The Response Card Phenomenon

I’m feeling popular.

For the past year and a half I have not received a single wedding invitation that didn’t include a response card.

It’s not like these are all my intimate friends getting married. Most of those are long gone. These are acquaintances, people with whom I have a nodding relationship. I’m talking high school classmates with whom I’ve exchanged four unique words through the entire four years: “Good morning” and “excuse me.”

They can’t all be throwing humongous weddings. Honestly, I wouldn’t know because I don’t generally go, but I’m sure they can’t all be throwing 800-guest weddings and inviting everyone whose name they ever knew.

When the first few showed up, I just assumed they were being friendly and politely declined. But when I got Hadassa’s invitation, I had to pause. It’s not that I have anything against Hadassa. It’s just that I have nothing going with her. Aside from “excuse me” and “good morning,” the most exciting of our interactions – possibly our only interaction – was when I punched her in the stomach in fourth grade. She stole my Lev L’achim collection prize. Always a good little girl, I followed all the right steps: tried asking for it back nicely, tried ignoring her, tried finding a teacher to intervene, etc. When none of it worked I decided to take it back myself. However, since she was holding it over my head, I needed to make her bend over, which I did by applying force to her middle. Stan and Jan Berenstein would have been proud. The principal was completely unreasonable about it. I was scarred for life. Maybe Hadassa was too.

We both grew up to be normal human beings and I’m sure we’ve forgiven each other, but without any other interactions layered over those fourth grade memories, that’s my automatic association with her name. Even when I opened her invitation. “Oh, Hadassa’s getting married. She’s the one I punched in fourth grade.”Β  So naturally I found the response card puzzling. And that’s when I realized that I’d been receiving response cards from people with whom I’d never even gotten close enough to punch.

edit – Curious, I asked married friends if they received response cards to these same weddings. They hadn’t.

Naturally, I brought it up with some friends, individually. And their answers were unanimously. They gave me a “are you serious? I thought you were smart” raised eyebrow look and patiently explained, “With fewer single people in the class, they need to fill up the wedding somehow.”


So these are charity wedding invitations? Meaning, it’s charitable of me to attend? These are begging letters arriving in heavy cream envelopes? Whodathunk.


38 thoughts on “The Response Card Phenomenon

  1. It’s easier when putting them together…that’s all.

    Who wants to sit there and decide how many get and how many shouldn’t – then keep track to make sure, so they all have one.

  2. I think you can assume that these are nice girls that invite the entire class to every wedding. I know girls who did that.

  3. I wish I could take such a postive twist, that they justinvited everyone, but no, it’s probably because your single.

    I was recently invited to a wedding of a classmate I had nothing to do with. I called my single friends who were in my class and they all received invites, and then I called my married friends, and they hadn’t. CASE CLOSED.

    And don’t feel so stupid that you just realized this now…I only figured it out a little while ago myself.

  4. Single girls come and dance… that is if they are invited and not chuppahed. Bride wants a posse and a “leibedik” wedding… you’re just a pawn in this game.

  5. It’s probably just easier for them to send everyone an invitation and let the receivers decide if they feel close enough to attend the whole wedding.

  6. Oh, I forgot to mention – I did ask married friends if they got response cards, and they didn’t. Will add that in.

    -cynical? Moi? How?

  7. my friend was just telling me that it’s RUDE not to send reply cards to all my classmates… some which I haven’t seen or spoken to in 4 1/2 years… πŸ™„

  8. There’s also the factor of the “Husbands” who (probably) won’t know a soul at these weddings. Inviting the married girls only would be cheesy, so it’s easier to just ignore the whole issue. Sucks, but that’s life…

  9. Married girls leave because babysitter is freaking.
    Single girls will hopefully stay and shriek.
    I am anti-shrieking.
    I pray I’m good with cousins filling up the dance floor.
    Except wedding halls nowadays have a minimum to be met anyway.
    Do we rebel?

  10. Hmm. I got response cards to my close friends’ weddings. Everyone else’s were in the garbage soon after I opened them, so I don’t remember.

  11. Hmm. Generally, I haven’t been invited with a response card to weddings of people I barely know/remember, unless there was some sort of family connection. And b”H there were so few girls in my class that it’s hardly ever necessary to go to simchas of people I never liked in the first place.

  12. Trying to stay positive- Princess Lea had a point- wedding halls have a minimum to be met. So, consider yourself lucky enough to be picked to fill up space πŸ™‚

  13. Why must you be so positive? πŸ˜› If they just wanted someone to take up space, a couple would be more practical – you get two for the price of one. πŸ™‚

  14. Haha. Same thing has been happenning to me lately. I was just invited to the (entire) wedding of a girl I went to HS with and never said a word to in all four years. May parents, who were very close with the other side received a card that said, “We wish we could invite you to the whole thing, but because of circumstances we can only invite out-of-town relatives to the sit-down meal. Please join us for the dancing.” It’s just funny.

  15. I guess in addition to the cost of the gift, the time wasted at these weddings grates. We went to a wedding of a neighbor, with whom we’re not very close, and I missed meeting my daughter’s HS teachers that night. At least 10 times since September I’ve asked my daughter about a teacher, sighed, and said, “Sorry, I can’t keep your teachers straight because I went to XYZ’s wedding…”

  16. Ever noticed how old friends who you’ve lost contact with get back in touch when a bunch of their friends get engaged? Same kind of idea….
    ‘Bout the response cards….dont send ’em back. Dont go…simplifies my life.

  17. You are always invited to send a check back with the card and an appology for not being able to make it because of a snobbish attitude…oh and I was just being cynical ❀

  18. Positivity is good- keeps the doldrums out.
    But anyway, everyone knows a couple leaves early, and more likely the husband will gratefully not attend, as he has no clue of anyone at the wedding, and is only going because his wife made him. So she’ll leave early, not taking up enough space.

  19. The person getting married generally knows that single people do need to be “seen”. I think it is very nice that they think of their single classmates. It’s better than the alternative. They are giving you the option to go, but feel free to decline the invite. Sometimes, the girls that you have very little to do with are friends with your friends and you can have a great time. When I’m presented with the situation, I usually go for dancing.

  20. Thanks Davenedbydekoisel- didn’t see that one. But sometimes, one gets lucky enough to have a wedding in which the husband knows people as well. Then it’s 2 heads that both take up some space.

  21. Personally I think it is rude to invite people to a Chupah but not for the dinner. (I will make the exception for kids who are students of/youth group kids of the Bride & Groom) When my daughter got married she only sent invitations to the people with whom she wanted to share her wedding day. The groom, however, sent lots of invitations without response cards to guys in the Bais. I don’t know how many of these guys came to just the kabbalat panim & the chupah, but lots of their friends responded they would be attending the wedding & dinner and never showed up (they got “lost”). So some of the guys that came who were not supposed to be seated stayed for dinner anyway.

  22. I actually got a very interesting wedding invitation recently. I’ll write a post about it, and comment with a link here. It’s too long to write up in a comment.

    Also, just wanted to let you know I wrote a little something about your blog here

  23. I figured that’s what it was. As you start getting on in your 20’s (oy vey!) there are less people around who are likely to show up to your wedding, so you make sure to invite you think will be able to fill up the dance floor. OBVIOUSLY that’s got to be the single girls because without husbands and children, they can’t have anything BETTER to do than fill dance floors, right?

    I’m lucky in that I really can’t say that there were any girls who I graduated with whose wedding I would want to avoid. We were a pretty good-natured class, thank G-d, without much snobbery. (How the heck did THAT happen in a Bais Yaakov’dikeh school?)

  24. Pingback: Sweep Her Off Her Feet « Bad for Shidduchim

  25. Gila: right, some are sent with return cards which means you are invited for the whole thing. While those sent without return cards means you come for just dancing or just the chupah.

  26. If you get a response card, it means you’re invited for the meal. Otherwise, you just come before or after.

  27. Pingback: Attending to Spaces « Sporadic Intelligence

  28. Pingback: Friday Repost: Performing Charity for NEFs | Bad for Shidduchim

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