An “honest wedding invite” skyrocketed on Reddit this Tuesday, dividing brides, grooms and their guests.
The invitation is long and elaborate, with separate categories for attendance and meal choices, but also gifts and “behaviour.” Guests are asked to check boxes in each category, but instead of the standard queries about plus-ones and vegetarian meals, the invite pinpoints a wide array of nuptial irritants: dubious dietary restrictions, inexplicably vulgar toasts and drunken brawling, among others.
In the behaviour category, guests are asked if they intend on settling scores with old frenemies, hooking up with a groomsman or sharing unsolicited opinions, as in, “I think the institution of marriage is archaic and sexist and I look forward to voicing my position repeatedly to [anyone] at my table [who] will listen.” Guests are also quizzed about their gifts: Will it be a “crappy craft item,” a strangely hostile gag gift or a schoolish charity donation?
The invite ends with an edict: “Please return this RSVP several weeks after the date requested, when it is pretty much of no use to anyone.”
Wedding season has officially kicked off in Canada, and while many of the behaviours described seem unthinkable when sober, many of them go down, living on as iconic wedding lore. This invitation lays out realistic scenarios beforehand, including random acts of violence fuelled by open bar: “Gonna throw a punch. Not sure at who. Weddings just bring something out of me, man,” reads one option, with a check-box to the left.
There’s of course the possibility that this isn’t actually the work of a hugely passive-aggressive couple, but a fake. Regardless, it’s yielded heated reaction, with some fiancées considering the language for their own invites.
“I would very much like to meet the couple who put this thing together. I’d even like to go to their wedding, and behave myself,” wrote the Gloss’s Julia Sonenshein. “You can control your mason jars and flower arrangements,” she continues, but “people are really nightmares.”
Husbands and wives are responding with horror stories about their own bad guests on Reddit: folks RSVPing with nine plus-ones, others bringing uninvited kids (“little Braydaen”) and demanding off-menu chicken nuggets.
But wedding guests are also slamming brides and grooms who would appraise their guests’ behaviour this closely. Isn’t it supposed to be about good hosting? Many in this camp seemed irked with the expectation of a gift: “They left out the gift option which said, ‘I’m broke and attending this wedding has cost me hundreds of dollars already so you get NOTHING,’” wrote one Redditor.
Writing in her new book Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest, author Jen Doll notes that weddings can turn into a spectator sport: “We come, we see, we do not always conquer.”
Weddings, Doll writes, are “a means through which we guests can identify and rectify our friends, our enemies, our lovers and those we no longer love.” And all too easily, the perfect day can be “punctured by wedding guests who don’t share quite the same goals and aspirations. Or who get drunk and then decide they don’t.”