By: Revanche

The Psychology of the Wedding Invite

July 11, 2011

A woodcut arrived in the mail today.  No kidding, an actual piece of art, that is also a wedding invitation was delivered by the USPS, Lord love ’em.

It never fails to amaze me how much better people are at this wedding thing than I, with the use of natural materials, and embossing, and engraving and you know, scheduling.  That stuff.

This isn’t about the psychology of how to really mess with other prospective or future bride’s minds via fancitude. I’m bemused by that part, and quite impressed, to be perfectly frank. I have no intentions of ever attempting to play in that pool because I’d immediately drown forthwith.  (I keep stopping to pet the woodcut every few sentences. It’s that cool.)  I think the only thing more pettable would be flocking. But maybe that’s just tacky? I don’t know …. Right. Digressing again.

This is an invitation to a destination wedding for which I would have to travel a fair distance.**  On an island. A pretty island, where we have other friends as well.  Oh and food, yummy food all around the island! And we like this couple quite well.  So there are draws to going for a few days, not just for the wedding, to make the scary ticket prices worthwhile.

But obviously, since my thoughts trend in that direction, I’m not actually very close with either of them, though we have known them for a longish time and know them through PiC, and PiC’s not so close with them either.

At least, we’re not the kind of close where we saw the announcement or the invite and were online booking our tickets immediately because we wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Not the kind of close where you would be surprised not to be invited. Conversely, we weren’t shocked to be invited either. In fact, I can’t say what level of close we are.  We like them. We get along well with them.  We enjoy their company.  It’d be great to see them and raise a glass to their union.  Is that what it takes to rate an invite?

I get that people often have the freedom to invite more people to a destination wedding because you know many of them won’t be able to make it.  Although for something like this where you’re not *that* far away, you might not choose to go that route that if you’re hoping to control head count. I’m guessing that’s not so much a concern for them.

My ruminations on the matter range thusly:

Do you invite all and sundry you would enjoy the company of and wouldn’t mind/can afford to pay for at such a shindig knowing that those you care about will come, the rest are bonuses?

Do you invite only those you most care about, and do they understand an invite is a selective thing and therefore indication of belovedness?

Or does the 80% rule pretty much always apply however you slice the invitations?  (Expect that 80% of your list will probably RSVP yes or show up.)

For this invitation: 

We would expect to pay at least $1100 for airfare depending on the flight dates, we have been offered accommodations by another prospective guest but I don’t know what those dates span (our dates would be cheapest Thursday through Monday it seems). If we had to go for a shorter trip, airfare would be a couple hundred more, or we’d have to pay for a hotel room for the additional day(s). Either way, we would have to pay for food and drink for five days.  That doesn’t include any other transportation in between, or other outings or activities.

Guesstimate Budget: Could run up to $2000 for 4-5 days. 

I could possibly get creative with buying some miles to get at least one ticket nearly covered, possibly.  Bring that down to around $1500 max.  But I’m not sure how to fit this into our schedule, even, just a couple months away from our wedding if we have one.  And I honestly don’t know how important we are to them.  Feels like we should know this sort of thing but …. we don’t. Thoughts thoughts thoughts.

Open to the audience: 

If you were in my sandals, would you be Kauai/Bahamas/Tahiti/tropical island bound?

If you were on the other side of the list, how did or would you curate your list?

** NOTE: I completely goofed calling this a destination wedding!  This is a wedding that we would all have to travel for but the couple actually live there now. They moved back to this island a little while ago and I managed to forget this because they lived here for so long. Derp! I was also thinking of it in the sense of a destination wedding because so many of their friends over here were invited.

17 Responses to “The Psychology of the Wedding Invite”

  1. Carrie says:

    well i am really planning a kauai wedding and our plan in to invite only family and bestest friends to kauai and then we’re going to have a low key reception at home a few weeks later (currently looking at the pool area in our townhouse complex, costco cake, and an ipod so i mean really low key) for our friends.

  2. I once received an invitation in the form of a burned cd of their reception music and info. The one thing I lack the most is creativity so it was (well to me) very creative. Also let me remind you this was in the time zone when cd was just first discovered.

  3. Kellen says:

    At this stage in my life, I wouldn’t be able to splurge on a trip that expensive for just a few days (a large chunk of which will be taken up by wedding.)

    But I also don’t think I’d do a destination wedding unless I had the money to help friends pay their way there.

    You would obviously otherwise go to their wedding, but they chose to make it pretty expensive for guests to get there.

    I guess decide if you feel like making it a true vacation, or if it’s just a quick (expensive) trip to see some friends get married.

  4. Amanda says:

    At the risk of sounding like a wedding Grinch, I think expecting people to cough up big bucks for airfare, hotel, etc (plus a gift) for a destination wedding is tacky. If the wedding couple is so well off financially that they can subsidize the expenses for everyone they invite (or if all of their friends & family are wealthy and won’t be inconvenienced by the costs), that’s a different story but that doesn’t usually seem to be the case.

    Personally, I think the couple probably assumed you would RSVP your regrets but didn’t want you to feel excluded (and also figured if you got an invite, you’d feel obligated to send a gift).

    Full disclosure: planning my own wedding was so overwhelming to me that we decided to get hitched at a chapel in Vegas. Take my opinion with a grain of salt.

  5. We have gone to two destination weddings… my SIL who got married in a Mexican resort (the groom’s parents couldn’t afford to go, so his only representative was his best man) and some friends who got married in Vegas. Vegas was much more convenient for everybody than the small town without an airport in which they were living. All the other destination weddings we have politely declined. We have flown to places in the US where close friends are now living.

    As to what we did– we did not have a destination wedding, but we invited everyone under the sun, including a bulletin board (we’re old) post to our high school for anyone in the area to drop on by. For our college friends, my parents opened up their house and let people sleep on the floor so they wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel on top of airfare. We also let folks know that their presence was enough of a gift for us. A good time was had by all. Of course, we were all pretty young.

  6. Shelley says:

    I don’t live in your world, never mind the sender of the woodcut’s world, so my opinion is nil. Obviously, I would not be flying off to said wedding. As to wedding lists? Number one and two: family, close friends, work colleagues, maybe 50-60 people total. Number 3: Bill’s children, sister and partners, total 6. I’m afraid I don’t understand ‘destination weddings’. I think it is about the couple and the vows, full stop. All the rest is…decoration. Feel free to ignore my views, however, most people do!

  7. banclothing says:

    I say no since you aren’t super close with the couple. There will be plenty of close friends who will have destination weddings in the future you will feel better about forking the money over. You wouldn’t want to go to this one and turn down a close friend/family member because going on two trips might not be budgetable.

  8. DH says:

    I didn’t even want to send invites — evites have all the info! But old people don’t do email.
    I never thought a destination wedding would be for me, really. But if I had one, the invitation would be the tighest circle of friends and family. I wouldn’t do an invite, all invitations would be in person or by phone.

  9. Karen says:

    Someone I knew had a Mediterranean cruise wedding – 2 weeks. That was odd to me. Did they expect a lot of people to attend? (I was not invited)
    I would consider a destination wedding anywhere as long as I could determine my length of stay. Actually, 4 out of 5 weddings was not where I lived.

    I think I’d lean towards a destination wedding. I really don’t want a full, traditional wedding; if friends cannot/do not want to pay for the trip, that’s fine. No one is obligated to attend.

  10. Revanche says:

    Disclaimer: I added a note to the post as well, but I goofed calling this a destination wedding. It’s a destination to us, but the couple now lives there so it’s home to them.

    @Carrie: That sounds lovely. And rather peaceful, actually.

    @Counting Stars: That actually does seem pretty creative, especially for the times!

    @Kellen: I felt the same way about a real destination wedding, I’d have to pay for at least family and the people I *really* expected/wanted to be there. And I can’t really afford to suddenly pull out that kind of money now either. Just musing.

    @Amanda: For some, I think it would be what you’re thinking (I have some of those “some” in mind 😉 ). I’m not sure that it’s this couple.

    @Shelley: I hope you never really feel your thoughts are invalid here! I would LOVE to have your guest list. I love even love to have a smaller one.

    The last destination wedding had by very good friends was intended to avoid having a big guest list so they planned to host dinners with friends later. It just got too expensive when far too many people decided to come & a family emergency came up immediately after the wedding.

    @banclothing: Makes sense.

    @DH: Do both! Some paper invites just for the old folks and the evites for the younguns.

    @Karen: Oh my, a two week cruise! That’s … impressive.

  11. Well, to be invited to come to where they live…sure, if it’s affordable. Obviously few of us can fly to Papua/New Guinea from Des Moines for a wedding and a reception, much as one would like to.

    But…let’s throw a big bash in Tahiti and invite a hundred of our best friends to join us there? Don’t think so.

    One of my son’s college classmates did that. He felt bad that he couldn’t afford to go. I’m with Amanda: it’s tacky.

  12. Anything to get to a tropical island! So yes, i’d jump at the chance. You can make a little mini break out of it with PIC. What about Doggle? Who will take care of him when you’re gone?

  13. Ditto 🙁 I think it’s tacky because I WANT TO GO but I cannot afford to.

    I’d hold a wedding where most of my friends/family are, so that it’d be easier for them to attend.. even if I lived in let’s say.. Texas 🙂

    That said, if I haven’t been to the island and I wanted a 2-week vacation, I might go…. but that’s because I have the money, whereas others may not be able to afford that.

  14. Miss J says:

    My fiance & I are having a destination wedding in 3 months in a Pacific Island (Fiji close to Australia) with the blessing of our close family & friends as they too wanted to go on a holiday. We were actually expecting only about 7-10 people but we were pleasantly surprised that 30 are going (and their families are coming too).

    For some family & cousins & other friends that couldn’t make it, we’ve organised another civil ceremony in a property here with a sit-down lunch two weeks after. It’s a win-win situation & of course no one is being forced to go. We’re just lucky that a lot of people are keen to go for a sunny tropical holiday.

  15. Mary says:

    Well, I am older [so yes, my husband expects a real life invitation and an evite is just too casual] I do not like destination weddings to exotic [high cost] weddings. Weddings in the bride’s family area can be exspensive enough.
    I have often thought that we have lost the politeness/courtesy of sending wedding announcements, especially in this instance. With an announcement the receipient[sp] may choose to send or not send a gift, depending on their closeness to the couple.

  16. Revanche says:

    @FaM: I do always wonder if people feel compelled (like I would) to pay for their guests in some way when planning destination weddings. Of course, like I said, I goofed as this one really isn’t, but that’s another ramble.

    @Chocolate & Chants: I’m still wishing I could, staring at the fog right now. But work is conspiring, CONSPIRING I tell you! to keep me from the tropics or the islands. We would have to ask friends to watch Doggle.

    @FB: That’s how we’re planning ours … and it’s driving me NUTS.

    @Miss J: Fiji sounds lovely!

    @Mary: I’d not ever considered wedding announcements, we just don’t do that in my family since our family grapevine takes care of all announcements quite effectively. We’re a gossipy bunch 🙂

  17. Anonymous says:

    I once received an invitation that told me the limit for headcount. I guess the bride was going on a first come (RSVP) first serve basis.


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