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Through Virtual Platform

08 May 2021

Dr. Md. Shamsul Arefin :
Invitation for celebrating family festival, birthday, marriage day or wedding ceremony or any matrimonial purpose, we need to send invitation card mostly in person. Because our culture does not allow us to send the invitation card by email. If the card is sent to someone by email, or request him to join the wedding function over phone, the person understands that he is not duly acknowledged by the host.  His presence at the wedding function is neither appropriately recognized nor deeply solicited. Thus, for the sake of personal dignity, he thought it is wise not to attend the function.  
Everyone wants to be invited with honor and dignity. Sending of an invitation card by following traditional practice handing over in person to the invitee is highly desirable by our culture. If we get an invitation card from host via digital platform, our culture does not permit our wisdom to attend the function. Culture gives an indication that attending the function in such a situation means disrespecting own self.  Therefore, it is better not to attend the function. This is the social practice that we maintain still in an era of 5G virtual platform.
The bride's or groom's family must need to carry invitation card in person and pay a visit to invitee's address to hand over the card to seek personal attention. Only then we can expect that the guest might be mentally ready to attend the function.
In regard to our family and social life, we maintain and love to maintain electronic communication just to avoid traffic jam on the road. Thus, ebanking, ecommerce and email communication have got highest momentum in this digital age and also in time of Covid-19 pandemic. But our prestige is destroyed when we get a wedding invitation card by digital platform. No way, our culture permits to attend the function if it is sent only by an email.
It is known to us that online invitationnot only save money compared to printed wedding cardbut it is also considered as green communication means saves trees for wood to make paper. Online invitation cards are completely comfortableto send many updates to guests as it is needed. Sending online invitation for wedding that arrives to guests quickly gives plenty of time ahead of event for him to book a date with the community hall and his own diary to do other tasks in a more planned way. On the other hand the guests could decide if they would attend or not, and if possible, may submit an RSVP to inform the host that he is unable to attend the function due to unavoidable circumstances.   
In western society, invitations for attending a wedding function are nowadays given by zoom meetings. They do not mind it, rather they have accepted as their social norm. They think, if someone comes to hand over card in person, it creates trouble in finding time for not only the host, but also invitees.  Guests also need to find out time, when and where he may be available in next couple of weeks. Handing over card in person creates huge hassle for both the host and the guestsas well. Thus, western societies have relinquished the traditional culture of handing over card in person. Now inviting someone such as friends, relatives, extended families or high dignitaries, at the wedding function, it is respectfully acceptableculture to both of them to send invitation card by email. They never mind it. Because if guest is in office, his busy schedule will be hampered to receive host with invitation card, or if he is at home, time to be given to him for curtsey meet with hospitality.  Nowadays, people are very busy either in office or at home.
It is true that we're all spending a lot of time online these days, and there have never been more platforms for people to connect and share discussion. Creating a culture of paperless invitation may be a great way to save nature and environment. Therefore, it can be a social movement to change traditional way of inviting people for attending a wedding party.  Clearly, this can make a big difference for hosts on budget and time who would rather spend their money and time elsewhere.
If invitation is sent in digital device, alot of time and unnecessary cost can be saved such as no printing cost, no licking envelopes, no adhering pastes, no writing addresses, no fuel cost. Because host with invitation card does not need to go to invitee's address in person.
Paperless communication can track delivery, collect RSVPs, and message host to understand how many guests are going to attend. It is easiest way to calculate cost of cooking items, hire community center and other expenditure relating to wedding function effectively.
Only barrier is the traditional culture that we like to maintain. If we accept a new culture of sending invitation card by email and the guests would receive warmly and acknowledge the invitation card with due honor, we could save huge paper, cost and time. If we are convinced that receiving invitation card from an email is more acceptable than face to face delivery of card, we might be more respectful to the environment and people's time.  At the same stretch, host at least may have less personal engagement of such events. Should we really believe virtual invitation card is less wasteful, cost effective and hassle-free respectful communication than traditional face to face delivery of invitation card, we may accept and nurture the new culture of receiving invitation card online more warmly from a friend, family or relativesand response accordingly.

(Dr. Md. Shamsul Arefin is  a
 former Senior Secretary)

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