Post # 1
- Wedding: October 2014 - Church
Calling all etiquette experts (or anyone who has had this experience). I am asking about what I should do to be proactive because I know that I am going to stress about it.
Some background before I ask:
FI is half Hawaiian, though he is considered native Hawaiian (his father was native Hawaiian). They have a lot of family in Hawaii (a total of eight aunts and uncles). FSIL got married a couple years ago and none of the uncles sent back the reply card (the aunts were not invited because they (the aunts) have not kept in touch at all and have never visited). Only one uncle gave some kind of response (and showed up – which was a big deal since the only other time anyone from Hawaii came were three of the uncles after FI’s father passed away) and that was after FMIL harassed him to no end(!) after reply cards were due. Fast forward to last month and we are doing the invite list. I talked to FSIL (she is designing and making our invites) and I told her we want to send our far away invites a few months earlier to give them a chance to figure it out (they have more planning to do in order to be able to come- maybe be able to get a better deal on flights). She tells me that they do not understand the concept of an invitation or reply card so do not expect any back. The prospect of this has my stomache in knots because I don’t want to harass anyone after thefact.
What would be the right thing to do? Should we include a personal note with each of those invites saying something to the effect of “we are so excited to be getting married and would love if you would be able to come and share in the joy of our celebration. We have space for you to stay with us, as well as FSIL or FMIL. We want to make sure that you are properly taken care of so please let us know if you are coming by using the reply card or by phoning us or FMIL by the date indicated on the reply card by [deadline date]. We look forward to your response and really hope you are able to make it”. Or would that be too much? Any other suggestions?
Post # 3
@laceydoilies: I had my mother collect all the RSVPs verbally / by phone from my Chinese and Australian side of the families where it just isn’t very common to send back reply cards. I think what you want to write in the note is sweet, but maybe better conveyed over the phone?
Post # 4
Definitely best to handle by phone because it’s two-way communication. There’s no way to make sure someone reads your handwritten note. Just give Uncle and Auntie a quick call to let them know when the RSVP deadline is approaching, and explain that your caterer requires to know how many mouths they must feed.
Post # 5
@laceydoilies: many of my guests didn’t RSVP. I tasked my wonderful mother with calling them and politely asking. Everyone she called said something to the effect of, “Of course we are coming! We can’t wait!” I was surprised to find out everyone who didn’t RSVP planned on being there! I’m not sure why they didn’t Send in the card. At any rate, I was glad she did that for me, and no one seemed at all offended with her question. I wouldn’t stress about it. 🙂
Post # 6
I don’t think it’s so much that people in Hawaii “don’t understand” the concept of an invitation or a reply card – it’s just kind of foreign to the way we do things here, which is generally much more casual . . . and at any family event that involves food, everybody knows you just have to make enough to feed twice the number of people you know are coming. Not having enough food to feed everyone (and then some) is the worst social faux pas one could possibly commit.
So I wouldn’t use the “caterer needs to know how many mouths to feed” line at all.
I like your idea of a note letting them know how much you’d love them to be there, and that you can put them up and take care of them. That will mean a lot to the older folks. Then follow up with a phone call.
Ontaro is a long way to travel from Hawaii, so you may not get a lot of takers on your offer – but just the fact that you made the extra personalized effort to make sure they know how much their presence was desired will lay the ground work for wonderful future relationships with your Hawaii ‘ohana.
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2014 - Church
@wahine777: Thank you for your reply. I didn’t mean any offence by it (though it may have come across that way when I wrote it) – I just meant that it is not something that they are accustomed to, according to FSIL (I am not familiar with that culture so I took her word for it). I know that it’s a long way’s away and would be super expensive (only one of the uncles actually has a home) but it would mean so much to my FI for them to come, so that’s why we want to give more heads up than others. The flight itself is so expensive so I wouldn’t want them to stay in a hotel for a full week, unless they absolutely wanted to and insisted on it. I hope that they can make it. If they don’t we will see them and then some when we visit for our honeymoon (1/2 weeks with his family).I absolutely adored the one uncle that I met so I really cannot wait to meet the rest of the (really massive) family!
I will definitely make sure we include personal notes with each invitation because I do actually mean those things. I am also hoping that it is a polite way to say “hey, do you mind sending these back?”. We are actually going to the States next month so we will be buying American stamps so they can mail back the reply cards in a adressed and pre-stamped envelope.
@Tess63110: Was that after your RSVP deadline? That’s pretty crazy – it sounds like it was quite a few people!
@Horseradish: I would call if the deadline has gone but I was hoping to find a solution that would help deter the need to phone.
@melonseeds: Oh, I am almost certain that FMIL will be on the phone again … I just didn’t want to be on the phone about reply cards before the deadline, you know? Something a little less intrusive 🙂
Post # 8
@laceydoilies: These people are from Hawaii, not another planet. They dont “understand” invitations? Hogwash. And the response cards are pretty self explanatory.
Send them invitations early. If you dont receive their response by the deadline, be prepared to call them to ask pleasantly if they will be able to join you.
Post # 9
@laceydoilies: yep, after the deadline! My family is pretty casual, and I just don’t think they quite “get” the importance of sending them. I had a cousin who had the same problem. I wasn’t offended, or anything. Good on Mama for getting them on the horn! 🙂
Post # 10
I would write personal notes or letters in lieu of a Save the Date and/or have FILs or FI follow up with phone calls. I would not include that information along with the invitation.
Post # 11
- Wedding: October 2014 - Church
@Tess63110: No kidding!Lucky you had a mom to take care of that stuff!I am sure FMIL will do the same thing!
@weddingmaven: Yes, I think that sending letters before we send out invites is a good idea!I was thinking of doing it within the invites themselves, but itwould make sense to do it before! Thanks!