Of Wedding Invitations and Soliciting



It’s the Wedding Season again in this part of Southern India and the Wedding Invitations come in a flood, draped in various outfits and mesmerising Spring-Summer collections: from midget-Small, through the normal –Medium & Large to the epic Encyclopedia ones – Extra Large, Double & Triple Extra Large! Each Invitation tells a story and provides a sumptuous meal for thought.

For starters, many do not seem to know the difference between ‘Wedding and Marriage’. Often they invite us to ‘take part in the marriage’ and most do the job by ‘soliciting’. The English language has become so common that it is not uncommon to ‘marry its misuse’.

A Wedding is a Ceremony, a Function, an Event, where a Man and a Woman (or, as things have now evolved – between any two persons) get married with all kinds of chants, hymns, blessings being thrown on the young (maybe old too) couple, hoping that they catch them all and stay married (to each other), and live happily together, hopefully for the rest of their lives. We invite family and friends to attend the Wedding Ceremony, and partake as witnesses (for legal purposes and future boundary issues) or as participants in the joyful celebrations. Once the Wedding event is over, the invitees ‘consciously uncouple’ from the Wedding so that the just married couple can get along with the more serious business of ‘executing the marriage’ or, if they cannot, at short notice (sometimes it happens within minutes – like a famous Virgin would sing to you!) they divorce, and may get married again in another Wedding Ceremony. Got it? Of course, the Wedding bells ring-in on property and inheritance and intends to put a cap on them for future claims – cash or estate!

Now let’s move ahead to the wording of the Wedding Invitation itself. I find it awfully hard to accept the word “solicit” (typically an Invitation would begin with, I solicit your esteemed presence…) find an honourable place in a Wedding Invitation, given the history of the word “solicit”. It might now be quite normal to use the word more generically – in an ever changing world; but if you dig the history of the word “solicit” you find that it is typically applied to Prostitutes earnestly requesting sex-work; gathered in the heart of the City or in the dark by-lanes of a Town or in the arteries of a Village; they tout for business, make sexual advances to secure business in sex. Wow! Would you solicit people to attend a Wedding? What business are you in?

A Wedding Invitation – I would not invite anybody to my marriage (that’s confidential) – being formal, should it not be in the third person? It is the one occasion in your life where you treat yourself  as a Queen/Princess or King/Prince? Hence, you would say, His Royal Highness invites so and so…rather, Mrs and Mr Kumar invite you to the Wedding of their Daughter/Son… We would expect guests to attend the Wedding, eat, drink, dance, make merry and leave – and not stay back to ‘participate in the process of marriage’, would you? It’s not difficult to visualise the consequences!

So much for the titles, lets move over to the sub-titles. It’s almost mandatory to pout the educational qualifications of the Bride & Groom and where they are employed. I saw an invitation where – thank the Printer – the degree / educational qualification of the Bride & Groom was not mentioned, but that of the brother of the bride was boldly indicated (almost with a shout) that too with an unfinished stroke over the Post Graduation. Is this an advertisement, rather ‘soliciting’ a partner – next in line? Then, there are others where a long list of who’s who in the Country (sorry, Family) is listed, as special invitees, along with wives, children (they are called fancy names in the vernacular, such as ‘kutties’ – kids); maybe someone will add their pet dog and cat too! The worst is, if you invite a Political Biggie to head the Wedding; then it’s all banners and party festoons, and colours and designations… you will have to hunt with marriage dogs for the Bride & Groom in the Invitation!

Why cannot we simply keep the Invitation simple and formal – talking about the couple and their parents (or the inner circle) – nobody else, and how, and where the Celebrations are being held (and whether to bring small or large presents). Does it ever matter! There was one Invitation which came in the form of a ‘Large’ gold spangled Booklet (cost would have sufficed for a quick honeymoon trip in the nearest Hill Station) where there was never one mention of a phone number one could call up to RSVP! Well they were a highly placed Business Group, high also in Society and perhaps they though that including a phone number would be equal to soliciting? (Business, or otherwise!).

Lets invite guests to the Wedding Ceremony and allow the couple to keep the marriage between themselves! Mind the Invitation!


3 thoughts on “Of Wedding Invitations and Soliciting

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