20-40-60 Etiquette---What goes with the wedding invitation?
By Callie Athey, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: I recently received an invitation to the wedding of my cousin’s daughter. In addition to the invitation itself, the envelope contained the internet address of the couple’s website, which had information about the couple, as well as a list of presents they hoped to receive — presumably the modern equivalent of the bridal registry. It also suggested that in lieu of giving a traditional present, guests might want to help fund the honeymoon.
I have no doubt that my mother, who was married in 1939 and passed away more than 20 years ago, would have told me that including references to a registry, electronic or otherwise, with the invitation suggested that the bride was more interested in collecting loot than in having her friends at the wedding and that asking guests to fund the honeymoon was completely over the top.
Is this sort of thing common these days?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: WOW, 1939 was a long time ago. It has become more common to have a wedding website for guests to get accommodation ideas, day of information, personal pictures and registry information. This is not to be offensive, but helpful for all guests. You really shouldn’t sweat the small things. If this makes you mad, bah humbug to you! Who doesn’t love celebrating love?
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: This makes me uncomfortable, too, for several reasons. But let’s start with a shallow reason: Why would you want to have a wedding invitation in your scrapbook that lets your great-grandchildren know what gifts or cash you wanted decades ago? Yes, I realize the invitation contains a link to a website with helpful details about the wedding itself and the couple. And perhaps making sure this information is accessible online will help their descendants learn about their family history.
However, I don’t like the idea of printing gift information on an invitation; it cheapens the occasion somehow and makes it less a celebration of the couple’s love among friends and family and more about what China plates would best commemorate it. Keep the wedding invitation as clean as possible. A gift registry is helpful, especially in guiding well-wishers to the couple’s choices and needs in trying to set up a home together, but there are better ways to spread the word – through word-of-mouth, which is traditional, as well as by asking the bride and groom directly or even on a separate printed insert with the link tucked into a shower invitation. I think you could also include the link to the couple’s website on a save-the-date card, listing the wedding registries along with all the other information that guests need.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Your mother was right. Information on the wedding invitation should include only the names of the couple and when and where the event will be and the hosts. It is a breach of modern-day etiquette to include the web site and gift registry with a formal invitation to a wedding.
We have had many questions about registries in general and have concluded they are helpful to the person who is looking for something to buy the couple, but offensive to those who think the couple is only about gifts.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Kate Stanton, Assistant Vice President, OU Health Sciences Center Student Affairs: I’m afraid this and other acts such as telling guests how to bring their gift to an event are becoming increasingly popular. As most of us know, the roots of registries take us back to the days of dowries. There are few times in life it is appropriate to tell someone what you prefer as a gift. A wedding registry gives a couple an acceptable, welcomed method of communicating such. Perhaps, post-wedding vacation days (and those drinks on the beach) can be a gift from those closest to you such as parents, grandparents, guardians and godparents.
PS: Our mothers were raised with the same etiquette training. My mother taught me to never bring an unwrapped gift – the very least use clear wrap – and the bubbly should only be enjoyed out of fine crystal flutes. Always register for 16.
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for... Read more ›
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman Read more ›
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a... Read more ›