Invitation card politics

My sister is about to get married, and this time when I went home the air had all the signs of the crazy times about to come. Fixing up caterers, booking halls, arranging for the Purohits and the decorators: you know the drill. Of course my sisters and mom were having a gala time buying sarees and 'matching' shoes and cosmetics for each day of the wedding. "On this day I wear this yellow one, on that day I wear this blue one, and oh that maroon one I wore at that sister's wedding: I can't wear that in this one..." -- boy they had it all planned out! My mom goes into a shopping spree whenever I go home and accompany her to the market. Since I don't stay at home during the Durga and Kali Pujas and the other festivals, I don't mind the pampering :) So for instance I went one day to the market to get one dhoti so that I could wear it on the next Puja or the wedding evening itself: I came home with a couple of fine pairs of dhoti-punjabi, pajama-punjabi, and a pair of denims. Ah the joy of staring at zeroes following the digits on crisp bank notes. ;)

However, what intrigued me personally was when I sat down with my dad to decide who were to be invited to the wedding reception. And that too, just him/her or the entire family. Very broadly, there are people who you send cards to but know for sure that they are not going to turn up for the wedding: the cards are just a kind of a token reminder that we didn't forget about you. Then there are people who sit on the fence: a card will go to them but they may or may not turn up. And then there are close relatives who are going to come but still expect the card nonetheless. And here's the strangest part: even the first category of people who are never going to come to the wedding (or even the borderline cases) will need to be told over the phone that there is a wedding and they may "please grace us with their august presence". There are so many ways of offending people!

Again, there is the whole issue of who the card is to be addressed to. If they live in a single private house and the sons and their families live and earn separately and just share a common postal address, you still need to send the envelope to the elderly gentleman in the house: he is considered the head of the family. If, however, the grand-dad lives with his married daughter, you need to send two cards -- one addressed to the grand-dad and one to the daughter's husband. For local contacts such as colleagues, again, you need to decide whether you are inviting just the person or the spouse and/plus kids as well: the card needs to be addressed accordingly. "Whew", you must be saying... I too said the same when I learnt all this stuff -- whew, thats complicated!!

What takes the cake, however, is deciding who to invite and more importantly, who not to. So we were about to invite Mr. X and family when my dad just remembered: "But hey, they didn't invite us when their daughter got married --- get them off the list!". Or there was this local friend who had visited our house time and again with his family in tow but only invited my dad for their son's wedding. That too he had come to my dad's the office and did not bother about mentioning or inviting anyone else. He shall be paid back in the same coin; a letter will be sent to his office bearing just his name, no mention of his wife ;) Of course my dad didn't go to attend that wedding, and in his shoes I would have probably said eff-off to this person; no cards or anything: I don't go where my mom isn't respected and don't invite/care about such people either. But I seriously loved those sessions with dad --- we had compiled an initial list of about 350 people and needed to get it down to 200. So we sat down one evening and I started reading off names -- Mr. X, Mr. Y and family, etc. My dad went, "Yeah, let Mr. X be there; Mr. Y? Oh get rid of him; Mr. Z... naah, talked to him only twice -- snip him off! Ah, Mr. A... hmm, put a question mark beside him: if push comes to shove, he'll get the axe". Needless to say, it was fun. In one pass, we got down from 350 to 137! Heh, aren't weddings fun? :)


  1. Wishing your sister a very happy married life. Convey my congrats to her. And you have not written much about your India visit. Was it too brief? A nice write up about whom to invite and how. :-) I have never paid much attention but you make very small things sound so interesting.

  2. hey i thought, you were an only spoilt son! didnt know you have sisters too. yes, wedding preps are fun. it's like a chance to undo what was done to you :)

  3. congratulations to your sis!and hope you have fun too. :)

  4. Alka, thanks... I'll convey those good wishes! And yes there were a lot of highlights of the trip -- will write about the interesting snippets sometime. And thanks, once again, for the compliments: I almost feel like a professional writer when you say 'em. :)

    Anumita, hahahahha-- well put! Unfortunately, my sister will have her chances of "undoing" stuff when my wedding comes! :( BTW, you thought I was an only spoilt son? Heheh... wait till you learn the rest! :D

    Galadriel, oh yes thanks... I do plan on having a LOT of fun! :)

  5. this must a great feeling, suddenly you feel you have the power give them back for forgetting..:)

  6. I don't know about the practice in the rest of India, but down south I think the general tendency is to be "better safe than sorry" and invite anybody who's status is "in doubt", the principle being that it's better not to offend and that those who are really interested will attend the wedding/and or send their greetings through other communication channels if physical attendance is not possible.

    Of course, these practices vary between communities and even among different families.

  7. I shall do the same. Those who invited me via an email without a phone call; it would be a nice answer to them :D

    Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Pallavi, oh yeah, it is like "accidentally" losing the ball after you're given out. Psst: I did not say that!

    Hari, hmm... the practice does seem different down south. But you're right: practices will vary even between families.

    Manasa, oh sure! You can always trust me for these awesome ideas! :)

  9. Not sure if it happens in Bengal, but down south, the girl's parents also have to "invite" the groom's parents and other family members to the wedding. I've always wondered what happens if they don't get invited.

  10. Lekhni, welcome onboard! Heheh... can't imagine what sort of situation that will be! :)


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