Acts of Grace
Late invitations, distant friendships and last-minute elopements
Q: I work in a small office, less than 20 people, and most of us are women. Over the last six months we’ve all spent a lot of time with one of our co-workers discussing her upcoming wedding’s details and planning. Not one of us received a formal invitation and, as far as I know, no one asked her why. Then last week, less than a month before her wedding, she sent a group of us an email saying how important we are to her and inviting us to her wedding. Instead of making me feel important, I’m upset. If we’re so important to her, why didn’t she invite us the right way? How should I respond?
You respond by graciously accepting (if you’re at all able to attend) and celebrating with your coworker. While you’ve discussed details, you probably don’t have all the information. There are myriad variables in wedding planning, not the least two things that tend to be at the root of the touchiest decisions: money and family.
Think of the lyric from “Hamilton”: You don’t know what you don’t know.
It is very tempting to feel angry, hurt or snubbed, but that isn’t going to get you anywhere, and it might alternately hurt your friendship with your coworker and you could miss out on a good time. Your friend wouldn’t have invited you if she didn’t want you to attend. So, gather with your work friends and raise a toast to working with such a close-knit group of people.
Q: A friend from college is getting married and has invited me. We were paired as roommates our freshman year and became very close. She was even a bridesmaid in my wedding seven years ago. Since then we’ve grown apart as our lives have gone in different directions. I learned about her engagement through Instagram and received a mailed invitation for her destination wedding, but I don’t have the money for a plane ticket. Is it OK for me to send a gift but not attend?
Though it can often feel like it, especially during those years when it seems everyone around you is getting engaged, having wedding and baby showers and getting married, life’s largest celebratory moments shouldn’t feel like the present and attendance equivalent of an eye for an eye. You were invited because she cares for you, but because of the friendship you’ve had she’ll understand if you cannot be there. To sum up: If you don’t feel you can attend, then don’t. One caveat: I’ve never regretted attending a wedding I was invited to, especially because a couple of the friendships I felt were drifting apart later became stronger after the wedding, and I’ve always been glad I was there to celebrate.
Q: My fiancé and I have already mailed out save-the-dates, but we’re no longer able to throw a wedding and are going to elope. How do we tell our guests that we’re canceling without everyone getting angry with us?
First things first: Call your immediate family. It’ll be like pulling off a band-aid: it’ll hurt, and they’ll probably be disappointed, but they’ll understand. Next, make sure out of town guests know so that they don’t make or continue to pay for travel plans. Though word of mouth will do a lot of your work for you, attempt to get in touch, by phone if possible, with as many of those you originally invited as possible. If you have a wedding website, update it with a short statement.
After your elopement, send out an announcement telling them exactly what you want them to know and letting them know how happy you are.