10 blunt-but-loving ways to tell people they’re not invited to your wedding

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how to tell people theyre not invited to your wedding alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
The wording on this invitation is a joke, but the wedding invitation design from Vistaprint is legit cute, right?? We don't suggest you actually send anything like this, but Vistaprint‘s powerful wedding invitation customization options made it really fun to illustrate this blog post.

Oh, the trials of the wedding guest list. Especially if you're throwing a small wedding or micro wedding dealing with frustrations from family and friends who aren't invited to your wedding can be grueling.

You've sent out the invites, and then you hear from someone who isn't on your guestlist expressing confusion, concern, or even anger. WHY WASN'T I INVITED!?

I wrote about this in the Offbeat Bride book — dealing with your wedding's guest list can make you feel like a big mean club bouncer, deciding who's in and who's out of the VIP line.

While there's no way to make everyone happy, I do believe that there are a few key phrases you can use if an uninvited guests asks you if they're invited.

FIRST: I'm NOT suggesting you contact people to tell them they're not invited. 

The “you're not invited” cards featured in this post are just me playing around with the powerful customization options of Vistaprint's adorable wedding invitations — no one here is actually suggesting you send people cards to tell them they're not invited to your wedding.

But, if someone ASKS you if they're invited, there are ways you can tell them that you love them, you SO appreciate their interest, but no, they're not invited.

Below, I've wrassled up ten of my favorite copy ‘n' paste gentle guest list rejection responses.

How you want to approach your response can depend on which angle you want to take. Whatever you do, don't get into the specifics of how many people you're inviting or how you're choosing guests. Keep it vague and loving.


Due to tight limitations on our budget, we've had to be pretty brutal in chopping down our guestlist. I'm so sad that we can't have you there with us on the day, but we look forward to catching up afterwards!
Since we are paying for the wedding ourselves, our budget is very limited. It's SO hard not to go into debt over this, because of course we want to invite everyone… but we're really trying to kick off our marriage by being financially responsible about the wedding.
We would love for you to be there with us, but because of our tight budget, we weren't able to invite as many people as we would have liked. But I'd love to find time for a one-on-one visit afterwards!
how to tell someone they arent invited to my wedding alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
We're just joking around with the wording, but these wedding invitation design from Vistaprint are actually super cute.


We made the difficult choice to keep our wedding pretty intimate, and unfortunately that means there are a lot of friends and family who won't be there on our wedding day. I hope you can understand that it's nothing personal, and respect our wishes to keep our sacred event small.
There are so many people we would love to have been able to invite, but we're trying to keep our wedding small. It means so much to me that you're interested, and I so wish I could have everyone there with us!
Oh, man. We SO wish we could invite everyone… but we made the difficult decision to just keep the wedding very small — mostly just close family.
We're keeping our wedding pretty small, so we're only able to invite our very closest family and friends. This means we just can't invite everyone we'd like, as much as we'd love to. I'm so sorry that we can't extend an invitation.
you cant come to our wedding alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Ok, we maybe had too much fun customizing these actually cute wedding invitation design from Vistaprint to illustrate this post.


The venue we've chosen comes with some pretty stringent limitations on the number of guests we can invite. The process of making our guestlist has been really difficult for us, and I hope you can understand that it's nothing personal — let's make plans now to meet up after the wedding!
Our venue has a limited number of people they'll allow, and our guestlist is primarily taken up by very close family and the wedding party. I hope you can understand how difficult this process has been for us — there are so many people we wish could be there with us.


I strongly discourage the use of white lies but do want to acknowledge that some folks like going this route with distant family or very casual acquaintances.

“While we don't have the guest list finalized yet, we're only planning for our families and closest friends, due to money and space issues.”

Ultimately, remember that no matter how loving or articulate you are, people are entitled to their feelings of disappointment. Try to remember that their disappointment comes from a place of LOVE: they want to be with you on your wedding day! You're not responsible for their disappointment, nor can you control it — all you can do is try your best to be respectful and kind, and make sure they know that you understand how much they care. But then you've got to release it, and get on with your planning.

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Comments on 10 blunt-but-loving ways to tell people they’re not invited to your wedding

  1. Of course this is a lot easier if you don’t mind meeting rude with rude. I had some people I hadn’t spoken to in years ask where there invite was and I always was just like “We only sent invitations to those we have maintained contact with recently outside of asking for an invitation.”

    • This is pretty much what I’m doing. Our wedding isn’t tiny (approx 100) and it’s mostly friends, but even with those numbers, it fills up very quickly with people we speak with on a regular basis – and in most cases, have known for quite some time. When people ask me why I haven’t invited X, Y or Z random aquaintances or friends of friends, I just say I’ve only invited people I actually hang out with.

      There have been a few people we both really like but couldn’t invite because we needed to get numbers down, but most of the people I’ve been directly asked about are either a) people we haven’t seen or spoken to in years, or b) people we were never friends with in the first place.

  2. Great ideas! Except for the white lie deal. I really discourage this.
    I had a roommate/friend lie to my face and tell me I was invited to his wedding (after I asked him politely to tone down the wedding talk – as I would understand if I wasn’t invited, but I didn’t want to hear all the details of an event I wouldn’t be attending).
    He and his fiance then talked about their wedding with me for 9+ months and ended up not inviting me – completely disrespecting me and ignoring my wishes on the subject. They never once discussed their decision with me – though I would even have been fine with a “plans changed, sorry” conversation. It left me really raw and upset with them both – I would have completely understood if they had been honest with me from the start. It was just so unnecessary.

    • I’m totally with you. I offered the white lie as a compromise, for those who just don’t feel empowered to tell the whole truth.

      • I deinatley agree with Rachael, but at the same time understand why you’ve given white lies as examples.

        I’ve always been a fan of the didn’t ask, don’t tell, idea. Meaning, if someone doesn’t specifically ask why they aren’t invited, don’t bother insulting them with a lie(this even works in a work situation, meaning you don’t have to tell your boss why your asking for the day off if they don’t ask. And I’m not using insult in a negative way even though it sounds like it)

        I find people are too apologetic about things that they don’t need to be. My husband and I just ran away to get married last week and we are going to give out mini photo books to the people who weren’t invited, but would liked to have been a part of it. The first page of the book says “sorry you weren’t invited, but we didn’t even invite our own mothers, how could you expect us to invite you and not them?”

      • It “could” be useful with people you will not likely see again before hand and have not kept in contact with… as in you don’t even have their address

    • The white lie answer could be useful with very distant acquaintances angling for an invite who you won’t see again before the wedding, it’s not appropriate with someone you see and speak to about the wedding every day! It sounds like your room mate told you a big black lie!

      • Indeed. The moment an engagement is announced, people leap all over it with “Ooh, when can I expect my invitation?” Chances are, you haven’t locked down a budget and picked a venue, so you won’t have a guest list yet. But there are those acquaintances that you KNOW you won’t invite. This response is to them.

        • But if you haven’t thought up the wedding list yet then this actually won’t be a white lie at this stage it will be true.

    • Someone that I’d known for a long time and was a good friend to, didn’t invite me to her Wedding. Honestly I thought it was an oversight. I mentioned it to her. Then came one of the above explanations. After she was finished, I looked her square in the eye and said “you’ve just given me the translation for, “we’re not close friends.” It’s apparent you’ve been using me, and it ends now.

      • Just because someone didn’t invite you, doesn’t mean they are using you. I haven’t invited a bunch of my friends because we really do want a small wedding, not because we don’t care about them, or don’t want them there. Some friends made the list because they are mutual friends of both myself and my FH, while others, equally close friends, didn’t because we aren’t both friends with them and just can’t invite everyone.

      • I agree with Sandra. I have a lot of friends that I see in person about once or twice a month that I just can’t invite. Part of this is because its a 75 person wedding and my fiance’s family is coming from Brazil to meet my family for the first time. The other part is that my parents are paying for the majority of the wedding and want to bring so many of their friends. I just honestly told my friends this exact truth and most of them understood perfectly. It doesn’t mean that they are not my friends or that I’m using them.

        Now friends coming out of the woodwork who I haven’t seen in years are much easier to handle! I recommended to some of them who asked me about the wedding that I hadn’t seen them in awhile and that we should make plans to hang out and catch up. None of them followed up on my offer so no invite!

      • The above explanations shouldn’t be lies. I’m assuming you’ve never had a wedding, Lacey, because if you’ve been through the experience of having to pick and choose who you invite you would not think like that.

        There were a lot of people we didn’t invite because of limited funds that I WISH had been there. Some people don’t get invited because I never talk to them, some because if I invited them I would have to invite three other people that wouldn’t make the original list and some people were not invited that I later regretted because I didn’t realize how much I valued them until people I had chosen over them no-showed my wedding!

        You should apologize to your friend and do something nice for her. If you don’t, you’re going to want to after you go through the same thing.

      • Lacey Jo I understand you being hurt, but just because someone used one of the above listed ideas (even word for word) it does not mean they don’t mean the words. I am currently trying to figure out a way to tell A LOT of people my fiance and I both genuinely care about that we can not afford to invite them to our wedding. Plain and simple, the average wedding of 100 ppl on average will run between $10,000 – $20,000 and that is CHEAP I assure you. You could be right about your friend, and I agree she should have tried to use the examples above to formulate her own answer but more than likely she simply just doesn’t handle confrontation well and did not want to hurt your feelings. I am being forced to leave off many friends so that I am able to invite all the family – I am dreading having to tell them. More often then not these things have NOTHING to do with you. There is always pressure from family on both sides on who “must be there” it takes a very strong bride to say “nope I’m inviting who I want there” to her future mother in law – LOL.

  3. I am not quite sure why I would send “uninvitations”, does not getting an invite not say enough? I would be disappointed to find a letter in the mail or a card that then turns out not to be an invite but the opposite, even if I was not angling for an invitation. Telling people in person would be the best. I apologize if the replies you propose in the post are indeed the ones to be conveyed in person or by e-mail, I just did not quite get it at first. Is this in case invitations are sent out, and people know about it already? Otherwise, getting the “yes, you are a friend, but *just* not close enough” right without offending is difficult. To be simply left of the list would be almost better for me, personally.

    How does one deal with a cost-defined maximum guest list of 100 and leaving of friends from the guest list, if very few from the original list can actually make it, even after us asking in advance? I had to tell good acquaintances in person that we could not afford to invite them, but promised to include them if others would cancel, we knew a lot of US guests would likely not make it to the wedding in Europe. Sadly by the time we knew the others could not get time off to attend.

    • OMG, I am absolutely NOT suggesting anyone seek people out to tell them they’re not invited. This post is offered for those dealing with the quite common experience of having coworkers, friends-of-friends, or other acquaintances ask point blank if they’re invited.

      • Thank you for the clarification, I was sure you did not recommend sending actual rejection letters, and speculated on the possible effect of doing so, I hope my comment did not offend. Your advice on how to tell people nicely that they won’t be on the list is really good.

      • If I got a HEY YOU’RE NOT INVITED SORRY card in the mail I think I would die laughing.

        • i WISH someone would DARE send that kind of an invite to someone to see their reaction!!!!!!! lol!

        • Okay- so I actually came on this site to find the best way to tell my father’s mother I’d rather she not look for an invitation.
          We’ve never been close and I don’t want to start now. I was seriously considering a “hey I’m getting married, but, um, please don’t come. You’re not invited” letter!

          • Same here. I want to invite my step-uncle because he and my mom are close, but that means his sister (moms step-sis) and all her kids (who I havent seen in about 14 years) plus their kids and SOs will expect invites. Its gone from 3 to 15 REAL quick. Sigh.

        • We’ve had numerous “you’re not invited to the wedding” invitations from my husband’s side of the family, who are from a VERY different religious tradition than we are. We cannot even be admitted to the building for the wedding ceremonies of his cousins (etc.) but the family does want us to know we are welcome to come share the celebratory time with the families, come to the reception, etc. if we would like to do so. We usually decline because of the strangeness of “I didn’t see you at the temple… so, who exactly are you?” questions. The un-invitation, though, is alive and well (and WEIRD, imho).

  4. We are having a very small wedding (38, including us), and basically were straightforward with people. Since we had originally planned for a larger wedding, but ran into budget issues, we simply let people know that we were only going to invite parents, siblings and spouses, and those friends who would have been the wedding party (and their spouses/significant others) in a larger wedding. People have been pretty understanding so far and nobody has pitched a fit yet (fingers crossed)

    • This is pretty much our exact situation. We had a whole big wedding being planned with 175 guests and then came to a sudden realization that it was way too much money. We ended up moving the entire thing from NJ to MA and saving us like 30K in the process. I have to now figure out how to tell people that thought they were invited at first (cause they were) that we are budget constrained and can’t invite them. We are only inviting parents (unfortunately because of divorces and remarriages there are a lot of those), siblings (and only the close ones. I have some I hardly ever hear from), grandparents, 2 aunts and 2 uncles each, the bridal party, and 4 friends. We’re pretty limited to 40 guests and at the rate it’s going there isn’t going to be a lot of elbow room.

    • This is what we did (same amount of people too) except it is my family and his family & friends – though we just call them family.

    • Same here. Our wedding is going to be about 40, and we are mostly only inviting family. The few close friends that we invited meet the following criteria: we both know the friend relatively well, and at least one of us has been friends with the person for years. I am inviting my best friend of 15 years and another close friend I’ve known for 10. He’s inviting a few friends he’s known since high school. Everyone else is a relative.

      Everyone who has asked if they’re invited has been polite and understanding when I mention that we just want a small, intimate ceremony with mostly family.

    • I’d be concerned about some you don’t see pitching a fit about not being included. Some people have “a long memory.” Sometimes an invitation is a small sacrifice made, to avoid “a long memory.” It’s known as “keeping the peace.” It is a grace that people with good manners live by.

  5. If you’re going to blame the budget, venue, etc., make sure that your friends don’t later find out something to the contrary. If you told them that the venue was small but then they see Facebook photos of a huge ballroom, they might be hurt if they were already a little stung by not being invited. Or if you say you’re aiming for a small, simple affair and then they see photos or hear stories of this big lavish event, you might damage their trust. It’s good to set limits about who you invite, but be careful not to get yourself caught in a white lie. Stories and photos from weddings circulate for so long (and your friends may share them even if you yourself keep mum) that the “evidence” will betray you.

    • YES! THIS!
      Gah. I made the mistake of asking how my Little in my sorority’s wedding was going and saying it would be lovely if there was room for me (totally understanding if she didn’t have a place since it was late in the game, and we were catching up at a mutual friend’s wedding) She bowed out citing space issues, then come to find its a HUGE wedding.
      Now, shame on me for fishing for an invite (I have since learned my lesson thanks to OBB 🙂 ) but regardless, it really stung that she would lie. Since the ‘net makes what you would want to have intimate, public, be careful of what you weave in order to back out of awkwardness….

      • Sometimes even a huge wedding may have “space” issues. I attended the wedding of my friend and coworker withh 300+ guests, but most people were friends of the parents, and the respective families were huge. The number of friends and acquaintances of the couple attending was comparatively small. Another friend wanted to invite me, but in the end had to stick to her parents’ guest list since they were paying, and was very honest in telling me about it.

        • This is exactly the fear that I am having. I have a huge family, we have a ton of friends and we struggled to get the guest list down to 300 (we’re aiming for 250 people actually attending). Plenty of people I genuinely like and see on a regular basis got bumped to the C list and probably won’t get an invite. I feel like no matter how honest I am about money and space limitations, people will still be hurt because “We could only invite 300 people” sounds absolutely ridiculous.

          • I think you can explain that “we have a huge family” and most people understand. If there are parental or cultural factors (such as your fourth cousin is invited and they aren’t) explain that it’s what your family/community does.

          • I’m having the same issue. Our venue can hold 160 people comfortably, but we currently have 200 people on our guest list (that’s with some people cut from it)! We both have huge families and it’s really hard to pare down the list even more.
            And of course, we have more people that pop up. GAH!

          • That’s exactly how I feel about my about my 80 person wedding. We have some really good friends that we didn’t invite because they are part of larger circles and we couldn’t invite everyone in the circle, a decision I am really regretting now. Also, we started with a very small guest list that we added to bit by bit and in the process some people got forgotten, until we really couldn’t push cap any higher and it was too late to include them. I am afraid that a lot of people will be offended when it leaks out, as it inevitably will, that the wedding is bigger than it was originally meant to be and how we’re presenting it when we explain about invites. I would tell people, invite who in the hell you really want to be there within the numbers you can accommodate. No matter what you do somebody is going to be hurt and you’re going to be doing some explaining, so why should the people most important to you get burnt to satisfy some arbitrary number-cutting rules. Some people will be pissed off, some people will love you anyway, some people will be pissed off and love you anyway, send the invites and let it go.

        • I am NOT looking forward to figuring out who to invite, since I have at least 50 people on my father’s side of the family alone, then there’s my mother’s side (which I’m not as close to but still), HIS family, our friends, etc. Eloping starts to look better and better, I swear.

        • This is what we’re doing. When people ask why they aren’t invited, I say that it’s because my partner doesn’t work full time.

          If they press it, I tell them that we can’t afford the wedding we want ourselves and so my parents are quite generously pitching in, which means that they get control over the guest list.

          And my mom is one of ten siblings.

  6. One of our relatives is no longer speaking to us because of our invitation decisions – because we didn’t invite his (adult) daughters. We tried the “closest family and friends” line suggested and his response was that family comes before friends. Never mind the fact I have never met the two daughters in question, and wasn’t even aware of the exitence of one of them. Apparently, my dear friend of almost 25 years isn’t as important as they are, because they happen to share some genetic material with my husband.

    I think some people just WANT to get upset about stuff. Le sigh.

    • I’d be hard pressed not to go ape on him if I were in your shoes. That whole “family before friends” mindset just boils me. You shouldn’t have to invite people you’ve never met and didn’t even know about until recently just to appease realitives. I’d rather invite ten friends than ten realitives I’ve only met once or twice.

      The guest list is definitely the main thing I’m not looking forward to about wedding planning. The thought litterally makes me want to crawl under a rock.

    • I agree – blood is not always thicker than water. Friends who have seen me through bad and good times are going to be invited over “relatives” who didn’t even come to
      See their own brother (my dad) in hospital with a heart attack .

    • So identify. You made the right decision. I wanted to invite a particular group of cousins I was close with growing up, but I wouldn’t have had room for some really close current friends. I eventually decided that the family-first rule was arbitrary and that I would invite who I talked to and spent time with regularly and saw as an active part of the community that would support my marriage; it didn’t mean I loved my family any less to make that decision. No one has the right to tell you who comes first, and its not about ranking, its about what makes sense for the moment you are in.

  7. My childhood next-door neighbor saw me at an event last weekend when I was visiting my family, and asked me straight out, “So, can I invite myself to your wedding?” Thankfully, I’d considered that she and her family (including the children I babysat for) might be interested, and had time to think of a response (a variation on the one I’ve been using, although no one else has been quite so blunt). I treated it with the same sense of lightness and said, “Oh, we’re keeping it down to about 20 people” — funny how that concrete number seems to reframe people’s expectations! — “but let’s get together sometime so we can catch up.” And I found out that she and her son are often in the city where my fiancee and I live, and would be happy to meet up one evening. There we go! (Although she did insist on saying, “Well, I’m buying you a present anyway!”)

  8. Whatever happens don’t ignore it. My husband and I weren’t invited to his best man’s wedding (and he was marrying one of my bridesmaids) and J is really hurt by it. I hate seeing my husband bummed out like that. Makes me want to go Tinazilla on them, but I know that wouldn’t be productive.

    • Oh Tina, that is awful. I hope I am not rubbing salt in a wound by saying this, but how could you be left off that guestlist?

    • In that type of situation, you always wonder what happened that you (or in this case, your husband) weren’t invited. A formerly very close friend didn’t invite me to her wedding years ago. It put a definite chill in the relationship, and I hardly see her anymore. We were both part of a large community, and “everyone” was invited. There was a roommate disagreement right around that time, and I think she lumped me in with the other roommates. But she didn’t even talk to me about it, which I think was cowardly.

  9. From someone who expanded her list from 15 to 22 guests: when talking to the not-invited, DO express the desire to connect in your first year of marriage, and DON’T be too apologetic. (and if you are prone to guilt, avoid talking to the not-invited too much before the wedding.)

    If you apologize too much, or give too many different reasons (stage fright! budget! venue! timeline!) it just reminds people that they aren’t invited. People are way more insulted by NOT being invited, than by having to turn down an invite because it’s far away/expensive/whatever. Also, apologizing too much gives the less scrupulous a signal that you feel guilty. They will then work on you (or your mom, or your spouse) to make you feel bad until you invite them or whomever they’re angling for (their kids, aunts, new boyfriends, etc).

    My wedding was 2 weeks ago and it was tiny – 22 people. My hundreds of friends and family who WEREN’T invited were very accepting and supportive the first time I told them that we were having just nuclear family and local friends who were “like family” to BOTH me and my husband. I think I over-explained, giving too many different reasons, in stead of Shutting The F Up about it until after the wedding was over. Thus, a family friend who’s a pain the arse worked on my mom’s guilt triggers HARD. We still didn’t invite her, and I’m glad, but it was uncomfortable because my mom is a compulsive apologizer.

    Having a 4-month engagement helped me out – less time to waffle on the list. It also helped that my parents are planning a big, laid back anniversary party next year in their town (where I grew up – across the country).

    Leaning on the budget or venue excuse is tricky. Miss Manners, whose philosophy is very “people first, money/pomp second,” advises to figure out the guest list FIRST, and then figure out where to host them and how to feed them. She says that if you have a large list, it’s better to serve punch and cake than to cut people based on dollars. So if you try to lean on the budget or venue, expect that people might say (or think), “well, if you can’t host all your guests there, you should find another venue.”

    • Agreed! Keep it simple!! I too am having a microscopic wedding (16 guests). There are have several close friends and any family beyond immediate who are not invited. I just explained that it was for immediate family a couple of old friends, and that while I loved them, they were not invited. This includes couples from 3 weddings we’ve been to in the last year. While if felt awkward, they all have been wonderful, many saying they wish they’d done the same for their weddings, regretting they’d let the wedding mania get away from them. Honesty with love is the way to go, even if it gives you a squirmy tummy at the time.

  10. Perfect timing for this post! Our invites went out on this week to our 42 guests (significant creep up from our initial goal of 30). We have been really strong in some areas – like informing some of our guests that their partners aren’t invited (because either I or Mr Hooray have yet to meet them).

    But one area I’m struggling with is when you have invited only one member from a group. I have a group of three girlfriends but I’m extremely close to one so only invited her. However, she lives in the same city as the other two women and sees them/ talks to them much more regularly. I feel that to make things easier for her, I should say something to the other two about why we haven’t invited them but don’t know where to start.

    Anyone else been in this boat? Would love to hear what worked for you…

    • This! I expect to have a similar situation with two different groups of friends, both of which, I am super close with some, but not all members, but see all members regularly. The ones I am super close with, I see outside of the collective group activities. If I invite some, I’m worried that the left out (uninvited) will feel badly when we reconvene our regular (collective) get togethers?

  11. This time last year I would have been thankful for this post. We had a relatively small wedding (it was intended to be 100 guests)and in order to keep within numbers we decided not to ‘plus 1’ everyone and not to invite new boyfriends of old friends of my husband (who all knew each other going back some ten years anyway). However, we had a phenomenal amount of regrets, or at least it felt like that to me, (and quite a few who didn’t bother to reply at all), and we had locked ourselves into a number with the venue where we ended up paying for nearly twice the amount of people that were actually there.

    Sometime after I was chatting to a colleague in work and she suggested that perhaps the reason a lot of people did not want to come was because they were not given a plus one. She said she wouldn’t go to a wedding where she couldn’t bring a boyfriend/ guest and to be honest looking back on it I wish I had given those people a plus one because leaving aside the unavoidable regrets we probably would have arrived at about our number anyway and it would have been a lot more of a pleasant experience for myself and my husband.

    Now I am not criticising people’s right to decide who they do and don’t invite to their wedding, but when I saw this post I couldn’t help but comment, don’t be too rigid with the guest list, keep in mind that some people will not be able to come (someone on OBBT told me only 60 -70% of people invited to any event turn up) and try to make it as pleasant an experience for those who can/ do want to come. I say this only from my personal experience.

    • I wouldn’t rely on the 60-70% figure. I had about 100 guests at my wedding, having invited about 100. As far as I can remember we had only one couple decline as they were due to have a baby (far, far away) shortly before the wedding, in fact they announced it while our invitation was in the post.

      You’d need some flexibility in your budget to take this risk I think.

      • I mention this in my book, but the RSVP rate tooootally depends on the wedding. We invited 100 guests — and had 110 show up.

  12. I have to admit that I have not been invited to a wedding recently that I fully intended on being invited to, just based on our friendship, the size of her wedding, me letting her know she’s welcome to come to my wedding, and the fact she was flying from her hometown to the town I’m living in halfway across the country to have her wedding where I know not that many of her local friends can fly out to. Most of my friends end up being really late in sending out invites so I didn’t think anything of it when time passed and her and I kept exchanging wedding planning ideas and I kept telling her I can’t wait to see her when she flies in, but alas, no invite – not even a “come to the after supper party” that doesn’t cost money if you have a cash bar. I did feel offended and hurt, even though I acknowledge it’s her right to invite or not invite who she chooses. And in return, I have taken her off facebook, as is my right. Weddings are tricky like that… it totally is people’s right to be selective and in turn to feel disappointed, and there unfortunately may be such consequences to omitting people, such as them dropping you off their friends list.

    What resonated with me from this experience though, was that for myself, I don’t want anyone to not feel welcome to my wedding and we are having a very open door policy. Some people will get “after-supper invites” from us to help us budget on our catering costs, but an invite nonetheless and a very crasher-friendly zone.

    I say all this fully acknowledging people are entirely entitled to crafting their guest list in any way shape or form that makes them happy and in the end that’s what matters most, even if you have a friend or two defriend you on facebook or real life.

    • Nicci, I had a similar experience to you. A friend of mine from my school days – we have kept in touch having gone to the same college and moved to the same city – recently got married and I was not invited, even to the evening reception. I would not say that I fully expected to be invited, but I thought that perhaps I would be seeing that I had invited her and her now husband, whom I had only met on one occassion, to my wedding some 6 months previous. I was very hurt by this and I have to say it has changed my opinion of her.

      It also changed my opinion on restrictions I made to my own guestlist and I wish I had been more open. I left other friends off my guestlist to accomodate her and I hope they didn’t feel the hurt that I did when I was not invited to her wedding. I am not challenging anyone’s right to decide who they invite to their wedding, but I changed my opinions somewhat being on the other side of the equation so to speak.

    • We are doing much the same. Our Ceremony/Luncheon Reception will be for Family and the closest of friends, around 65 people or so, but we have loads of mutual friends, some of which that have been talking about how much they can’t wait to be there, so we are sending out separate invitations for an ‘After Party’ at our home the night of the wedding. We’re stressing it’s not an additional “reception”, but we still want to have them celebrate the day with us.

  13. Has anyone avoided inviting family to their wedding in order to accomodate for friends?
    I have a very large, extended family, who I know have never understood my offbeat ways, and who I don’t see and don’t like! I would much prefer a wedding surrounded by the family I love and the friends I see everyday who understand the relationship I have with my partner – not spend thousands of dollars on a bar tab and favors for a bunch of relatives I could care less about, and who could care less about me!!

    Any opinion?

    • Katee –

      Be brave: Invite the people you want, and don’t invite the ones you don’t want. It doesn’t matter whether they’re related to you.

      And if you’re worried about being bullyragged about your choices, pick one of the messages Ariel mentions, tailor it to fit, memorize it, and repeat it as needed ad nauseum. 🙂

      Good luck!

      • I cannot agree more – and don’t get stuck in the family politics — I started hearing “if X is invited, I’m not coming” before the DATE was set! I simply told those who made such remarks that we were inviting the people we wanted to have present, and the guests themselves could sort out whether or not they wanted to attend.

    • I have a huge family, and I’m not inviting at least half of them. There’s an annual ‘family day’ and only the people who I see there every year are invited. I think the fact that the uninvited aren’t interested in these family days says enough. Plus, most of them I haven’t even spoken to in years, so I don’t think it’s a problem.
      On the other side, my FMIL expected me to invite her nieces – I’ve never even knew they existed, and FH couldn’t remember their names. They ended up on the guestlist anyway, because it’s not worth it to get into a fight with FMIL.

    • Katee: the monster size of my family is exactly why we are having such a small wedding. I have almost thirty first cousins, all of whom would expect to bring a guest, not to mention all of the aunts and uncles. I am not close with the majority of my extended family, but if I were to invite any of them I would pretty much have to invite all of them to keep the peace in the family. If I were to invite all of them, I would never be able to afford to invite ANY friends, many of whom are close like family members. So, we opted to not invite any extended family on either side and only immediate family and a few close friends. Anyone who is pissed will either get over it or not, but really there was no way to do it without pissing someone off, so we figured we would just piss everyone off instead 🙂

      • YES we did exactly this and it was a lovely day. again, we’re having another, bigger, cheaper-per-head party next year, but the actual wedding was immediate family and 7 friends.

      • Katee – my fiance and I have been working on our guest list recently too. Neither of us are super close to our extended family, and if it were really up to us, we would not invite any of them (except my one aunt who I am close with). Neither of our parents are pushing to invite family which makes things easier too. So in the end – we have decided to invite only aunts and uncles from both sides and no cousins (this cut about 30 people from the list)…we are aware that some of our aunts will likely not come because cousin’s aren’t invited…but since we don’t have a relationship with them anyways – we aren’t going to let that bother us!

    • I had this dilemma as well. I have an Aunt and Uncle that live in the same city I do that I want to invite, however, I have no sort of connection to my other aunts and uncles at all. However, you invite one and you invite them all, so in order to not upset the all important “family order” everyone is getting an invite…for a WEEKDAY WEDDING. I know for certain that they won’t be able to make it, so no one is offended and I get my small wedding.

    • my FH is the youngest of 11 children- both his mother & father had children from previous marriages: we only have active relationships with about 4 of them, 3 i’ve never even met, and the others are only involved with us if we go to them & make the effort, even then sometimes no. given the amount of siblings, his family is GIANORMOUS & our reception venue is limited to 120 people at max capacity- we are not inviting everyone, in fact, we’re not inviting some siblings. we talked a lot about who to & not to invite (some of my family doesn’t get along well & i really don’t have much to do with them) and we ultimately decided that it is our wedding, we will have the people who mean the most to us there- albiet blood family or heart family :)you don’t have to be rude about it, but if someone pointedly asks (like we’ve already had & our wedding is over a year away)i’ve used these two responses respectivly: for people we are NOT inviting “We’re focusing on having a small wedding, as we’re paying for everything ourselves so it’s going to be hard to include everyone.” for people we’re not sure if we can but would like to “We really haven’t got the guest list figured out yet, but i’m glad to know you’re interested in being a part of our big day!”

    • My other half and I have the same problem. I just want to invite more fiends then family to our wedding which is only a guest list of 40. I would much rather be surrounded by people I see all the time and am very close with rather than a family member who I only see once a year at the least and dont really talk to.

    • My family is huge too. My husband and I actually had a live stream at our wedding because a lot of them are out of town. Many family members who we are not as close with opted to live stream. My cousin actually got proposed to by her boyfriend right after watching my wedding on the live stream!

  14. this has been a bit of a help – but maybe you guys can help me too…..

    were having an extremely small destination wedding – about 12 guests will come, and not even family to the reception (it will be an intimate dinner)

    my highschool best friend has always announced that she would be my maid of honour if i ever got married. We have lived in different cities for years, Ive had a child with my partner and settled down, while shes still on the party circuit – we still keep in contact and get together, but we live very different lives.

    while we would like to invite her (not as a bridesmaid – that is my sister in law) we dont know how to approach this. we dont want her to bring her boyfriend either to such a small wedding (whom neither of us have met, and most likely will not be with her for much more than a few months)

    but we dont want to expect her to pay for flights and accommodation, just to be there, and she dosnt know any of the other guests.


    • If she’s a close friend, be honest. Tell her that unfortunately the maid of honor role went to a family member and that you’re not having a big wedding party. I think she’d still be honored to be invited to such an intimate event, though she may see it differently. Tell her who else will be there and explain that because this is so intentionally tiny, you’d rather she not bring a date. (Though if you really want her there and can throw out this concession, do–as others have said, it might make the difference between her coming or not.) If there’s another solo guest who might welcome a roommate, offer to pair them up to cut their costs and help them meet other guests.

      Let her know that she is absolutely welcome but not obligated to come… and then let her make her own decision like the adult she is. If she can’t make it, try to plan a get-together or a trip to her city after the wedding so you can enjoy some special time together.

    • If you want your friend there, invite the boyfriend. As you said, they would be paying for flights and accommodations, and probably using up vacation time. So think of it as a trade off. And, they might not come at all.

  15. I have not yet had anyone uninvited assume they are invited. I’ve actually had the opposite scenario with friends assuming they might not be invited and me saying, “Of course you’ll be there, silly!”

    However, shortly after announcing my engagement I made a Facebook filter for only invited guests and whenever I talk about the wedding publicly, I do it there. This was so worth the 10 minutes it took me to put it together!

    • Can someone (a reader or anyone OBB perhaps) make a quick tutorial of how to do this???? I’m sure it would go a long way to help brides! I’m not too tech savvy…so I thought to ask on here.

      • (Reposted from an OBM thread)
        It’s really easy to create a filter to divide groups of people on your friendslist. Just make a smaller list (or more than one) and assign friends to it.

        You can filter *incoming* content to avoid seeing status updates from your list at large — put your 20 best buds on a list and then use that as your news feed. Put your family members on another list and switch over to that to see what’s up with distant cousins before you head to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving.

        You can also filter *outgoing* content to protect sensitive eyes/ears. I have one list for my older or more distant family members and their friends, for example — my aunt and uncle don’t need to see party photos my friends tagged, or be able to comment on everything my coworkers post on my Wall. If you want, you can even post status updates that are visible only to some people or some list(s). (That’s a quick recipe for drama if you don’t say that right out, though! Let people know that the status is Bridesmaids Only or what-have-you.)

        The UIs in these articles may be outdated, but as far as I know, the features are still available. Read and review!

        At http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy, use the Custom settings to block certain lists or individuals from seeing or doing X, Y, or Z on your profile. Also use View As… on your profile page to check, if you’re not sure, whether Mom can see your latest photo album.

  16. A Facebook filter is one way to go, but another is a private event on FB. Only those invited to see that event will see it, not the whole FB world. I am also trying to deal with people who I either have not seen in a long time or those who I know casually who ask what’s new and I say oh well I got engaged, then they say, when’s the wedding and I say, next summer and they say, oh, I could probably make that. They ASSUME they are invited. It’s a long way off so what I am hoping is by the time I get around to sending out the actual invitations like 6 months or more from now, they will have forgotten all about it.

  17. My wedding is in 3 weeks time… eek!

    We had almost 70 family invited first up, both from large Irish families, some of whom announced way before we even thought about a date they wanted to come from overseas. I am also Catholic, so there was no way we could run away so to the church it is.

    We kept a B list and sent them out in order of importance as relatives said they couldn’t make it. Our limit was 100, though we booked tentatively to 120 in case. We came in at 94, with only one couple failing to respond at all. So with the fiance and I, looking at 98 at the most.

    I absolutely HATED people continually asking if they were invited, I brushed most of it off with the “we’re concentrating on family, then we’ll think about friends”. Now we’re 3 weeks out, we’re going with “If you were not invited, please don’t be offended. We had to make some hard choices between family and friends, as well as keeping numbers reasonable. You are more than welcome to come celebrate with us at the Church!!”.

    So everyone is welcome to come to the church and celebrate with us, just the reception that is invite only.

    Aside from people asking if they could come, it was people who were invited asking if they could bring their bf’s/gf’s we’ve never even met, because they knew x,y,z friend couldn’t make it and figure their partner could have their spot :|. Fiance approved them before I could say no, in the end, thankfully it worked out that we haven’t gone over or I’d really be angry…

  18. I was using the tight budget response when people were trying to invite themselves and every other person in the entire world that they know, but I actually had to stop using it because everyone I said it to responded with “well, we/he/she just won’t eat anything!” Gah!

    • exactly why Miss Manners advises “guest list first, what to feed them second.”

  19. I was a little surprised at the few people who bluntly asked if they would be invited to our wedding. I know how expensive (and emotionally charged) a wedding can be so I would never put a friend or family member in the position of having to defend their choice or budget just to soothe my hurt feelings. For my own I just simply stated that since my family was so large and my husband’s family rather small that we decided to keep it small so it didn’t end up being all about my side. Anyone who protested further was then also told that if I didn’t invite my last living grandparent I wasn’t going to invite a cousin or a friend I didn’t regularly spend time with. That seemed to make the few people who were really pushing for an explanation realize that maybe they were being a little insensitive. Please don’t read this thinking I wasn’t touched that family and friends I didn’t really think I was close to wanted to celebrate with us but I felt that the day needed to be about my husband and I and not everyone else.

  20. I was just about the drama queen of my best friend’s wedding (forgive me, I was 18 at the time). She and her husband met because he was the driver for my car-less loser boyfriend from another town. I invited her when they’d come over and sparks flew. Then my boyfriend and I broke up, and it was REALLY not pretty. It took me many years to get over the way he treated me and about nine months into the aftermath came this wedding. I was a bridesmaid, and he, being an asshole, was not in the wedding party. I was told that he was invited to the reception, but not the wedding, and he showed up anyway, and I had a fit. She explained to me later that they felt like they had to invite him since he was part of the reason they got together, and even though I HATED IT, I saw her point. I don’t know how I could have been so selfish on my best friend’s wedding day, but um, bridesmaids, don’t do that.

  21. I definitely think honesty is the best policy. As brides, my wife and I definitely did not want to offend anyone, but also had a very tight budget and venue capacity. A long-time friend of hers (in the UK)was invited to our Wales wedding without a plus one,(as were all our friends – even some with partners we’d met) and when he initially received the invitation he texted to ask her if his girlfriend could come (we planned from Australia). No explanation was given and we didn’t even know her name at the time.Then, months later when someone else couldn’t make it we let him know that yes, his girlfriend was welcome to come – but he still hadn’t even confirmed his own attendance. Long story – in the end he saw it that we were rude in not inviting his girlfriend (who we didn’t know) because at the time she was pregnant (which he hadn’t told us)and apparently he couldn’t afford to come unless she drove him (again this wasn’t explained until about a week before the wedding.

    I was pretty stroppy on my wife’s behalf – this guy was meant to be one of her closest friends. Unfortunately he didn’t make the effort and neither of them came.

    I guess my point is that if you ask for someone to come for a genuine reason – tell the couple because they can’t read your mind!

    That is all 🙂

  22. This is an excellent topic and one I’m very interested in – I’m planning an intimate wedding with about 35 guests. We decided on something small to make it less complicated and so that we could really be with our guests for the weekend rather than just visiting tables for five minutes.

    I do have to disagree with one part of this post though. I feel like the last 3 statements provided under “point to intimacy” are a bit off… They all seem apologetic and contradictory.

    They state that it’s about wanting a small wedding, but then say that “I sooo wish I could have everyone there with us!”… or “Oh, man. We SO wish we could invite everyone, but we made the difficult decision to just keep the wedding very small — mostly just close family.”…

    If you SO wanted everyone there, then you could make that happen. Those last three, in my opinion, belong in the “White lie” category because they just aren’t true.
    I say this because I have had to be very careful about what I say around my fiancee’s extended family. While I haven’t even met all my first cousins, he sees his third cousins regularly. I’ve seen his aunt 3 times in the last year and I haven’t seen mine in 5 years. It’s safe to say that they feel left out, because they are, but if I tried to pull off one of those lines on them, they would certainly call my bluff. You can be truthful without being rude – own your decision and let them know you still love them and will celebrate with them later.

  23. This is exactly the subject I’ve been kind of annoyed with lately…Since my guy and I go to different colleges, the “friends” list mainly only consists of mutual friends–from high school, etc–besides a few in the bridal party. Unfortunately, I have a friend who is insistent that I invite him to my wedding. He is not a particularly close friend, and my fiance, at most, might have met him once. He’s already told me a couple times that he “better be invited.” When I respond honestly that we haven’t set the guest list but are really only inviting the friends we both know (seems to me like this should be a good hint?), he tells me that “If I don’t get an invite, I’ll cry!!” Joking about the crying–I think–but still serious enough to give me stress about my guest list. UGH.

    • Wow, this guy sounds like someone you don’t want around *anywhere*, let alone your wedding. If it were me, I’d exclude him just because of his being a brat/stalker-in-training.

  24. Its your wedding…you can choose to invite whomever you wish….however if you leave people excluded who may consider you a good friend…be prepared to lose them…this is a real slap in the face…it just is.

  25. Does anyone have any experience with massive, crazy Italian-American extended family drama? Let’s just say that my mom’s side of the family is absurdly large and super conservative (in just about every respect, whereas I am the exact opposite of that). In recent years (since I moved out and started living with the FH and, you know, got all independent and whatnot), I’ve come to realize that I have not one thing in common with any of my mother’s siblings or their children with the exception of her two brothers, and her one brother’s wife, to the point that I have noticed when I go to family functions I am deliberately ostracized and ignored (as are my brother and sister). This last Christmas, only my grandfather spoke to me – and he has recently passed.

    I don’t want to invite any of these people except for my uncles and the one aunt (and their children), but even though no one else speaks to me, I know it will be ENDLESS FAMILY DRAMA if I don’t invite EVERYONE.

    Do I just suck it up and own that I don’t want these people there? I guess I’m afraid that this will torch whatever bridges I have left with them. :-

    • Sounds like in your case, not to invite everyone would be like a declaration of war. Is there a chance you can invite everyone to just the ceremony (and a cake and punch receiving line afterwards) and then handpick your after-party guests? (Maybe do the ceremony midday – after lunch/before dinner.) That way you can minimize your contact with people you don’t really want to see while meeting your expected social obligations. (And who knows, you might even save money by not feeding them all!)

      • Hmm. In the interests of keeping the peace, I do like that idea (though I think I would have it the other way around – I want the ceremony to mostly just be close friends as many of them are participating as readers, etc.). But there is still a selfish part of me that kind of just… wants to declare war. 🙁 Maybe if I make the reception a potluck (haha) it will scare most of them off since only the parents really enjoy cooking… *sigh* Thank you for the idea. I will run it by FH and see what his thoughts are…

        • This is just my thoughts, and of course I don’t know if they apply to your situation or not, but just be aware of what your own part may be in this. There’s nothing wrong with being conservative. It’s possible that you just feel outnumbered and so have given off vibes that you don’t like them and have no interest in their lives and don’t really approve of their life choices. (Those are the vibes I got from your comment.) It’s really unlikely you have nothing in common with them, so if they don’t actually literally ignore you when you actually speak to them, perhaps you could show an interest in their lives (“conservative” parts and all) and see if they respond. It’s possible you’re not speaking to them because you assume they won’t speak to you, and they’re not speaking to you because they assume you won’t speak to them. I know this doesn’t solve your guest list issue, but it might help you look at things from a different angle to possibly have more pleasant family visits in the future.

  26. Hi All!
    I have a situation…just got a voicemail today from mom’s cousin asking if her 2 sons & their families were also invited as they haven’t received their invites yet. She wants to know if it was just an oversight or if maybe the invites were lost in the mail possibly…she wants me to call back & explain! Holy cow lady! Sidebar: I only added her & her 2 daughters to the guest list after my mom found out I wasn’t inviting them & when I asked about inviting the 2 brothers+ mom said it wasn’t necessary. So my mom pretty much created this entire fiasco & now I have to call & explain to a woman that I speak 5 words to roughly once every 10 yrs why her entire tribe wasn’t invited? I don’t know what to do. I feel like she deserves the same amount of “rude” dished back, but it’s not really my nature…I’m more inclined to just not call back…I don’t do confrontation very well. Suggestions? 🙁

    • if i were you, i’d tell her that unfortunately, due to space/finances (whichever is more appropriate for your situation) you & hubby-to-be were unable to invite everyone in the family but hope to see them soon after the wedding. i will be be saying this a lot to people we know/are related to (that we didn’t want to invite to begin with but it’s also due to budget)it will prolly be met with snotty attitudes by some, but most people understand. Good luck! & at the end of the day, remember that no matter what happens you get to go home with your husband!

      • Lilypadbride,
        Thanks for the words of wisdom & for talking me down. It was so deflatting & shocking to get that voicemail! You’re so right, at the end of the day it’s about the marriage! I wish you all the best in your up coming marriage! 😉

        • Thanks! 🙂 me & my Mr. are getting married in October & my best friend & her Mr. are getting married in the spring so we’re both going through the drama & irritation of people inviting themselves to our weddings- i’m mailing our invites in about a month so i’ll be saying that A LOT lol 🙂 but it can be so frustrating for people to assume things. happy wedding! 🙂

  27. Our reception venue, while beautiful, can only hold a guest list of 30 and that includes the wedding party. I have a small family, my FH isn’t close to any of his extended family. I have decided to invite aunts and uncles but not cousins. My FH is only inviting his parents and sister (an of course friends). My cousins are assuming they are invited and keep asking my parents when they should book their hotel. I know I will have to explain to them that they are not invited but when should I do this?

    I will not see them in person before the wedding but my parents probably will. I feel cowardly letting my parents tell them they aren’t invited. Should I call the cousins after the invites are sent out or wait to see if the cousins call me looking for their invite? It doesn’t feel right to call them right now to let them know they aren’t invited. It’s been very awkward for my parents and while I don’t feel guilty about not inviting the cousins, I do feel guilty about my parents being put in this situation. Any advice?

  28. I’m really glad that I found this as I was just about to email a friend who I unfortunately couldn’t include. Our venue holds 120 and I have a really big family, so I just couldn’t include a lot of friends on my side. Friend is part of a small “group” who I’ve known for several years and get together occasionally with, but I couldn’t invite them all so I ended up inviting none. Even when it became apparent that the majority fiance’s family and friends weren’t attending and we’d have extra room, my fiancé was hurt by the prospect of me inviting more on my side, so I just let it go. I have no idea how I could even begin to explain that wrinkle, but the suggestions above are really helpful, because the large family/venue are true.

  29. So I sent out my invitations and decided to not invite my 3 adult cousins and their spouses.

    Except something awkward happened today.

    One of my adult cousins still lives with her parents (who I invited). I couldn’t invite her just because she still lives at home and not invite my other cousins. My aunt and uncle must have received their invitation in the mail yesterday because my cousin just posted on my facebook page that she was excited for our wedding.

    The invitation was addressed to my aunt and uncle only and it was clearly marked that only 2 seats were reserved for them.

    I was going to send her a private message on fb explaining that we had to make the difficult decision to not invite cousins. Do think this will be ok? I only see my cousins about once or twice a year.

    • Islander – yes it’s ok to not invite them. If you chat in FB, then use that as the medium to inform them. If you chat on the phone then call them.
      I’m sure you don’t want your parents stuck in the middle – so just call them directly. I did this with my aunt & uncle to say they were invited but their 2 sons weren’t & they were ok about it.
      No promise that your family will be, but you’ve got enough to worry about and organise – Im sure once you announce & stick to your decision that you will feel as if a huge weight has been lifted. I certainly did!
      Good luck – and stick to your guns x

  30. Ariel said, “You’re not responsible for their disappointment, nor can you control it…you’ve got to release it, and get on with your planning.”

    Thank you for that!! That is exactly what I needed to hear.

  31. Our wedding was always going to be small. We set out at a specific budget, determined half would be food and the other half everything else. Our venue also only seats 60 – (50 comfortably), we have 54 on the list and know 7 won’t be there. We decided on parents, immediate family and first cousins, 4 friends with spouses each (all couples we spend time with), plus our photographer and dj are friends. We are also not extending a +1 to single people, as we want to know everyone at our wedding given that its a small intimate affair. We have been honest with people and let them know that venue, budget and depth of relationship is how we came to decide on a guest list 🙂

  32. My fiancé and I are getting married in October and are trying to finalize our guest list. I have a very close group of girlfriends who I went to highschool with who still live together in our home town (fiancé and I live in another city) and our wedding will be at home. Last year 5 of those girlfriends got married and I was invited to 2 of the weddings, putting me back in touch with several people I hadn’t spoken to in years.

    When we got engaged, every one of these girls reached out. About 10 of them have told me they can’t wait for the wedding (most of whom I never would have thought to invite). I’ve toyed with the idea of inviting everyone, because really there are not a lot of people who get this excited for your wedding. But at the end of the day I want to invite only three of them and their husbands. If this broke the other friendships I don’t think I would shed a tear.

    My question is- do I need to address with the larger group of friends why they are not invited? I don’t feel I owe them an explanation. I was thinking of explaining to girls who were invited that the wedding is intimate and I chose to leave out people who I don’t have a friendship with 1:1. I know in this group that message will circulate quickly.

    • Jane – I had a similar dilemma – i have a group of 8 “friends” from uni (wedding date willbe 8 years after our shared graduation) that I was stuck on who to invite. I looked back over these 8 years of so-called friendship after a trigger from the Hen Do (see more on that below) and I realised that a few people hadn’t bothered to write birthday cards, hasn’t bothered to make an effort to arrange catching up when they couldn’t make my 30th party or another get-together that I had organised. Despite a fun 3 years at uni, we hadn’t stayed in touch much – and I was as much to blame. I hadn’t called them either & I realised our friendship had run its course. Perhaps we had drifted apart – which is natural and not necessarily someone’s fault.
      I think I could have overlooked the lack of contact if, when it came to the important and exciting parts of a female friendship such as Hen Do, they made the effort to be there. But even this was too much for them it seems- trying to twist & mould my sister’s suggestion of a plan to meet their needs, being rude to her in the process and then after it was changed, not coming along at all! So the Hen Do was the catalyst and got me thinking about the last 8 years of so-called friendship. But remove the Hen from the equation and there is still just a shaky friendship left behind.
      Some people might not mind too much about lack of contact , cards, etc – but those things are important to me in a friendship & ultimately I have to be true to my beliefs.
      It’s never nice to feel that you have upset someone, but you have only upset their expectations which perhaps are high on their part through no fault of your own – they might see your day as a chance to catch up with others from the group rather than being part of your day. Possibly not, but I’m playing Devils Advocate there.
      I read some great advice on another blog – “Think about your friendship with these people in 5 or 10 year’s time – will it have improved or will it be even more distant?”
      On your wedding day, you can never be wrong! Surround yourself with people who love and care for you. I think you already know the answer to your dilemma!
      You don’t have to give a reason – dont talk about the wedding in their presence if you have decided against inviting them, but don’t make excuses. “I’m sorry we weren’t able to invite you” and a kind face will do the trick!

  33. Oh my gosh, this is exactly what I was looking for!! As soon as I got engaged I got all these people I haven’t talked to in years, coming to me and asking if they were invited – Even my ex boyfriend had the nerve to ask, and I was pretty sure I blocked him off of everything YEARS ago!

    Needless to say, I’ll DEFINITELY be using one of the budget excuses!!

  34. I’d say if someone specifically calls you to ask why they are not invited apologize and say it was an over site and invite them because there will probably be a few original invitees that won’t show up

    • Unless they then tell other people just call and ask and they’ll invite you.

  35. Great! This bride is very intelligent and not willing to waste her money on people who are not worthy.

  36. I can’t believe how many peoe have asked me if they were coming after I sent out save the dates. My fiancé and I are paying for our own wedding and both have HUGE families… My wedding of 80 people to me needed to be only people I have spoken to within the last 6 months. And yet allllll these people come out of the woodwork wanting to come (which I get is sweet and they just want to be there for you) but the nerve to ask you! I would never on a million years ask! So that’s why I googled how to respond nicely (the asking was through Facebook on a status!) so I could message her back with my reply. I also mentioned that I was having an after party I’d love for her to come to since she is so sweet to want to spend that day with me. And you know what- ill bet she doesn’t show!

  37. 2nd wedding and doing a small 50 guest reception … is it rude to do family only no dates … to unmarried guest (like grooms younger sisters) ..no kids … it’s a night wedding .i feel bad but i might need to .

    • I’m in a similar boat. We’re having 50 guests for the ceremony, because that’s the maximum allowed for the room we’re having it in. So that’s about 25 guests each. I have a relatively large family with 6 cousins who ALL have partners (half of them are married). Problem is, I hardly see any of my cousins and don’t even know some of their partners’ names, let alone know them personally. I do want my cousins there, but I haven’t physically got space for their partners as well (and I can’t invite some partners, without inviting them all). I didn’t think this was going to be much of an issue (I’ve been to several ‘no partners’ weddings recently and neither myself nor my fiancé were offended. In fact I wasn’t even invited to his sister’s wedding for exactly the same reason!), but my mother has gone proper nuts about it. It’s all she talks about when wedding planning is brought up and it ends in a row every time. She is convinced my cousins won’t turn up at all, despite the fact their partners are invited to the evening reception (just not the ceremony and meal). She keeps saying ‘family before friends’, but I don’t agree.

      There is no other way to be fair about this, without cutting my closest friends out of the ceremony in order to make room for people I don’t even know: and I’m not happy to do that. I’m not sure what to do.

  38. Man some people are unbelievable. I would never ask if I was invited to someone’s wedding if I hadn’t received an invite. My cousin recently got married and my brother and I weren’t invited, yet our other cousin was. I was quite annoyed about it,and hurt, as he literally only has 3 cousins. I got over it (sorta) but as it turns out if I had been there it wouldn’t have made much difference as the wedding was all about the bride’s family, with not even a thankyou to his parents (my aunty and uncle) who contributed quite substantially to wedding.

    I decided not to invite my cousin to my engagement party (they never bother to show up to these things anyway) but out of respect to my late Grandparents, I will still be inviting them to my wedding in March.

    • Reminds me of my brother’s wedding. They had a boutonniere and corsage for the bride’s parents and nothing for my parents, and we were all ignored for the most part. In this case, I think they were just clueless, not intentionally rude, but it was bizarre, especially since we didn’t know anyone and had driven 10 hours to be there and should have been made welcome.

  39. I just got engaged, so I have time to rip my hair out yet. I’m okay with still saying “I’m not sure yet” because I’m really not.
    I’m curious as to who my MIL thinks should be invited. This should be interesting. I am not looking forward to telling everyone how stupid it is to use my wedding to reunite with what
    s-his-face or “That B!t&h!” lol.

  40. I’m lucky that I can easily blame the venue. Our current invitee-list is just over 115 and we can only COMFORTABLY hold 112 in the venue. I know that I have lots of friends who are going to want +1s and aren’t getting them, and friends who want to be invited and aren’t; luckily I can be honest and say I can’t fit them in due to the venue, but I’d love to have them there if I could!

  41. we decided to have a small wedding (75 people) but open up the ceremony to anyone who wanted to come. We made a Facebook event and invited everyone we knew…my mom put a notice in the newspaper too. We just wanted immediate family and close friends at the reception but told everyone to come be at the most important part: the ceremony!

  42. We are having a very small intimate wedding, with Close Friends and Close Family, we have A party planned the day after, and we invited a family memeber and his wife, they accepted, but now they have asked to be allowed to bring two other people we have not seen or heard from in years, we replied saying the typical ” small venue, etc and they actually replied ” well if that is the case how about if the other two go in their place!”

    Now we have no idea what to do…help!

  43. Quick question: I was a little insulted at not being invited to my niece’s wedding, since we do live in the same town and I’ve helped out with school costs. I was not invited to the “small event” however, she did send me a card indicating where I could send her gift (cash only). She keeps also sending email reminders to other uninvited relatives as well. We received a business size card, no personal note, telling where to send “cash only”. Am I obligated to send anything? I just don’t feel happy about this.

  44. Of all the different weddings I have gone to where the Bride & groom made that declaration of “close family & friends”, small budget, limited space, etc. More people than not saw right through that BS and were very offended they were not invited.

    • Either:
      you have never actually had to plan a wedding yourself;
      you have so much money you could afford to have a big do and invite everyone you know;
      you have a very small family and circle of friends.

      I fully admit that before now I have felt offended by not being invited to peoples’ weddings when I considered myself to be close to them. But now I’m planning my own wedding, I totally get the reasons behind it: each extra person is a significant cost (even if you are doing it on the cheap with supermarket platters like we are). Believe me, no one would cause themselves the hassle of leaving people off the guest if they could avoid it. There is always a good reason.

  45. It may sound rude but I had a really close friend of mine stab me in the back and say some pretty harsh things to me then I ran into him and his wife at a friends house they started asking questions about the wedding I will admit I bragged about our plans and what we already have then his wife asked him when it was he told her the totally wrong date like a month and a half late date then they looked at me and said “we are invited right?” I emediately said yeah july 24th yep yep your invited! Knowing thats not the date we had set! Another old friend went after my abusive ex as soon as he went to jail and we broke up when she asked if she was invited I just said NO! I didnt feel she deserved an explanation!

  46. There’s no such thing as a polite way to be rude to people–only ways to appease your selfish nature and not feel guilty. The problem’s not with them, the problem’s with YOU.

    • But isn’t the real issue that “rude” is subjective? As my second cousin once removed, you might think it’s rude that you weren’t invited to my wedding. I, however, might think it’s rude that someone I haven’t seen in 15 years expects me to include them in a personal event I’m paying for myself.

      When it comes to issues of social graces, it’s not black and white concepts of “rude” and “selfish.” It’s nuanced issues of communication and expectations.

  47. So I feel like I’m actually doing okay with this on my front. Several friends & I have an email chain to stay in contact (because we are spread all over the country) and up-to-date on our lives. Knowing I made the decision to not invite all of them it would have been weird to say nothing, so when the opportunity presented itself I sent the following:
    “The good news is that we’ve made some progress on our wedding planning. We booked a venue and I bought a dress! With that said…I think most of you know by now that I’ve never dreamed of a big wedding celebration, actually I’ve never dreamed about having a wedding at all. FH & I seriously considered going to city hall, just the two of us. But in the end we decided we want to do “something” to celebrate this awesome thing we’re doing, because it feels right. However, the “something” we decided on is a small, intimate affair (35-45 people), which means we cannot invite everyone on our list. So as you can see, in this game of numbers I have some difficult choices to make. (For family I am only inviting my mom, dad, brother, sister, brother-in-law, 2 single aunts, 1 uncle & aunt). However, if people RSVP that they cannot attend I would love to send out additional invitations from my friend list. It’s important to me that our parents feel like we invited the family members who are important to them (excluding relatives we do not know) before we start tipping the scale to friends. My hope is that by being open and honest with all of you, no matter what we can still celebrate together (even if that means it’s outside of the actual wedding). You are all equally important to me and it meant a lot (and means a lot) to me to share the same/similar life events with each of you, so I hope you can all understand.”
    From what I can tell it has done the trick, but what I’m struggling with is how to get FMIL to view a small list as a positive thing and not as punishment for her…

  48. Of course, this only really works if you actually ARE having a small wedding or have a larger family where the numbers add up immediately. I’ve known a few people who have tried to use that excuse and it’s very clear from seeing their pictures on Facebook that it was anything BUT a “small, intimate, mostly family” wedding!

    • Personally some Bride to be’s need to simply “called out”.. nicely, but called out none the less. Some Brides after the big day, are in need of a “calling out.”

  49. Sometimes it also helps to plan a more informal get-together after the wedding. My husband’s cousin and her SO did that; they got married in January and had a very small wedding, but a wedding party for extended family members and friends is in a couple of weeks. It’s barbeque at a relatively unexpensive place. I understand not everyone can do this due to budget limitations, but that’s another option to consider for those who want to have a big old party but don’t want to go into tens of thousands of dollars in debt… for one day.

  50. My Godchild comes over one day and invites me to a Catholic wedding. Then later I found out through conversation that invites were sent out on fb, but not to me. I also found out that the wedding was not at the church. A few ppl tried to smooth over what they had told me when they figured out I had no idea and no invite to the real wedding and festivities. I have not told them how I was invited to church where there is no wedding. As for the festivities pics posted on fb I commented and shared how I was not invited to that either and that I was getting a complex. So next thing I k no the post was deleted. But the in your face pics kept coming.

  51. Weddings, ruining friendships, supporting religion, and forcing people into absolute oblivion and boredom since… god knows when… what a bag of shit

  52. No matter how you cut the cake, your still saying to somebody “I thought more of another person I invited, more than I think of you.” I happened to me. I called out the Bride on it quite sweetly. I said to her “you’ve been using me, and it ends here.”

  53. Here’s my situation – my closest cousin’s son is getting married in Oct. He was engaged over a year and so that’s the big topic of discussions – The wedding. My family lives out of state. We all received “Save the date” cards and so we made our hotel and plane reservations. My cousin even e-mailed me and asked for my daughter’s address and we talked about her and the bride’s mom addressing the invitations. My mom got her invitation a week ago and I haven’t got mine yet. I keep forgetting to ask my daughter. Mom and I joked that she can reply 4 on her invite and tell them what food we want. How do I handle this?

  54. My ex sister in law (and I use that term lightly since her brother and I were never actually married though he is my daughters father) flat out asked me why I didn’t invite her. I tried to explain to her that while we used to be close friends my husband has never even met her and since both our families are large we agreed not to invite friends that the other had never met or spent more than 5 minutes socializing with. She was still upset and continued to cry to me about how unfair it was that she used to be a part of my circle and no longer was (it had nothing to do with her brother either) and there was nothing I could do but say I was sorry and that I cared about her but it is what it is. There were other reasons but i don’t think that being over honest is necessary. I didn’t tell her that her boyfriend was a jerk and I didn’t want him at my wedding or that I didn’t want her dragging her large brood of children with her. Or that my maid of honor still felt betrayed by her actions in the past and I was not about to make my MOH unhappy. I just simply said I’m sorry. She hasn’t spoken to me since then. That was 4 months ago. I don’t think she’ll be angry forever but my wedding wasn’t about her. It was me and my husband and our family and our shared friendships. I refuse to feel guilty about not inviting someone I used to be close friends with and am related to through my child. Our day was wonderful. No regrets.

  55. There’s one colleague at work. One person in my department that I have no intention of inviting. I don’t think she’s going to question, but I don’t want her at my wedding. We’ve never gotten along all that well. I suck at lying. Hopefully she won’t ask

  56. I had someone laugh in my face when I asked them. I only asked since they invited my grandparents but not my mother and myself. Laugh in the face definitly not the way to go though.

  57. This is one of those questions where I really, really appreciate that our wedding is partially on a boat. We physically cannot fit more than 100 people, and even over 75 is pushing it. Anyone who argues with the guest count (looking at you, Mom!) get asked politely to pony up the extra $5000 for the second boat. Mwahahaha!

    Seriously though, if you aren’t close to someone, and even if you are, why ask if you’re invited? Why put the bride/groom/whatever in that position in the first place? If you don’t get an invite, you’re not invited. It’s that simple. There could be a ton of reasons why you didn’t get invited ranging from size to cost to you’re not as good of friends as you thought. *shrug* I was always taught you don’t ask those things because it’s impolite, and you might not like the answer.

  58. It’s an interesting situation to not be invited. I am finding myself on this list. Here is the scoop:
    Been dating my sweetheart for a year and we have recently moved in together;
    When I moved in, I had my bedroom set that I didn’t want to store so I ended up asking his daughter if she wanted it…she got a $3k set for free (really, there are no strings attached);
    Daughter invited me to her bridal shower;
    Daughter handed me a separate invitation from my sweetheart’s invitation;
    Sweetheart’s invitation was for him and his son as his plus one;
    My invitation was couple with the bridal shower (see above), and I was invited to the wedding;
    I found out just last week that I was ONLY invited to the shower and the wedding – I was not invited to the reception;
    If I would like to attend the reception, I can pay $50.
    Daughter invited sweetheart’s ex-girlfriend from three years ago to wedding and reception.

    Honestly, I just don’t know what to do. Do I go to the wedding at all? Do I get a gift? I couldn’t attend the bridal shower because I was out of town celebrating my 50th birthday, so I haven’t gotten a gift yet. Do I get her a gift? Or, do I pay my $50 for rubber chicken dinner and let her know that I spent her gift money on my dinner? Or, do I just not go to any of it? I really don’t know what to do. I understand that this is her big day – I get that. But does that excuse bad behavior? What’s sad, I guess, is that her dad and I were planning on jointly purchasing a honeymoon cruise for them. Right now, I don’t plan to pay one cent toward that. I guess I’m hurt to know that I’m good enough to give her a gift, but I’m not good enough to be invited to the reception. UGH! 🙁

    • Could it be that she was very close to the ex-girlfriend and remains close? Regardless of whether she’s being intentionaly hurtful or not, I would think the bottom line is how your sweetheart feels. If it’s important to him that you be there, and his feelings are important to you, suck it up and go to all and give her the benefit of the doubt and be an example of graciousness. Ultimately, the day isn’t about you or the ex-girlfriend. Oh, I see your comment was months ago, but just in case the wedding hasn’t happened yet, I’ll leave my reply. Best wishes.

  59. My fiancee and i are contemplating a tiny ceremony in 2 months and we want to have parents grandparents and siblings there but is there a way to say no to siblings spouses and kids? i love them all but i honestly just want it to be tiny ….

  60. But how do you tell one of your oldest friends they’re not invited because they create drama, and are currently the cause of problems with four people in the bridal party. This person has created scenes at my parties before.

  61. We’re in an awkward spot I haven’t seen addressed anywhere. Sure, we have *some* venue limitations, but the reality is, we’re inviting a pretty nice size group of friends and family ranging from lifelong relationships to newly formed friendships.

    Our problem is we have a friend we feel we’ve “fallen out of friendship” with. Yet she seems hellbent on being included, including posting on Facebook about how excited she is that we can get married now (marriage equality was a long time coming in our state). She’s and oversharer on social media, quick to hold a grudge and, had we sent her a save-the-date, would have immediately photographed it and posted it, talking about how excited she was for the wedding.

    Even as I type this, I feel silly for feeling held emotionally hostage about this decision. Yet I do. She’s going to see photos posted from our wedding, know she wasn’t included, see that a lot of people she knows were … and I just keep dreading it when I think of it.

    Do I address this with her ahead of time, or should I just quit letting this consume me and do nothing unless/until … ?

  62. Funny, I just asked a co-worker the other day “how her wedding planning is going” and she replied “its good, we are keeping the wedding small.” LOL, I was just asking how you are doing not asking if I am getting an invitation, Jeez, I understand not being able to invite everyone, my spouse had a ton of family invited to my wedding. Be careful, how you answer people’s question, sometimes people are JUST asking how you are doing or how are things going! Not because they are expecting an invitation.

  63. Okay so I tried to include the gist of this in our announcements…. [our “invitations” were basically an invite to a FB planning group, since everyone coming would be participating in costumes and food and whatnot]. Anyways, I put some fancy wording about keeping it small and since we chose a date near the holidays, and because of that, there was massive confusion with pretty much all the parental aged folks. “We didn’t even know you were getting married, we didn’t know what you meant by ‘commitment ceremony.'” Since we also are both fairly secular and [obviously] offbeat, I tried to avoid traditional matrimony language and phrases…. and it turns out that backfired for us!

  64. Thank you so much! I found a few of these to be super helpful. My mom suddenly passed away earlier this year. At the funeral, many distant friends and relatives heard about my upcoming wedding and told me they couldn’t wait to go. And I had never even discussed the wedding with them. Our guest list was getting way too big because we were feeling obligated to invite all of those people. Finally we decided to do what we originally wanted, a small wedding with only immediate family and and a couple of close friends. Now that I am sending invites out, there are many people who are expecting invites. These examples are going to be very helpful.

  65. Question on a somewhat related topic- I am adopted, but I have a relationship with both my biological mother’s family & my biological father’s family. I did not invite any of them to my wedding (except for my half brother), because I felt it would make my mom uncomfortable (my dad passed away 2 weeks before our wedding): QUESTION IS: As I do have a good relationship with both sides, I would like to send them DVD copies of the wedding so they can see it & share with their respective families A) is that rude? I certainly don’t want to make them feel bad. And they seemed receptive when I tested the waters in conversation about it B) Our thank you cards were preprinted with photos which I want them to have, but they definitely say ‘Thank you’ in big print at the top- can I use them or is that also rude? Finally C) Would it be ok to use a modified version of one of these responses for the reason they weren’t invited? I love them all & I don’t want to offend them by saying “Sorry I didn’t invite you because my mom is uncomfortable with you.” Thanks, Tribe Ladies! <3

  66. I have a question! I’ve known a set of twins for about four years. I’m friends with the girl and not the boy. I never see him, but I heard he was selling an office chair and wanted to buy it. I went over to his and his twin’s apartment, and he asked me a question about the save the date. I sent it only addressed to her–I had actually totally forgotten about him living there at the time of sending it–but to my answer of his question he exclaimed, “Oh hurray! I can make it to the wedding!”
    He probably thinks I’m inviting all of this huge group from college that he is linked to, but I’m not. I feel unsure about how to deal because it is a relatively big wedding, but I don’t know him. We’re very casual acquaintances. Should I just change their invitation to match the etiquette of “invite the whole group” thing?

  67. After reading most of these responses I am feeling more confident about cutting the people I was hesitant about from our guest list. My fiancee and I are aiming to have 75 guests at our wedding, and we have done a good job about narrowing down our guest list thus far, but there are a few of my friends from college that I am nervous about not inviting because I know they will be very upset and confrontational. One friend in particular (and I hesitate to even call them a friend because we have grown apart so much and have barely talked in 2 years!) is extremely needy, disruptive, and truly becomes a terrible person when they consume any alcohol. I HATE confrontation but I know that I really shouldn’t invite this person because they will cause me MORE stress on my wedding day…
    I have a few additional friends who I would really love to invite but we just are not that close enough for them to make the cut for our small wedding. Reading these posts definitely eases my stress about not inviting people – I just need reassurance that I am making the right decision!

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