The envelope was horrifying, all by itself.
Deep, matte black, with a narrow, iridescent ivory address bar that wrapped around the left edge, so the unfamiliar return address bar scrolled vertically, in impeccable 6 point calligraphy, along the back.
The address itself was inked perfectly, in a glorious midnight blue.
It bore a stamp depicting ivory roses.
They even spelled my name right.
I’m sure it is something wrong with me that made me think, What fresh new Hell is this?
Upon opening it, I discovered that it was an invitation to my husband’s cousin’s wedding.
In New York.
And at the bottom, camouflaged within an ornate scroll, were the killing words. “Black tie optional.”
Black tie. This alone might have given me a slight attack of the vapors. But it was the other part that killed me.
Don’t waffle. If you want everyone in a damn tux, just say so. Optional is a cop-out. Optional is a compromise between a bride wanting to have the next Royal Wedding and a groom that thought a sports bar was a viable place to hold a rehearsal dinner.
And they were probably pleased to have arrived at such a compromise. Look! See how compatible we are? How easy we can manage life’s little difficulties? We compromise.
But that’s not really compromise – it’s throwing your hands up and saying, “Not it!” when told the group needs to choose a leader. It’s being that guy who insists he doesn’t care where the group goes out to eat, then pulls a face at each suggestion.
It serves to do nothing except place the onus of difficult decision-making on other people.
So, thanks for that.
If you can’t find a true compromise to even this small detail before you say I do, you’re going to end up with the kid in the hospital nursery that just has “baby” in the first name field of the little crib card.
You’re asking me to shell out close to $1000 worth of airfare, another $600 worth of hotel accommodations (thanks for reserving that room for us!), and another couple hundred on food and a rental car.
Not to mention the cost of new clothes for the family. Which is going to come down to a paralyzing decision on my part. Go higher dollar and fall squarely in place? Or shell out a bit less – black tie is optional, after all – and feel like the country cousins we are?
All this, just so that we can give you something from your Pottery Barn gift registry in person?
I don’t think so.
We regretfully decline.
We’re staying home.
And your gift? For such a dazzling couple, how could we go with something as simple as the set of 12 teak napkin rings for a mere $112?
No, no. We have chosen something totally unique, to outshine the rest.
We’ll be naming a star in honor of you. We’ll send you the coordinates in the card.