May 24, 2014

How To Invite People To A Wedding

I hate the world. Each and every person in this world. Well... actually not every person. There are a few people I love. My family. My friends. Babies. People who inspire me. Beautiful girls which make the world a better place just by being beautiful. My favorite Authors. Scarlette Johansson.

But besides them, I hate every living breathing person on this planet. The strangers on the way. The Politicians. The reality TV people. People who rub me the wrong way. People who don't rub me the wrong way but I think they will, sometime in future. Justine Bieber. My neighbors. The feminists. 

We group most of them in a single word... ahh.. the "Society". I hate society. And I hate all the customs, rules and regulations that this society has made for me, without even taking my consent. I hate it all more than I love anyone. 

I wish I could be compassionate with the people I don't like. I wish I could like them. Unfortunately I am not a Teresa or a Gandhi. I am a normal guy, and hence I possess a license to hate people. But yeah, I don't walk around with a play-card telling people "I hate you". I simply ignore them. I don't care what they have to say about me (or at least I try to). I only care about 0.0000001% people in this world who I know and love.

One of my friends got married last year. I so wanted to attend his wedding. We had planned this ever since we were in mid-school. And the reason I was so excited, was because that would have given me an excuse to visit the great state of Bihar. A state which has produced some of the greatest minds that I know of. But he didn't invite me. I don't know why. I waited even till one day before his wedding for the invitation. Then next day I forgot it was his wedding. I hated him for several months. Then I stopped caring. We haven't talked since then. But if we ever meet, I will congratulate him and move on. Why hold grudges?

Another of my friends got married 3 months ago. He invited me, but I turned down the invitation. He tried again a few days later. I painfully but shamelessly refused again. We haven't talked since then. Earlier this year, I got invitations from two other friends for their brothers' wedding. I refused them both. We haven't talked since then. Last year I got 5 (may be 6) invitations for wedding.  All of them personally called me (multiple times!) and emotionally blackmailed me. I either didn't pick up their calls, refused or gave a very confusing 'yes'. Then I didn't go to their weddings. I managed to attend one (which was a miracle in itself).

The point? I don't like to go to weddings. I am a lazy guy. Plus an introvert. That gives me a constitutional right to not attend  your wedding, howsoever great friend you are. I don't like big gatherings of people I don't know. I feel like they all are conspiring to kill me. But friends and associates who invite me don't understand that. They think I don't like them (which is not true 99% of the times).

For me, big lavish weddings are a huge waste of time and money. May be you like to throw and attend such bashes. I am so happy for you. But please don't expect me to be the same. May be I am not from Mars (like they say all Men are). May be I am from Saturn. People from Saturn usually don't like to attend weddings. I have a few other reasons of not attending most of the weddings, but I am too embarrassed to tell them. So, let's not get into that. 

OK, let's forget about me for a moment.

I don't understand the point of inviting those people to the most important event of your life, whom you don't even like, or barely know of. People who only care about the food in the menu and the decorations. Why not invite the beggars and poor hungry people instead? They will give you more genuine "Aashirwaad", and make your wedding look bigger and more happening, if that's what you are looking for. You must understand, NONE of these people with their "pretentious happiness" for you, come forward when problems start coming in the marriages.

No, I am not anti-wedding. As I said, it's a special occasion which comes only once in a lifetime (for most people). So my thinking is that, we should call only those people, without whom your happiness won't be complete. If that means calling 30,000 people from all over the world or 500 FB friends, then so be it. But, I suspect that won't be the case for most people. May be just 50 or 100 people truly matter in your life. Why not just call only them?

Below is a 10-step process to invite people to your (or your near-and-dear one's) wedding. This process will guarran-damn-tee to bring at least 90% of those invited. It will ensure that only those people attend the wedding whom You want. And of course, this will significantly bring down the wedding cost, thus inducing less tension and hence more happiness. It's an irony I might not get to use this 10-pointer if I ever marry myself. My family doesn't listen to me (may be that's why I write). But, I hope you use this process. Let me know how it goes:

Step 1. Make a list of everyone you know of. This is going to take a lot of time, but it will ensure no one is left from the process. Think about your school, college, office friends. Think about your ex, neighbours, and ex-neighbours. Think about the guy with whom you did a short term course together. Take your own time here. Made the list? Good job. Let's move on to the next step.

Step 2. Take a big red marker and start crossing out the names of the people you don't care about, or hate in your gut. I would recommend cussing the ones you hate while crossing their names, but that's optional. If you are anything like me, your list will be down to 30%. You might also realize how much lonely you are really, but let's not concentrate on that. 

Step 3. Write down the names of the people you are left with in a separate sheet. Now take a green marker (or red one if you don't want to waste money), cross out the names of people who didn't contact you in past one year (remember, you contacting them doesn't count). They may have their reasons, but not remembering you even once in past 365 days is an unpardonable excuse. This should take out another 10% from your list. Screw these  people. 

Step 4. Again  make another list of people you are left with. Now take a blue marker (or again the red one) and cross out the names of people You didn't contact in past one year (they contacting you doesn't count here). I know you care about them. But the fact that you didn't contact them in last 365 days means they have become second priority in your life. Why do you want to guilt trip by inviting them to a wedding? Let's face it. Some people take priority and others get left behind. There is no need to feel sorry for them. This should again take out 5% from your list. Don't invite these 5% but if you can, get in touch with them today.

Step 5. If you were honest your list will contract to about 15-20% people than the ones you started with. Take a yellow marker (or red) and strike out the names of people which starts with "Q", "X" and "Z" (trust me on this one). Strike out the people who have a criminal  background (how come they reach step 5? Wait, how did they even managed to be in the list?), people who are cynical or die hard pessimist (yeah, they are good friends but they have no use to be in a wedding). 

Step 6. The list that you are left with is the one you are actually going to send invitations to. You have arrived at this list after a really painstaking process. Make it painful for them to refuse you. Start inviting them as soon you can, so that they don't have an excuse of not having time. Anyone can block their time if they are told 3 months ago. Do NOT message them to invite. Do NOT send emails. Do NOT send an ecard. Send an actual invitation card, if you want, but don't just do that. Actually, call them (multiple times like my friends do) to let them know that they need to come to your wedding. Tell them they hold a special place in your life and now you want to share a special occasion with them. Tell them that you crossed out thousands of names and they are one of the only few who made it to the final list. Tell them, you will feel hurt (which you actually will) if they don't make it to the wedding. No need to romanticize your call here, just be direct.

Step 7. The above process should convince most of them. But don't stop there. Actually take a clear "Yes" or "No" from them. If they need time to decide, ask them when to call back. I don't recommend emotionally blackmailing anyone, but if you do go that route make sure you mean it. Telling someone you will stop talking to them and then starting to talk to them after a few months, only makes you look stupid. If someone says "No", try to find  out the reason. See if you can help them avoid avoiding the wedding. By the way, "I don't want to attend your wedding. And for no particular reason" should be considered a perfectly acceptable No. Respect that.

Step 8. By this step you should be convinced that 99% of people who said are going to turn up. The ones who still don't make it after saying "Yes" should be hated. They are lower than the ones who outrightly said "No". Don't go to any invitationals of such "betrayers". You will always have family pressure to call the neighbors and relatives. The ones you barely know. Yeah, it's important to call them so as to keep up with the "society". But don't buzz. Screw society. Don't care about the "Obligation" to call everyone in your office, or on your FB list. It's (most probably) your wedding , you should have the first right of whom to call and whom not. 

Step 9. I don't have a step 9. But remember, the last decision of coming to your wedding or not should be left to the invitees. Some people have genuine problems. People like me love you, and they are genuinely happy for you. But they hate weddings. So, they should be left alone to lick their wounds. Just be grateful for those who could make it.

Step 10. I don't have a step 10 either. But if you call me after actually following this process, then let me tell you one thing. I am just so grateful that I hold a special place in your life. This invitation means a lot to me. I might still not make it, but that's my personal problem. I love you. Wish you (or your near 'n dear one) a Very Happy Married Life.

I did a survey amongst my friends a few months ago. Most of them informed that only 60-70% people who get invites actually turn up. I don't have real numbers to back it up, but I am sure the above process will fetch you at least 90%. And you are also sure that all of them are actually genuinely happy to be present at this wedding. Now, isn't that wonderful?