The Pity Invite

I just read this article, about a woman so traumatized about what happened at someones wedding that she has not allowed herself to be in pictures for 10 years.   To summarize, a co-worker was getting married, she was not invited.  Everyone expressed surprise and eventually an invite was extended (the original invites were handmade and hand delivered and hers was in her work mailbox and had been store bought).

She buys a dress and she and her husband went to the wedding.  They were not seated with her other co-workers and were essentially shunned for the evening.  After the wedding, when she asked to see the photos (some of which she had been in), she found she had been airbrushed out of them (large group shots with an empty spot where she had been – her husband standing next to no one).

She was distressed and ever since has not posed for a single picture.  She states that this is all due to her being a size 22 at the time of the wedding and the bride not wanting her fat body in the wedding pictures.

So there are a few things I would like to say about this.

First, I can imagine what this is like.  I am 43 years old.  I have been a bridesmaid exactly 1 time.  It was my sisters wedding.  There was a time when I was younger and a family friend was getting married and I was expected to be asked.  Instead, the mother of the bride asked my mother if I would be offended if my younger sister was asked instead of me as she would fit the dress better.  Regardless of the fact that she was supposedly my friend growing up.   Neither of us actually were in the wedding in the end.  The message was clear that I was too fat for her wedding and my thinner sister was more acceptable.

I had one other time when I was supposed to be a bridesmaid – or at least had been asked to.  A roommate was getting married and I made the choice to back out of being a bridesmaid and to sing at the wedding instead when I saw the dresses the other girls were picking.  I would never want to be in the position to have my comfort be a road block for the bride.  I didn’t know the other bridesmaids and I was just happy to be asked.  It was my choice to say no.  And I did sing at the wedding and I was a part of the big day – in a way that was comfortable for me and was not going to cause any of them additional stresses.

So back to the article – it was clear that the woman did not want her at the wedding.  There is not enough evidence to say for sure it was due to her weight, but the lack of invite initially and the afterthought invite later on, should have been a sign that you were not really welcome.  We call that a pity invite.

I have been there as well.  The pity invite is the one time when you should feel free to say NO.  It will not go well.  You will not enjoy it, they will not enjoy it and in the end it does more harm than good to all involved.

This is where I lose some sympathy for the woman in the story.  All indicators were that she didn’t want you there.  It doesn’t sound like you begged to be there, but either you didn’t get the unspoken clues or you were so determined to be part of it whether or not you were wanted that you barrelled forward with the plan to attend.  Either way – it was not a good idea to attend.   And that is on you.

Having said that, the bride showed incredibly bad form in acting like a diva – having someone photo-shopped out of the photos is pretty extreme.  You have to be really bothered by someone to go that far.

I know there are people who feel like the bride was rude to not invite her (especially when the other co-workers were) and yes it would sting to not get an invite.  But the hurt she felt then is not worth the 10 years she has spent letting it get to her.  10 YEARS.

I would love to here someone elses thoughts on this.  Has it happened to you?  have you ever taken advantage of the pity invite and it went well?