Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
I recently (September) received a Facebook message from a couple whose wedding I attended in April, thanking all the recipients for coming and asking us to “keep an eye out” for cards. This is ridiculous, right? I mean, the wedding was five months ago!
Where Have The Manners Gone?
OFFICIAL ETIQUETTE: The Knot says “The rule is that you’re supposed to get thank-yous out for gifts received before the wedding within two weeks of their arrival; after the wedding, within a month after you return from the honeymoon,” to say nothing of Facebook.
[Note: Jaya and Victoria read the original Facebook message]
Victoria: So, they are intending to send actual thank you cards.
Jaya: It sounds like it. Which makes this sort of not even necessary?
Victoria: If this wedding was in the spring and they are only now sending a mass Facebook message with cards to follow, then they are really pushing into rudeness territory. Although, I GUESS if you know you are already super late with TYs, maybe it does seem like a good idea to send around a message that they are coming soon- though I think it would have been better to be super apologetic, because definitely on the first read through this sounded like it was the only TY they were sending.
Jaya: Yeah, I think this could have been done with a little more recognition of how late this is. They also say they just got back from their honeymoon, so unless they were on their honeymoon for four months, maybe they should have said something sooner? Though who knows, maybe they had a lot of shit going on.
Victoria: I mean yeah, but sending thank you notes is part of the deal. Like, don’t eat at a restaurant if you can’t afford to tip- don’t invite more people to your wedding than you can thank in a reasonable amount of time. And if it was something catastrophic that happened to them, their guests probably already know about it.
Jaya: This reader also wrote to us about not getting thanks for another wedding that she did a lot for, which, we don’t even need to debate, that’s just wrong.
Jaya: Both were destination weddings, so I think people need to remember that even if your wedding isn’t “traditional,” you still need to thank people.
Victoria: Yes! And even more so if they were really shelling out a ton of cash and time to attend. It takes a lot more effort to get to Hawaii or wherever than to pick something of the registry and drive to the next town over.
Jaya: Right. And maybe they didn’t get you a gift, but your guests still showed up and dedicated their time to you, and that deserves thanks. It’s interesting looking at this in light of the post I just wrote about thank you notes, because even if you debate using email v. writing, other rules still apply. You still have to thank people individually, and those thank yous must be timely.
Victoria: Yes and yes. And to be honest, major travel to attend your wedding is a gift unto itself and should probably be thanked, even if you don’t officially have to. It’s weird that we only think to thank people for tangible items they give us.
Jaya: I think it’s maybe a symptom of what you see in a lot of these wedding horror stories that come out on the internet, of people getting angry at guests for not giving them what they want, or not giving them enough money or something–The idea that you need to make back what you spent on a wedding, and that on the flip side, if your wedding was cheap and you didn’t get many gifts, you don’t need to thank anyone because somehow it wasn’t “real.”
Victoria: Yeah, which is just ridiculous. I mean, you wouldn’t expect to make back money you spent on a dinner party or whatever. I almost think that a lot of drama around weddings these days results from the couple throwing a party to celebrate themselves. I ALMOST think it works better the old way where the parents hosted it, and the couple was the guest of honor.
Jaya: I meaaaaaaaaan.
Victoria: LOL I totally don’t want to go back to that! But it has certainly driven up costs and expectations and all kinds of things that don’t need to be there.
Jaya: There’s nothing wrong with throwing a party to celebrate your own relationship, but the priority should be getting all your loved ones in a room and having fun, not getting stuff. I mean, that’s what I’ve had in my head while wedding planning.
Victoria: Yeah, but you guys are sensible people, and a lot of people aren’t sensible.
Jaya: Well they should fix that.
Victoria: By reading our site and listening to us tell them what to do.
Granted, I have no idea how stressful and involved it is to plan a wedding, but I wish people would get thank you notes out earlier. It really makes you feel crappy as a guest to hear nothing for months after spending so much time and money attending an event and picking out a gift. This is to say nothing of all the other wedding-related events you might have been involved in!
I agree that the idea that guests have to “cover their plates” is gross. But I disagree with Victoria– a lot of the drama that I’ve seen in weddings comes from fights over parental expectations after they’ve shelled out for the reception. You can’t win.
I meant, the couple planning a party to celebrate themselves- regardless of where the money is coming from. Traditionally, the bride’s mother would plan the whole thing, with a bit of input from the bride. The parent’s of the bride would then be the hosts and the couple the guests of honor. It made sense, since the couple was usually pretty young and the bride’s mother presumably had some experience planning large parties. You just don’t see nearly as much angst and drama about weddings in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s as you do now because of this. Not that I think full grown adults shouldn’t be able to host and plan a wedding themselves, but it introduces a lot more stakeholders which leads to fights.
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