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It’s wedding time, and the invite business, sticky-note-wise and otherwise, is already bedecking the break-room bulletin boards.
One, fiercely engraved, says:
Mr. and Mrs. Herrick Kinsley Postough
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Mr. Jeremey Allan Glanzich
Saturday, the sixth of June
Two thousand and ten
at six o’clock
Church of the Best Birthings
856 Interbred Road
Then there is another, simply thermographed, with an entanglement of wedding rings dancing round its margin:
Ms. CAUSELINE ROBERTA INGAWE THOMAS
and Mr. ALBERTO FRANZ DiFOCCO
along with THEIR CHILDREN (from a number of previous marriages)
cordially invite YOU to join THEM
as they SOLEMNIZE their
REAFFIRMING PERSONALLY SACRED VOWS OF HOLY MATRIMONY
June 6, 2010
(Saturday, starting at 5 p.m.; continuing until closing)
Monimo’s Gyros Take-Out and Kurdish Dip Bar
528-K 4326 E.128 St.
New York, NY.
(Cash bar only.)
Please R/S/V/P at email@example.com
What is one supposed to do, when such invitations appear out of nowhere, briskly pinned up on the cork board in the office break room?
One may assume that Margienne’s invite, deeply engraved, is stuck there simply for purposes of information, intimidation and the setting down of boundaries.
Causeline’s invitation may be asking for something more — especially if it’s accompanied by a sign-up list for the
“IT Office Pot-Luck Lunch and Second-Time-Around Wedding Shower,”
focusing on wine and
gifts they might use for their children, ages 9-13
(registered at Target.com, including kitchen utensils)
Large Break Room
Please sign on, below.
Guests are requested to clean up after themselves.
Must you sign on? (Of course not.)
Must you show up for the party? (No, especially if you have no interest in being involved in any office wedding showers, ever again.)
Must you bring a gift, if you show up for the party? (Not necessarily, since, in many instances, the dictum is “your presence is your present.” A fruitless and ineffectual dictum, if there ever was one. It’s useful, always, to stop by the wine store, or by a shop that hawks clever cocktail napkins.)
What’s more, if you don’t take a present to the party, age-old propriety maintains that you don’t eat the cake. That’s the basic trade-off.
Age-old propriety is full of itself.
Go to the party. (Go on-line; send Causeline the Target-store garbage can she’s been dreaming of.)
Eat the cake.
It’s not quite March, but already the clanging of wedding bells can be heard in the distance. Already, in some cases, they’re clanging out of tune.
Witness the extremely public example of Washington Post writer Sally Quinn, whose son, Quinn Bradlee, is scheduled to be married in Washington on April 10, which turns out to be the selfsame day when Sally Quinn’s step-granddaughter (which makes her Quinn Bradlee’s niece, for those of you who are keeping score) is scheduled to be married in California.
Since a number of the bodies thrown into this nuptial bed of nettles come equipped with well-known names (Sally Quinn is married to Ben Bradlee, long-time editor of the Post. The mother of the California bride is ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz; the father of the California bride is Ben Bradlee Jr., a high-profile editor at the Boston Globe), a situation that might best be handled entirely by in-house negotiations has become fodder for all sort of unneeded comment, and unrequested input, all over the blogosphere.
This past weekend, Sally Quinn (who’s in a no-win situation, since she’s mother of the groom on one side, and step-mother of the bride on the other) tried to walk the readers of her Post column through this mangled maze, a bootless effort if there ever was one. I hate to tell her, but it won’t work.
Any wedding, no matter how private it intends to be, is everybody’s wedding. Even the uninvited (especially the uninvited) can take aim at it. In terms of public opinion, and bruised feelings, danger lurks at every turn.
The other night, after a committee meeting, I was talking with my friend Claude, whose son, Claude Jr. (familiarly known as “Cloffo,”) is scheduled to be married this coming July. (That makes Claude the father of the groom, the least necessary party in any wedding party.)
Because he is a sincere and caring person, Claude is predictably concerned. The mother of the bride (as is her enforced responsibility) has set a limit on the number of seats at the ceremony — on both sides of the aisle. Rhonda, Claude’s wife and the mother of the groom, is doing her best to understand. She remains uncomfortable.
“Cloffo and Miranda have a lot of friends,” Claude said, leaning against the driver’s side of his Lexus. “If they can’t all come to the wedding, I told Rhonda, ‘Let’s you and me give a big party on our own, for Cloffo and Miranda and all their friends, whether they’re invited to the wedding, or not.’ ”
I said, “That sounds swell.”
Claude said, “Rhonda hates it.”
There was a brief pause, spent mostly by Claude clicking the alarm button on his Lexus keypad on and off. “Rhonda says you can’t invite people to a wedding party,” Claude said, “if you can’t invite them to the wedding too.”
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Claude said.
I leant against the bumper of my Camry and said, “Have the party.”
“Thank you,” said Claude, as he slipped into his driver’s seat. “I was almost pretty-sure I was right.
“But one more thing …”
“Yes?” I said, taking my own keys out of my pocket.
“If it’s July, and everybody else is wearing white dinner jackets, can I wear one too?”
I said, “It’ll be after Memorial Day. Wear the jacket.” Claude hit the start button on his keypad, and his engine revved.
“It’s all up to you from now on,” I said, “… sort of.”
“I’m rockin’ with it,” he said, watching carefully in all mirrors as he backed out of his parking space. “This should be easy … sort of.”
At no time is it too early to forestall the calamities of an uncoming wedding. Claude is lucky to do his deals in a parking lot, with hardly anybody watching. Meanwhile, the rules should all be the same, for Sally Quinn, or for anybody else, when it comes to the intensitivities of our private lives.
“Except, now I have to go home to Rhonda,” Claude said, as he roared backward out of the parking lot.