Early on in your wedding plans, you’re going to have to decide how to start spreading the news and asking people to share your happiness with you. Which brings us to the Three Faces of Americans today.
- You’ve got your great-grandmas and grandpas, who expect a fancy invitation approximately 3 inches thick in the mail… the thing that arrives and takes five minutes just to sort out, all bristling with stamps and SSAEs (that’s “stamped self-addressed envelope”) to return their RSVP to you—plus the actual invitation, various little cards relating to various events, maybe a map and a list of hotels. This alone can take a CHUNK from your wedding budget.
- Then there are your parents. They probably embrace the simpler more straightforward invitation well enough—and maybe even can help do a credible version on the computer – but they still believe your desired guests should get one from the postman.
- And then there are your friends, cousins, anyone around your age who may be perfectly okay with an e-vite. In fact, many of today’s couples take to the internet from day 1—choosing a hashtag that’s uniquely theirs and then relying on social media to help do the communicating.
Complicating things is the “Save the Date” notice. We once received a “Save the Date” notice but never got an invitation to the actual wedding! This was a semi-distant relative and I theorize that when she was in the first rosy glow of engagement, she sent out LOTS of “Save the Date” cards: by the time the wedding was a month away, budgetary realities had kicked in and the guest list had been slashed.
So you, the bride-to-be, should think about this business of communicating. In your corner—social media. Not only hip, but helpful with saving money. In the other corner, all those loved ones of yours and your partner’s, who expect to, by God, see the invitation with the 3-D roses. Maybe “Save the Date” could be virtual, with a followup or two to be sure the date doesn’t get lost and forgotten. (Although a recipient is just about as likely to keep track of it on their laptop or mobile, as to keep track of a piece of paper with your picture on it.)
Of course you’ll still have to send out some hard-copy cards, but you could reserve those for the over-50s in your circle—Thus saving yourself a lot of money. Just think! Couples announcing their engagement in cyberspace—announcing any aspect of getting married that they choose—might someday eliminate the written invitation all together.
Finally, a word about thank-yous for wedding gifts. Yes, they’re a pain. So, it also was for the person who took the time, trouble and expense to get you something they hoped you’d like AND to see that it got wrapped up impressively. It is gracious to send a thank-you. It’s the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you’d like them to do to you.” Would you like to get an actual handwritten note regarding the gift you sent somebody? It would make you feel special, wouldn’t it? If you can’t think of a thing to say about the 6th crystal vase to come your way (5 of them probably re-gifted), at LEAST e-mail or text a thank you. You can always use that method to send a “quick thanks” and—if you’re brave—promise to go into a little more detail later. Even if you never get back to them, they’ll be more forgiving when you don’t.
For a nice touch, text a photo of you with the gift (you don’t have to be actually USING it— just looking happy you got it!) People appreciate being appreciated. Your challenge is to figure out how to do that without breaking the bank.