Text Message Invites Are Alive ….and Late

by admin on July 27, 2013

Yes, sad but true, the Text Message Invite is alive and well.

Late morning, right before I was about to head into work, I received a text message from an old friend. Admittedly, we are not as close as we were in childhood, but braving nearly ten years of summer camp together is something that can bond people for a lifetime. The message contained the following:

Incredibly random, but if ur free on [Wedding Date], wanna come to my wedding? No pressure, obvi, I kno it’s short notice. But [Other Camp Friend and Husband] are going as are various [Camp Name] people, if that helps.

I was shocked and dismayed that this usually thoughtful friend had displayed such little thought when inviting me to his wedding. I responded with the following:

Wow. Didn’t even know you were engaged. Congratulations! I appreciate the gesture, but have to decline since I would feel awkward attending as I was a last minute addition.

He replied:

Thanks! If it’s too awkward for u, I understand. However, u were on the list from the beginning, just had to see how many relatives were showing up. So, if you change ur mind, lemme know. And if not, no worries.

And I said:

Thanks, [Camp Friend].

So, he closes with:

Think about it, at least, please. I’ll contact u again at the end of the week.

If he really wanted me there, couldn’t he have at least sent an invitation or called? It’s over a month before the wedding. I was clearly one of those B-list invites I so often read about on this site. Ouch.

I have received a follow up voice mail from the offending party.

The gentlemen called to further plead with me to attend his wedding and further emphasize that they first had to invite relatives before they could invite friends. Once they received enough declined invitations, he and his fiancee could then graciously bestow secondhand invitations to the people they “really wanted” at their wedding. I had to return his call and leave a message, again politely declining. I more or less said that, although I would love to celebrate with him, I would be unable to do so because it is such a busy time and he sprung this on me at the last minute (or over a month before the event, but who’s counting?). I congratulated him again and figured that would be that.

A few hours later, I received a text message saying that he had received my voice mail and he would be returning my call soon. Why? I have no idea. I really thought the conversation was closed. He clearly just doesn’t get it. 0606-11, 0615-11

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie July 27, 2013 at 9:50 pm

If you want to go, I think you should go. If not, I understand why you’re trying to dissuade him.


Susan July 27, 2013 at 10:51 pm

maybe, they don’t want to have empty places at the table. Or they assume if you come, you bring a gift.
I would not attend, and Ignore any phone calls. Just send a nice card, no gift needed.


Yasuragi July 28, 2013 at 12:45 am

Your language is too soft. Be firmer. “I’m sorry, I won’t be able to attend.” No excuses, no soft language loopholes, nothing. You don’t have to explain why.


Johelen July 28, 2013 at 1:52 am

Personally, I would go. I too have old camp friends so I understand that “I haven’t seen you in 3 years but we’re still buddies” feeling.

Instead of being so offended at everything, I think we need to start living in the real world and lighten up some. The truth is, weddings cost money. Lots of money. And, like it or not, when the parents or paying (and sometimes even when they aren’t) sometimes there are people you “have to” invite. Sometimes it’s that you can’t invite auntie so and so without also inviting other auntie so and so. The truth is, sometimes those “we love you even if we don’t see you all the time friends” are second-string.

I had a camp friend whose wedding I was not invited to. Other camp friends did get invite. I knew I wasn’t as close to the groom as those other friends and choices had to be made. I didn’t take it personally. If I had received an email or phone call a month before the wedding explaining that he’d really wanted to invite me, but just couldn’t before, I would be completely fine with it. If he said, “we would really love you to come and celebrate with us. It would be great to have so many from camp”, I’d be thrilled and try to go. It wouldn’t offend me at all.

I think it depends on the type of relationship you have and how easily offended one is. For me, this situation wouldn’t even be an issue.

Look at it like this: Your friend was completely honest with you. He didn’t try to pretend your invitation was lost in the mail. He’s gone to some effort to repeatedly invite you – by text and to follow up with two phone calls. I suppose he could be fishing for gifts, but it sounds to me like he would really like his old camp friends to be at his wedding. He gave you a months notice, which I don’t think is all that bad. It’s not like he called you the day before. If you like this person and want to celebrate with him and see some old friends, just go to the wedding. Don’t say no just because you didn’t receive an engraved invitation.


Melanie July 29, 2013 at 2:14 am

I agree with you completely.


Allie July 29, 2013 at 9:45 am

OP said no. His persistence is rude and frankly a little creepy.


No Wedding July 29, 2013 at 10:33 am

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who finds the persistence a bit odd.


Jen Mo August 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I agree, I would overlook the fact that he issued the invitation via email. I think that’s the only thing that might offend me, because I do realize people often feel they have to invite the entire extended family instead of the friends they really would like to share the day with. He may be persisting because you said you felt awkward as a last minute invite and he wants you to understand that he truly wanted to include you (not just a fill-the-seat thing). I do appreciate when people follow proper etiquette, but unless I believe someone is being terribly offensive or greedy, as long as they have good intentions, I will give them a pass.

verstrickt July 29, 2013 at 9:45 am

I would agree if the friend hadn’t sent the invitation via text. If you truly do need to have two rounds of invites because of family obligations, you send the first set very early so that you can still send the second set in a reasonable time frame. And then you don’t tell anyone! Had the OP received this invitation in the mail, she likely wouldn’t have even known she was a second round invite (a month out is still within the bounds of appropriate invitation timeliness). It was the manner of invite–a text that reinforced she was a less important guest–that was rude.


Wild Irish Rose July 29, 2013 at 10:29 am

I couldn’t disagree more with you. It doesn’t matter who is paying for the wedding–you don’t let your friends know that they are “second best.” That’s just tacky and rude. If you wanted to invite me to your wedding and couldn’t because of cost, then just don’t invite me and send me an announcement afterward. Just because the rules of etiquette are being relaxed right and left doesn’t make it right.

And once OP has said no, it’s rude to hound him or her about it. This so-called friend seems to be fishing for a gift. If he really wants to see OP, he can look OP up after the honeymoon and invite him/her to lunch or something.


AthenaC July 29, 2013 at 11:35 am

It may not matter *to you* who is paying for the wedding, but surely it matters to the individuals who *are* paying for the wedding. It should not be a surprise that some people are truly giving and would want the HC to invite those closest to them, and others give their money with a veritable straitjacket of strings attached.

In any case, we don’t really know what’s going on. The groom could be making it all up and those of us assuming the best of him could be completely wrong. But I find it interesting that some people can’t seem to conceive of a situation where a HC is strangled into inviting distant relatives (to the exclusion of friends) to fill up a guest list that someone else is paying for, especially since those situations are still pretty common.


Wild Irish Rose July 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm

“But I find it interesting that some people can’t seem to conceive of a situation where a HC is strangled into inviting distant relatives (to the exclusion of friends) to fill up a guest list that someone else is paying for, especially since those situations are still pretty common.”

I totally understand this. That wasn’t my point. My point is that if you simply CANNOT invite everyone you want to invite, you DON’T let them know they’re on the B list! There shouldn’t even BE a B list! The correct thing to do is to send an ANNOUNCEMENT (which is sent AFTER the wedding, whereas an INVITATION is sent BEFORE) after the honeymoon, when you’re sending out thank-you notes. This applies to graduations as well. But you never never NEVER tell your friends that you put them on the afterthought list.

If you want to invite everyone and their dog and you can’t afford the wedding your parents can pay for, then you have some choices to make. You either invite those your parents want you to invite and that’s that, or you scale down your nuptials and invite those you want to invite, and pay for it yourself. I agree that whoever is paying for the wedding should have some say in the guest list, but A and B lists should NEVER happen!


June First July 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

I agree with Wild Irish Rose.
If he had actually sent a “real” invite instead of texting, I doubt the OP would feel like a second-tier invite. Frankly, if you can’t be bothered to spell out words like “you” and “your”, I’m not going to take the invite very seriously.

And if you have to figure out accommodations, a month might not give you many choices for hotels. That’s especially true if the A-list has already booked hotel rooms.


Jackie Jormp Jomp July 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

If its not a gift grab, I think the honesty of the circumstance actually suggests a sort-of closeness between parties. I agree with you.


Cheryl C July 28, 2013 at 2:55 am

Maybe he is finding out that you aren’t the only one who is too busy to attend. Yeah, clearly he has no idea what an insult it is to have such an obvious B-list. Frankly, one month isn’t that much notice for a wedding in the summer months when everyone has vacations and activities planned. I’m not the busiest person in the world or a social butterfly, but I already have something planned for most of my weekends into the middle of October (in some cases, more than one activity on the same day). Not that I could not miss some of them if an emergency came up, but being on a B-list wedding invite isn’t classed as an emergency in my book, and I’ll bet not in OP’s book either.


No Wedding July 29, 2013 at 10:05 am

I agree, Cheryl, especially with kids and summer vacation/visitation schedule, many times I have had “something” booked for every weekend at least a month in advance. Weddings especially are hard to spring on anyone last minute, and yes, a month IS last minute, because they generally take up a large chunk of time.

If the OP has nothing planned for that day and wants to go, go. If the OP has already something to do that day, then a simple, “No sorry, already have plans for that day” should suffice.


Dora July 28, 2013 at 8:53 am

He wants you there. Yes, the invite was awkward and clumsy… but he really does want you there to share in the day. It’s over a month before the wedding, so unless it’s a long-distance, destination type of thing, then there should be plenty of time.

Sometimes the best etiquette is not taking offense when clearly none was intended.


Melanie July 29, 2013 at 2:14 am



jen a. July 29, 2013 at 6:56 am

Agreed. The etiquette was poor, but he’s made more of an effort to get you there than he has his other guests who received the invite in the first place. He’s clearly a bit clueless with these things, and may take it personally if you don’t go. Be the bigger person! This is an old friend.


Paula July 29, 2013 at 10:11 am

Yes, he probably wanted to invite OP, but I’m guessing his urgency is due to a minimum count for the reception. He may be looking to fill seats at this point.


Wild Irish Rose July 29, 2013 at 10:33 am

If he wanted OP there, he would have sent an actual invitation and not given some stupid, lame excuse such as “we wanted to make sure there was enough room for you.” Whether or not offense was intended, it was dished out. B-list invitations are tacky and rude, regardless of the circumstances. I couldn’t invite everyone I knew to my wedding, so I didn’t, but I certainly wouldn’t even consider texting, e-mailing, or phoning someone at the last minute and informing him or her that an opening just came up and would you like to come to my wedding? Really? Cancellations are for doctors’ appointments, not weddings.


manybellsdown July 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I did get one B-list invite that I didn’t consider tacky. A friend of mine in another state found out a month prior, via a text conversation, that I was going to be in that state the weekend of her wedding. She fired off a formal invitation after inviting me verbally, having assumed in the first round of invites that I wouldn’t have been able to attend (and not wanting to look like she was fishing for gifts). One of the loveliest weddings I’ve ever attended, too.


Michelle C. Young August 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm

This put me in mind of Jane Austen’s “Emma.” When the neighbors are discussing attending the Cole’s dinner party, and Emma realizes she has not been invited, she is upset. When she does receive a late invitation, however, the explanation given smoothes all hurt feelings. Why? Because it is not about “we wanted to see if we could fit you in.” Instead, the explanation is that they wanted to make sure they could make Emma’s father as comfortable as possible. “You know how he hates a draft, and we wanted to be sure we had the screen available, before we could invite him. It would be bad to have him here, without providing for his comfort.” Emma is, therefore, mollified, because she knows she and her father were not excluded, nor were they considered second-rate. The hosts actually purchased, in advance, a screen, to secure her father’s comfort, and held off on the invitation until it arrived, just in case it did not arrive, or arrived damaged.

See, that’s class. That is how you issue a late invitation.


Mer July 28, 2013 at 8:54 am

A-list/B-list type of posts always leave me little bit torn to different directions. Etiquette and invitee -wise I can clearly see why B-lists are bad idea, as most do not wish to be “seconds”. Then the more down to the earth thoughts say that reality limits the amount of invited persons, not etiquette. Fire regulations and physical limitations of venues are there, nothing is going to change them and reality just says that most probably your venue won’t hold all those you would wish to invite. It’s not even really an issue of money, there just might not be such spaces available. It seems just so silly that if you still have important persons in your life and you now have space due to some other important person not being able to be there, why not want them there. Oh well.


Michelle C. Young August 3, 2013 at 12:01 am

Plan for a crowded venue, then, and invite everyone you want to invite. If someone can’t make it, then you have the joy of having a little elbow-room, which everyone can appreciate. As long as you finalize numbers before you make final payments, it’s fine.

And this is why you CALL people who do not respond in a timely manner, rather than just wait around and wonder. In fact, it’s a good idea to call everyone, even those who responded with an acceptance, just to confirm and clear up any questions they may have.

What gets me, though, is the people who go for a limited venue, and it’s not big enough for everyone, (or it’s too expensive for everyone, and that is a whole other kettle of worms), and so they wind up with a “wait list” for entry. That leaves definite tears.

If you have oodles of people to invite, then do it cheaply, in a large space, so you can fit them all, and afford to feed them, and thus avoid the A and B tiers. OR, have a smaller wedding, and focus your invitations so that there is the MUST-HAVES and everyone else just gets an announcement after the fact.


Michelle C. Young July 28, 2013 at 6:07 pm

From the way he’s pursuing it, I’d say you were on HIS A list, but pressures from the family (possibly both sides, and possibly the bride, as well) shunted you to THEIR B list. Grooms often find themselves and their desires put in second place when planning a wedding. We’ve seen that many times here, where even the groom’s siblings are put waaaaayyyyy in the back, while all the bride’s relatives and friends get preferential seating.

You have a month, and if the date is free, you might as well attend. After all, you were put second to family, at a wedding, not second to Uncle Fred’s neighbor, or Cousin Wilbur’s boss’s son. If you attend, you can see for yourself what the situation really is. He may need your sympathy more than your scorn.

And if, as you initially believed, you really were a B-lister in his mind, you’ll get some confirmation there, and you’ll know how to proceed afterwards.


Melanie July 29, 2013 at 2:14 am

You make lots of good points!


summershere July 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

Well put. I don’t have a BIG problem with a B list in that for me, it doesn’t represent what it does to some people . To me an A list is those “have to” people (relatives, etc.), some you don’t even know and could care less if they are there, and your bride/bridegroom could potentially have a large, large family that you have to invite—even if you’d rather have your camp friends there instead. The B list is your “buddy” list (those who aren’t besties or relatives, but you like them nevertheless, but have to wait to see if you can invite them because you are on a limited budget or at a limited-space venue).


Mer August 1, 2013 at 2:58 am

Also trouble with weddings is that traditionally it is a family thing. One point of it has been and to some level still is to unify two families and the wedding is a celebration of that with ulterior motive to get the families know each other. After all, when the ceremony is done, they shall be relatives too.

Even if family and relatives are not that important nowadays, historically relatives were your only protection in the world and relations determined what you are. This is one reason family and relatives very often still are on the “have to” list to weddings. And from that point, I do understand why friends, no matter how important to bride and groom, are very often on the B-list. Either done clumsily like this or just that first you count the relatives and after that you fill the venue with as many friends as there is space.

Personally, I don’t mind the thought, as friends really are not any part of the marriage if you think it from the legal point of view.


Marozia July 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Go and have a good time. You don’t have to buy them an expensive present.
He didn’t seem to hide anything from you regarding invites.
We got an e-vite similar to yours and felt offended, but we went with present in hand and smile on face and had a great time. The couple still keep in contact with us and we are godparents to their children.


Melanie July 29, 2013 at 2:15 am

I’m glad you enjoyed the wedding. If OP goes to her friend’s, I hope she will as well.


Catherine July 29, 2013 at 2:12 am

I can feel for the groom, my friend is Italian and there were 800 people at her wedding. Only 5 were personal friends of the bride and groom, the rest were relatives and friends of the parents. She told us later that we were lucky to be invited, she had to beg her parents to add us. She couldn’t even pick her friends for the wedding party. They were all cousins or the children of her parents friends. I guess who pays the bill invites who they want, not who the B and G want.


Michelle C. Young August 3, 2013 at 12:02 am

The wedding attendants included people who were neither related to nor friends of the bride and groom? OK, that is taking the whole “He who has the gold makes the rule” thing TOO FAR.


Jen Mo August 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I cannot imagine why your friend participated in something that was just a big show the parents put on. Definitely a time to put on your own small event or just elope – you know, so that the wedding is actually meaningful to the couple!


Kirsten July 29, 2013 at 7:26 am

I am another who just isn’t offended by being on the B list. I understand it – you can afford a wedding for 100 guests, but this means you can’t invite everyone you’d hope to. Then 30 of those relations can’t come anyway, so you now have 70 guests and 30 people you wanted to invite all along but couldn’t afford to. You either keep them out of your day or you explain that you hope they might be able to come.

I just am not insulted by this. I didn’t do it myself, but I was lucky enough to be able to afford inviting everyone we wanted (and having small families!). If someone wanted me there, couldn’t afford it and now can, I’m happy to go. I don’t feel like a B list just because they didn’t have room at first.

To me, a B list only becomes rude in certain situations – very last-minute invitations are bad manners, invitations by text are the same, invitations of a ‘you can squeeze in at the back’ are awful. But if I’m invited now their situation has changed, and they do it with grace, I really don’t see the problem.


Ladyxaviara July 29, 2013 at 8:10 am

I would say attend the wedding. I am planning a wedding myself, and since it is very low-budget we aren’t inviting friends. If one of our family members decline, you can bet your bottom dollar a friend will receive an invite! Weddings can be strenuous on bank accounts and friendships. Don’t let a minor slip ruin a good thing.


Sarah Jane July 29, 2013 at 8:11 am

Is it really okay to cite your reason for declining to be that you “feel awkward as a last-minute addition”? That’s not a confrontational question, but an I-need-to-know question.


Allie July 29, 2013 at 9:57 am

I think it’s “okay” but not necessary. You don’t have to give a reason for declining an invitation. A simple “I’m sorry I am unable to attend” is sufficient. In this case, OP has given a reason that clearly indicates she or he is aware they are a b-list invitee. There is a fine line between honesty and rudeness, but I don’t think OP has crossed it.


No Wedding July 29, 2013 at 10:22 am

I found that a little awkward myself actually. The second response OP gave, “I’d like to come, but it’s a busy time of year and you sprang this on me last minute, so I can’t. But congrats” seems better to me somehow.


Library Diva July 29, 2013 at 11:42 am

I think it’s because “I feel awkward as a last-minute invitee” implies a correction. The subtext is that it’s improper to make last-minute invitations, and I’ve always felt that one of the cardinal rules of etiquette is that you don’t go around correcting other people’s, unless you’re somehow charged with teaching it to them (you’re a parent, you’re supervising an intern and making sure he learns correct business etiquette, etc.) I don’t think it’s OK, personally. It made the friend feel awkward and called-out on his etiquette error, and planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is. Even if you strive for perfection, it’s easy to screw things up and it can happen for reasons beyond your control. We don’t know the whole story as to why OP was a late invite. Maybe he had OP’s invitation all made out when he discovered that his FMIL had added 50 of her friends that already put the venue over its limit without even asking. Maybe there was some sort of crisis and the money that was supposed to cover the friends wound up going towards a new transmission or towards fixing the damage when a tree fell on the roof. You don’t know, and it doesn’t hurt to be charitable. Let’s face it, if we all held our friends and family to a standard of etiquette perfection, none of us would have any left.


Mae July 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I think this is the reason the camp friend keeps calling and inviting OP. He probably felt a little bad with that response so he keeps trying to “make up” for it by repeatedly hounding OP to attend.

If OP is really determined not to attend because he feels he is B-list, just be firm, not rude. “Thanks again for inviting me but I cannot attend”.

It does seem kind of creepy that he continues to call.


Shoegal July 29, 2013 at 9:25 am

This guy clearly wants you there but I have to question why he chose to text repeatedly (even the invite) and not make a personal phone call to invite you. I also have to question why he didn’t just go ahead and send an invitation???? He had over a month!! B list or whatever I would have appreciated a formal invitation and I have to add that I would feel awkward as well. However, pushing all of that to the side, perhaps because he is a guy – he thought this last minute, informal, text messaging invitation would suffice between buddies. He probably wanted all of his close friends there but all of the bride’s relatives were taking up the available space and they had to make concessions. They clearly had an A list and a B list type arrangement which eliminated everyone who wasn’t a relative. If this is done well – nobody knows they are on the B list – done poorly (as is the case here) it is kind of humiliating. But this kind of B list is different though, they were obligated to invite Aunt So and So from Montana although he didn’t know who the heck she was – and was forced to push his friends to the B list even though they were more important to him. Give him a break – go ahead and go.


summershere July 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

He just sounds like a guy to me? Guys do stuff through texts –even the really, really important stuff. People do big, heavy transactions virtually all through email today.


ArtK August 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

No, guys don’t “do stuff through texts.” Please don’t generalize to an entire gender.

People may do “big, heavy transactions” through e-mail, but that doesn’t make what he did polite.


Michelle C. Young August 3, 2013 at 12:03 am

Hear! Hear!


Kristen July 29, 2013 at 9:26 am

Honestly I think the OP was the rude one here. As others have already stated, it is unrealistic to believe that a bride and groom have full control over their guest list and when they are able to invite friends. Instead of being honored by the desire to see the OP, she decided to get offended – which only punishes her.

If the sincere and repeated words of the groom, letting the OP know how much he’d love to see her there and what it would mean, isn’t good enough for the OP, then she shouldn’t go. It sounds like the groom would be better off finding a friend who would appreciate his friendship because the OP obviously doesn’t.


No Wedding July 29, 2013 at 10:32 am

I don’t understand why Camp Friend hasn’t just accepted OP’s response in decline. He starts it off, “no pressure I know its short notice” then, “if its too awkward for u I understand” and “if you change your mind let me know, if not no worries” and then immediately replies “Think about it, I call you later” and then does call later to ask OP to come again. OP says he/she can’t attend again and Camp Friend says he’ll call later again to presumably attempt to convince OP to come. Unless OP is the kind of person who has to be begged to come to things (and I know people like that) then I don’t get why Camp Friend hasn’t just said, “OK, you’ll be missed, maybe we can make plans sometime to get together for lunch/dinner/drinks/whatever” and let it go. Either Camp Friend feels guilty for how he issued the invitations or Camp Friend is trying to guilt trip OP into coming to the wedding for whatever reason, possibly so the catering numbers will work out, which is what I’d be thinking now if I was OP.


Tracy July 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

I think he can’t accept the OP’s response because she explicitly stated she’s not coming because she was on the B list. He believes that he if can convince her she was on the A list in his heart, she’ll rethink her position. In my opinion, she should have simply said “sorry, can’t make it, congratulations” instead of revealing her true reason. I know it’s rude to let someone know they’re on the B list, but isn’t it also rude to let someone know that’s why you’re not coming to their wedding?


Wild Irish Rose July 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Good points, Tracy. A simple declination of the invitation was called for here.


AthenaC July 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

I tend to agree with those of you giving the benefit of the doubt to the groom, assuming that for whatever reason (oppressive family dynamics, insistence of whomever is paying for the wedding, etc.), the groom was not able to invite the people he actually wanted to invite as A-list guests. I have to say that if I were in his position, what else am I supposed to do? I have already been told by my parents that no, I can’t invite my friends, I HAVE to invite Great-Aunt Bertha and another half-dozen relational equivalents to Great-Aunt Bertha. Now I find that Great-Aunt Bertha can’t attend. Am I now forbidden from reaching out to the people I wanted to invite from the beginning? It’s just precious how “etiquette” assumes there are no oppressive familial / financial dynamics for real people to work around.

Now, all that being said, and again assuming that I am correct in assuming the best of the groom, his behavior still bugs me. It’s not the fact that he texted – texting is a great way to communicate with friends who might be at work, for example. It’s the easiest and fastest way to get someone your message without burdening them with a potentially inconvenient phone call (I could write a book on what I think the new etiquette should be concerning phones in the era of cell phones). What bugs me about this is the fact that he can’t bother to use proper spelling, capitalization, and grammar. That’s one of my pet peeves – if you are communicating in any sort of written message, be it text, email, or written letter, the same rules of capitalization, spelling, and puctuation still apply. Anything else communicates a level of disrespect / lack of education / (insert unflattering image here).


AthenaC July 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

Can I revise my opinion really quick? Thanks. Anyway –

I don’t think he should have texted, “Will you come to my wedding?” or the like. This is a situation where he should have texted, “I need to talk to you about something – do you have a few minutes for me to call you?” Of course, using proper grammar and punctuation.

I have a friend and former colleague who always texts before he calls, and I find that I really appreciate it, because then I know it’s not just a casual call and I need to prepare to set what I’m doing aside and give him my full attention for a few minutes. Plus it has the added benefit of letting you know if it is convenient for the other person if you call them then (if they say yes, you can call; if they say no or don’t answer, you know it’s probably not a good time).

At least one poster has said, “Why didn’t he send a written invite?” Well, written invites are slow. If it’s last-minute, why would you send a written invite? Wouldn’t you want to communicate as soon as possible? Now, it would be great to follow up with a written invite, but at this point the initial communication should happen over text / phone in the manner I described above.


Kimstu July 30, 2013 at 10:50 am

@AthenaC: ‘Now I find that Great-Aunt Bertha can’t attend. Am I now forbidden from reaching out to the people I wanted to invite from the beginning? It’s just precious how “etiquette” assumes there are no oppressive familial / financial dynamics for real people to work around.’

Uh, no, etiquette exists precisely BECAUSE there are ALWAYS familial/financial dynamics for real people to work around, but we don’t want to insult the people we care about by suggesting that those constraints are more important than they are.

Etiquette doesn’t forbid your tweaking your guest list a bit if your original invitees decline. Etiquette simply prohibits you from being crass enough to make it clear to your later invitees that they didn’t make the original cut (or suggesting to your original invitees that you’d prefer their room to their company). Everybody knows perfectly well that sometimes family obligations or financial restrictions take precedence over personal affection, but polite people tactfully refrain from rubbing each other’s noses in that fact.


Bottle Green July 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

Well said, Kimstu!


Michelle C. Young August 2, 2013 at 12:53 am

Exactly. The groom said that he knew it was short notice, and that he had to wait for various relatives to decline. Although he did say that OP was on the list from the beginning, so benefit of the doubt, and all.

Still, the whole situation could have been avoided had the groom simply said, “I’m getting married on X date. Will you please attend?” There *was* a whole month, so no apologies for short notice, as that triggered the question about *why* it was short notice. Also, PLEASE no, “Incredibly random,” intro to your invitation. Gah! A simple, straight-forward invitation would have been fine. Also, if it really is short notice, for whatever reason, a call (or text, if he just can’t call for whatever reason), including the phrase “proper invitation is in the mail, but to save time, I’m asking you now.”

So, basically, the groom may have really wanted OP, all along, but the way he issued the invitation made it seem as if OP was just tacked on. By simply following the proper etiquette of sending a real invitation, in the first place, all this drama would have been avoided. OP may still have declined, due to scheduling issues, but the hurt feelings wouldn’t be there.


edy July 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I agree that a text message invite is crass. However I’m wondering if people think no invitation is better than a b-list invitation? OP and Camp Friend aren’t close (OP didn’t know he was engaged) and there wouldn’t be a reasonable expectation of a wedding invitation. Seeing as a spot has opened, is it more polite to invite OP or leave OP not invited?

If Camp Friend sent a physical (albeit late) invitation, could the fact that it’s clearly a b-list invite be ignored?

FWIW I would guess that Camp Friend texted in order to get a quick reply, to see if he should move on to his C-List.


Michelle C. Young August 2, 2013 at 12:58 am

A month before the wedding is not clearly B-list late. That all depends on how long the couple has been engaged. If they have a short engagement, a month may be the A-list length of time, as well. In fact, we have seen some wedding invitations arrive just a couple of weeks before a wedding, and it doesn’t mean B-list. It just means that the couple are in a hurry to get married.

I’ve seen some weddings thrown together in a matter of weeks, so a whole month advance notice wouldn’t throw me, at all. Granted, the quick weddings are simple affairs, and usually only involve locals and a very few long-distance relatives, and people will call, in addition to the paper invitations, due to the time constraints. The paper invitations are then looked on more as a souvenir of the event, or something to post next to the family calendar, as a visual reminder, than as the *actual* invitation, which came via word-of-mouth.


Shannon July 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I fully agree with others who say that having an obvious A list and B list is a bad idea, because it makes some people feel second-rate or not wanted. I strongly believe that the venue should be chosen based on the number of people the couple wants to invite and their budget. I have seen so many instances where a couple first chooses an extravagant venue, then is forced to cut their guest list either because the venue has a size limit smaller than their guest list, or because the venue is so expensive per person that they can’t afford to invite their entire guest list. This really sends the message that the fancy location/décor/food/etc. is more important than the guests.

However, being on the receiving end of this, I don’t think the OP necessarily needs to be insulted. It sounds more like social clumsiness on the groom’s part, and possibly poor planning or communication, rather than being invited only to fill an empty seat or to extract another gift. I agree that the invitation would have seemed more sincere if the groom also mailed a paper invitation in addition to sending the text, but maybe he was just oblivious and thought it was a meaningless frilly detail.

I have one personal experience with being on a B list that was humorously insulting… This happened in my last year of college. I had an acquaintance, “K”, who was always complaining about being poor, not being able to afford the same nice things as everyone else, and the injustice of having to pay for her own upcoming wedding. We were not close whatsoever, and I had no expectation of being invited. Well, TWO DAYS before the ceremony, I got an EMAIL from her out of the blue. “Hi Shannon, I know this is short notice, but I just wanted to see if you and your boyfriend would like to come to my wedding this weekend! Let me know!” Clearly the head count had already been submitted to the caterer, one of her original guests had cancelled at the last minute, and she was just trying to extract another gift to recoup the cost of the extra plates! Needless to say, I replied by saying, “Sorry, [BF] and I already have plans this weekend, but congratulations to you and your fiancé!”


Michelle C. Young August 2, 2013 at 1:03 am

Two days? Sheesh! The only way I could see that as being OK to issue a last-minute “replacement” invitation would be if the bride/groom had a friend who had been loudly saying they WISHED they could come/were invited, and then when an opening came up, the bride/groom invited THAT friend. “Guess what! We are in luck! One of our ‘duty’ guests backed out, and we get to have you there, after all! Yaaaay! I so wanted you to come, and I know you wanted to come, so this works out great!”

Now, two days, because they got engaged the night before, and plan to run to the courthouse for a quick wedding, as soon as the paperwork comes through, THAT I would consider a high compliment, as they are scrambling to invite YOU.

If there is no one begging for an invitation, then if you have a cancellation, you just suck it up and pay for the empty spaces.


Wren July 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Forgive the clod, accept the invitation, go, and have a good time. It’s not personal; he doesn’t know any better.


ddwwylm July 30, 2013 at 4:01 am

While I agree that the groom didn’t exactly handle this the best way, this also sounds like the OP is letting her pride spite her good time. Is the only reason you’re not going because he invited you the wrong way? It sounds like all your other camp friends are going, do you really want to miss out on a good time to make a point? If you really don’t want to go, or the short notice makes it too hard to arrange for travel, or you’re otherwise engaged, fine, but it really sounds like you haven’t thought about this past “I’m offended, not going.” I also agree with the others that he’s probably bugging you about this because your initial response was “I feel awkward being on the B list” so now he thinks he needs to convince you to not feel awkward.
I have lots of camp friends that I keep in touch with via facebook. I’m super bummed anytime I can’t make a planned reunion. I wouldn’t expect to be invited to any of their weddings. Yet, I imagine that if I were in the position of the OP and I had a camp friend invite a group of us to their wedding, even if it were the lat minute, I think I’d try to go. It would be totally selfish too, it wouldn’t be about the HC, it would be about “woo, camp reunion” and we’d probably be the loud table in the back.


Kimstu July 30, 2013 at 10:37 am

(Mostly) well-intentioned etiquette fails all around:
1) Bridegroom should not have invited the OP via text nor pre-emptively apologized for the short notice;
2) OP should not have betrayed in the response any passive-aggressive miffedness about being on the B-list; and
3) Bridegroom should not have continued to pester the OP in hopes of extracting a different answer.

Since the wedding was more than a month away when the first text invite was sent, Bridegroom should instead just have sent a proper wedding invitation, NOT a text message, without any apologies or excuses for the timing. Four to five weeks is a bit tight time-wise considering that six weeks’ notice is the technical minimum for wedding invites, but it doesn’t qualify as “last-minute”.

Then the OP could have accepted or declined the invitation according to preference, without alluding to the length of the advance notice (even if you do privately, and correctly, suspect you’ve been B-listed). Just say “I’m so sorry I can’t be there, many congratulations and best wishes for your happiness!” or something along those lines.

Then Bridegroom should have just taken no for an answer, and left it at that. Situation resolved.


OP July 31, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Hi Everyone,

I really liked hearing each poster’s take on this situation. However, this story took place a year or two ago. So, your words of wisdom will have to be considered advice for the future.

I felt awkward about showing up to a wedding where I felt like a last minute, somewhat out of place addition (like a temporary trailer classroom on a beautiful campus in transition). In the end, I did not attend and continued the annual family tradition of going to camp visiting weekend to see my cousins (a detail I left out of the story, as I deemed it unnecessary).

And yes, I also wonder why he didn’t just send an invite. It would have taken a day or two to reach me, as we live in the same city.

I sent a card to the newlyweds congratulating them on their big day, etc. I only hope they received it, as I have not heard from this friend since.

Thanks again, everyone. Keep on bringing down the hammer on bad behavior, whether it be the OP’s or the people they write in about!


Michelle C. Young August 2, 2013 at 1:03 am

Gee, I hope he didn’t cut you off because you didn’t attend his wedding. We’ve seen people do that very thing. Because after all, the HC are THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE! and everyone MUST attend, or else THEY DON’T LOVE MEEEEEEEE!



Lady August 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I feel like the persistence is creepy and that he’s now just trying to fill a minimum quota on the guest list (plus maybe get a gift out of it..). If he wanted to invite her, he could’ve sent a last minute invitation and the OP would not have known she was on the B List. I wouldn’t go-he could’ve at least called and invited if she was someone really important to him, but she clearly was a B Lister..


Michelle C. Young August 2, 2013 at 1:07 am

Another way to avoid hurt feelings among your friends, if you are forced to B-list the friends, in favor of relatives: Call your friends, early in the planning, and kvetch about how Mummy and Daddy are FORCING you to invite Great Aunt Bertha, and refuse to even ALLOW you to invite your own best buddies! It’s HORRIBLE! But, but, they are the ones paying for the wedding, and Betty and I can’t afford to go against them. But it’s just HORRIBLE! I can’t invite YOU! I can’t invite JOE! I barely managed to get them to issue an invitation to the best man, for crying out loud! Waaaah!

Then, when you do get the results back from the relatives, and you find out how many B-listers you actually can invite, you can call them triumphantly: “Guess what! I did it! I got you and Joe invitations to my wedding! Huzzah!” Then, you slip the paper invitation in the mail, and tadaaa!


Angel August 2, 2013 at 10:08 am

Hey OP, I think the fact that you sent a card congratulating the couple, yet haven’t heard from your friend since, speaks volumes about your friendship. He invited you to fill a seat. Pretty rude if you ask me. I don’t believe in A and B lists. You invite the people you want there, period.

I’m sure that the guy probably was under pressure from his family or the bride’s family, to cater to their lists, but if he felt strongly about having you there, he would have stood up to them and said these are my friends and they have to receive an invite. But I don’t think he felt strongly enough about having certain people there. I for one don’t blame the OP for not attending. Who the heck cares what the reason is? If she doesn’t feel comfortable, then that’s it!


Din August 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I’m shocked that people here are being so soft on the groom! If we give him the benefit of the doubt and say: maybe the OP was on the groom’s A list, or well now he *really* wants you there, you don’t send a wedding invitation, early , late or in between by text message!

If the groom had his reasons for not being able to invite the OP initially, and had the opportunity later on, you pick up the phone and talk to him directly like a grown man! This wasn’t even a close friend, but an old camp friend. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. If the groom was this uncouth to the OP, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if his ‘yes’ RSVPs were turning out to be quite small. People are who they are in most situations.


Michelle C. Young August 3, 2013 at 12:09 am

Based on the original message, I chose to give the groom the benefit of the doubt, because I know some people who lack class, but their hearts are in the right place.

After the OP’s follow-up, however, when she pointed out that groom never even acknowledged receipt of the card, let alone continued the relationship, I have lost all “doubt” with which to benefit the groom.

You’re right. People are who they are in most situations.


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