published May 5th, 2014
You glance at the wedding invitation and it suddenly dawns on you that the big day is now just a few months away. Your stomach is then consumed with butterflies, you feel faint, flop down in the armchair and ask yourself some serious soul-searching questions… “Can I do this? Can I really make this commitment?”
No doubt many brides and grooms harbour these feelings as the impending nuptials grow ever closer… but this is different. You take a deep breath, look furlong and stare out of the window in a state of deep contemplation… “I just don’t think I can do it. I just can’t commit to attending this wedding.”
Yes, on this occasion you’re not even the one getting married - you’re an invited guest.
So you look at the iPhone that was permanently welded to your hand three years ago and you tap out a Facebook message in reply to the wedding RSVP that’s been sitting on your table for six months (with a self addressed envelope included for your convenience). Except instead of replying with a simple “Yes, I can attend” or a “No, sorry I cannot attend” you decide to become every wedding planners worst nightmare… you’re a “Maybe”.
“Hi Jo, I’m sorry I can’t commit to your wedding day… I don’t know what I’m doing yet!”
Wow, you’re the worst kind of “Maybe”. This is an actual translation of the words you just typed: “Sorry, despite being given ample notice I just can’t commit to your wedding day. There’s nothing in my diary as I never plan that far ahead… but something more important might crop up!”
That may not be what you meant, but that’s most likely how your cryptic message was received. You’re basically saying that you might show your face at this wedding if you’re not invited to anything else on the same day that takes precedence.
Sometimes a “Maybe” is warranted, but this should really come with a brief explanation, such as… “If I can raise the funds to travel” or “I arrive back from Bangkok in the early hours so it depends how bad my jet lag is” …that kind of thing.
It may be that you suffer from social anxiety issues that you don’t wish to share with your friend, and your attendance is dependant on how you feel that day… in this case you should probably reply with a “Yes” and then you can simply “phone in sick” on the day. At least then you’re being cautiously optimistic, rather than ruling yourself out of the proceedings altogether.
Of course it may just be that you’re a product of modern times. You’re a commitment-phobe. Calendar dates of things in your diary just appear as “hurdles” in your mind and make you feel a bit trapped. As each event looms you don’t embrace it with eager anticipation… your mind just wanders down the avenue of “How am I going to get out of this one?”
That’s going to be a huge stumbling block in your life if you ever plan to get married, so hopefully that’s an issue you can work to resolve.
One problem with modern society is our over-reliance on technology, which is turning us into people who simply can’t commit to real life events. Some people probably set aside more hours in their day for Candy Crush, Facebook and Twitter than their own friends. Admittedly Facebook is a virtual collection of friends, but how many times have you been out with a group of friends, sat around a table, not speaking to each other, but engrossed in… Facebook.
Wedding RSVPs are obviously a really important part of a wedding ceremony and reception. If the bride and groom-to-be don’t issue any then that wedding venue is going to look rather empty… and if the guests fail to reply to an RSVP then that could cause a myriad of problems on the big day, such as too much food, too little food, not enough seating, or too much seating.
The benefits of paper/card RSVPs…
In this e-mail age it’s always nice to receive something in the post, especially if it’s a handmade card. This will instantly make the guest feel welcome and privileged, as you’ve gone to the trouble of making and handwriting something really unique. They’ll treasure it… or leave it laying around for six months until it’s buried under a pile of papers and eventually lost.
The benefits of an online RSVP…
This may seem rather impersonal but there’s more chance of a guest clicking a box and hitting “send” then there is of them hunting for a pen, ticking a box on a piece of paper, inserting paper into an envelope, and walking to the nearest post box to return it to you.
If you’re sending an RSVP (whether that be a card or via electronic means) it’s probably best to ensure that you make a note asking people to please reply be a specific date and highlight this in red… underline… bold… with arrows pointing at it… and if they haven’t replied with a week to go just send them a friendly reminder by way of an e-mail or text message.
For those of you on the receiving end of an invitation it may be best to reply immediately so it doesn’t slip your mind. Just try and imagine it’s you who’s planning the wedding and how you’d like to have an indication of numbers as soon as possible.
Life does have a habit of distracting you at times. You may plan to reply immediately after watching Cat’s Do The Funniest Things, but before you know it six months have passed and you’re turning your room upside down looking for that invitation you put in a safe place.
Finally, here’s one true story of a bride who wanted an amendment made to her wedding website RSVP page. Just beneath the letters “RSVP” was a line of text that she didn’t quite understand. “Could you please remove those four words? I don’t understand what they mean, but I think it’s in French?”
“Répondez, S'il Vous Plaît?”