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Tacky Invitations

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
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It's short but sour. A couple I know became engaged rather quickly and had a city hall wedding. Six months later they decided that they DID want to have a wedding after all. ( there was no obvious reason for their initial haste) So why get married again? They printed the stores where they were registered on the wedding invitation. I've never seen anything so tacky in my life.

Several years ago, my husband and I received a nice hand-written invitation to my former boss's wedding reception. She had been divorced, had grown kids, and had been living with her boyfriend for many years. We were thrilled to make the 4.5-hour drive to Iowa for their party. The invitation said "Saturday," so we arrived at Saturday, right on time, and there were several cars parked at their farm. We figured more would be arriving, as there wasn't a "arrival" time as there would be for a wedding. We walked to their front door and, being sort of immature that moment, I rang their doorbell several times in succession. Someone came to the door right away, and shushed me, ushered us into the house saying quietly, "they're in the middle of their vows!" We were horrified, I was embarrassed as hell. We stood in the back of the dining room while C. and T. recited their vows in front of their fireplace. The only other people there were their immediate families (siblings, children and spouses, grandchildren, an elderly parent or two) and the officiant. A few minutes later, when the ceremony ended, they came over to talk to us, were incredibly gracious to us and laughed it off. The groom told me with sincerity, "This was great, now I have a funny, memorable story to tell people about our wedding!" They couldn't have been more gracious and wonderful about my faux pas. It turns out, the reception was the following day! Then they invited us to go to dinner, as the entire family was going to a very nice French restaurant about 30 minutes away in the city. They tried to insist, but we knew it should be a family-only event, and we apologized for the mistake, for being obnoxious with the doorbell, for interrupting their vows, everything. The whole family could not have been nicer to us (I knew her son, daughter and grandson beforehand, so that helped). They were the epitome of class. We left our gift and card behind and drove back that day to Minnesota. When I got home, I dug the hand-written invitation out of the garbage, and there it was: Saturday. My boss had written down the wrong day and date. I felt a little better, and wanted to send it to her to show her that I really did come on the "right" day, but she was so wonderful after my awful interruption of her wedding vows, I didn't dare do that. Lesson learned: ring the doorbell once like an adult.   invitations0411-03

This is less of a hellworthy story than a small reminder to brides--please put the correct mailing address on your announcements! Just a dab of backstory--the persons in this case were my cousin "Chris," who is younger by about two years, and his now-wife. She is Mormon, and it is common in Mormon weddings to hold the actual service privately in a Temple and then invite all the family to the reception, which receives the greatest part of the wedding budget. So I received an invitation to the reception, which was a thousand miles away. The truly odd thing about it all, despite the incorrect address, is that the handwriting was my grandmother's. My Aunt "Tina," my father's sister, has never been especially close or warm to my sister or I, so my mother and I surmised that she had simply given my grandmother (her mother) a few invitations and told them to send them out to those she chose. But anyway, at least my cousin's behavior was quite correct. One I collected the correct address from Mom and resent the card, he promptly sent a Thank-you note. I'm not really upset about it all, but I am a little confused that Chris and his bride couldn't send out the announcements themselves. Do you think if they had, the address would have been correct?


I recently received this mass email that was sent to about 20 unimportant guests to a wedding. Apparently we were supposed to decide among ourselves who should attend. This was sent about 2 months before the big day.

"As most of you know, Kelly and I are getting married on June 22nd here in San Antonio*. We’re in the process of trying to get our invitations in the mail, and we’ve run into a small hitch. We’re limited (by fire codes and other safety type stuff) to one hundred people that can attend, and the list of folks that we would like to have with us on that day is probably double that right now. We’re going through the especially painful process of deciding who we can invite and who we must regrettably leave out. The upshot is that we’re lucky enough to have so many people that we feel are indispensable and so important to both of us. If any of you know in advance that you won’t be able to attend, I would appreciate it if you could drop me a note and let me know so that we can place you on the wedding announcement list instead of the wedding invitation list. Thanks Chris "

By the way, this email was sent to both the grooms' ex-girlfriend and his sister.


Two years ago a co-worker's daughter was getting married and a printed invitation was posted on the bulletin board for all other co-workers to see and hopefully attend. Now for some background on the family. In the organization that I work, with various offices around the city, there are 15 to 20 of the family members all working for this same organization. Mind you now, very few of us knew the bride or the bridegroom. We knew the mother and father, 2 aunts, 5 or 6 of the cousins, and a couple of the uncles. They are a large and well known family (not affluent -- just well known). They are good people just a little misguided. When the invitation was posted I made a comment to one of my fellow co-workers about not attending weddings if I were not given a personal invitation. This comment was overheard by one of the aunts. It was close to the wedding day, when the aunt that overheard the conversation brought 2 invitations and handed one to me and one to the other co-worker that I made the comment to. You will not believe that she felt that if we didn't get a personal invitation we would not get her niece a GIFT. But that is not the clincher - - they were copied on the copy machine. We had a good laugh, needless to say we didn't get a gift nor did we attend the wedding.


My cousin had a "shot gun" wedding. As a slight background on my cousin "Sam" and his future wife "Diane". Sam met Diane through the internet. She was a housewife with a kid and wanted to leave her husband for Sam (Sam didn’t know about the husband part until a little bit later). She moved out here from out-of-state with her child and moved in with Sam. Fast forward a year and a half later when Sam hinted around that things weren’t working out with him and Diane and that it would have to end soon. I believe exactly 30 days after that, Diane was 1 month pregnant. Congratulations? Sam’s first impulse was to immediately get married for the sake of the baby but his father convinced him to wait. It was a good thing because plenty of things happened between the announcement of Diane and Sam’s expectancy and the wedding day. Here’s is a quick summary: before she was pregnant she was against our family’s religion and then miraculously converted (she was grasping at straws to be accepted); she had another child back in home state; she was still married to her first husband up to 30 days before the wedding; and if all of that wasn’t enough to blow you away perhaps the following will knock you off of your chair, there was a big question to whether or not Sam was the father of the baby. Turns out he was. Nevertheless, you can imagine the uproar in laughter when each family member received a very romantic pink card with a castle in the background and a Cinderella looking coach in the front with the caption saying something like "Our love is like a fairy tale come true…"


My fiancé and I are not having a small wedding. We had decided that each side could invite 100 people. This was not done to be a control freak, but because the room at the reception only held so many people. My mother-in-law to be, however, did not seem to understand this at all. She called us literally every other day asking for more invitations. We did allow her to go over her guest list and invite an additional twenty people who she absolutely had to have there, but even this did not satisfy her. She continued to call telling us how she had "social obligations" to fulfill and wanted to invite more people to get us more money in gifts! By the way, many of these "close family members" that she just had to invite were people like her husband's sister's husband's father and his girlfriend, and her cousin's husband's sisters and brother! Finally we were tired of the whole situation and told her we were out of wedding invitations, just so she would stop calling and leave us alone. This did not work at all. Less than a week later she called again to tell me that because we had no more invitations left to invite her additional guests, she had gone to Kinko's and had our response card photocopied and was calling family members to ask for the invitation back so she could send it on to others!!


Its June 3rd and my second cousin is getting married July 5th. Everyone in the family got an invitation except for me. That's not to say that I'm not invited, its just that they don't seem to think I deserve an invitation. They sent an invite to my mother with the implication that if she's invited, then so am I. I live three hundred miles away from mom and am financially independent from her. I spend about ten or twelve days a year in my mother's house. This isn't the first time that I haven't been formally invited to events while everyone else in the family gets an invite. I find it extremely rude and hurtful and make it as clear as possible that I don't attend events I'm not invited to. Considering also that the bride is younger than me and adding into that that I have to fly to the wedding, and am expected to bring a gift (since not doing so will entitle certain family members to whisper behind my back about how immature I am) and the other costs of going out of town including, but not limited to, taking vacation days that I rather use another time. I needed to vent and seeing this website I thought it would be a good place! Perhaps my rude relations will see it eventually and think "hmm.... maybe putting a stamp on one extra envelope isn't that difficult" invitations0604-03


I received an invitation. It was professionally printed, not photocopied. It did not ask for money or even include any evidence that gifts would be appreciated. It was tasteful all around. So why do I think it belongs on your site? Because the groom was a man with whom I had been corresponding for over three years. Until two weeks before the wedding, I was under the impression that he was planning to leave the Navy when his current tour of duty was up (about a week before the wedding was scheduled) and move to my state. We had often talked about how much nicer it would be to date rather than talk on the phone, and he had actually asked me whether or not he should take a job in a city about three-hours drive from where I lived; he didn't want to be that far from me, but it was a firm offer, and they would pay for the move. Looking back, I can admit our relationship was probably doomed. We were of different faiths (I'm Jewish, but not observant. and he returned to the LDS church to marry his bride). My family was wealthier and better educated than his, which didn't bother me but sometimes seemed to bother him. But at 24, all I cared about was my heartbreak.     invitations0616-03

I am to be married in about a month and so far, things have gone pretty smoothly. Except for two incidents involving my fiancé's mother and his aunt. We have very tight space restrictions for the reception- the room that *I* want for *my* wedding will only hold 100 guests. That being fine with us, we booked it and made our guest list with help from the parents- from booking the room to the wedding was only six months, so we sent "save the date" cards immediately. 

When all was (I thought) said and done, we had 106 people on the list several of whom we knew could not attend so we were sitting pretty. Invitations were sent out 9 weeks before the wedding and I thought that was the end of it. But for the next two weeks, my future MIL kept sending me more names and addresses of people I *had* to invite. Worried that these people would actually show, I was freaking out. I didn't know these people, they hadn't even seen the family in years (one guy was the mechanic from their hometown- and he's coming!!!). I was very upset and feeling very disrespected because no one seemed to care that we didn't have the room for these people and that I was uncomfortable adding so many people- she added 25 extra people that my parents would have to pay for! I explained my concerns to my fiancé, but not once did he ever confront his mother about her behavior- every time she added a new name he said, "That's fine, we'll invite them." I couldn't get him to disagree with her so I had to invite these people. I'm still hoping most of them won't show or else I'll have to change the room that I wanted to badly for my reception... Because of the aforementioned space issues, we didn't invite dates of single guests. Everyone understood this and was fine with it. My fiancé's aunt is a single, very unattached woman, but when I received her response card back it had a very lovely "2" written on it. Two??? On the inside she had written, "I'm inviting 'Harry,' is that okay?" First of all, there was only one name on the invitation and I understood it to be extremely poor etiquette to invite guests on your own. Second, she could have called first and asked before assuming it was okay (which it is not). Third, no one has seen or spoken to said aunt in months- she hasn't even visited her own mother who lives just a mile away- and she had been incredibly selfish the last time we spoke with her. And lastly, this "Harry" is a friend of the family anyway- my future in-laws had seen him recently and he knew he wasn't invited because of size of the room. He is a friend of the family, not of this aunt though, and we would have invited him had we had the space. I almost just wrote "No." beneath her question on the response card and sent it back!     Invitations0514-03

We recently received a unique invitation to a wedding. It was handmade and started with "Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So announce the marriage of their daughter ..." I thought, good heavens, they have run off and gotten married. But no, I must be out of touch. I had to go to the very bottom of the invitation to find out that it was indeed an invitation to an upcoming wedding and not an announcement of a marriage that had taken place. I always thought announcements were sent after the event happened. After all, who would send an announcement of a baby's birth before it was born? Things just got better from there. They did not enclose a reply card, preferring that you call or email your RSVP. I guess they were trying to save money (hence the handmade invitation). The topper of this entire invitation came at the bottom, they included all the places where they were registered! No big surprise given how greedy the groom is, now I know the bride was made for him. Needless to say, I approached attending this wedding with caution. Given that it was an afternoon wedding and the invitation was very informal, imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a formal wedding, complete with groom in tails (and bowtie instead of an ascot). It's hard to believe these two actually hired a wedding coordinator. Given all the mistakes in the wedding and the tackiness of the invitation, the money would have been better spent sending out proper invitations.   Invitations0626-03

One week after my fiancé and I announced our engagement for February of next year, my notoriously cheap cousin and his girlfriend of 13 years announced their engagement - and marriage the NEXT MONTH! He said that the invitations would be word-of-mouth only. Less than two weeks before the wedding he calls me and asks me if I'm going to be at the wedding. I said of course, put me down for two. He says, 'Well, M. and I were hoping to keep it just family.' I told him that (a) my fiancé IS my family and (b) we've always included his fiancée in things in our family even though she wasn't technically related at that point. Do you know what my cousin said? 'How was I to know you were going to go and get engaged to some guy I've never met?' 

Well, first of all, we live out of town and my fiancé and I have made numerous trips up there but my cousin was never around; all our other relatives have met my fiancé. Also, he is not 'some guy,' he is my fiancé. And third, WE announced our engagement before he did! So what if we weren't together 13 years? I was extremely hurt by the intimation that I was bringing some stranger to HIS wedding. THEN I find out from my dad that supposedly my cousin told him (just then) that the wedding had a '13' theme - it was on the 13th and that each side would be allowed 13 guests. Nice of him to let us in on that NOW! Anyway - in the end I brought my fiancé. My uncle and aunt were unable to make the trip due to health problems, so there was 'room.' And lest you think this was some big fancy affair, it was salad and pasta - which was nice, but nothing like his equally wealthy sister's wedding. So it wasn't like he was spending $75 a person and as such needed a precise count. As I suspected, my fiancé blended in just fine with the guests just like he was related. And guess what? There were more like 50 guests than 26. Seems a bunch of my cousin's friends showed up - the place looked kind of empty, so the wedding was delayed to allow for more people to fill out the room. Looked better in the pictures, I guess. I'm certain he turned a profit.


When I was growing up, we were not very close to my father's extended family; his sister and her family did stay in touch with them. 20 years ago, one of his first cousins was getting married. I think we heard about the wedding from my aunt, who was invited, but I don't think we expected an invitation. Well, we got one - the week after the wedding. At first I thought it got lost in the mail, then I realized it must have been mailed very late - maybe the "B" list. But then I looked at the postmark - it was mailed a day or two AFTER the wedding!! I know my parents' feelings were hurt; I thought this was an incredibly tacky action from a family that prides itself on its pedigree. If we were unintentionally left off, they could have called us and explained; if we weren't going to be invited, but then dad's aunt found out we knew about the wedding - so what? We realized we weren't as close to them as my dad's sister and would never have given it a second thought. I never said anything to my father's aunt or cousin, but I have never felt welcome whenever we're with that side of the family.


II have a story of possibly the tackiest wedding invitation ever. It was my uncle's at-home wedding several years ago to a woman who had become infamous rather quickly for rudeness. However, my relatives were very happy for my uncle's good news and everyone in the family chipped in and paid for/worked part of the reception. For example, one of his brothers bought the food and cooked it, a sister cleaned his house, his mother bought the flowers, etc. It was planned out to be quite a lovely wedding that would be quite easy on the new couple since all was handled for them as their wedding gift.

Well, then we received the invitations. They were normal peach and white embossed cards rather formally inviting everyone to the wedding at my uncle's house. At the bottom was a very informal note that the reception would be in the same place using an old TV show quote. Very cute, we all thought. Then we read further down.

There was a request that no one bring presents, only money, to "help pay for this shindig"!

Pay for what? Everything had already been paid for by his relatives! Obviously a way to shake down his guests for cash.   invitations0729-03

Jeanne- I wish I had the preceding, original wedding announcement to the one I'm sending. It contained the classic, "we really don't expect gifts, but if you must, here is where we're registered." Gag, and not to mention, printed on plain white copy paper and hung up on the bulletin board at work. Anyway, the one I've attached has a few gems in it. I particularly like the part where they say that "you are all very dear to us", yet this thing hangs on the bulletin board at work, read by countless passersby, from a woman no longer working there and a man few had ever met. (She apparently had retained a key friend who still does work with me and hung this up for anyone who might remember this woman.) "Since, of course, we love the Lord - living together was not an option." Of course! I really don't know why this sends me into fits of laughter, it just does. And the kicker? "Special Instructions: Bring a dish of some kind (with food in it of course) and we will provide everything else!" Really now, WHAT ELSE IS THERE? The keg? Boy, that'll set you back about $80. And to insult their apparent multitude of invited guests intelligence, they had to HIGHLIGHT the fact that there was to be FOOD in that dish that YOU, THE GUEST, ARE SUPPLYING!!!!! invitations0728-03