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Tacky Invitations

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
Jun-Dec 2000 Archive
2000 Archive


I once received a wedding invitation to a ceremony in Las Vegas. I knew the bride very casually from a former job and was at first a bit touched that she had invited me. After all, we weren't close friends, but we had enjoyed a laugh or two on the job. I don't live too far from Vegas, so I thought it might be fun. Until I got to the bottom of the invitation, where the bride and groom listed a bank account number into which guests could make direct fund transfers from their own bank to the happy couple's new joint account. Needless to say, I didn't attend the wedding, nor did I send a "gift."  Invite0216-01

My boyfriend and I were invited to one of his friend's wedding. The invitation was hand written on what appeared to be plain white printer paper. OK, so they didn't have a lot of money to spare. However, written at the bottom of the invitation were the words: "Price of dinner: $20.00 per person." We were expected to pay for our own dinner!! I told my boyfriend that that was the most tackiest thing I've ever seen. Unfortunately, he wanted to go because it was one of his best friends that was getting married. Since we had to pay for dinner, we felt that that was gift enough, so we just gave them a card. I don't think I need to mention that we didn't not receive a thank-you note.  Invite0305-01

The following is a partial reproduction of an invitation I received to a
wedding reception; I've also reproduced the spelling and grammatical errors
for the amusement factor.

But, first, a little history. I'm essentially an acquaintance of the bride;
I rarely see her, and I almost never socialize with her. I'm not even a
close enough acquaintance to get invited to the bridal shower. She and her
husband got married about three months ago in a different country; after the
wedding, they traveled in that country for a month.

A few days ago I received an invitation to their wedding reception; the
invitation was printed on tacky (and ugly) laser printer paper. It is being
held at the home of one of the bride's friends.

Here's the invite (keep in mind I reproduced the spelling, punctuation, and
grammar errors as well the capitalization of "poor"):

What time? Well here is the itinerary:
4 o'clock pm, Wine and Cheese social
6 o'clock pm, Fire up the Barbe!!
Post Dinner: Dessert and Slide Show
Post Slide Show: A good old fashion pissin' session
(beer drinking till the cows
come home)

Menu: We will have a nice selection of California wines and various cheeses.
On the barbe we will have your choice of chicken, sausage, or meat/veggie
burgers. Now this is on a first come first serve basis so no fights. As for
the slide show, by that time we should be in quite the mood to share all
kinds of stories about our month in _______. The beer will be the one and
only Fat Tire from Colorado. If you don't know what Fat Tire is you have to
leave after the slide show.

What to bring: Your love and best wishes for a POOR couple making there way
into this cold and nasty world. No joke gifts. If you would like to bring a
gift, we are registered at Target, and could use gift certificates to Best
Buy and Barnes and Nobel Bookstore.

What to wear: As little as you want.

So that was the reception invitation. As for the business about the couple
being poor, one is a dentist and the other is a doctor. I ought to buy them
a word processing program which has both a spell and grammar checker on it.
For those of you from different parts of the country, Best Buy is essentially
a DVD/CD/Stereo store and Barnes and Noble (yes Noble is the PROPER spelling)
is a bookstore. Target is like a Wal-mart or a K-Mart or a Shop-ko.

Ordinarily, I'm the type of person who would buy a gift and mail it out of
courtesy even if I don't consider myself a friend of the bride or groom. Not
this time.   Invite0311-01

A few years ago I ran across a high school acquaintance in her place of business. After making a polite inquiry about some mention I'd heard of her upcoming wedding, I heartily congratulated her and prepared to go about my way. As we had been out of school for some years and I did not know the intended groom or his family, I saw no need to further discuss the event. With no ill intentions, her wedding was no concern of mine. She seemed to disagree. It seems she would be getting married the following Friday, and I was casually invited to "drop by if I had nothing else to do." Having grown into adulthood in the era of "casual Fridays" and blue jeans for all occasions, I am accustomed to treating even the most somber affairs with something less than formality. Even I was taken aback by this invitation, however. I choose to look at the invitation as a well-meaning, if ill-timed, intention to share her good fortune, but it still shocked me. Needless to say, I didn't attend the wedding. Had the bride truly wanted me there I would surely have known about the event more than 3 days in advance.  Invite0324-01

My husband's brother is getting married in about a month, and the invitation seems to be one etiquette nightmare after another. 1. We were given our invitations in person, apparently to save on postage. 2. Inside the invitation is a card that reads "In lieu of a traditional wedding gift, the Bride and Groom request checks toward their honeymoon cruise." This was followed by their travel agent's name and address, and a statement saying that a copy of the check would be retained for the Bride and Groom's reference. 3. Although the Bride and Groom requested money in place of gifts, just in case, they included a second card which gave us the FIVE locations at which they registered. 4. Last but certainly not least, when I went to mail back our RSVP I noticed that it had no stamp. I had to stamp it in order to get it back to them by the deadline. We're very tempted to get nothing at all or something not on their registry (did I mention they registered at FIVE locations?). However, one bad turn does not deserve another. We do refuse, however, to send cash.   Invite0430-01

I have an invitation faux pas by an otherwise very tasteful woman - which is why it so surprised me. From a well-to-do family, the bride nonetheless wanted to limit the number of guests at her wedding. Understandable. She started off by inviting close friends, but no spouses that she and her husband-to-be did not also consider to be close friends. A bit more of a stretch, but I'll grant her another more tentative - understandable. Then came the kicker. Her invitations were sent out in two waves: an A list, and a B list. The A list was sent out first, and once those guests had RSVP'd, the poor second choice B list candidates were offered a spot!  Invite0430-01

Hi Jeanne, I have another submission for you for the new year! (Seems they just keep coming. Tackiness knows no bounds). I work in a LARGE office building in downtown Atlanta. A woman in my company I have never met before sent an email to the whole company's listserv (we're talking 500 people) saying: Hi, I'm getting married on XX/XX/XXXX. If you want to see where I am registered or attend the wedding, please stop by my cube and look at an invitation for details/directions/etc. Mind you, this email went out to our CEO, CFO, president, her boss (and she is quite low on the food chain), the hundreds of us who have never met her, etc. And we are all supposed to look at ONE invitation? She can't even do the courtesy of sending out invitations to her wedding or to a shower, instead of such a broad solicitation for gifts?  Invite0504-01

A guy my fiancé works with got married a couple of weeks ago. Apparently to a woman who never heard of etiquette. Going through all the wedding stuff myself, I was amazed to hear that the invitations were sent out with registry information inside. My fiancé was not invited, so he only knew this because his coworker showed the invites to him and because another coworker that we're friends with was invited. I thought it was horrible, but it got worse. I figured that at least they used nice inserts to state the info. When my friend showed me the invite, it turned out that there was a small, (badly) photocopied piece of paper stating one registry, and a sticker on the outside envelope for another! At least they could have made it look nice! Needless to say, my friend who went said that from what he saw, barely anyone brought a gift.    Invite0510-01

After reading some of the stories on your site, I'm not sure if mine even qualifies as unusual, but I was appalled at the time so here it is. I had a co-worker with whom I was on good, if not overly friendly, terms; we would chat if we happened to be in the break room at the same time or while waiting for the copier, etc. but we didn't have any significant social interaction outside of the office. She seemed a perfectly nice, well-mannered person and, unlike some of the others at that firm, had a good grasp of office etiquette when it came to things like appropriate business attire, interrupting a meeting politely if an interruption was imperative, etc. which is why I was so surprised at her wedding invitation. When I first began working there, she had a live-in and an engagement ring, but plans for the actual wedding were vague. Eventually plans started to take shape and she would mention, if it came up in conversation, that she would be married "early this summer". Then one day I noticed that she had stuck one of her wedding invitations on the bulletin board in the break room. I found that a bit odd (yes, 'odd', let's say 'odd') but thought, "Well, maybe this is her way of making the announcement unobtrusively or something. Just because that's not how you would do it..." - BUT NO! A day or two later she came over, asked if I had a second and told me, "You know [Doug] and I finally set the date? Well, we couldn't afford to send out a whole bunch of invitations, much less invite my whole office, but I wanted you to know you're invited. There's an invitation on the bulletin board with the time and, oh, all the details." I couldn't believe my ears but I think I managed something like "Okay, well - congratulations." Over the next few days I noticed several similar tete-a-tetes with various co-workers - those who had made the cut, I guess.

Postscript to the story: I found out much later that she was mad at me for not RSVPing or sending a gift. Failure to RSVP is pretty much a hanging offense in my family, but I just couldn't see how one was really required since I hadn't rated a postage stamp or an invitation of my own...and if she couldn't spring for an invitation, envelope and stamp for me, I couldn't spring for a place setting of her Royal Daulton china. Oh well.    Invite0517-01

A very close cousin of mine is getting married in 3 months. A small but intimate wedding with some family and friends. The theme of the wedding is Medieval and all the guests are asked to dress up. Wow, or so I thought! My sister and I had been asked to MC the wedding. Great, what a privilege! We drove out (6 hours away) and spent a long weekend with the bride and groom to prepare all the wedding invitations. They brought us out to the spot where the wedding will take place! What a gorgeous outdoor wedding it will be for those who attend. All excited, we went out to rent costumes. We had to drive an hour and a half away to find proper costumes to fit the occasion. We even put a deposit on them - NON REFUNDABLE! I know what you're all thinking - Oh no, this wedding was called off!! No not even close. Because they decided on a small and intimate wedding, of course, some family members had been cut out off the invitation list. And well, after discussing this with more people they decided that wasn't such a good idea! Well, you want to know what they decided to do instead??? They are going to have an even more intimate wedding ............ just immediate family and a few friends!!! HA! That means we've been completely cut out of everything after giving them so much of our time already! If you ask me, you just don't do such a thing! When you ask people to MC your wedding and ask them to rent costumes, you don't scratch them off your list! If you're not 100% positive about your wedding plans ------- DON'T go inviting guests!!!   Invite0608-01

My tale is tame, but reading all the other stories on the site has convinced me that my idea of NOT having a wedding is the safe way to go. Several years ago, I introduced two good friends I'd known separately for a long time and had counseled and comforted through various failed relationships. I don't usually play Cupid, but I thought they were perfect for each other, and they were; a year later, they were engaged, and called me immediately to share the fantastic news. When they decided to hold the wedding out of town, they told me to save the date, and I assured them I would. My husband and I requested vacation time and budgeted for the plane tickets, hotel accommodations, and gifts. Months passed with no invitation, although I regularly talked to and saw the couple, and we always discussed their wedding plans, which were fairly elaborate. Two weeks before the wedding date, the BTB's friend called to invite me to a bridal shower that weekend. Unsure about the proper thing to do since I hadn't received a wedding invitation, I told her I needed to check my calendar. Because I know how expensive weddings can be, and because I sympathize with couples who are forced to host more guests than they really want, I was embarrassed to ask my friends whether I was invited. The next day, however, I was scheduled to have lunch with the GTB. As usual, he spent the whole time grousing about the headaches of preparing for a big, expensive wedding. Then he asked me if I was planning to go to the shower. Caught off guard, I stuttered that I hadn't received a wedding invitation. His turn to be discomfited, he mumbled that he and his fiancée had thought I wouldn't come. What? After they expressly told me, the FRIEND WHO INTRODUCED THEM, to plan on coming? I declined the shower invitation, did not send a gift, and haven't heard from the couple since.  Invite0620-01

I'm not sure if this is enough of a story, but it is something to warn about. I had been living with my boyfriend for a few years, and everyone knew that we were in a committed relationship. Anyway, someone in his family got married, and the invitation was addressed to him "and Guest!" My feelings were really hurt. I could interpret it as a dig against our living arrangement, but the bride and groom lived together before getting married or engaged.    Invite0817-01

I had just moved to a new state where I knew nobody and one of the neighbors in my apartment building was getting married in June to her boyfriend (second marriage). In May she came over and showed me her wedding announcements which had a little statement at the bottom saying the bride and groom "needed stuff" and were registered at Target. She also said that nobody was going to be invited to the wedding since they couldn't afford to have guests - they were only sending out announcements. The first week in June, I met my neighbor outside in the parking lot as I was coming back from the airport after being away for a week -my mother had passed away after two months of being terminally ill with cancer. She told me it was too bad I missed the wedding shower given by some of her coworkers that weekend and she proceeded to show me the gifts she was bringing in from the car. (yes, she knew about my mother's illness) A week before the wedding, my neighbor came over to say that several family members were coming to the wedding even though they weren't invited, and she wanted to have a small reception in her apartment after the ceremony. She said she had picked out two recipes she wanted me to make for her reception. I told her that I had plans for the Saturday before the wedding (they were being married on a Sunday), but would be willing to help HER make the desserts. The Friday night before the wedding, she stopped by to tell me that she decided not to make the desserts. About an hour later, she again knocks on my door and says "By the way, would you like to come to the wedding?" (I declined)    Invite0830-01

This past July my family and I received an invitation to the wedding of my bratty younger cousin. The wedding, however, had already taken place the last week of June. Okay, that's not so bizarre considering my cousin and his bride live in the Philippines; surely he didn't expect my family to actually make it to the wedding. The only mistake they made was using invitations as wedding announcements, right? But when we opened up the invitation (which consisted of several pages), there was a long list of "primary sponsors," "secondary sponsors," bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as a long list of other names with titles like "To light a candle for our love" and "To guard the flame." (Don't ask; I don't understand either.) There must have been at least thirty names on the invitation. But here's the dad was listed as a "primary sponsor," and I was listed as a bridesmaid! Several of my other cousins (all of whom live in the United States and were not actually invited to the wedding either) were listed as groomsmen, and a couple of my aunts and uncles also made the "primary sponsor" list. Not only did my relatives not contribute to this wedding (so, even if listing "sponsors" on the invitation weren't egregious enough, why list people who hadn't actually sponsored the wedding?), they weren't "invited" until after the fact, either! Later, I heard through my family that the bride had just wanted to make her bridal party look impressive on the invitation by including as many names as she could, then saying we "couldn't make it" at the wedding itself. But looking at the wedding pictures, she had a pretty huge bridal party (six or eight bridesmaids and as many groomsmen), so I wonder why she felt she needed imaginary attendants..   Invite0928-01

When I read the "the late Baby X" story, it reminded me of my brother's wedding two years ago. He had asked me how to word the invitation. Our dad's been dead for 14 years, but he wanted his name mentioned on the invitation. I told him to say, "Bob Smith, son of Mary Smith and the late John Smith, and Janey Jones, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Davey Jones, request the pleasure of your company" etc. instead, he writes, "Mary Smith and the late John Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Davey Jones request the pleasure of your company at the marriage of their children" etc. I ask you, how can my father invite someone from beyond the grave. I cringed when I read this--I was so embarrassed for them.    Invite1008-01

I write this hoping that someone who is contemplating this type of invitation that seems adorable, but is really inappropriate for an occasion such as a wedding, will read it and think twice. This young couple found out they were expecting, and after the beautiful little baby came along they decided to get married. My parents received this computer generated invitation that had a picture of the little bundle with the caption "Mommy and Daddy Are Getting Married!". I wasn't expecting them to deny that the couple had a baby out of wedlock, but found it bizarre to advertise the fact! So my mother and I go to Wal-Mart and get the couples' registry. Even after the tacky invitation I was not expecting anything out of the ordinary, after all Wal-Mart carries cute sheet sets and other home stuff right? Well the bride had registered for thong underwear (even chose the cost-conscious 3-piece set), a bra (34B), shoes for the baby, and herbal essence lotion. Where was the blender? the crock pot? I was appalled, thank god my grandmother does not even know what thong underwear is!!     Invite1011-01

We received invitations to my fiancé’s sister's wedding recently. The invitations were handwritten in an oversized childish scrawl (her's) on mass-produced tear-off paper with a hideous pink drawing of a Cinderella and prince charming - like couple of on it. She had filled in the event Wedding of ... (let's say Darren and Lisa to protect the innocent), the date and venue and added a lovely PS down the bottom of the paper.. It read "BYO Spirits". The worst thing about this was she sent the exact same invitation, with post script, to her grandmother, a refined lady of strict Methodist persuasion!  Invite1022-01

My sister-in-law, "Anna", lost her mother, "Liz", at a young age. Anna's father, "Moe", hired a nanny for Anna and her 2 brothers. Eventually, Moe and the nanny married and had 2 children of their own. However, Moe never really seemed to get over Liz. When Anna married my brother, I received a beautiful wedding invitation, which read, "Mr. and Mrs. Moe Smith and the late Liz Smith request the honor of your presence at the wedding uniting their daughter Anna...etc." I couldn't believe they had included Liz's name as a hostess. If they had wanted to say, "Anna, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Moe Smith and the late Liz" I suppose I wouldn't have minded as much, but the woman is dead, she doesn't request anything. We all chalked this up to poor proofreading and things went smoothly all the way up to the wedding day. After the ceremony, I went to sign the guest book at the reception. I saw my signature was the third one; the top line said, "Mr. Moe Smith, Anywhere, USA" and the second line, in Moe's handwriting, read, "Liz Smith, Celestial Kingdom." He had signed his late wife as being in attendance, AND had neglected to sign the name of his current wife or other children! Anna's stepmother had to go to the book later and add, "Mrs. Moe Smith."  Invite0814-01

Last year my husband and I attended the wedding of my cousin and a very lovely girl. The wedding itself, which took place on a country estate, was gorgeous. No detail was overlooked. Even the weather was great. The invitations were for 6:00. Now, most wedding invitations will put down a time a little before the ceremony actually starts, to give the guests a chance to arrive. When I got married, we started the ceremony thirty minutes after the time on the invitation, to allow for traffic, stragglers, and to give the guests a chance to say hello to one another. In this case, most of the guests were from out of town and were staying at a hotel about an hour away. We left the hotel about five and arrived just before six. The parking lot was full of friends and family greeting each other and chatting on their way inside. When we got inside, someone grabbed us and told us to hurry because the ceremony was about to start. We looked around, but the chairs were still half empty. It turns out that the MOH was a total control freak and insisted that if the invitations read six, by golly they would start at six. Never mind that half the guests hadn';t arrived yet, or that the estate was rented out for the entire evening. We sat down and the music started a minute or two later. The bride was beautiful. Too bad her 80 year old grandmother, who was still in the parking lot, missed her coming down the aisle. Throughout the ceremony, the ushers had to quietly escort people in, which was distracting for the guests, let alone the bride, groom, and minister. Oh well. Maybe granny can watch the video. Invite0516-01

This story's contributor and guests absolutely belongs in ehell, not the bride. Six o'clock means six o'clock and a bride should not have to accomodate rude guests who are not punctual by delaying her walk down the aisle as scheduled.    Wedding ceremonies are to start at the time indicated on the invitation and the prudent wedding director closes the doors to the sanctuary once the processional starts to keep straggling guests from disrupting the flow of the processional.  It's too bad the wedding guests decided to socialize before the wedding in the parking lot   instead of at the reception. I bet the bride was lovely, but disappointed, especially in Granny who couldn't be bothered to come inside at the appropriate time. Hrmph.

I have a story that might make a good post. A few years ago, a very good friend of mine (from most of our childhood) got engaged during our last year of high school and planned a wedding for shortly after graduation. We didn't talk much during the months before her wedding, but I thought that was typical seeing as planning a wedding takes a lot of time and she was probably too busy. She didn't return any phone calls, but again I just dismissed at as her having such a hectic schedule. When the time came, my twin sister and I both received invitations to attend her wedding. We were so excited because this was the first of our friends to get married. Shortly after, I got a phone call from my twin sister telling me I need to call and RSVP for the wedding as soon as I'm done talking with her, and she added "just so you know, be prepared."

I hung up the phone and called the bride's father immediately and told him I'd like to RSVP for myself and a guest. He sounded a bit nervous and said "oh, well the thing is we needed you to RSVP sooner, it's kind of too late, we already turned in our numbers to the caterer". I told him I didn't mind, I'd just eat something before I come. I understood that was my fault for not letting him know sooner. He then replied "well, we already made the seating arrangements too, so there's no chair for you". I answered "so, I'll stand". He just simply said "look, you're not getting the point. There's no room for you, I'm sorry but you can't come. Good-bye." I was so shocked that I had been uninvited! I quickly started asking around to other friends to see if they had the same problem. Every one of us in our "clique" had been uninvited for various reasons! One guy actually was told he couldn't come because he was good friends with the bride's ex and she worried he might bring him as his guest and ruin the wedding. Needless to say, no one went or sent gifts. We were all very offended and no one has spoken to her since.   Invite0619-01

"Janie" was already engaged when she joined the staff of Admissions and had planned for her wedding to take place in the small Iowa town where she'd grown up. Realistically speaking, no one in the office expected to be invited to the wedding and, indeed, no one was. However, that didn't stop Janie from planning a post-wedding celebration in her new hometown. Everyone in the office received an invitation in their mailbox, including the secretaries of both departments. I happened to be one of them. It was obvious that Janie had initially forgotten to include us when she ordered the invitations, so myself and the Admissions secretary were the only people in the entire office who got Xeroxed copies of the original engraved invitation. Neither of us felt compelled to respond (as our invitations were quite obviously an afterthought), forcing Janie to ask us if we would attend. We both told her we had other plans. She was visibly relieved.   Invite0703-01