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I received a wedding invitation in the mail recently. I
was delighted to learn that the friend was getting married and looking forward
to meeting her fiancé. I was not aware of an engagement party or wedding
shower. It was a morning wedding. Enclosed with the invitation to
the ceremony was a small card explaining that due to finances and scheduling
issues, the reception was limited basically to the bride's and groom's extended
families and the wedding party. That was okay with me. However, the
second paragraph on the card stated that it would not be necessary to bring a
gift; our presence, love and support would be gift enough.
I was very surprised by that. I was taught that whenever
someone extends you the courtesy of inviting you to their wedding (ceremony,
reception or both), the only correct thing to do is to give a gift.
Because I was not sure if I would have an opportunity to give it to the couple
at the church, I mailed it to the bride's parents' home. Other guests
brought gifts to the church and I'm assuming those were brought home for
the bride and groom to open at another time. I am happy for my friend
and I'm glad I could be there for her on her special day. (P.S.: The
wedding was beautiful!)
I was stunned that my friend would need to include with her
wedding invitations an explanation why some of the recipients didn't get a
reception invitation. In my mind, no explanation should be needed.
Is it still the case that you shouldn't assume an invitation to the
reception just because you're asked to the ceremony? I'm not sure how
to handle the "no-gifts-please" thing in general.
I'm stunned, too. An invitation to the
ceremony automatically infers an invitation to a reception. She felt she
had to include a notice of explanation when she chose to ignore etiquette and
invite people solely to the ceremony but not the reception. That alone
tells me she planned a wedding far too big for her budget since nearly everyone
can afford cake and punch reception. (A half sheet cake from BJ's serves
40 and costs $30.) Yes, sheet cakes from BJs are not very extravagant but
if that is what one must do to provide a very modest reception for ALL one's
guests, that's what you do.
etiquette of wedding gifts is that one is not obligated to give a gift if not
attended the wedding (note: that infers ceremony AND reception). If you
attend the wedding, giving a gift is a good thing. However, reciprocally,
the bride and groom are not to have expectation of receiving gifts lest they
fall into the deception of believing they can direct their guests' gift
giving. Your friend fell into that faux pas by assuming wedding guests
will bring gifts and therefore she could tell them to forego giving them.
Which is almost as bad as telling people what to get.
This week my colleagues and I (all 135 of us) were mystified
to find elaborate wedding invitations on our desks- we didn't know who the bride
and groom were. Turns out our boss' son is getting married. Of course many of us
declined as we don't know this person. I sent a nice note and a small gift with
my apologies and well wishes (which I thought was generous considering the
impersonal nature of the mass invitation to total strangers).
The next day the office staff came around with a clipboard to
ensure that everyone had paid the right amount as a wedding present if you were
not coming-a substantial amount was quoted! Yes, your name was ticked off and
your demanded 'gift' listed. Of course, if you were attending, the amount was
tripled. Again, the amount to be given was specified. Again, substantial. I
spend less on friends' weddings and I am no scrooge. I suppose we should be
grateful. At least office staff were allowed to give a smaller amount due to
their smaller wage. It's hard not to feed the gimme pigs when they are your
boss, but this family has earned universal contempt and resentment for their
efforts. Talk about abusing your position of power to milk the 'little people'.
I hope they choke on the wedding cake my colleagues and I paid for!
I received a wedding invitation in the mail on the 27th
December. The RSVP date on the invitation was 20th December. In case you think
the invitation got lost in the mail, there was no stamp on the envelope. The
girl lives 3 houses down the street from me and dropped the invitation in my
letter box along with a belated Christmas card. It’s nice to know that I was
definitely on the B-list or lower.
When my brother "Dan" got married about 2 years ago,
my family knew it would be a very small affair in the bride's home town and not
many people were going to be at the wedding. Dan had not been getting along well
with us over the years due to "materialistic" differences. Everything
in his world revolved around what people give him (explains a lot!)
Imagine our surprise to find out he and his bride sent out
over 300 wedding announcements before the wedding with the registry cards
stapled to them. If that wasn't enough to make my family crawl under a rock, at
the bottom of the announcement was the following...
Cards and gifts happily appreciated and can be sent to:
Bride c/o brides family address, blah blah
My sister excitedly sent out all her wedding invitations and
later that week, got her very first RSVP card back! She tore it open, only to
find a blank RSVP card with nothing written on it, no return address, and no way
of figuring out who was too dim to fill it out before sending it back in the
mail. What a waste of a stamp. To this day we have no idea who it was from.
Technology Faux Pas…a family friend was going on her second
wedding (I was a bridesmaid in her first). They had written up a
preliminary guests list, but decided to keep it small, as it was her second time
around. So in a very distasteful e-mail, she stated that she had cut us
from the guest list as she didn’t want to pay for our meals. But if we
still wanted to come, we were more than welcome…but we would have to pay our
own way. We all regretfully declined. TACKY!!!
This is a horrid story I heard from a co-worker not too long
ago. She received an invitation from some friends inviting her to their wedding.
You needed to not only bring your own chair for the reception,
but your own plasticware, plate, bowl, and cup as the couple would not be
providing them for your meal. Needless to say, she did not attend.
"Jess" and I met at age 13. To make a very long
story short, Jess' parents wanted to control every aspect of her life, and Jess
took off to pursue her dreams as soon as she was legally able. During this time,
most of her old friends had no idea what she was up to, but when Jess resurfaced
five years later, she informed us all that she found the man of her dreams and
got engaged to him after mere months of meeting each other. I was surprised but
didn't say anything; it's her life, after all. We promised to keep in touch.
That was at the end of 2006. In February, Jess and I were chatting about life,
when she brought up her wedding; in that conversation, she said that she felt
most comfortable putting the wedding off a full 13 months.
To my surprise, two weeks later, I received an email from Jess
-- a "Save the Date; Invitation to Follow" e-card for April 5, 2007.
Needless to say, I was surprised. I knew that there was little chance that I
could take time off and pay for a plane ticket (I had recently moved several
hundred miles away to start a new job), but I thanked Jess, just the same. Then
last week, Jess called to wish me a happy birthday, and would I mind accepting
or declining her wedding invitation? After collecting myself, I told her that I
was unsure and explained my situation. Apparently unsatisfied with my response,
Jess pressed me to make a decision because she was only going to send
invitations to those who were definitely going to attend. I told her that it was
her decision whether or not I would receive an invitation but not to expect
anything either way. Annoyed, she claimed she had to take another call and hung
up. Another friend called me to relay a similar story. Neither of us expect to
get an invitation after that phone call. As I explained to that friend, I
completely understand how costly a wedding can be, having gone through it,
myself. But letting people know that they would not receive an invitation unless
they could confirm their attendance on the spot is not being frugal; it's being
In the autumn of 2006, my fiancé "Billy" and I
received a wedding invitation in the mail from his sister, who lives several
states away (I have yet to meet her). There was nothing tacky about the
invitation, other that the request that gifts be in the form of cash, of course.
If I recall correctly, there was an explanation about needing the cash for such
practical things as household bills and expenses related to child care and car
maintenance. I can definitely empathize with not quite having enough money for
essentials, but I also know that weddings should not be used for the raising of
such funds. This may sound kind of catty, but from what he's told me about her,
this wasn't completely unexpected. I will give her credit for getting my full
name and putting it on the invitation and envelope.
Billy and I ended up deciding not to go. The invitation
definitely factored into our decision, although there were other factors to
consider, such as a ten hour drive each way, the renting of hotel rooms, and
neither of us would have known anyone, as the rest of the BTB's family wasn't
planning to attend (which is a different non-etiquette-related story). We marked
the RSVP and returned it accordingly.
It was just as well that we didn't go, because the groom-to-be
"mysteriously" disappeared the night before the wedding and didn't
show up until it was conveniently too late to go through with the ceremony. A
couple months later, Billy heard from his mother that there had been another
attempted wedding and the groom had gotten cold feet AGAIN.
Fast forward to now, March 2007. After getting a voice message
from her, Billy tells me his sister is getting married. He has three sisters,
all of which are dating (to various extents) someone, so I have to ask
"which sister?" (One day, perhaps he'll learn to say "My Sister
[name]" so I won't have to keep asking him which one he means, but it's
always a fun guessing game!) He says her name, and sure enough, it's the sister
that has already been stood up TWICE by her intended groom. I ask if it's the
same guy (one never knows) and sure enough, it is!
The etiquette point of my story, aside from the original tacky
invitation, is the fact that no invitations were sent out for the second and
third weddings. To be fair, the second attempt was probably intended to be an
elopement (nobody else had been invited/warned, that we are aware of), but for
the upcoming wedding, we were invited by phone. Obviously, this lady has more
pressing things in her life to worry about than etiquette, and I do hope she
learns to take care of them so she can eventually focus on the "little
things" like avoiding eHell. Thanks for letting me share my story!
I am an enthusiastic patron of couples who hand-make their
wedding invitations. Not only are they usually financially reasonable, but
they also show the care and heart that the couple put into them. But
one dark and stormy day, that all changed, when I opened our mailbox and found a
wedding invitation from a couple we were acquaintances with. I had no idea
what horrors awaited me inside the white letter-sized envelope addressed to us
in blue ballpoint pen. It was half a piece of white cardboard paper
(the craft kind, not any special type), with a clipart ivy border in a dried
yellow color (it almost looked like it was suppose to be green, but their
printer ran out of ink), with all the regular wording (the marriage of, the
time, the place), in bold bright blue Times New Roman font. Bright blue,
Times, New, Roman. Absolutely no effort, time, or care whatsoever!
So incredibly tacky!!
And then, in complete disbelief and after grabbing a hold of
my porch railing to stop from falling over and having a seizure because it was
so bad, I frantically flipped it over hoping that maybe it would get better.
It got worse. On the back was a big, colorful Sears logo, with the words
“’John’ and ‘Jane’ are registered at Sears”. And the icing on
the cake, there were spelling errors. Cost of wedding invitations:
$0.00 Time and effort into invitations: None. Tastefulness and class of
invitations: None. Having your story on Etiquette
Hell because of your atrocious invitations: Priceless.
What? You didn't scan it in and send it
to me? I'm hurt.
Here is an EMAILED invitation and the subsequent response from
one of the invited. I can't think of anything else to add. The
invited definitely said it all!.............
For those of you who have not heard Jenny and I are having a
Holy Union, and so we are officially putting this out to the whole
community... XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX & XXXXXXXXXXX
Request the honor of your presence in celebrating their Holy Union on Saturday
the twenty-sixth of May two thousand and seven at two o'clock in the afternoon
North Congregational United Church of Christ , Address deleted.
There will be a light reception following the ceremony. Since we are both poor
students, we are asking that people who are local bring a tray of fruit,
vegetables, or crackers and cheese (Church, though, is a no peanut zone). We
would greatly appreciate your help. If you have
any questions regarding this celebration please contact either XXXXXX or me.
We look forward to sharing our special day with our church friends
and community. We would also like it if you can RSVP by simply responding to
this email at email@example.com, so we have a rough idea of how many to
plan for. P.S.- We are registered at Target and Bed Bath and
I thought that either Dear Abby or Ann Landers was
still alive, however the horror of this email probably killed off the
surviving sister. If you MUST beg for reception food, do it off the
invitation. Also, your guests know that you are poor students, bringing it
up is only whining about it. If I am bringing food to a reception that you
can't pay for, I'm gonna damn well bring what I wanna eat, and that includes peanut-laden
items. Hell, I may bring a baby seal and kill it on
the spot if that's what I want to eat. Extra tackiness points for adding
the little blurb about where you are registered. You get a fruit plate OR
you get the rubber sheets. Not both. Come to think of it,
that's not so bad after all. I bought a Rubbermaid serving tray during the
holidays and never used it. I think I'll fill it with crudités and a dip,
then put a gift tag on it that says "Here, wash this up and take it
home. Mazel tov." RSVP???? I don't see why they
need to know how many people are coming. If everyone is bringing
their own food, I think you're covered. If you run out of drinks,
you can just ask one of your guests to run across the street to Kroger and pick
up more Big K.
My husband's cousin (we'll call her Natasha,) is getting
married in three weeks. Natasha's mother sent out invitations to family via
e-mail two days ago. Natasha's getting married in a well-known vacation spot
five hours away by car. It's expensive to stay in this area during high season.
The cheapest hotel rooms left at this point are $375 per night, and most places
have a two-night guarantee as well. We've seen Natasha twice in the past three
months at family gatherings; nothing was said about the wedding until 72 hours
Evidently, the family members who've just been excluded are
pretty hurt. Her mother's comments were that they "wanted it small"
and "weren't intending to invite the family". They're sad it's
such short notice family members can't attend. That's okay, though. You
should still send a gift! Natasha's registry could be found at the following...
I received a wedding invitation in the mail this week.
It was poorly printed on the INSIDE of two RSVP cards
that were perforated and not separated (but did
separate as I was holding them), contained multiple
typos and misspellings but the best was the following
line, at the bottom.
"Picnic reception. Bring your own lawn chairs."
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