by Lucas Costello
Toronto, if you are a part of any diaspora, is likely to be far away from most of your family. Whether you're Filipino (check), South Asian or West Indian (I could probably spend the entire article just listing the diasporas that make and help revitalize Toronto), that distance is likely to be several time zones into the past and the future simultaneously. It’s a real problem for people wanting to get hitched. Getting married in this city is not cheap and just sending invitations to your loved ones to celebrate your optimistic belief in everlasting love can be a significant cost in and of itself.
My former partner and I shared just such a delusion once (we’re still friends) and being environmentally and cost-conscious, we decided to go the digital route. This was in the last decade, when people still checked their Facebook invites and e-mail wasn’t just a storage place for digital newsletters. We went ahead and gathered the e-mail addresses of relatives from across the country, from BC to Newfoundland, the US, and the Philippines, and then sent those emails out.
Secretly, we knew the cost would be too exorbitant for most of our relatives, though we were hoping they would perhaps send cash in lieu of their presence (they didn’t. A side note: if a couple getting married doesn’t have a registry, give them cash because they probably need it).
Other than my partner’s parents and sister, we had no other immediate family in the province. We hoped that some of her relatives from Quebec might consider making the drive out; they didn’t. Our wedding turned out to be an intimate City Hall affair on one of the most humid days of the aughts, joined by our immediate family and closest Toronto friends. There was lightning and thunder at our first married kiss, which I guess we should have taken as a bad omen? I don’t know.
The post-honeymoon wedding celebration was a packed affair open to all our friends and acquaintances (and, later in the evening, total strangers). Having a bit of a pseudo-superstitious streak, we held the party on w8/8/08 and decided to hold a collective wish to maximize the efficacy of said wishes. We even gave guests three separate wishes to choose from so that no one would know what the other person was wishing (I’m a closet optimist). There’s something pretty amazing about seeing 200 candles individually lit and then blown out.
Upon our return from our honeymoon, we discovered that some of my titas and titos were a little nonplussed about the digital invites. To add to the “oops” factor, I later received a very beautiful, very heavy, stamp festooned, wedding invitation from my younger cousin, with whom I happen to share a name, about a month or so later. The lesson learned here: when communicating with baby boomers, especially relatives who are far away (culturally and geographically), maybe don’t send them an e-vite--environment be damned!
However, it is 100% totally OK for you to send an e-vite to your friends (and the family members that you’re not super crazy about). Let’s be honest, all that ephemera eventually ends up in the recycling anyway.