public service announcement

when i ordered my wedding stationary a few months ago, the cost of the reply cards was tallied in automatically.
to which i said,
'whoa wait a second reply cards? are you kidding? this is insulting. my friends were raised to know better (hi i'm megan and i'm a snob) they do NOT need to be hand held through the very basics of polite communication. reply cards are tacky and for rubes' *sniff* i mean, why not just blast one big, sweaty e-vite to everyone. now THAT'S making it easy.
an uncomfortable silence hovered as the gal started closing up the stationary books, clearing her throat.
and then realizing that i may have offended, i pleaded...
'i mean, is that the norm? people order reply cards? what the hell happened to etiquette in the written form?'
i was told, yes, 99% of the people ordering invites, order reply cards.
and this, my dear friends, is an abomination. i've even taken surveys among my peers. and do you know, only one of them knew that there was a format to responding to wedding invitations? 99% of my peers were clueless. i know. it's news to you too i guess.
i also called up my mom, gave her the ' can you believe this?' rant. to which she replied, ever the even toned diplomat, 'it is insulting to those who know better. but the reason these have become the norm is that nobody knows anymore. and if you don't send one, you'll spend weeks tracking down people to get the response' so i buckled and i did the response card thing. blah. so evite-ish.
so, here is my PSA to you: tuck it in your brain as useless minutiae if you must, but maybe you could start bringing back the beauty and gentility of written communication to this busy, busy TOO-busy-to-sit-down-and-write-a-simple-note, world. to this i say, 'yes we can' . it sounds like 99% of you could start by getting something like this: turn to this page: using your favorite stationary ( my favorites are william arthur, cranes and of course mrs. john l. strong) pen a lovely, short and to the point reply. lick, stamp, mail box and you're done.
now for the rest of you who received the reply card....where is it? i practically did ALL your work. all you have to do is color in the circle, lick it and stick on your mailbox.


Decs said…
I am DYING over here. I was just railing about this a few weeks ago.

I love that you posted this. Love it. People just don't know the rules anymore. Not only did I get an invitation within the last year with a STAMPED reply card (insult to injury) but also a lovely printed note about how they might prefer cash to help with a down payment on their house.


Megan - what are your thoughts on save the date notes sent out lightyears ahead of the date? I have heard mixed reviews of such a practice.... some even saying it almost pins you into attending since you couldn't possibly have the fine excuse of "previous engagement" if someone "reserved" your time 9 months prior to the occasion.

Need your expertise on this one, my dear.
beachbungalow8 said…
my personal opinion is this,

i think save the dates should only be used when the wedding is outside the country. no other time. never.

the whole point of sending the wedding invite out 6 weeks before is a save the date in its self! redundancy.
beachbungalow8 said…
wait, cash for their house? i just re read that. i was getting all uppity about the save the date cards. cringe. cringe, cringe, cringe.

how about, 'in lieu of a gift, the bride and groom ask you to donate to their honeymoon kitty'

that was suggested to me by someone that i love and adore. i had to pass.

although i did get an invite that asked everyone to donate to the peanut allergy foundation. i'm sure there's a tragic story behind it, but it made me chuckle (just a little)
Unknown said…
You are a riot. I immediately sent the link for this post on to my mother because she calls me and moans each time she receives a wedding invitation with a reply card. I completely agree that the letter-writing deficiency is all bound up in our lives being too fast, fast, fast.
Anonymous said…
Must admit, I'm one of the 99%. I had no idea that there was a proper way to respond to wedding invites b/c every single one I've received has included a reply card. Yes, most of them stamped!
I've been to a wedding where the couple requested that a cash gift be given directly to their travel agent for the honeymoon. It made me want to vomit. I also was a bridesmaid in a wedding where another bridesmaid DIDN'T SEND BACK THE REPLY CARD! Can you imagine? I mean, yes it's a given that you'll be there, but the height of rudeness as close friend to the bride.
Mrs. Blandings said…
Megan - you're so lucky she didn't say, "If you stayed here and ordered them from Bennett Schneider, you wouldn't have this problem." We might be provincial, but we know how to write a note. :)
heather said…
You are a riot and I am a fan of this post…that is so true! Thanks for your PSA. Congratulations on your pending nuptials.
So what I've done when I get these is still write out the formal reply and include it with the reply card. Redundant? Maybe but if so much effort went into the selecting and the mailing of a beautiful invitation, the least I can do as a guest is reply properly.
Great PSA Megan.
Okay-had a slight know-it-allish tone to that last, for fun just picture me with my eyes half shut, eyebrows raised,and a Brahmin accent.
Megan- I'm with you because it is a shame that people don't understand proper etiquette. That said, your mother has a point- you'll spend inordinate amounts of time trying to get an accurate headcount. Crazy times in which we live ;)
Having just went through this whole process, I can assure you that more people would have been offended if you had NOT included a reply card. And the stamped thing is a consideration, not an offense. It is just another in a long line of things that we, as brides, do to make our guests more comfortable (discounted hotel rooms, thoughtful food choices, ceremony programs, yummy champagne, etc.). The same thing really goes for STD's (the paper, and not infectious, kind). If a large portion of your guests need to travel, it's a courtesy to give them ample time to schedule flights/accommodations. Though I would say six months is more than enough heads up. So while it would be nice to think all guests would have the etiquette chops to hand-write a reply note, we're not living in Stepford and it just ain't gonna happen...and no, I don't think it's a major black mark on society. But asking for money of any kind is, and guests of these people ought only to give handmade potholders.
beachbungalow8 said…
B.B. - perfect. i don't think redundant at ALL. everyone loves a hand written note.

KIDS--nope.not going to by it. it's still not ok to me. it's not stepford either. stepford implies, robotic, mindless actions. the art of writing, taking the time to sit and put pen to out of respect to the recipient.

and btw, i can't help but think that most people find the time to watch an hour of t.v. at night. so why can't they find 5 minute to write a short note?

i really believe it's ignorance that has been cultivated FROM a stepford existence.
Unknown said…
The dear Emily Post once wrote that the origin of a thank you note was from the days of horse and carriage delivery. The note was merely to let the sender know that the package had arrived safely and had not been hijacked by some sort of bandit. Yet, we have evolved to rules and rules and rules. Basically, the reply card is a service for the bride. We are now a society of deposits and head counts. And right or wrong the dear bride needs those numbers. The reply card basically allows our guests to continue to be ingorant (you know the person that first came up with the idea had probably been frustrated before with the very group of friends she had invited and was just trying to save herself a million phone calls... which is understandable - don't brides have enough to do weeks before the wedding.). Unfortunately, the ignorance will continue. We can just hope that you don't go crazy before you have to turn the final head count over to a caterer. Perhaps The Blue Book of Stationary might be a good favour for those you are still waiting to hear from.

About the STD - I love to get mail. Hand addressed mail with my name rather than "occupant". And I've usually found that the arrival of the STD just reminds me the event is coming and I usually get a little excited thinking about it. Maybe they should be called FYI cards.....because information is really all they are giving out.

I would consider myself a huge manners snob. And it seems that weddings and funerals are the times when we learn which of our friends need a little Blue Book reminder. It was when I got married that I learned who had manners and who did not.

So, have yourself a big glass of red wine, think about Italy and accept that some people cannot ever be changed.

beachbungalow8 said…
JESSICA: you are so right. however, i will continue on my crusade. starting with my own little off spring.

and i will say this...all of my friends that i 'grew up with' know this format (see above comments by bonjour bruxelles and mrs. blandings) so i know it's not an epidemic. it's still the norm in some circles.
Unknown said…
Yes it definately should be the norm. And it very much is alive in the midwest. It's a nice little reminder that civilization existed here at some point. It's sad that you must leave the midwest to learn how many manners do actually exist here. No good beaches or mountains or fine vineyards - but manners we have. My little offspring have learned these rules as well. Or, at least, I'm hoping they have.

Accept these people, don't go crazy and hope that none of them give you a crock pot as a wedding gift.
beachbungalow8 said…
i've actually asked for no gifts. if someone would like to contribute to my soon-to-be husband's non-profit...we welcome that gift. we have plenty.

in fact: joni at cote de texas, ever the gentile southerner, gave to 'walkwithsally' in our honor! how amazing is that.
Unknown said…
Totally wonderful of Joni. I may still send you a crock pot. I heard yours wasn't working.

What do you think of "change of address" cards. Or have I opened another can of worms?

I love them. I use them. I am thankful when I get them. My obsession begins when my husband was out of town on a boys weekend and had to "catch the next flight" to his grandfathers funeral. He really had nothing to wear. And a pigglywiggly was the only shopping around grandfathers home. I, being a supportive wife, Fed-ex'd (for about $125.) a suit to him. Only to find the people had moved. Only 2 blocks away from the original address. And I had no idea. There his suit was in limbo in the same small town where he was. And he had to borrow clothes from a neighbor. Shirt, tie and way too small shoes. No jacket though. bad manners? no jacket at the funeral? yes. and very frustrating for him. poor guy who is actually pretty picky about his clothes really had no other choice. Had those people merely taken the time to type out and mail a 25cent postcard.......all would have been well. I am now psycho about them.
beachbungalow8 said…
J!!! no fair. you can't just leave comments and not tell me you have a blog (note: jessica aka JJ and i were inseparable friends in high school and college) and you my friend KNOW what i'm talking about with this issue. no wonder you had a familiar voice of reason.

hey go check out the newest posting. you'll laugh.
Anonymous said…
I'm confused. You are sticking to your guns, but you caved and sent out the reply cards? If you really think people should remember the proper etiquette - then why did you cave? Having just gone through this not too long ago ( and being an old school wasp) I knew better but I also knew it was easier to send the reply cards than to track everyone down.

It's just the way it's done now. I would actually have enjoyed hearing you go bonkers if you hadn't sent out the reply cards. The week of your wedding... wondering who's coming. Then I would have liked to see your post.

People don't know better. It's 2008. I didn't put the dress code on my invitations and I got no less than 20 calls asking what they should wear! It's a wedding LOOK NICE!

Anonymous said…
i'm still uncomfortable with people requesting no gifts. in my circles, even referring to gifts is tacky. and the idea that "we have enough" rubs a lot of people as saying "we have more than you." people love to give gifts, and not accepting that gesture is very rude.
beachbungalow8 said…
jessica: "I knew better but I also knew it was easier to send the reply cards than to track everyone down.'
me too.

anon- i think as i stated before, there was a suggestion to give to charity rather than to us. and this was only done after many, emails and phone calls.

in my circle, having an opportunity to give to a charity is always welcomed. and i really do have plenty. i'm blessed.
Anonymous said…
i guess it just seems a little showy. in my book, charity is silent - done for the people who need it.
Unknown said…
Hey anon,

You're right. Charity is for the people who need it. But, if everyone was silent how would we know who to give it to?
Raise the standards (pun intended) and ride forth to the etiquette crusades! Good post and good points all.

I tend to "customize" the reply cards I get, adding asides and the like ("And how!" is a particular favourite.) Or, I turn the card over and add a penned note telling the parents how much I am looking forward to the day, etc. .

Form mail (for lack of a term better than the marketer's "SASE") is something with which we live. But calling attention to the "problem" as often as possible and to a internet-wide audience can only help in the long run.

Congratulations on your engagement and wedding to come.
*PrairieGirl* said…
i was so disappointed, even with the stupid pre-stamped reply card, no one wrote much more than "yes" on them (i left 2 blank lines on purpose and that's still all they could muster). even a few people didn't return them.
even more amazing, we got very few it crazy that i noticed? with the gift registry, people just have it shipped to you from the store...nothing was wrapped. no card attached. just a packing slip with a name.

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