Save-the-Dates? No, Really, Save Those Dates!

Two friends of mine said their “I dos” the same year The Beard and I said ours, some before and some not too long after. As a consequence, we were fairly careful when choosing a wedding date to ensure that not only was ours not on the same day as a friend’s wedding, but also not too close so anyone traveling for both wouldn’t be shelling out too much cash in too short a time. Everyone got to attend the weddings of everyone else, and thus we were all happy in addition to being happily married. Not everyone is so lucky, however.

choosing a wedding date

For those who are of an age in which it seems like a friend or relative announces his or her engagement every other weekend, I strongly advise actually saving those save-the-date cards and actually writing the event in your calendar, lest you end up like the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn:

Our son Quinn Bradlee is marrying Pary Williamson in Washington on April 10. My husband’s granddaughter Greta Bradlee is getting married the same day in California. In the past few days there have been a spate of negative stories, both online and in print, about the “dueling weddings.” It’s been hurtful to all four of these wonderful young people. This “dueling” characterization couldn’t be further from the truth.

The unfortunate result of the dates being the same was an inadvertent mistake on my part. My error had nothing to do with the two couples who will wed that day. Quinn and Pary decided on Oct. 10, 2010, as their wedding date. Over Christmas, Greta’s mother and I came to an understanding that, because of existing tensions, it would be best for all if none of us attended Greta’s wedding. Then, in mid-January, we were thrilled to learn that Pary is pregnant, due Sept. 21, and decided to move up the date as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, our church does not do weddings during Lent or Easter. The only date we could arrive on when both church and minister were available was April 10, and the next wasn’t until after Memorial Day. Frantically, I checked my calendar, my husband’s, Greta’s aunt’s, and her cousins’ — everyone had the date free. Each gave the go-ahead. We were also lucky enough to find that the band we had booked was able to make the date change, as well as the photographer, the planner and the attendants. Pary had found the perfect dress, which we bought. It all seemed serendipitous, so we booked everyone and ordered the invitations.

Anyone who has ever hosted a wedding knows the maddening details involved. Locking things down seemed such a relief. Then came the revelation.

What a pickle! In the end, there was no grand conflict (Internet meanness aside) because they’d never intended to attend the other wedding and there was apparently no overlapping of the two guest lists. Can you guarantee that you would be so lucky in the event that your wedding overlaps with that of a family member? If the answer is no, you may even want to discuss potential wedding dates with sisters or brothers and even beloved cousins who have rings on their fingers but have not yet chosen wedding dates. Or not. The alternate strategy involves “calling” your preferred date by letting slip everywhere that you’re planning on saying your vows on such-and-such a date, then sending out save-the-date cards ridiculously early… and hoping that people actually save them!


9 Responses to “Save-the-Dates? No, Really, Save Those Dates!”

  1. Greta’s mother and I came to an understanding that, because of existing tensions, it would be best for all if none of us attended Greta’s wedding

    What was the tension? What was the tension? Oh come on! You want to know! Why would Greta’s own grandfather not go to her wedding?

  2. La BellaDonna says:

    And here I was thinking: Oh! How AWFUL! Why should they be driven to put IN PRINT that there was tension in the families!?

    Something like that I consider painful and PRIVATE. Ugh. Those poor people.

  3. LBD – You actually raise the bigger issue. Why was she writing about this stuff in the first place? I would definitely put this in the category of private family business or, to be more direct, dirty laundry. Yes, I air mine in my blog, but I use fake names and I am not a nationally syndicated columnist.

  4. SusanC says:

    Yes, it seems like there’s an interesting back story involved.

    In situations where families and associates are going to be upset because you were soooo cruel as to schedule your wedding to create a conflict with another wedding (or anniversary party or whatever)…. I recommend elopement. 🙂

  5. Anne says:

    Fun fact: This is the article that got Sally Quinn’s column (which some of you may know from the whole Clinton mess back in the day, or the time she took communion at a Catholic funeral despite not being Catholic) canceled.

    While the sentiment of save-the-date cards is a smart one, one has to doubt the sincerity of the article, considering the whole back story with Ms. Quinn’s own marriage.

  6. La BellaDonna says:

    Gold Digger: I thought that Ms. Quinn had responded in print, because other people had made comments, allegations, etc., in print. It was my impression, possibly mistaken, that her hand had been forced, and she wrote what she did to protect/defend her family from smears, not to throw them in front of the train.

  7. Anne says:

    La BellaDonna: Other people criticized her in print first, yes, due to the sudden change of plans, since they’re a big family in D.C. “society” and this sort of thing does not go unnoticed. One has to wonder if she wasn’t trying to get that sort of response, what with her history. There are some pretty telling stories floating around of how she handled scheduling conflicts in the past.

    And the epilogue: after her column got canceled, she apparently moved her son’s wedding back to its original October date. Which is really very strange if having the baby in wedlock was so important to trigger the move in the first place.

  8. LBD, that may be the case. I don’t know who Sally Quinn is or what she usually writes about (politics? society?), but I would think that even if others had brought it up, it still would have been better to leave it alone. Or at least leave out the line about the “existing tensions.”

    I don’t think it’s a big deal to write about how she handled a scheduling conflict, but I do think it is TMI to discuss the tension between the two families when you are a public figure like that. Surely she could have come up with a diplomatic way to explain why they weren’t going to the granddaughter’s wedding – or better, she should not have offered any excuse at all about why they wouldn’t have gone even there had not been the scheduling conflict. After all, the scheduling conflict and her messing it up should have been enough of an explanation, but she brought in the family dirt so that her screwup wouldn’t look so bad.

    Even though I hang the family laundry out to dry on my blog under fake names and although I am pretty sure my outlaws or anyone they know will never ever see it, I still don’t write everything. There are things I would not write unless my husband were dead because they are very much private family crap and I wouldn’t want to embarrass him. (Any more than he is already embarrassed by his crazy parents, that is.)

  9. Fabrisse says:

    I remember when Sally Quinn was the “homewrecker “who broke up Bradlee’s first marriage back in the 1970s. I was reading the Style pages of the Washington Post (I was somewhere between 10 and 14) and she was an up and coming young journalist. Greta’s mother was one of the children from that marriage.

    She runs the “On Faith” blog at the Post website now, and her dirty laundry is aired regularly by commenters whenever she tries to make a moral point. On the one hand, I feel a little sorry for her. She’s constantly blamed and it does take two to have an affair. On the other hand, she has the unfortunate tendency to, in the British phrase, drop bricks which makes some of the kerfuffles seem like she created them.

    Yes. Save the date cards and entering it on all your relevant calendars if you receive on is a good idea.