Thursday, June 17, 2010

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time...

Not only am I a wedding professional, but I have been invited to my share of weddings over the years. I have a couple of pet peeves I'd like to share in the hopes that I might open the eyes of some brides as to how your guests might receive some of those well-intentioned ideas you have.

1. Who came up with the idea of having the guests at a bridal shower pre-address their own thank you notes? I mean, really, they have been invited to this party for the sole purpose of having them contribute a gift to the future household of the bride. Is it really so much trouble for the bride to write the addresses on the envelopes as she hopefully sends a personalized note of gratitude to each attendee for their generosity? The next step can only be asking the guests to write the note themselves, "Dear Aunt Brenda, Thank you for the dishes I picked out on a registry and you paid for. Love," and leaving it blank for the bride to sign and seal. Perhaps we can save the bride a stamp by asking the guests to bring that, too?

2. At what other kind of party can you invite people to attend, therefore putting you in the role of "the host" and actually tell people that you are providing food for them, but if they are thirsty, they'll need to buy their own drinks? It has become so common to have a cash bar that brides and grooms have forgotten what they are actually asking people to do: come to their party and fend for themselves!

3. Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride was obviously scrimping and saving, cutting corners everywhere she could, only to walk down the aisle in a $7,000 Vera Wang gown? I have! I remember standing in line at an appetizer buffet for 45 minutes, waiting with the other 350 guests to gain access to the ritz crackers, cheese spread crock and cut up veggies while discussing how beautiful the bride looked in her gown. Now understand, I am not looking down on people that have realistic budgets and cannot afford caviar and foie de gras for everyone, that was certainly me at my wedding! Just that everyone has choices to make when deciding where to splurge and where to save, and it might not go over so well to have your captive hungry guests feeling the pinch of your wallet, and watching from below in serfdom with their $3 coke and carrot sticks while the Lady of the Land floats past in her Vera Wang. I'm just saying.

4. Or how about weddings where the ceremony takes place at like 10:00am, but the reception is at 3:00? Now you are in a town you don't know with four hours to kill, completely dressed up, and unsure whether you should grab a bite since, after all, it is lunch time and you need something to do, but not wanting to ruin your appetite for the wedding? Etiquette books tell us that a reception should follow the ceremony by no more than an hour in order to be called a wedding reception. So what was this couple thinking? Probably of themselves and their desire to have their ceremony at this particular location and a reception at that one, never mind that they weren't available at the times or date that the couple wanted. So they figured, no biggie! The guests can entertain themselves!

5. And my absolute biggest wedding guest pet peeve: since when is it ever appropriate to put a reference to gifts on a printed wedding invitation? "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith invite you to the wedding of their daughter Jane Elizabeth to Mr. Horatio Baldazar at 4:00 on June 17th, two thousand ten at Our Ladies of Bring Us Stuff. The Couple is Registered at Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel. RSVP by May 1." and the absolute trifecta of bad-manners? A printed wedding announcement sent before the actual event (faux pas #1) with a reference to gifts (faux pas #2) that uses the term "greenback wedding" (and #3)! For those of you that have never been invited to a "greenback wedding", this is a wedding in which the couple is requesting that you bring them money. That's right, like a charitable organization, but without the tax-deductible benefit, they are making a plea for funds, often to pay off the wedding they could not afford in the first place.

I don't mean to sound negative, and everyone who knows me knows I love weddings. I am looking forward to a family wedding this summer, as a matter of fact. But the sense of entitlement that has become part of the culture blows my mind, "I know I'm on a tight budget, but I deserve to look like a princess on my wedding day!" (end result, situation #3 above), or "I don't really have enough money to get the wedding I have seen on Platinum Weddings, but it's my day, so I'll find a way to pay for it" (end result, situation #5 above) and even, "but it's MY wedding and I REALLY want my reception to be at this venue. If they aren't available at an appropriate time for my ceremony, we'll just have to make everyone wait!" (end result, situation #4).

C'mon people. Really.

Leave me a comment about your wedding pet peeves, I love them!


~Milena~ said...

#1-Totally totally agree. It's lazy, lazy, lazy selfish-ness. My sister had a generic Thank You card printed up for her wedding, with pictures, that has a generic "Thank You" note printed on it. The only thing she had to write was the address on the envelope.

#2 and #3 I also agree with, but I don't have anything to add that you didn't already say.

#4 - I'm actually considering doing something along these lines, but only because my father wants to invite a ton of people and we want a small wedding. So we're hoping to compromise by having a small ceremony (close family and friends only) and then taking our time having lunch with them and taking pictures and whatnot. Then doing the larger reception later. But this is kind of a different thing since we wouldn't be leaving guests to just cool their jets for several hours.

#5 - A friend of mine who got married last summer included a little note instead of a registry card that said something along the lines of 'Since we have lived together for so long, we have everything we need. If you feel you must give a gift, we would appreciate help with our honeymoon.'

And my pet peeve - people who are so obviously focused on the wedding and not so much on the marriage - you know the people who do everything over the top, just to prove they have the "best" wedding.

Madison said...

Oh my God we are so in synch on this one! Not so much on #1. I really don't mind helping with the addressing because I have had to write out all those thank you notes and I think self addressing at a shower is fine it only takes a second and it helps soooo Much.

But #2, #3, #4 and #5 I am totally with you. I get it this is your big day and you feel entitled, but for God sakes act like a good host and take care of your guests first. Show some class not how spoiled you are. And for the record, gifts are optional not required so don't act as if you are entitled to them.

Fiorella, one thing you forgot...the B list unvitation. Don't give me two weeks notice of your wedding and expect me to send a gift since with so little notice I can't possibly make it. If I wasn't close enough to you to make the A list, then you are not close enough to me to warrant a gift in my absence.

Susan Tipton said...

Wow, I had no idea.

Bad taste abounds!