Don’t Save the Date
Dear Prudence had a note last week from a person who had received a “Don’t Save the Date” card for a wedding — in other words, she received a formal announcement that she was not invited to the upcoming wedding. On one hand, it’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard of. I assume that if someone directly tells me about an upcoming event and gives me the date (wedding, birthday party, barbecue), they are planning to invite me when they send out invitations so I save the date. If I hear indirectly about the upcoming event, I personally don’t save the date. If I’m still available when/if the invitation rolls around, great. If I’m not, well, we weren’t close enough to warrant a conversation about the date so I’m going to assume that my presence isn’t a make-or-break deal. And if the invitation doesn’t roll around at all, I go on with my life and they go on with their life and with few exceptions, there are no hard feelings.
Except when they post all the pictures and details on Facebook.
Because THAT is where the other hand comes in. Prudence touches on it with the idea that posting all about your upcoming nuptials on Twitter or Facebook creates an assumption (perhaps) that the people you are speaking to will be invited. If my cousin posted about her engagement, wrote about dress shopping, told us about the cute place she picked for the ceremony, I would sure as hell assume as someone who is close family that I’m invited unless she also tells all of us that it’s going to be a tiny ceremony with just immediate family. After all, why is she telling all of us unless we’re going to get to witness the event? On the other hand, there are plenty of people I am not close to that I happen to be connected with on Facebook, and when they post about their wedding, I don’t assume I’m invited. So… I also know that this doesn’t totally hold.
Social media certainly complicates things.
Which is why I don’t really know how I feel about people posting party pictures afterward on Facebook. If I was there, it rocks to be able to see the pictures everyone took and snag a few. If I couldn’t be there, it rocks to be able to see the happy event and feel as if I got to experience it visually from afar. If there was no chance for being invited, such as when a blogger I’m friends with on Facebook got married recently, I get to feel as if I was included a little bit in their happy moment and congratulate them as I would have if I had been there.
If I wasn’t invited and I have no clue why I wasn’t invited, it totally sucks to see all the fun I missed out on. Or that the kids missed out on when parents post pictures from their child’s birthday party, and I awkwardly hit “like” even though I am looking at pictures of their classmates having fun without my kid. This knowledge comes even without social media*. Back when I was a kid, we always knew when other people were having their birthday because we sang to them in school, and if we didn’t know the details of their party, we knew that we weren’t invited (and that hurt). But once the party was over, unless the kids who were invited came to school crowing about what a great time they had (as they did when someone’s parents did something really unusual such as the time when Courtney’s parents rented out a whole arcade and we could play any game we wanted as many times as we liked), no one really gave much thought to the party after the fact.
But now, people post all the pictures from the party on Facebook, and you have this photographic evidence of everyone having fun. Without you. It’s like watching the Sneeches have their wiener roasts. And that sort of sucks. Especially when the function exists on Facebook to SHARE ONLY WITH A SMALL GROUP. If you’ve excluded me from the shindig, also exclude me from the photos. Exclude me from all the updates beforehand and after. It’s easy to share only with the people you’ve invited (or are planning on inviting) and leave the rest out.
So when people don’t take advantage of that option, they kind of sort of suck a little bit.
I feel differently about posting on a blog because you don’t always know who is reading. Yes, it’s public, so therefore anyone can read. But at the same time, there isn’t a clear list that you can pick-and-choose to send your news or images to such as on Facebook. If I knew someone had just had a party that I wasn’t invited to, I would skip their blog post about it. Whereas I can’t really skip it (unless I hide their updates) in a general Facebook news feed.
Party pictures on Facebook sent out to your entire feed or just the people invited — yay or nay?
* Having twins, we also sometimes run into the fact that one is invited to a party while the other is not. When it’s an all-boy or all-girl party, that makes total sense. But one of them (and not the other) was once invited to a mixed-sex party. That was awkward. They discussed it together, and it was decided that the invited kid would go to the party without any hurt feelings directed at them from the twin. I took the non-invited kid out for the night in a total hedonistic frenzy of all of their favourite things to assuage the hurt feelings that were there and directed at the birthday kid. It was both a thoughtless gesture (invite both to your boy-girl party or invite none, but don’t invite one) and a realistic one (while they share a lot of friends now, as they age, I expect that this will happen more and more often).