THE BLOG
02/11/2013 11:44 am ET Updated Apr 13, 2013

The Backstory to the "Not-Invited" Trend

Last week, Today.com ran an article about a new wedding trend: newly-engaged couples are supposedly sending emails to friends NOT to say "Save the Date" but to say "Please do NOT Save the Date". No need to re-read that sentence -- you understood -- they are kindly informing their friends and acquaintances that their presence at their upcoming wedding is NOT required.

My first thought when I heard about this "trend" (which, by the graces, I've managed to never have encountered) was "Please, please, get over yourself. Why do you think everyone wants to go to your wedding anyway?" It reminds me of the situation many a single person has encountered when, after a mediocre first date, the person you weren't that interested in sends you a "I don't think this is going to work out between us" text -- the unnecessary personal need to create a feeling of rejection for another person.

In the article, one wedding planner, charged by her client to call friends who were not invited and "break the news", cites guests responding with a mix of "disappointment and anger". Well, of course -- imagine you are going about your day and Jo Schmo wedding planner that you've never met rings you up to tell you that you and your friend Marcia -- you remember her -- well, you actually aren't very close friends and she just can't possibly squeeze you into her wedding. If nothing else, it's disorienting and unnecessary.

And yet... I think I understand where this compulsion to share a guests' place on or OFF the guest list comes from: It is another form of a Status Update in the social media experience of this couple's wedding. Or, perhaps more accurately, by even remotely knowing the couple who has gotten engaged, you have been subscribed to the RSS feed of their wedding planning process. From the engagement Instagram pic to the Facebook status change and the FB status updates related to planning and the Pinterest posts linked to FB about their wedding, engaged couples today share an unprecedented amount of information publicly about their celebrations. So, perhaps emailing un-invited guests is seen as a necessity to clarify to the world who has been tagged as "attending" and who has not.

Perhaps this IS a necessity -- because while I don't know much about this trend of "not-inviting" guests, I am very aware of the ever-increasing trend of being asked by guests if they are invited. It's always awkward for the couple to be asked by someone who did not make the guest list if they are invited. In fact, it's an awkward situation that pre-dates social media, but has definitely been exacerbated by it. In ye olden days, it would typically go something like this: Bride meets up with some friends and is asked about her wedding plans. Bride gives some details with excitement and is then asked by 3rd tier friend "When is it? I can't wait." Bride secretly kicks herself for bringing up the wedding and changes subject.

Today, of course, it all plays out much more publicly. Bride excitedly Instagrams a photo of ceremony site she just booked, 50 of her friends like it, and one comments, "I can't wait! It's going to be a blast!" Except that being close enough to follow one another on Instagram isn't necessarily the same as being close in real life and now the Bride feels weird because she knows that now she has to "clear the air"... or ignore said friend in real life and on social media until after the wedding. Because, of course, why would we ever opt to simply share less information about our fabulous selves publicly?

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