From the forums:
Well, four weeks before the wedding, when we still hadn’t received a wedding invitation, I started to think that our friends realized how expensive weddings really are and made tough decisions in their guest list. I was okay with this and last week (after still no invitation three weeks before), I had decided that I was still going to send a gift because we really do like this young couple and are genuinely happy for them.
Then, last night I get an instagram notification from the fiancée. It is a picture of the wedding invitation sent directly to me and a few other people. I don’t know if this is an invite, though the comments from the others are along the lines of “Yes, I’ll be there”.
The wedding is in two weeks and she sends an instagrammed picture of the invitation. I am just in awe — Instagrammed Invitations?!!?? My fiancé doesn’t see the big deal. He wants to go. First, as much as I hate the word tacky, this SCREAMS TACKY. But the tackiness put aside, I’m hurt. I feel like an after-thought, and I really do not want to go.
My questions are: 1. Would you go? 2. Would you just send a gift? 3. Would you neither send a gift nor attend? — Instagram Invited
I wouldn’t go to the wedding, and here’s why: you weren’t directly invited to it. You were sent a photo of an invitation posted on Instagram. I’m sorry, but a photo of an invitation that isn’t addressed to you is not an invitation to you. And for all you know, the people who replied to that post with comments that they would be attending the wedding might have been directly invited outside of Instagram. Maybe they received the paper invitation in the mail and hadn’t RSVPd yet and this post was serving as a reminder to them. Maybe they had been invited over email or invited via a phone call or even a text message. I mean, really: even a text message could count as a direct invitation if it was made to your or your fiancé’s phone and you were personally addressed. But a photo of an invitation that you are essentially tagged on is NOT an invitation. Maybe the intention behind directing you to a photo of the invitation was to invite you, but that isn’t clear. You could always ask for more clarification (but only do that if you have genuine interest in attending the wedding): “Hey, your invitation was beautiful. But I just wanted to clarify whether you meant to send the photo to me?” This is a non-intrusive question that doesn’t come right out and ask, “Hey, am I invited or not?” but still gets the message across.
If you don’t get clarification and if this non-invitation is your only inclination that you’re welcome to attend, do not go to the wedding. You can, however, send a gift. And since you already assumed you weren’t invited and were already planning to send a gift, I say go ahead and continue with that plan. I understand that your feelings are hurt, but you, as someone who is engaged and, I assume, actively planning a wedding, know that hard decisions about a guest list have to be made (you said so yourself), and you wouldn’t want your second or third-tier guests feeling bad that they couldn’t be invited with the first-tier group, would you? No! You’d hope people would understand that exclusion from your wedding isn’t always a true reflection of your regard for them and that sometimes compromises have to be made to appease family (who may be paying for the wedding) and to fit a budget.
Don’t judge your friends for not including you in the first round of invitations; judge them, if you want, for making you aware of that fact and for being so unclear on whether an invitation was meant to be extended at all. Or cut them some slack and chalk up the bad etiquette to having a lot on their plate and probably not having a lot of experience planning a wedding.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.
csp October 13, 2014, 8:43 am
LW – I love the way Wendy put this question. I had something like this happen. I had a sorority sister say that I was invited to her wedding and I was invited to her bachelorette party. Then our group was talking and everyone was invited to the shower but me. Then I never got an invitation. I did the exact same thing you did. I assumed it was a budget thing and I was ok with the situation. Then a week before her wedding, she called me in a panic saying she hadn’t heard from me. Basically, at some point, between the bachelorette party and the shower, I was taken off the list. I don’t believe it was an a list vs. b list thing. She very well might have sent and invitation or there was a mistake and it wasn’t sent. Check with her and see what is going on.
One other quick story. I had a 250 person wedding. One week before we sent out invitations and were pouring over the list, we realized my brother wasn’t on the list. MY BROTHER who was a groomsman at the wedding wasn’t on the list. Just saying.
Simonthegrey October 17, 2014, 12:33 pm
The invitations I sent out of state all made it to their locations safely. The invitations I sent to the town an hour away from us? At least a dozen never arrived. A few weeks before the wedding, when I hadn’t heard back from people that I expected to hear from, I sent a FB message…that was how I learned that the invites never made it. Obviously I didn’t want to drum up attendees, but these were people I had verbally invited and I felt horrible that they thought they had been dropped. It was a small wedding, but not that small.
So, it is possible your invite got lost. Maybe you were instagrammed as a reminder? It doesn’t hurt to reach out.
call-me-hobo October 13, 2014, 8:58 am
I think that being upset about being B-list or C-list is a little bit silly. I recently got married, and I had friends that I added on at a later date because some of the stuffy family members I HAD to invite decided that they weren’t going to come. I really think instead of focusing on what “tier” of friend you are, maybe just focus on the fact that they eventually DID have the room to include you, and wanted you there.
Maybe also dig deep and really think about if the fact that you are planning your own wedding right now has contributed to your feeling about the virtual invitation. When you get into the wedding frame of mind, especially if you are reading all the bridal magazines/manuals, you form some more rigid ideas about what is “right” for a wedding. I think that the fact that YOU would never do this for your own wedding maybe amplifies some of the hurt feelings you are currently having.
ktfran October 13, 2014, 9:27 am
So, my sister just commented the other day that she’s not receiving most of her RSVP cards, or she has been receiving them several weeks later. Like, my mom sent it in as soon as she got it and it took three weeks for my sister to get it.
Since the wedding is in less than two weeks, they’ve been calling people who haven’t RSVP’s. Many have said they sent the card in. My sister and her fiance haven’t seen them. They’ll probably get them all after the wedding.
I guess what I’m saying is maybe the instagram was a nudge for you to send in the RSVP? Maybe your invite truly got lost in the mail? I like the way Wendy phrased the question you can ask “Hey, your invitation was beautiful. But I just wanted to clarify whether you meant to send the photo to me?” It’s an easy, and not mean way, of finding out what the deal is.
As an aside, I don’t get half of my mail. Sometimes, it’s lost to never, never land. Most of the time, it’s delivered to the people who live above me.
ktfran October 13, 2014, 9:33 am
As another aside, I use to think it was rude to ask about invites…. but after hearing my sister’s tales, I’m not so sure.
She had asked our cousin, who is in college, to sing at the wedding. She had also meant to send this cousin her own invitation with a “and guest.” Well, my sister totally forgot and it was just sent to her mom’s house with the Mr. and Mrs. X and family. The cousin politely asked my sister if she could bring her boyfriend. Which was cool because it was meant to be so anyway.
Again, I guess I’ve finally realize that shit happens and in an already frazzled state, things are accidentally missed.
I’m finally putting my stringent etiquette rules behind me and thinking it’s ok to ask a question as long as it isn’t phrased as a demand or accusatory and as long as it’s done in a friendly, low key manner.
Portia October 13, 2014, 9:49 am
I also recently went about asking if I was invited to a wedding. My etiquette mind was screaming no, but it involved a trip to the other side of the country and with the amount of planning that required, I couldn’t just leave it to 6 weeks before or whenever people send out invites. Bassanio got a save-the-date from a cousin that was addressed only to him and he wanted to plan a longer trip together with me. As much as I love traveling with him, I said I wasn’t going to plan it with him only to find out I wasn’t invited to the wedding and had to entertain myself for a few days. Sure it was uncomfortable to get the answer, but we did it and now we get to plan this great trip together!
HmC October 13, 2014, 12:48 pm
That is the dumb thing about etiquette rules, as I’ve heard them. I mean I appreciate that people want to avoid being rude, but context matters and situations are rarely black and white yet people want to slap black and white rules on things.
Portia October 13, 2014, 9:39 am
I don’t know, I think that’s a cop out. Sure, get clarification or leave it as an excuse to not go, but it didn’t sound like it was sent to a ton of people and you were accidentally invited. If anything, I think it’s more plausible the couple was rounding up RSVPs (and actually I think that’s a great way to get the attention of people who use Instagram a lot to definitively respond if they haven’t yet).
Have all the feelings (obviously you’re allowed to feel how you feel), but like I said in the forum, think about whether you’re mad because of what they did or because in your own wedding planning you made a different choice about having a secondary list of invitees. Because there’s no right answer of how to do that: you’re going to hurt feelings no matter what in the wedding planning process. And please put this in perspective: you’re angry at someone for inviting you to their wedding. Strip out the etiquette questions and you’ve got that. If you still can’t put your feelings aside on this, don’t go, because that’s a terrible frame of mind to attend a wedding in.
fast eddie October 13, 2014, 9:08 am
Somewhere in a galaxy far far away wedding planing is done with a click on an icon and everything is perfect on the couples special day. Wendy’s right as usual that it was likely an oversight that you even got the instagram. Don’t make this about you, but the celebration of two friends dedicating their lives to each other. Put your reservations aside, send the gift and call to congratulate them.
scattol October 13, 2014, 10:34 am
How is someone supposed to have experience planning a wedding? Aren’t you supposed to plan your own wedding? Aren’t you supposed to get married only once? Isn’t that the definition of inexperienced? Isn’t that built into the whole wedding experience?
Addie Pray October 13, 2014, 10:44 am
Yes…. and that’s what made Wendy’s sentence funny – legitimately funny!
Portia October 13, 2014, 10:55 am
Lol, the only person in my life with wedding experience who is not already married is my friend who happens to be an event planner and has actually planned other people’s weddings. Obviously her wedding is going to be the most spectacularly planned event and I’m kind of excited to see what she does…
I’ve also basically given her free reign to plan my entire wedding, if I have one. If someone has an issue with something or a suggestion, I’d refer them straight to her. Because I have no interest in gaining “wedding planning experience”…
Addie Pray October 13, 2014, 10:48 am
I agree with Wendy except I’m not as certain as she is that the Instagram photo directed at you, LW, was not an invitation. I think at best it’s really…. unclear. I’d ask. But I’d ask in a tactful way so it doesn’t make her feel bad if, for example, she accidentally copied you but didn’t intend to. If she sent it to you on purpose but didn’t intend to invite you, then, yeah, I’d say that’s tacky. But I wouldn’t take it personally at all if you weren’t invited or if you were invited late because they had more room. Think about all the people in your life from a long time ago through the present and there’s just so many people, it’s really impossible to invite everyone you like.
jottino October 13, 2014, 11:17 am
I was invited to a wedding 2 weeks out via text message. To be fair, they asked for my address 3 weeks out, but I never got the invitation. They said “You must have told us the wrong address.” I definitely did not lol.
Then they got it back a week later, return-to-sender. They wrote the wrong address. So they texted, “Oops. Well, you’re invited. We’re not sending it again. Get the info from XXXX (our mutual friend, also invited last-minute).”
BUT ANYWAY. I would’ve just commented on the picture, “Nice invitations! Best wishes.” and left it at that.
findingtheearth October 13, 2014, 11:24 am
I am in the camp that says you should tactfully ask. Mistakes happen. Invites get lost. People get tagged in the wrong photo. Also, with social media, so many people becoming more lax on proper etiquette and appropriate invitations.
HmC October 13, 2014, 12:28 pm
“Hey, your invitation was beautiful. But I just wanted to clarify whether you meant to send the photo to me?” This is a non-intrusive question that doesn’t come right out and ask, “Hey, am I invited or not?” but still gets the message across.
Yeah that is perfect! I think if LW was tagged on purpose then it probably is an invitation (because that would be super weird to tag her on purpose if she isn’t) BUT it may have been an error and you can clear it up by asking about THAT. This is why Wendy makes the big bucks.
Also- only ask if you would actually go, which it sounds like you don’t want to anyway?
Lucy October 13, 2014, 1:21 pm
I think you should ask nicely if they meant to invite you. Last time I got married, there were a few people who didn’t receive their invitations (and we sent out <100). A couple of them were eventually returned to me in the post over three months after being sent… and they were addressed correctly. The USPS is a godawful shitshow – just last month they found some dude in my old BK neighborhood has been hoarding mail instead of delivering it since 2005.
ktfran October 13, 2014, 2:07 pm
That’s why, since both couple were talking about the wedding, I think it may have been a case of a lost invite. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if the instagraming the invite was their quirky way of saying, hey, RSVP stat, please.
Or the LW could have been a b-listed.
something random October 13, 2014, 2:06 pm
WWS. The whole point of etiquette was to be courteous. But I think it was easier to follow when most people played by the same handbook and rules went without saying. Now there are so many perspectives that being polite seems to carry the potential for a lot of miscommunication. I kind of feel if someone creates an awkward situation (like that guy who was verbally, drunkenly, invited to wedding), that it isn’t unfair to clarify the situation with that person even if being so direct might be awkward and therefore uncourteous. I think one should try to minimize the discomfort as much as possible. Wendy’s suggestion did that beautifully.
Rae October 13, 2014, 3:54 pm
I admit that I wrote for advice while the feelings were still fresh and though I was initially hurt by the instagram photo I was never angry towards my friends. I also did not consider the possibility of a lost invitation as has been suggested. Either way I started thinking in the event that this is an actual invitation, the worse case scenario is that we were invited last minute (for whatever reason that may be) and upon clarification on whether we really are invited, still have to decide whether I will let the method, time frame, and my own preconceived etiquette guidelines stop me from attending a friend’s wedding. Btw thank you Wendy. I never even thought to just ask & that is by far the simplest way to clear up the confusion (I have a feeling those etiquette rules I thought I didn’t follow are ingrained deeper in me than I knew -haha).
Anyway, once I clarify with the Bride (and I’m really hoping now it is an actual invite) I will definitely be attending. If it isn’t then I will still send the gift as I wanted to do. I don’t foresee this straining our friendship regardless the outcome. You guys have been great at helping me see other ways of looking at this. Thank you.
– itsrae (LW)