Thursday, January 15, 2009

Return Cards

Before I graduated High School, I hadn’t realized the significance of a return card. Then I started hearing classmates talk about if they received return cards with the wedding invitation. I found out it meant that you would be invited for the whole thing, rather than just the dancing, or chupah.

So far 19 of them got married, and I have gotten a return card by almost all of them. I haven’t gone to all the weddings though. Now there are 4 engaged and I recently got two interesting invitations in the mail. These 2 weddings are a day apart. The first wedding’s invitation came with 2 pieces of typed up paper. Now I’ve got plenty of invitations with personal notes, and “can’t wait to dance with you!” But I’ve never gotten these types of messages before.

One Said:

Dear “Babysitter” Amush,

I would love to invite you to my entire wedding but due to monetary constraints I can only invite you for Simchas Chosson V’Kallah. Your presence would greatly enhance my Simcha.

Love, “Classmate”

The Second one said:

Before coming to my Yom HaChupa, I would like to take a moment to ask you for forgiveness for anything that I may have said to hurt you in any way. Please Say out loud you’re Mochel me and may Hashem bench you with much Brocha and Hatzlacha and may we continue to share in each other’s Simchos.

Love, “Classmate”

So at first I was thinking to myself, wow that is so thoughtful of her, to actually write that. I’ve never seen somebody express their true wish to have you there for the whole thing, and only money is standing in the way. And that she asked to be forgiven. I thought it was really special.

Then the “yetzer hora” got a hold of me, and I was thinking it was strange, that it’s obvious that because of money issues she wasn’t able to invite the whole grade, that there’s no reason to state it out. That it sort of makes you feel worse about it. Then I started thinking that maybe she sent the second note about forgiveness to makeup for not inviting me to the whole thing. As if it was done subtly in hope that you wouldn’t figure it out.

Then I got the next invitation, which did have a return card, but which also had a forgiveness note, this one was in Hebrew, but basically saying the same thing, so then I figured, wow, it really seems like a special thing. It’s an amazing concept that by a wedding day the Kallah and Chosson get forgiven of all their sins, so here they are acknowledging that, and doing something about it. I was impressed, I think more invitations should have that.

As a side point, I went to a friends vort a couple of weeks ago, and as soon as anyone came in she gave them a hug and took a picture with them. She’s a very mushy type, and she was talking to me about all kinds of stuff, memories that I couldn’t believe she remembered, and I was truly touched.

Then she showed me the flowers her Chosson bought her, and it had a note attached to it, that her Chosson wrote, it was a bracha to her, written in Hebrew. I was amazed by it, I’ve never seen such a thing before. Then I realized what a perfect fit they must be, cause she’s always giving Brachos and Mushy comments to everyone.


NMF #7 said...

That's very funny- I, and most of my classmates- sent out the one for mechila. It seems to be a popular thing to do, and I'm curious as to why you haven't gotten one till now.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's like a fad, or maybe it's on its way to becoming a frumkeit...

I'm with you thinking that mentioning money in a wedding invitation is a bit vulgar, though. I mean, I know this is the USA, but get over it.

Moshe said...

Never heard about the later notes.

Concerning the former, it's better to just not say anything. It's like saying "I'd invite you but you're probably too cheap to bring a big enough check to cover your food so I'm not gonna."

I don't go if I don't get a return card. Why should I spend time and money getting there and not get food in return. Car service both ways, time, arranging for someone to take care of both kids, etc.

Child Ish Behavior said...

"Then the “yetzer hora” got a hold of me" lol.
That would have been my first responce. That or Moshe's comment. cynicism rules the day.

Leora said...

The first one is definitely tacky. Better to say nothing. Certainly not in writing.

Mechila sounds like something one asks for before Yom Kippur. Doesn't seem appropriate for a wedding invite. But it's better than the talking about money on the invitation.

harry-er than them all said...

In the yeshivos i've been to, when they pass around the invitation there is usually a note written on that theme, that anyone who's name is not on it, please come, but you arent invited for the meal due to space/financial considerations

Shorty said...

That was thoughtful of her to ask for your forgiveness. Good for you for recognizing your "other side" and thinking only the good of your friend.
i hope you enjoy the Simchah!

Good Shabbos!

Belka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

I have never knew the meaning of return cards and i just thought that some people prefer to spend money on them or get them as a part of a deal with Invitation company and other's just don't want to add extra expenses since they're already have enough to spend on (I'm not saying being cheap, ok?)

Also as I heard but it's hard for me to prove is that in a more yeshivishe/frum communities it's not such a custom to bring checks, so there are times when people really can't afford food for all their yeshiva classmates and friends that they'd be happy to invite to share simcha.
I would not get offended by the first message in most cases because weddings are really expencive these days (can't say they weren't before - someone recently told me that in former USSR it was a custom to bring something about 50 rubles to a wedding [secular] although people were paid 150/mo).

Second note is really nice as it says Chosson and Kallah get cleared their sins on the day of wedding as it's another Yom Kippur for them. So why not to help them?

Moshe said...

Weddings are very expensive per person if you order very expensive food.

Anonymous said...

BTS - I've only been to 2 weddings, but at each every couple/guest brings a check, they were Russian weddings.

Moshe said...

By Russian weddings, you always bring money. I wish I could say the same for Russian brisim.

Lion of Zion said...


i find that "russians" are generally very generous when it comes to giving gifts at simchas, whereas native frumskies are generally cheap [censored]


i've never understood this whole concept of inviting someone only to the chuppah.

but anyway, i had never heard about this concention until i "lost" the response card to a wedding invitation. i spent a few days trying to find it and finally called the guy's brother-in-law (my good friend) to get his number and RSVP over the phone. his brother-in-law asked me if i was sure i had actually received a response card and he exaplained to me about the chuppah-only invititation. i was glad he warned me, otherwise there probably would have been some embarassment.

shavu'ah tov

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

@KT - I guess that's Russian tradition, can't say for sure though - no experience of weddings in Russia.

@Moshe - tradition always get started somewhere and then is picked up by next generations. Work hard on next generation (can't blame you - you're good in that so far) and make sure to start this tradition now.
I have to add that I was not ever aware of if I should bring money on Bris but I am always trying for as long as I have something.
Hopefully I'll be able to help you with your tradition!

@Lion of Zion - think of this - Chosson and Kallah arrange a wedding hall, tell their caterer they'd have 200 people and all of a sudden there's 300 coming. Who's gonna take care of that? More of that who's got money to cover that?
Well Bobov and Satmar weddings probably don't predict amount of people who come, but B''H they've got money to cover it.

Shorty said...

I don't see anything wrong with inviting friends to "certain" parts of the wedding. Weddings are expensive, and it is difficult to feed everyone. So someone may get an invitation "post-dinner" and can think a) "how cheap" or b) "this friend obviously wants me there, and is doing THEIR best to invite as many people as they care about to this happy occasion.

Having planned my wedding, i am very thankful when i receive any kind of invite be it to the full event or the dessert or dancing. It is a time to celebrate.

two cents.


Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

Ok this got lots of comments...

NMF#7: Very interesting, and I would have expected such a thing from my type of school.

Bad4: I suppose so.

Right, it does sound vulgar.

Moshe: I agree about it being better to not say anything.

lol, food. Your right, when your married with a family I can imagine all the inconveniences. For me it's not so bad to make time to go to a wedding.

Child ish: lol

Leora: I agree

About the Mechila, its by Yom Kippur, and also when people get married. I know they get forgiven for their sins, but I haven't heard of people asking others to forgive them.

Harry-er than them all: Reminds me of wedding invitations posted in teachers rooms.

Shorty: Thanx!

Dude with a Hat: reminds me of something Frum Skeptic said about Russians bringing a present the value of their meal.

Moshe: right, but also, all these weddings are by Ateres Shlomo which is one of the cheapest halls.

Lion Of Zion: yea so that's good you called to RSVP.

Shorty: Right, any part is good and thoughtful.

Lion of Zion said...


"I don't see anything wrong with inviting friends to "certain" parts of the wedding."

friends? how many of those people that you invited only to the wedding were really "friends." how many times have you seen them/spoken to them since the wedding?


i don't understand what you wrote to me


oh no, the point was that after the brother-in-law warned me, i *didn't* call to rsvp. that would have been embarassing, as there was never a response to card to begin with. i just didn't know that because i had never heard of this before.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

Lion Of Zion: o, I missread what you wrote....
ok, that makes more sense now.

Anonymous said...

~Happy Birthday!!!~

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

KT: Thanx!

Mike said...

I respect both of the notes that you received. There is no reason to invite your whole class for the whole wedding, it's a very expensive way to be courteous. I do not take it personally when I receive an invitation without a return card... however when the wedding is in Williamsburg and I'm only invited for the Chupah/dancing, chances are slim that I would go but I would call and wish mazel tov.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

Mike: right, I thought the same way. Now though I have classes 3 times a week till 9:15, so that's gonna limit the amount of weddings I can go to. Although 2 of my friends weddings are coming out on Sunday and Monday, and because Monday is Presidents day it works out.

Also, by the girl who sent the letter's shower, I went over to her and I told her that I liked the forgiveness note she wrote, that it was really sweet, so she told me she saw it in a different girls wedding invitation and saved it, to use by her own. That she thought it was nice too. So she had the purest of intentions with both of them.

I've never been one to call people and wish them mazel tov though.

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