weddings make life complicated
August 19, 2006 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Wedding Etiquettefilter - was I invited or not? what should I do about it?

Okay, here is the deal. I was accidently instrumental in a couple's love-at-first sight meeting. I am quite friendly with both parties, but would more accurately describe them as good colleagues in the same industry. I was emailed asking me for my address for the invite to the wedding. The wedding date came and went. No big deal, I thought, because, hey, weddings are expensive, we're not that close, it's all cool. But then I ran into them the other day, I gave them congratulations etc etc. very nicely. The couple was happy and told me how at the wedding they told the story of how they met (including my part in it). They seemed wistful that I did not attend. Now, oops, I'm thinking. Oh dear, perhaps I got an invite and it got lost or in my flakiness I lost it? The bottom line is that I was not hurt that I was not invited, but perhaps they are hurt because I did not come. I don't really want to ask, because what if I wasn't invited? (a reasonable assumption on my part, as they are not wealthy...) But I don't want them to think I didn't want to come and didn't bother to rsvp. And we're all in the same business, so my business rep is at stake, and I genuinely like the couple. What is an appropriate action without making anyone feel bad/worse/embarrassed? I can afford 50 bucks or so for something. Oh, in hindsight the fact that it is a same-sex wedding makes it perhaps more glaring that I did not attend (as if I am anti same-sex marriage - which I am not. Common where I live and in my industry.)
posted by typewriter to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Um, just ask? I'm not clear on what you're so afraid of.

I hate the weddings have to be automatically complicated. It's just a misunderstanding and I think you're overthinking it. What is the worst that can happen? You get the confirmation that you weren't invited which you already suspect?

Just be straightforward, specific, and honest.
posted by scazza at 10:51 AM on August 19, 2006

Just send them a link to your question.
posted by matty at 10:54 AM on August 19, 2006

I can't answer your question directly but I can offer this anecdote from my own wedding:

We sent out about 50 invitations. All the exact same size, weight, postage and mailed on the same day. We invited one couple, my childhood chum and his girlfriend, by sending them each their own invite. My buddy's g/f never got her invite.

So we saw them at a party a few weeks before the wedding when she sheepishly asked "Um, am I going?".

It is more than possible that your invite got lost.
posted by shino-boy at 10:57 AM on August 19, 2006

I use the USPS for sending items I've sold on a very regular basis and have been doing so for a decade. In that time, not a single piece of mail I have sent has been lost. That said, there have been numerous times when the post office has returned packages that customers never received, including packages that had been mislabeled, damaged by automated handling machines, and in a few cases, missing the original contents. As long as the return address was affixed the package and legible, the USPS always returns the package, though in one case the process took several months.

That said, the post office does lose mail. Your local postmaster has a space for mail that can't be delivered or returned. If you suspect this might be the problem, a visit to the post office might result in a wayward invite.

To answer your question about what to do, buy them a gift. Don't get something elaborate, just something appropriate. Give it to them with the explanation that you would have given them a gift at the wedding, but you didn't receive an invitation. Furthermore, don't beat around the bush about your apprehensions; tell them. Lastly, tell them how happy you are to have had a guest role in their relationship and wish them well. I don't see a lot of hard feelings about the matter given the facts you've presented.
posted by sequential at 11:13 AM on August 19, 2006

Invite them to dinner at your place and perhaps get them a small gift. Tell them you wanted to do something for their marriage and if they say something like "We wish you could have been at the wedding." just explain the situation to them.
posted by Yorrick at 11:23 AM on August 19, 2006

When we sent out our invites several of them got lost. Luckily our friends just asked us whether they were invited or not and we were able to quickly send out replacement invitations.
posted by bshort at 11:23 AM on August 19, 2006

Scazza, the worst that can happen is that these nice people could think that typewriter might have received their wedding invitation and ignored it. But typewriter didn't do that, and wouldn't do that. And typewriter also doesn't want them to be concerned that he/she might feel hurt or offended once they find out the invitation was never sent. Not the end of the world, but typewriter likes these people AND has to see them professionally for the next few decades.

Manny's got it. Say what you said here. And Scazza is right, that it's too bad this stuff is fraught with unspoken meaning -- but that's the reality. Just clear the air. If you feel awkward or silly bringing it up, say so. Trust me, they don't want you to go to your grave thinking they invited everyone but you.
posted by wryly at 11:31 AM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

It sounds doubtful that if they didn't invite you that it was because they didn't want you there. Most likely, it would have been because they wanted to keep it small. So if you tell them straight up what happened, they'll probably tell you either that they did send you the invitation and it was lost, or that they really wish they could have invited you, but just couldn't (and they'll probably be telling the truth). So it might cause a slight bit of awkwardness, but not as much as if they just didn't like you and need to think of an excuse for not inviting you. If it turns out it was lost, then you also have your genuine heartfelt excuse as to why you didn't come. So either way, nobody has to be put in the awkward situation of making up an excuse that is not true, so I don't think you need to feel too embarrassed about the situation. It beats the embarrassment of just continuing on and possibly letting them think that you don't approve of their marriage and possibly hurting your professional and personal relationships with them.

Also, I think inviting them over for dinner and giving them a gift then sounds like a good idea.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 11:44 AM on August 19, 2006

I guess I have no problems asking about it if I was sure that I was invited-and-invite-got-lost. But I am not. It is still possible that there was no room for me at the wedding. Then by asking - wouldn't that embarrass the couple? In a way, I would rather get them a gift and let them think I flaked out re: their wedding than ask them. How cowardly is that!?! (It's a bit of our relationship regarding work. I would be considered very junior to one person, but perhaps mildly senior to the other...)

I think I'll do what Yorrick suggests. I'll start with a gift that I give in person, and see how the conversation goes....We're not close, so acknowledging their wedding will either open up the question or sufficiently undo anything unspoken/unmeaning, I think.

Hijacking my own thread ;) What should I get them? They are kinda anti-consumerist, arty, live in their own home, 2 puppies, do yoga, ride bikes...
posted by typewriter at 11:57 AM on August 19, 2006

Do you have a friend in common who was at the event? Perhaps you could enlist him to bring it up casually with the happy couple "you know, I kind of thought I'd see typewriter at your wedding, do you know why he/she didn't make it?"
posted by adamrice at 12:52 PM on August 19, 2006

It's been my experience that most pet owners will welcome gifts for the pets. My fiance and I registered for toys for our cats.

Perhaps funky, hand-painted food and water bowls? That would fit in with the puppies and the arty.
posted by christinetheslp at 1:31 PM on August 19, 2006

I assumed that I wasn't invited to a wedding for space considerations. Turns out that even though the couple had my current address, they used an old address. It's possible they flaked out when they addressed the invite (or other such error) and have no idea why they never heard from you.

Just straighten it out with them, acknowledging that you feel awkward.
posted by desuetude at 2:33 PM on August 19, 2006

You stated it quite well, here. Get a wedding card, and write a note saying that while you didn't expect to be invited, you would never have blown them off if you were invited. Say you didn't receive an invitation, but you got the impression that they might have expected you there. Tell them you appreciate their friendship, and would not want to jeopardize it. Try for a bemused tone.
posted by theora55 at 6:54 PM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

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