Tuesday, February 07, 2006

And now, an etiquette rant.

OK, I know that members of my husband's family occasionally hang out over here reading stuff I write, so this is perhaps not the most tactful way for me to proceed. But yo, husband's family, in case you didn't know it, the wedding invitation we recently received has got to be the tackiest one I've ever seen. It's the kind of thing I would expect to read about in a Miss Manners column, not have show up with my bills, catalogs, and magazines.

Let me begin by describing our wedding invitations, which in my opinion, (the only one that matters around here) were Done Correctly.
  1. They were engraved on 100 percent cotton paper from Crane's.
  2. The wording was traditional. Only the bride's mother "requested the honour of your presence," (even though the bride's father was paying) because no hint of divorce is proper on a wedding invitation. The bride was referred to as Poppy Middlename Buxom, groom was referred to as Mr. Stud Middlename Muffin.
  3. The envelopes were addressed by the future bride herself, not a laser printer or a professional calligrapher.
  4. The invitations were mailed in two envelopes, the outer with the addressee's full name and address,
  5. The inner with just the full name.
  6. The tissues that protected the envelopes from possible ink smears were removed before mailing.
  7. There was no reply card.
  8. There was, however, a small card inviting the recipient to the reception.
  9. How boring! you're thinking. Not at all. I totally bucked tradition, man. The invitations were purchased at Neiman Marcus, not Tiffany's, because the Tiffany's sales associates treated me like a shoplifter until they realized the badly dressed young woman with the shabby raincoat and the big huge tote bag was there on wedding-related business and started kissing my ass a la the Julia Roberts shopping scene in Pretty Woman. But did they fool me? Not at all. And for years I boycotted Tiffanizzle's. Although it was OK if my husband shopped there.

OK, in the invitation I just received:

  1. The invitations and envelopes were neither thermoprinted nor engraved, but laser printed.
  2. The envelopes were pre-printed.
  3. Our address contained not one, but two typos.
  4. The bride and groom issued the invitation in their own names and added "and their parents," but didn't mention them by name.
  5. That Stud Muffin I Married and I were referred to my our first names in the body of the invitation, i.e., "Mr. Clueless Clunk and Miss Ima Tackyone cordially invite Stud and Poppy," etc.
  6. The wording was ... creative.
  7. There was a reply card.
  8. The reply card offered a choice of entrées.
  9. The envelope also contained an invitation to the rehearsal dinner.
  10. AND
  11. There were two little square notices included to the effect that the bride and groom had registered for gifts at Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn.

Now, really. When did that nonsense start? My usual reaction to receiving a wedding invitation is to nose around and find out where--if anywhere--the bride registered for gifts. Then I always buy something from the list. I've been a bride who has received a lot of random stuff, even though I registered at three stores, and I remember what it was like to be really, really poor and surrounded by casserole dishes in six different patterns, none of which I picked.

That memory still sears, even 17 years later. So I always get what I know the bride wants. Sometimes, for the right bride, I also get something else. For example, I bought one bride the Wedgwood platter she wanted, but I also got an old leather traveling bar at a rummage sale, cleaned it up, and stocked it with the stuff you need to make Old Fashioneds. Which turned out to be perfect for them, because they took a road trip and went to Nashville for their honeymoon.

See? I admit I'm almost morbidly traditional, but I have no objection to buying people what they want. Lord knows I didn't want the six casserole dishes or the lucite tray, ice bucket, and collins glasses with the cute pattern of shells that some old lady friend of my mother's bought at Ye Olde Gifte Shoppe in Wellesley, Massachusetts, or the lamp shaped like a covered wagon.
But including notices from the stores in your wedding invitation? Why not just fucking take my ATM card and help yourself to the funds?


  1. I hate it when people include registry info, but am kinda indifferent on most other things. I usually just figure that they didn't want to pay out the nose to make it perfect, which, fine. HOWEVER. THROW OUT THE DAMN TISSUE! How did that come to be a sign of class? It's effing tissue! SO tacky.

    I think my priorities may be skewed.

  2. Dude, my mom just received an invitation to a bridal shower for my cousin's fiancee (which is halfway across the country from where we live, and they knew before sending it that my mom would NOT be attending) and they stuck those registry cards in there! In the SHOWER INVITATION! I told her not to send anything at all, just on general priciples.

    I won my wedding invitations at one of those bridal fairs. I can't remember anything about them except that they were free. I did hand-address the envelopes, though.

  3. Wow, other than using "honor" and not "honour" (because, Iberics that we are, we still haven't gotten over that whole Armada thing) and using the name of both TFBIM's parents, we had the same damned wedding invitation.

    The dowry just went down, like, 30%.


    P.S. This is why Poppy is THE best of the well-bred.

  4. Badger--somehow putting gift orders in a shower invitation doesn't strike me as quite as heinous. Maybe because it's clear that a shower is all about gifts, unlike, say, a marriage.

    Joke--Hey, you could have even gotten away with writing the invitation in Spanish. And Mr. and Mrs. Babe's parents' names are supposed to appear together, unless (as in the case of my parents) they are not appearing together themselves. BTW I hope and pray that Mr. and Mrs. Babe are still together and that all is hunky-dory in SoFla.

  5. Well, you know, if you don't leave that tissue thingy in there, how will people know that you were Klassy enough to have the tissue thingy?

    We eloped. No invitations.

  6. thank god my cousin seems to be doing things correctly...
    I was young when I got married but we erred on the side of formality and did Tiffany invites etc.

    the other thing that kills me is when my shower invitation is addressed to
    Mrs. Black Bird
    there is no Mrs. Black Bird in my world,
    it should be
    Mrs. K Bird
    although I will admit that being
    Mrs. My Husband's first name
    is very very old fashioned, it is also correct...
    so, you are
    Mrs. Stud Middlename Muffin(-Buxom)

  7. I didn't have the dosh to do Tiffany or Crane wedding invitations the first time I got married, but the rest was done the way you described, sans tissue and registry cards.

    Of course, that marriage blew up in spectacular fashion so when I did it again, we just eloped and got married under a willow tree in the Public Gardens.

  8. My sister's new mother-in-law investigates HOW MUCH THE MEAL AT THE WEDDING RECEPTION COSTS and then buys something off the registry in that price range or gives them that amount of cash.
    My sister (in full-on bridezilla mode which included uttering, "Well, I AM the bride!" on more than one occasion) was telling me how WONDERFUL and brilliant of an idea this was.
    (Oh, and the tissue was in her invitation as well.)

    I have concluded that I am adopted.

  9. wait, wait...no reply card? How do you know if people are coming? I didn't MEAN to err, I swear...I was a child bride. That's my excuse.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.