Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dear Miss Manners,

Being in (or approaching, ahem) our 40s and all, my husband Alfonso (Al for short) and I don't know all that many single people anymore and therefore have only attended one wedding together as a couple in nearly four years, and that one was for my dear Southern-to-her-very-core friend Kristin, whose wedding, from start to finish, was the very portrait of elegance, dignity and refinement. You'd love Kristin. She wears a pocket Emily Post Reference Guide carefully pinned to the inside of her foundational undergarment, even though I feel confident she had its contents in their entirety memorized long before she took her first step (in a tiny pair of Pappagallos, no doubt!) If ever I want to do a thing the most genteel and seemly way, I need only look to Kristin for the ultimate example of propriety. In fact, I'll readily admit that just the counting of her as one of my truest friends seems to have elevated my standards for civility, which may result in my being a bit of an etiquette snob simply by association. Or at least Old Fashioned.

Which is why I'm wondering if my flabbergastion (flabbergastedness? flabbergastery?) over an invitation we received in the mail today to another couple's wedding might be unwarranted. Maybe the rules have changed for wedding invitation etiquette? But I'll submit the details to you and see if you come to the same conclusions I have about the new twists this happy couple's taken along the road to their upcoming nuptials.

First and foremost, let me point out in the bride's defense that our association with the happy couple is through the groom, who has worked closely with Al for almost 4 years. This invitation appears, ahem, to be a product of the work of said groom, judging by the hastily scrawled lettering on the outside and inside envelopes and the incongruous selection of three stamps bearing images of 1) a large, curly-horned ram, 2) a snowflake and 3) Navajo jewelry.

The outside envelope, the one bearing the motley collection of postage, reads Al & Maghen Surname.

Whoa. I hope they don't have place cards at the wedding.

Is Megan still that unusual a name?

On the inside envelope is Mr. and Mrs. Surname.

The most unique part, though, are the two little chits of paper that came riffling out onto my lap when I pulled everything out of the inner envelope.

The first appears to have been printed by macy's. It has perforated edges like maybe it was torn from a sheet of multiple little cards. It reads

macy's wedding & gift registry
Presenting the wedding registry of
Bride's Name &
Groom's Name
Gift preferences available
in-store, online at (address)
or call (an 800 number.)

The second appears to have been printed on typing paper and cut with scissors. A homemade little notice, announcing

We are also registered at Crate & Barrel as
Bride's Name and Groom's Name
For your convenience you can
View our Registry at:
(online address)

Hmm... Do you think they're expectin' a gift?

Any blunders or faux pas here?


Apparently, Mahgen

What about y'all? Have you witnessed or experienced any real-live Wedding Bloopers lately?


  1. Good Gracious! It would appear that your dear friend, although she's a real sweet girl and all, has been abducted and replaced by a Yankee or similar. Please contact the authorities before it happens to more of us...

  2. Thankfully I've spoken with her lately and she's still quite safe and sound and Southern! This invitation came from another couple... indeed, Yankees (or... worse!) ;)

  3. Can we say tacky?! So are you and Al going? If so, we need to here all about it.

  4. Oops, my bad for reading too fast and with distractions, to boot! I'm so glad that your friend is safe and sound. And I second Nicki's comment--we must have the undoubtedly juicy details of the nuptials.


  5. Oh my! Unfortunately, many couple don't know that this is NOT OKAY, because the stores where they register tell them to include the inserts. I'm a Yankee, but I still know basic etiquette!

  6. I have seen tiny little miniscule mentions of registries on shower invites-- but NEVER dropping out of a wedding invite like ticker tape.

    Oh my.

    You'd better come armed with giftage.

    Or else.


  7. Maybe it's because I'm a Yankee or maybe it's because I'm of a different generation but I wouldn't color myself surprised to see that. I do believe that there is a difference between good manners and etiquette, though. I'm sure that your friends weren't thinking "They better buy us a gift!" I would bet that they are thinking that most people would get gifts and rather than get 15 toasters they would let people know that there is a way to check and see what they've received and what they actually need. Now, I personally would never do that because I hate (HATE!) asking for things. Maybe I feel this way because I've never really bought into the whole idea of a traditional wedding and I don't actually understand the point of fancy invitations, floofy gowns and lots of people. I got married wearing pants in my vrey own living room. How's that for tacky?

  8. I don't think that's tacky at all, Jenn. I bet it was romantic and perfect for you and K. And my guess is that you're not the only one who feels the way you do about etiquette and floofiness. I'm glad you're representing an additional point of view... that's why I wanted to post about this. I can be pretty (thoughtlessly) old school and sometimes my viewpoints need refreshing. :)

  9. Um, I've got lots of Yankee friends, in fact, I might even be considered one myself by now (gasp!) but I've never seen the likes of THAT.

    On the other hand, it sure is nice to know where to go to find a registry because I hate buying a gift for someone when I don't know them well enough to know what they want. Still, word of mouth is probably the best method of getting that information around, dontcha think?

  10. I should have mentioned that I'm not upset at all (after reading my last comment over, I sounded a little cranky). Also.. the misspelling of your name - that's not so great. It would have only taken a minute to check and make sure they had it right. Especially since your names is spelled the "right" (& easy!) way. I went to high school with a girl and hers was spelled Meaghaen. Fun fun.

    P.S. I can't believe I spelled "very" incorrectly. Shame on me!

  11. I've had gift registry cards fall out of at least 2 wedding invitations that we've received. Don't these people realize that those cards are only supposed to be used for the shower invitations, if you use them at all?

    The most disastrous wedding invitation I got though was for a friend indulging his fiancee in a Vegas wedding officiated by Elvis. There was no tissue paper separating the cards inside. The envelope for the reply card was sans-stamps. There was no inside envelope containing the invitation. And they sent it to Mr. & Ms. MaidenName even though they had attended our wedding 2 years previous.

  12. I can't help on this end. I haven't attended a wedding other than my own in over 10 years - everyone I know has "R-U-N-N-O-F-T" to get married...perhaps to avoid dealing with this very situation!

  13. *tsk tsk*

    I'm gonna side with you and Mistresses of Manners everywhere when I say that even though this is becoming a more commonly chosen practice, it's still tacky. Like T said, those little cards are really meant for showers (although I still like to see a darling, unique flat card shower invitation with the registry information printed on the invite), but I am afraid that, as others have mentioned, the stores themselves are encouraging couples in this uncouth addition to the wedding invitations.

    The reason I personally view this as tacky is because traditionally, the wedding invitation sets the mood and tone for the ceremony and reception. To include registry information with the invitation speaks of "Hope ya'll can come, and if ya do, don't forget a gift!" I agree it's much easier to shop for a couple from their registry, but I stand by the idea that word of mouth (or even a link in an email to the couple's site or something high-tech like that) is much more appropriate.

    Wow, Maghen, I had a lot more to say on that than I ever imagined! ;)

  14. I have to agree with Jenn - being from the midwest myself (does that automatically make me a Yankee?), I'm sure that they don't care whether you bring a gift or not, but they were just trying to help out the people who did want to get them something that they really wanted/needed. Maybe this bride doesn't have a Mom to help her know better, or maybe she's trying to do it the "right" way but listened to wrong advice.

  15. I'm afraid I'm a born and bred Yankee! It would seem that quite a few people need to go back to the charming Southern ways! (I do appreciate southern manners)I have not had registries fall out of invites, but I know it is happening more often. If your name was something really unusual, I could understand the mispelling but Megan seems straightforward to me! I guess you'll just have to forgive them and assume that no one ever taught them better. :(

  16. Hmm... Do you think they're expectin' a gift? This was my thought EXACTLY! xoxo Julie

  17. Oh, be still my heart! Being a southern woman and a "Kristen" to boot, this makes me reach for my smelling salts! First, The outer envelope should read, Mr & Mrs Surname. The inner envelope should read Al & Megan. No mention of gifts should ever be anywhere near anything sent out by the bride or the groom.

    The shower is usually given by friends, not the bride, so it's ok.

    Not having someone to help is no defense. There are books and websites galore.

    I cannot wait until the nuptials for your report.

  18. I'm born and bred in the South, and I would have gotten a laugh out of an invitation like that one, for sure. Actually, I DID get a laugh... :)

    I have one funny story. One wedding I attended (yes, here in the deep south), had blue and white balloons in the reception hall, and a cake that was hard to describe... multi-layered, but not one on top of the other. No, there were little stairs connecting one sheet cake to the other, and all the cakes together took up most of the table. There were also little water fountains and plastic people walking on them. ?
    I've always remembered that wedding with a smile. My kids would love to have a birthday party like that! I guess it was sweet, really... the bride couldn't have been happier, so that was what mattered in the end.

    But one must never, never let your husband address the envelopes. ;)

  19. Well, I'm a Yankee, and I didn't even register because I felt like it was like asking for gifts. If that vexed folks because they didn't know what to get me, oh well!

    This should be an interesting wedding!

  20. Interesting discussion! As the mother of a teenage daughter who announced yesterday that she's not going to college, she's getting MARRIED when she's 18...I'm filin' all this away. (I've got three years to plan.)

    I have seen the gift card thing before, and unfortunately the misspelling thing too.

    I never thought about the distinction between the wedding invite and a shower invite. It does seem like the registry info is just become common practice to include, because by and large, people want to know it.


  21. I really think that there are people who honestly do not know how improper that is! It is sooo sad! Around the time of our wedding, a co-worker of mine did something very similar for her wedding invitations and she claimed it was b/c people on the EAST coast - wanted to know where she was registered and she lived here in CO. But I noticed they listed all the places of registry - for both states! I just wasn't brought up that way - but then I am a southern transplant here!
    Keep us posted!

  22. No, uh, invitation, just gift requests? How RUDE!

    And the name thing? Megan is easy. I got stuff addressed to SARAH at my own wedding when I clearly spell my name SARA. (in a huff...)

  23. I agree, I usually only see mentions of registries in shower invites.

    The thing that I have seen a lot of lately is receiving pre-written, typed out thank you notes. THAT bothers me.