Last month I got married. It was absolutely, truly one of the happiest days of my life, and I had an amazing time. True, many of the guests left before the dance music started blaring, but we had decided to have a small wedding and when you invite such a diverse group of people, it’s to be expected. We went on a (very short, but very fun) honeymoon in Grand Bend, Ontario, came home, and returned to normal life.
There was one thing about the day that bothered me, though. It bothered me a lot. Okay, two things. The first thing is simple: there were many people who we invited who didn’t bother to reply. I mean, I took the time to address and stamp the envelopes. I made the invitation myself, and then I took the time to address and stamp the reply envelope and mail every single one of them. All in all, it took me about two weeks. My husband and I worked really hard on our guest list. As we were having the small wedding that I mentioned earlier, we agonized over our guest list and managed to contain it to our nearest and dearest. If we took the time to invite you, you had touched our lives in some important way and we wanted you to be there to share in our joy. So why, for the love of Pete, could you not be bothered to reply? I don’t get it. I mean, it wasn’t exactly rocket science, people. You read the invitation, decide if you can come or not, check the little box that says “accepts” or “declines”, stick it in the already stamped, already addressed envelope and stick it in your mailbox. It’s not hard people. Yet we had about 30 people who just couldn’t be bothered to reply. It’s rude, people, it’s just plain rude.
So, that’s off my chest and we come to my second issue. There were some people who actually took the time to fill out the little reply card that, yes, they and their date would be there. They mailed back the little card, we counted them in the numbers, made place cards for them, and placed favours beside their plate. However, 15 or so people just couldn’t be bothered to show up. And they didn’t bother to give us a good excuse. Or send a gift. I understand that gifts are not required at weddings, however if you can’t be bothered to show up, but gladly allow the bride and groom to pay for two dinners that won’t be eaten, at least have the courtesy to send a gift that covers the cost of your meal. Now, I’m not talking about people who have a good excuse for not coming, who call the bride or groom ahead of time and let them know that something unforeseen came up at the last minute. I’m talking about the people who you are expecting right until their places remain empty during your reception. There was one person who was at our ceremony, with her boyfriend, who had replied that they would be at the reception. They weren’t there and I assumed that something important had come up. She sent me a message that her boyfriend had gotten sick and that they spent the rest of the afternoon at home. I didn’t believe her, but decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. However, I later learned from another mutual friend that she and her boyfriend had ended up spending the rest of our wedding day at a bar, which is obviously more important than coming to a wedding reception. And they didn’t even have the courtesy to send a gift.
I was especially angry after finding this out, and I began ranting to several of my friends, most of whom were married within the past couple of years. They, at least, understood, and all of them had stories of their own about people who just couldn’t be bothered to show up when it came down to their weddings. One of my friends had to be restrained by his new wife from sending these AWOL guests a bill for their uneaten food. Although his wife wouldn’t let him do it, it would have served them right.
I’m appalled at how rude people are in general these days. My wedding showed me the true extent of how rude people can be. My mother, the giver of wise advice, told me that I should allow myself some time to be angry about the absentees and then I should get over it. Or, one of my favourite expressions, “put on your big girl panties and deal with it”. So, consider the matter closed, and consider my big girl panties officially on. But people, PLEASE, have some manners. Reply to formal invitations when it is expected of you. It’s not hard. And if you reply that you’ll be there, be there. If something comes up, and you absolutely cannot make it, please have the courtesy to let the bride or groom know (an e-mail takes two minutes to write!) and if you can, send a small gift to cover the cost of your uneaten food. The bride and groom will thank you for it. I know that I would have.