invitation feature on Facebook  quite often for informal functions like picnics, dances, meetings, church functions, etc.    I use it for these casual functions precisely because it is the lazy man’s way of informing people of upcoming activities and keep track of who is attending.  But when I host my annual fall party, even though it is an informal, get down and have fun event, I still use printed invitations sent through the snail mail for the reason that I want my guests to feel the same level of excitement and anticipation about the party as I do.  I want these people there and my invitations reflect that.

Emailed and social network site invitations have an air of technical sterility and bland conformity to them.  There is nothing special about receiving one of an unknown quantity of electrons blasted out to guests with the push of a button.  This was really driven home for my daughter when she received a lovely hand addressed invitation to a baby shower via snail mail.  After receiving numerous electronic invitations for previous showers, this clearly conveyed the message that the hostesses cared about the guest of honor and were expressing that in an invitation that let the guests know as well.   The contrast between the two types of invitations was so profound that she vowed that when she had the opportunity to hostess a shower, she would use snail mailed invites.   Given a choice, would you really want to put a printed out email invitation in your wedding or baby scrapbook?  I didn’t think so.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

tottergirl March 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm

There is also the fact that many many of us don’t have facebook accounts and don’t want them. I had one for about 3 weeks once, but realized that I had not checked it in 3 weeks after I initially set it up and deleted it.

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PrincessSimmi March 1, 2010 at 6:07 pm

I’m glad to see there is someone out there who is as indignant as I am about proper invitations. I have absolutely no problem if, once the initial snail-mail invite has been sent, I receive an email or text message saying ‘Hi Simmi, I sent you an invite for (insert party/function/other annoyance) and I haven’t yet received a response, will you be there?’ but I do have a problem with the original being sent so informally.

My Uncle invited me to his engagement party via SMS! The message went along the lines of “We r trying to save money 4 the wedding so if u can a small donation would b appreciated. its up to u of course. Lunch is @ 1230 (insert address). And then I had to call him to find out what day it was on! The best part? He forgot to send it to my Mum, I then had to call my Mum and let her know the details. How bloomin’ rude.

On the other hand, I posted birthday party invitations via snail-mail and half of them didn’t arrive. I sent a separate one to my Aunt/Uncle and my Cousin/Cousin’s Girlfriend who all live at the same address and only the Cousin’s one arrived. My sister also missed out on one.

And what about elderly people such as grandparents who don’t have an email address/facebook/mobile phone? Do they have to miss out on being part of family functions?

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J March 1, 2010 at 11:55 pm

It’s pretty reasonable to do both, isn’t it? That is, to use the facebook/email invite basically to replace (and save the cost of) the “Save the Date” cards, and then still send proper paper invites closer to the time of the actual wedding. Especially when you have lots of out of towners, this isn’t such a bad way to let people know.

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Fox March 2, 2010 at 12:30 am

I associate Facebook invites with two kinds of events: very informal parties where the guest list may be difficult to keep track of (you need to see how many people are bringing dates/friends, say), and events to which the event coordinator does not care who attends, or is trying to attract as many people as possible. I am constantly getting invites to events from, say, a college friend’s college roommate, who I barely knew to begin with and who lives halfway across the country. In those cases it’s quite clear that the event coordinator is simply inviting their entire friends list, which I’m sure really makes guests feel special and wanted. I tend to remove myself entirely from the guest list of such events rather than tick “not attending.”

And I personally despise evite for another reason: Sometimes you do not want to announce to the entire group (especially a group of strangers) whether or not you will be attending something and why. It’s one thing to contact a host/hostess and explain that you have a scheduling conflict, or you can’t afford to travel or the like, but choosing whether to announce it to the room or else just tick “no” with no explanation is extremely off-putting. Maybe I just have an overinflated sense of privacy, but I feel that it’s the equivalent of loudly inviting someone in public to an event, essentially putting them on the spot. Very crude.

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kingsrings March 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I’m mixed on electronic invites. On one hand, I would never think of using Facebook for anything other than a casual invite, such as to someone’s birthday party. But on the other hand, it makes more sense money, convenience and environment-wise to use electronic invites instead of snail mail. I do think it’s important to send a reminder email as well to make sure the Evite was received. For my high reunion next year, we (I’m one of the planners) made a decision to do the invites completely electronically as there is literally no seed money for us to send them via snail mail, which would cost hundreds of dollars that we don’t have. Yes, we might unintentionally be leaving out classmates who don’t have electronic access, but the vast majority of people these days do have some kind of electronic access. I don’t think we’d be missing anymore than if we used snail mail and the invite got lost, or got sent to their parent’s address and was thrown out because the kid hasn’t lived there for twenty years.

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wanda March 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm

One of my friends saved lots of money on his invitations by sending his and his fiancee’s friends to a web site that he made to get RSVPs and other information (like dietary restrictions) and only sending paper invitations to the people who were less familiar with technology. I see nothing wrong with this- he saves a lot of money, and I save myself the trouble of throwing out a piece of paper. To tell the truth, I wish more people would send out email invites- my email is far more reliable that my postal mail service both inbound and outbound, I check my email several dozen times more frequently than my postal mail, and my email program coordinates with my calendar program. My fiance and I are going for paper invitations for our wedding because our parents are more traditional, but I shudder to think how reliable mailing invites and RSVPs to and from several states and two continents is going to be.

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wanda March 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

To add to my previous comment: obviously, my friend’s solution (emails to a website he made himself with an RSVP form) was a far more elegant way to issue invitations than Facebook or Evite. The problems cited above (people not on Facebook, Evite invitations going to spam, etc.) are problems with the particular implementations, not with electronic invitations as a whole.

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Rebecca March 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I don’t see the problem with saving time and money by using modern technology. It’s not like you’re being offensive or insulting by using Evite or Facebook, so why get upset with someone over it?

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Jenna March 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I have no problem with sending invites electronically. For a wedding, maybe I would use something “nicer” than facebook but electronic is very enviro-friendly.

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Molly March 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I don’t really see the problem with internet invitations. Is there any reason to use paper besides that’s how it’s traditionally done? Facebook is horribly impersonal, yes, but you CAN send personal, heartfelt electronic correspondence if you’re willing to make the effort. Really, it strikes me as a waste of money and paper – I’m all for manners, but I think we need to occasionally stop and thinking about whether there’s a reason for doing something besides the ingrained idea that it’s what’s “proper.”

Of course, I’m fine with emails instead of normal thank-you notes as well.

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Carly March 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Rebecca – I beg to differ; I do actually feel a bit insulted when people invite me to formal functions via Facebook. (Not that that happens often – luckily!) A friend of mine from high school is apparently getting married this summer and she invited many people via Facebook, and a mutual friend and I discussed it afterward and agreed that it seemed very impersonal and lazy. If she sends out actual invitations after this, then perhaps she was intending to use that as more of a save-the-date kind of thing, but if not, then my opinion stands.

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Steph March 10, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Hey everyone,

Very interesting convo here! About a year ago, I received what I thought was a super tacky wedding invite…it was sent in the form of a Word document and it literally looked like it was created on a lunch break in 5 minutes. While I understand the benefits of sending an invite through e-mail, the non-verbal message it sent was that the event was somehow less important or special than one would expect. Bad first impression of the event. I mean, you’re asking people to give up a whole day, and in many cases, to come in from out of town, and you can’t even put the time into sending a proper invite?

Well, that event actually prompted my brother and I to start a business based on this conundrum. We came up with a system that is a combination of print & web invitations…so, you send traditional, printed invites to your guests along with an enclosure instructing them to go to a website (which matches the printed invite). There, your guests can RSVP, find links to registry, accommodations, and directions in the form of interactive Google maps. The bride also gets notified via e-mail each time someone responds, and she can check a database to track responses in real-time.

We think that such a solution preserves the beauty and special nature of a proper wedding invite while acknowledging that our methods of communication have changed. These days, with most people communicating via digital means, it actually feels extra special when you get “real” mail. But, having maps and links online is much more convenient these days than a small printed map, say.

So, it saves materials, it saves time, it helps you to stay organized, and for your Grandmother who doesn’t use the internet—well, you can send her a traditional RSVP card. (we print them in small batches just for that reason).

We tried to cover all the bases and take everything you’re all addressing into account. Just wanted to make you all aware that there is a solution out there! If you’re interested, you can check it out at http://www.mighty-nice.com. We just launched a few weeks ago….it’s brand new!

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Marli March 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm

I do agree that sending invitations solely by email or Facebook is tacky and reckless; I often ignore things on Facebook without really looking at them and can see myself skipping over an important invitation. I do think, however, that creating an event page for your wedding is acceptable. I live in a small town, surrounded by a multitude of smaller communities, and weddings are often hosted at lodges or farms that require a map or directions. I see these Facebook pages as similar to wedding websites, and think they can be a good place not only to communicate with the engaged couple, but for wedding guests to be in contact with each other.

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Xtina March 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

You know, I’m not old or stodgy, and I have stepped into the 21st century, LOL…meaning that I’m not this old stick in the mud who eschews technology. But ya know….electronic messaging is great for communicating, but there is just something inherently impersonal and uncaring about someone who can’t be bothered to spend the time or effort to mail out old-fashioned paper invitations for a big event. Maybe it’s having a tangible piece of stationery in one’s hands, or the fact that it’s something you can keep in a scrapbook, or it just signifies that you took the time to put them together, address them, and mail them (as opposed to hitting the “send” button), but nothing beats a nice mailed invitation. Although I concur that electronic mailings are more “green”, as one poster mentioned, and I’m all for that, does one really mail out enough party invitations over the years such that this would be a big issue?

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wedsoon April 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Well, I am planning a wedding in 4 weeks, so I have no time to go out and get invitations. I am a single mother and I cannot afford to go out and buy paper invitations or the postage to mail them. I also think it is a total waste of paper to send out these things that just get thrown in the trash. I am sending out an evite. It is quick and easy and I can keep track of who is coming without worrying about missing messages, writing stuff down, etc.

My thought is this: too many people make it all about the wedding when what counts is the marriage. I just want to marry the man I love, surrounded by the people I love. If anyone is so hung up on something so superficial as “proper” paper invitations, then they don’t belong at my wedding. Sure, they can be beautiful and if that is your preference for YOUR wedding, then that is fine. However, I think we would all be better off if we paid attention to the things that really do count, like friends and family, and less about material stuff. Particularly in this economy…to waste money on invitations when you have children to feed is just plain stupid.

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Vrinda April 2, 2010 at 12:31 am

Paper invitations are not expensive. You can go to a crafts store and buy a box of 30 for for under $5.00. That’s not going to set you back. If people are so concerned about the environment and economizing, there are other ways to cut costs and conserve than to skip out on the common courtesy, thought, and consideration of taking the time to fill out an invitation. People may forget the date and time of the wedding, and can’t run to the computer to look it up all the time, and if they write it on a piece of paper, that might get lost. An invitation is on larger cardstock and something you will make a point to keep in a secure place for later. Not everyone is even on Facebook and often, those who are may not log in that frequently. Is the same argument about wasting paper going to extend to Thank you notes, too? We used paper before we ever used computers, and paper can also be recycled.

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Natasha April 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I sent out an invite to my wedding via Facebook – but before you get all crazy on me, continue! I very specifically stated in the invite on Facebook that this was a preliminary idea of who may or may not be coming. I explained that real invites would be going out to all, but I wanted to get an idea. No one seemed to think this was tacky, and neither do I. If this is all that is sent, that is a little non traditional. Overall though, it’s a good indicator for those of us planning a wedding!

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livvy April 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I think it boils down to the kind of feeling you want associated with your event.

While I COMPLETELY agree with Wedsoon about people getting too hung up on a wedding, as compared to a marriage (I wonder how many fewer bad marriages there would be if everyone had to get married at City Hall without and audience), I feel that by investing the time and effort in written invitations, that my close friends and family would really know I wanted them there. As far as expense, theoretically, you could do invites for as little as 50 cents each, including postage – it would be extremely personal if you hand wrote each person an invitation. (old old OLD school!)

For me, the invitation, and its form gives me an indication of what to expect. I’d expect a facebook invitation to be for a jeans and flip-flop wedding in the park. A hand-lettered invitation on parchment says something very different.

FB also has one other problem – if you’re not prepared to invite everyone in your friends list, it’s easy to have someone feel slighted by not being invited.

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Theresa April 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm

I think it’s superficial to worry about how you’re getting your invitation to a wedding. Assuming there is no problem in people receiving it (aka, it doesn’t get spammed), then what is the problem with sending out electronic invitations? It’s not your wedding or your decision, and you should just relax and enjoy a couple dedicating their life to each other. Besides that, invites are just another piece of paper that gets discarded after the initial, “Awe” and “Oh!”, so it’s more earth friendly to do it electronically.

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Kim May 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I think there’s a lot of interesting dialogue here! Personally, I’m middle of the road. Go ahead and e-vite away if it’s your second wedding and a BBQ in your yard with 30 of your closest, but mail a nice invite if it’s more formal. Regardless of how I was invited, I would be very upset to not receive a handwritten thank you. Nothing says “you aren’t worth my time and I couldn’t care less about your contribution” like an email thank you (especially ones that are forwarded to your whole address book!).

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Jill May 2, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I used Facebook to announce my wedding – simply because it was a pseudo-elopement. Hubby and I decided last year to get married…on a whim, you might say, though we’d been planning to get married for a few years. One day we said, why not? And planned the wedding for the following week. It was VERY informal. Only family and very very very close friends were invited to the ceremony (20 guests total) and we had an informal party at our house afterward. I posted a Facebook notice for everyone (though I called those who I was truly close with and wanted to attend or did so in person when possible) just to say “Hey, we’re doing this last minute and there’s no time for invitations, but you are more than welcome to come celebrate with us!” No one seemed offended by it – or if so, they never voiced it. Regardless, we had a much more formal reception later for extended family and the like (solely as a parent-pleaser, but that’s what it did, so it was all good!) and we sent out invitations and rented a hall, yadda yadda (all the things we wanted to avoid!). Really, the wedding was never important to us – the marriage was! We just wanted to have a blast while celebrating our marriage with those we cared about. And it seemed successful to me! (I’ll also point out that my Facebook announcement included a “don’t bring gifts, you don’t need to dress up, and you can show up whenever you’d like” type of thing. We wanted to emphasize that this was absolutely supposed to be casual and fun…the type of thing I imagine most Facebook invitations encompass, no?)

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Susie Hommacher June 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

We received an invitation for a shower thru facebook; we really do not know the honoree at all. It may look rude to ignore it, but how rude is it to send it thru facebook events anyway?

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Danica June 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm

My Fiance and I will be letting people know about our wedding via facebook/phone. I know it may seem impersonal, but both of our families live thousands of miles away and we’ve been together for 5 1/2 years, engaged for 2. We are not traditionalists in the slightest and while a more expensive wedding would be nice we just don’t have the finances at this time. We are both returning to college in the fall and will be slammed for the next couple of years and we keep on prolonging our wedding plans. We were going to just go to court and not tell a bunch of people, but our friends here would really like to be there. So we decided to let people know by phone or facebook because to us it’s not a big deal if people can’t make it. We’ve already accepted the reality of the situation… no matter where we have our wedding someone important will not be able to be there. So we are telling people so if they would like to come we would gladly welcome them, but if not it’s not a big deal if they can’t make it. It will be simple, in court and have a nice bbq reception with our friends who could really care less about anything else. It’s about what makes you happy :)

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MissMoonglow August 11, 2011 at 12:58 am

We just rec’d a mass facebook announcement inviting us to an old acquaintance’s wedding that we haven’t stayed in touch with much in the last 7 years. What I would like to know is, what is the etiquette on wedding gifts for such an impersonal spam invite that doesn’t even mention our names? I use FB all the time for messaging and staying in touch, but would never “mass invite” people to something like a wedding. Are we supposed to shell out $50 for a gift when they can’t even take a minute to type in our names??

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admin August 11, 2011 at 6:28 am

MissMoonGlow, You are under no obligation to give a wedding gift to anyone. If you intend to ignore the invitation,then ignore any impulse you might feel to buy a gift.

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Amy Lynn May 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I wouldn’t mind being invited to a wedding via facebook… especially if its a casual, backyard type wedding. That way, you can see who else is invited and you can communicate with them if you want (for carpooling or sharing the expense of a hotel room, for example).

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Sam July 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I don’t see a problem with it. I haven’t received one myself, but it wouldn’t bother me if I did. I’ll probably do that for my wedding. But I’m a very laid back person and all of my close friends and family (yes, even my fiance’s grandparents) are on Facebook regularly. I’d have an awful time trying to get everyone’s addresses and I remember the hair pulling experience my sister went through when she was tracking down RSVP cards (although I hear that’s a hair pulling experience no matter what method you use). That being said, I wouldn’t just invite all of my fb friends. I’d make a private event that only those invited could see and post/reply to. Then invite only the people I was close to and actually wanted at the wedding. I could understand a bride, who likes keepsakes, wanting to have stationary and, if that’s what she wants, that’s what she should do. But for someone like me, who prefers digital photos and is not a fan of Christmas cards, it wouldn’t make much sense. I prefer digital invites to parties because I always lose the traditional ones. It’s not really about money, at least not for me. More about the kind of person you are. I have a friend who’s been called “stuffy” for doing hand written notes, cards, invitations, etc. and I think that’s wrong to call her that. That’s something that is important to her, defines who she is, and I loved receiving her beautiful wedding invitation! And I believe my close friends would be thrilled to get my FB invitiation. They know me hehe! If I sent anything tangible they’d say, “umm, who is this”? Hehe! Plus I love the idea of everyone chatting on the board pre-wedding and sharing photos before, during, and after the event! What fun!

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CT September 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I personally find Facebook wedding invitations to be extremely tacky and classless. If one cannot afford invitations, perhaps they can’t afford the wedding either and should rethink the situation. Also, when cutting back costs, invitations is simply not where to do it, especially if you wish for guests to pay attention to the invite, as most people do not check their Facebook accounts very often at all. I received a Facebook invite to a wedding that wasn’t going to happen for at least eight months. Can you say impossible to remember? That is why I thoroughly believe that paper invites should be the norm for formal events, such as a wedding.

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