No Date, No Dice
By Andrea Freedman
I was appalled the other day when a friend of mine, who is in his fifties, told me how he had recently received an invitation to a wedding without an escort. No “Plus One” or “And Guest”, and no spot asking how many would be in attendance, but rather only requesting a yes or no answer. The message was clear. He is expected to show up alone.
My friend really does not feel like going to the wedding, and I don’t blame him. I told him I thought he was perfectly within his rights to decline the invitation.
Lucky for me, I am married so I don’t have to worry about that kind of thing any more but when I was single, there were several occasions where I felt that I was treated thoughtlessly by friends and relatives alike, when they chose to save a few bucks by not inviting me to their functions with a date.
I only wish I had had the courage back then to tell these hostesses straight up that I would not grace them with my presence, and why. I advised my friend to learn from my mistake. I cared too much in the past about me being responsible for potentially ruining a friendship or relationship, when I should have realized that I should not have had to suffer through an awkward, miserable evening, while having to give an expensive gift in the process, just because I was single. A person should not have to be married to be treated like a first-class citizen.
I know of one lady who lost a friend because she declined an invitation to go to a Bar Mitzvah alone. After all, if the woman had not been divorced, her former friend would have had no choice but to invite her with her husband. She explained her feelings to the lady throwing the party, but was still refused the choice of bringing a date. As a result, she said she would not be there. Instead of rectifying the situation and putting aside her own stubbornness, the hostess instead let what was once a beautiful friendship end unnecessarily.
My husband and I made our own wedding and I know how expensive things can get. Having said that, every person was invited with a date and it was their choice whether they wanted to bring someone or not.
I have heard people say things like “Why should I put out $150 a plate for a stranger?” I will tell you why: Because that stranger’s presence has little to do with the host. Not to mention, quite often others will take that into consideration when deciding how much to give as a gift, so everybody usually comes out even in the end.
Single people often have mixed emotions about attending social functions, specifically weddings, in the first place, especially if he or she has recently ended a relationship themselves.
I don’t understand where people get the idea that their weddings or kids’ Bar Mitzvahs are the be all and end all, and that their guests should be grateful to be invited in the first place, tow the line and follow the rules. It is time for those who are invited without a Plus One to take a stand. If they do not care one way or the other, that’s fine; if, on the other hand, a person decides that they are not going to do something against their will or principles, no one should try to force them to do otherwise by threatening the end of a relationship.
Hosts are better off inviting the people who are most important in their lives to their weddings, and make sure those people are made to feel happy, as if their feelings matter. Otherwise, an invitee should have the option to decline a solo invitation without fear of relationship-ending consequences.
Declining a wedding invitation could well be a deal-breaker as far as future contact with this person goes, but as my friend asked me, why should he be put in this tenable position in the first place? And, furthermore, why then should it not work the other way around? Whatever he ultimately decides to do, life will go on after the wedding is over; however the friendship may not.
With wedding season just around the corner, if you are making a wedding or other such social function, hopefully you will want your guests to look forward to and enjoy your celebration, not dread being there. Hopefully your party will long be remembered with fond memories; remember though, if you make it an unpleasant experience, such as for example taking a staunch position against your friends bringing dates, that will certainly also be remembered too.
It is a hosts’ choice whether or not they decide to invite guests to their soiree with an escort; but if a friend pleads their case as to why he or she would not feel comfortable attending alone and they still do not relax the rules on the issue after that, they should not be surprised if the response on their friend’s R.S.V.P. card simply reads “Return to Sender.”♠
Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2015