The whole reason we have a crop of anti-[wedding]-establishment blogs is because the stuff that is getting institionalised is growing. More things keep getting added into weddings. I guess this is how cultures evolve and forms get established. We’re certainly dealing with a different set of circumstances than say, a generation ago (how much easier would this entire thing be if most of my people lived in the same city? Jeez). And I’m all about adapting the institution of weddings to reflect the fact that our lives work differently. But sometimes the changes in wedding culture make things worse, instead of better. Like freakin’ save-the-dates.
First off, their acronym in wedding blogdom is STDs. Have you sent out your STDs yet? Snort! Ahem, continuing on…
Did you know that when you invite people to somethng, it’s polite to give them an out? The out is that they have other plans. That is THE acceptable excuse to use if you don’t want to attend something. Oh, except also you can say that you “won’t be able to make it”. Those are your two options. It’s very rude to let on that you just can’t be arsed, yknow? So when you’re inviting someone, you need to spare them the awkwardness of insulting you, and essentially give them an opportunity to say they already have other plans. But also you need to give them notice.
This is why, for a party at your house, you invite people say 10 days before – a nice period of time when most people won’t yet have that night blocked out, but it’s reasonable that they might. Works a treat. But weddings are more important. Plenty of people might want to make sure they can come, so they need more notice than 10 days. And this is why ettiquette guidelines say the guests should receive their invitations 6 weeks prior to the wedding. It’s a concession to the fact that weddings are a big deal.
But these days it’s worse. Damn our freaking international lives (I miss my family). If people want to come, 6 weeks is not nearly enough time! Even 6 months is barely enough when it comes to organising leave, booking flights etc. You don’t want to know how many people are emailing me going, We need to know the date already! (Aaaagh, I know you do! I feel bad I can’t tell you yet! I’m on it! I’ll let you know asap, I promise!)
So when it’s going to involve extensive travel and plan making, you need to give people A LOT of advance notice. Like ideally a year probably. Here’s the delicate part though: it’s too early to actually invite them, because that early on, they don’t have an out. They can’t say they’ve got prior plans. They can’t say that they’d love to be there but can’t make it – because look, you’ve given them a year to save up for it! That’s why we need STDs (heehee!), something that functions less as an invitation, and more as a kind of announcement, that doesn’t require any personal response.
And how do we make announcements these days? Why, with facebook of course. And group emails, so deliciously impersonal. I’m going to go with the email, to make sure the right people, and only the right people, see it. Here’s how announcements about big events in one’s life are not communicated this century: with specially designed little postcards, fridge magnets or other such gimmicky crap, featuring a picture of yourself and a cutesy saying like “Eat, drink and be married”. When someone has a baby, do they specially design and post out little cards? When someone is moving to Singapore, do they send out magnets with their name and new address or do they email relevant people and then write it in their status on facebook?
The conundrum that gives rise to the need for STDs (snigger, it never gets old) is relatively recent, and the issue of how to address it has not yet been fully resolved. It’s interesting to watch how weddings are in a state of flux about this one. STDs are not yet fully institutionalised, lots of people don’t hardly know about them, are confused by them and RSVP to them. The option I’ve seen much more often is to simply send the invitation itself really early on, but as discussed above, that has its issues. The wedding world has enough random crap, and it’s laughably unaffordable already. I feel like we need to fight back against the STDs (zinger!!) whilst we still have the chance to prevent them from becoming non-optional.
No STDs for me! (GOLD.)