Wedding Announcement Wording – Make Sure Uninvited Guests Don’t Feel Hurt

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Wedding - Mark & Anne
Whee! Our wedding was fun! Sorry we didn't invite you! Photo by Katie Donaghue

I got married in May of this year.

There were many people I could not invite to our wedding ceremony for various reasons, mostly to do with size and budget.

I would like to send them a card with a couple of pics to let them know we got married, but I am not sure how to word the cards.

I would like to let them know we are thinking of them even, if we couldn't invite everyone we know to the wedding. I don't know how to do wedding announcement wording that won't piss people off!


Here's your challenge: how to share your good news about your wedding day without making people who weren't invited feel like A) they were excluded from the good times, or B) you expect anything from them.

In other words, you want to share the news with folks who didn't get a wedding invitation, but you want to do it without bragging or making it seem like you're fishing for gifts.

Urg. It's a delicate balance, to be sure. Let's talk through some options that may help you reduce hurt feelings from unintived guests.

OPTION 1: Post your wedding announcement on social media

One easy way to get around awkward feelings is just to quietly post a photo on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok — whichever social media platforms you know your friends and family use. This is especially great for COVID weddings, private weddings, and elopement announcements. Just post a lovely photo, and call it good. No need to send anything. Folks either see it or they don't, and no one worries about a gift grab.

Your social media wedding announcement wording could be as casual and simple as this sample:

[Partner's names] are happy to announce we are now married!
On [day of week], [date] at [location], we exchanged vows.

It was an intimate ceremony, but we look forward to celebrating in person when we see you next!

OPTION 2: Email your marriage announcements

If you want to be a bit more direct, but don't want to print an announcement, you're wise. Remember that for some people, anything wedding-related that shows up in their snail mailbox triggers feelings of a gift-grab.

As one Offbeat Bride reader said:

I have gotten printed wedding announcements in the mail before and there wasn't one time I didn't think, “Great. Now I have to get a gift.” Never once did I think “Oh darn! I wish I could have gone to their wedding!” Or even “Gee I'm so happy for them.” Nope, it was always straight to “Shit, will a nice frame do?” (LOL — what does that say about me??)

I think I wouldn't have that reaction if I got an *email* announcement, especially if it appeared to come just to me from my friend – like a “catch-up” email. Or even a hand-written note. But there's something about any type of printed announcement that seems “formal” and triggers the old school rules about gift-giving.

This is where email announcements can be great, and you know what? They've gotten REALLY cute. Look:

email marriage announcement on offbeat bride alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Love is patient… but we're not” email marriage announcements from The Green Envelope
we did the damn thing marriage announcement alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Yes, I know these “We did the damn thing!” email marriage announcements look like they're printed… but they're delivered as an email.

OPTION 3: Ok, you're going to send a printed card, and now you want wedding announcement wording examples

Ok, so you really really want to send out paper cards. We respect that! Here are a few wording suggestions for how to announce your wedding to folks who weren't invited

Let's talk about the etiquette around what information to include on wedding announcement cards:

  • Full names of the couple
  • Wedding date
  • Location

What NOT to include? Anything about gifts.

MIN 007 FPA 007B A PZ alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Cottonwood Foil-Pressed Wedding Announcement – $82.00
from: Minted

Wedding announcement wording example: the family method

One way to get around the awkwardness is to have your parents issue the announcements. Traditionally with more formal weddings, this was done by the bride's parents who hosted, but these days anything goes.

Obviously, this only works if it's mostly family and family friends who you want to reach, but the advantage here is that it comes off just as parental pride, instead of you being like OMG Y'ALL WE DID THIS AWESOME THIIIIING AND TOO BAD YOU WEREN'T THERE LA LA LAAAA!

Here's a wording example:

Mr. and Mrs. Bride's Parents
are proud to announce
the marriage of their daughter
Your Name
Mr. Your Partner's Name
on Saturday, June 4th, 20XX
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Love + Heart Foil-Pressed Wedding Announcement – $82.00
from: Minted

Wedding announcement wording example: new home method

If you and your partner are moving in together for the first time after your wedding, you can bundle the announcement in with announcing your new address. This way it's less about the wedding, and more about “Hey, we moved because we got married!”

Aim for a card design that's more about announcing a move than a marriage. (Vistaprint has super cheap, customizable options.) Here's a wording idea:

It's been a busy time for us!

We were married on
Saturday, June 4th, 20XX
Austin, Texas

We're beginning a new life together
in our new residence:

Our Names
1234 Our Street
Austin, Texas 78704

Please update your address books!

Do note that if you're trying to avoid looking like you want a gift, this method is a bit risky. You're including your address, which could be seen as a request to be mailed something. It's up to you as to whether that feels right.

MIN 003 APC 007B A PZ alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Airmail Wedding Announcement Postcards – $53.00
from: Minted

Wedding announcement wording example: “cut the shit, let's be straight-forward” method

So you want to tell your friends (so the family method won't work), you've lived together for years (so the moving method won't work), and you don't want to play games. Just be honest with your guests. Here's one way of wording it:

With great joy we announce that
we were married on

Saturday, June 4th, 20XX
in Austin, Texas

Our painfully intimate [guest list/budget/venue/whatever]
meant there were many loved ones
we were not able to invite to our wedding celebration.

We deeply missed having you there,
but you were in our hearts.
We love you.
We miss you.
We hope to see you soon!

Your Names

MIN 008 FPA 007B A PZ alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

Gold Rush Foil-Pressed Wedding Announcement
from: Minted

Looking for more wedding invitation wording samples and advice, or reception only invitation wording?

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Comments on Wedding Announcement Wording – Make Sure Uninvited Guests Don’t Feel Hurt

  1. Great ideas! Seems to me, though, that facebook is responsible for informing me of a few of my more distant friends’ weddings with a status change update! I suppose if you found out about a close friend’s wedding that way it would be uncomfortable…but it also allows lots of congrats without begging for a gift!

  2. Depending on the timing of the marriage, if its in the later part of the year, maybe it could be tied to a holiday card, letter or postcard?

    Something about “here’s our address to update your holiday card list – we moved in after we got married this year” (if you exchange holiday cards with that person) or list a few things you’ve been up to that year including “we got married.”

    • I was thinking the same thing. If you have other exciting news to share: move (like Ariel mentioned), baby, graduation, new job, etc. you can roll it into an update letter about more than just the wedding. Holidays are a perfect excuse, but if you’ve had some big life changes I think it’s fine to send out a short note at any time of year. If you include something like, “That’s what’s going on with us; we’d love to hear from you and find out what’s new in your world” it comes across as a sincere attempt to stay connected. In a world of Facebook, I think people really appreciate a personal note to catch up with each other.

    • I sent out a New Year’s email that included all the things that happened that year, including our wedding. I had a blurb about each thing and linked to flickr pictures and our offbeat bride profile. I hope it came off as “this is what’s up with us.”

    • The nice thing is that by including the info about being married, you can send it to people you don’t typically exchange Christmas cards with, under the topic of “starting a new family tradition!” Bonus, you can also announce it that way by saying something like, “We wanted to start a new family tradition of exchanging Christmas/Holiday cards, so thought we’d start off our first Christmas as a married couple by sending the first round!” OK that wording kind of sounds like “oh, didn’t you hear already?” but you could maybe follow that part up with “That’s right, we’re married now! We had a super tiny ceremony in July and while it was beautiful, we missed everyone we couldn’t invite so we’re hoping to catch up with you all over the holidays. [More Christmas Letter-type news, blah blah, somebody graduated college this year, we’re also expecting a baby, someone is enjoying their new job, what have you.]”

  3. I have been pondering this issue for a while. I’ve been thinking about maybe sending response cards with the announcement asking for my loved ones thoughts or dvice for us in lieu of the gift giving thing. I love the idea of having a compiled book of advice from multi generations and friends with wildly different experiences.

  4. How about sending a card with a photo or two and a link to any online compilations of photos/videos? As for wording, keeping it light and breezy seems less “give us gifts” to me than a formal style. Somehow formal wording gives off a demanding or obligatory tone in my mind. Perhaps subtle hints such as “x and y would like to share that they were married in an intimate ceremony at z”, “small wedding” or “in front of a small gathering”. The key isn’t drawing attention to the fact they weren’t there but that only a few actually went. Plus if you include lots of info such as photos, websites for sharing, it might reduce instances of people phoning etc asking for more and hinting at why they aren’t invited. Awkward!

  5. We had a very small wedding of 40 people, but have about 150 aunts/uncles/cousins, etc., not to mention friends and work colleagues. Facebook informed most of our friends/family that we got married pretty much immediately. However, we did send out an announcement saying we were married on DATE in a very small ceremony. We thought of you on our special day and wanted to share our happy news. wishing you love and peace, the *** Family… mom, dad, and kidlets. it had a few pics of bride, groom and kids, and that’s it. we’ve gotten no pushback, though anyone who knows us knows there is no way we’d ever have a big wedding (center of attention phobia) even if we had the cash to do it (which we did not).

  6. I actually never understood why these cards need to be sent at all. If someone wasn’t invited to the extent that they don’t even know that you’re getting married, who cares? Why do they need a special announcement mailed to them? Personally, I’d be pissed to receive one of these, no matter what it said, because, no matter how you wrap it, I wasn’t included and now you want something from me.

    • “I actually never understood why these cards need to be sent at all … Why do they need a special announcement mailed to them? ”

      Re-read the original question in the post — this is not a NEED. This is a reader who wants to send cards, and is looking for ideas how to do it. I say anyone NEEDS to send wedding announcements.

      Like most things on Offbeat Bride, not all concepts are going to be a good fit for all couples. If this isn’t something that you’d do, that’s cool! But this particular reader is asking for guidance on how she can send wedding announcements, so that’s what we’re aiming to provide.

      • I’m doing this because my mother-in-law is afraid she’ll be a social outcast if she doesn’t invite the entire small town they live in, but our venue won’t hold the people we already have on the guest list. This is my compromise. Also I don’t talk to half of my mom’s family (not even on Facebook), but my mom thinks they’d like to know.

        We’re including a link to our blog, and maybe our wedding website so that they can see pictures and other details if they are interested. After reading these comments I don’t want people to think that the point is to get more gifts, so I’m going to delete the link to the registries before we send these out.

        • Maybe your mom in law can throw a get together in her town? It might make her feel better, and she can take the lead in planning and paying 🙂

    • I think they’re more aimed at those who knew you were getting married but couldn’t be invited, like people not close enough to be at your 20 guest wedding. But you’re right, sending them out to any Tom, Dick or Harry who didn’t know you even had a partner to be getting married to is going to piss them off

    • Yeah, I don’t get them either, but I’m pretty certain they’re something that “just isn’t done” in my area. On occasion that pays off.

    • I’d be absolutely fine not sending out announcements, but my Grandmother has a list of people she does not want me to invite because she would feel obligated to help pay their way. She does that for family very often. So, to these slightly distant cousins I don’t remember meeting, she wants me to send announcements.

    • I am having only 15 guests at my wedding (parents, siblings, grandparents), due to the headache and cost of large weddings. I’ve been main of honor 5 times, so it sounds unappealing to plan ANOTHER large wedding. People who are sensitive about not being invited to a small wedding need to get over it. My friends (who are NOT invited) are even throwing me a shower. I am planning on sending announcements because our loved ones want to be involved and in the loop, even though they won’t be attending the wedding.

        • Well typically, yes. Sometimes special circumstances preclude them from doing so, and sometimes they’re asked especially without obligations to do so, but otherwise yeah, societal expectations is that the attendants’ job is to help plan. Especially the maid of honor in weddings where the bride does most of the planning. I mean, you usually pick your closest friend and most supportive person, so it stands to reason that you’re going to be talking to them about plans and getting feedback and help from them.

    • I love to see friends’/acquaintances’ notices like these – I don’t understand why you’d be pissed off? It would be great to live in a world where we could all invite everyone we’d ever cared for to attend our wedding, or if we could all afford to travel to wherever someone we knew was having a wedding, but we don’t. I love reading the posts and seeing the photos of complete strangers here on OBB – OF COURSE I want to see a wedding announcement from my partner’s cousin twice removed etc etc as well! SHARE ME SOME JOY BITCHES!

      • Exactly. Everyone has their own situations and its all about joy. We got cards and gifts from people that we didn’t invite (which we certainly didn’t expect or ask for) just because they wanted to show that they were happy for us and understood. People have so much sensitivity and ego about other people’s weddings.

    • I think this is a regional thing. Wedding announcements, especially for couples who eloped, who had tiny ceremonies, or who went to city hall, are very much Done in parts of the South. We’re planning on doing this ourselves. My extended family is huge (40 some odd folks in just my father’s immediate family alone), they can’t all come, and sending a card with a wedding picture and a breezy announcement that the union is formalised is considered proper, respectful, and expected, frankly. It’s not for everyone. But if you have people in your life who expect either an invitation or an announcement, or if informing your extended family that the marriage has happened and a name change has occurred, or something like that, figuring out how to do it without trodding on toes is important.

      Different strokes for different folks, and I’d wager, different cultural expectations, too.

  7. Ooh forgot to mention it might be an idea NOT to include photos that have guests on. Avoids the situation where people fall out because friend a was there but not cousin b! I’ve recently experienced this at a funeral of all places

  8. When you go to sites like, you get the idea that just like all the wedding hoopla, you should personalize the heck out of announcements with photos from the wedding, color scheme, and a “story” of how you met.

    But if you consult dear Miss Manners, you find that wedding announcements can be very simple:

    * are sent the day after the wedding, to people who could not attend/were not invited because of the size of the function
    * are not mandatory
    * have a pretty standard format, closest to the one in the “parents announce” post. If you do not wish to have your parents announce, you can write “We [partner full name] & [partner2 full name] announce our marriage – August 20, 2011 – City, State.” Done and done. You can also include “Partner and Partner are at home at [address].”

    Announcements are meant to inform about the wedding & couple’s address. They are not gift grabs, but sadly, people may interpret them such. See Miss Manner’s advice to a Washington Post reader who had a 20-person wedding.

    Formal wedding announcements are rarely sent nowadays, possibly because couples are too busy telling the entire world about their weddings on the internet. But announcements are intended to inform people who you believe would care to know; they are not demands for presents, however many people mistakenly think so. (They require merely a return message of good wishes.) But if you are wary of your friends’ reactions, send them individual chatty messages instead.

    If you don’t have TOO many announcements to send, invest in some simple flat card stationery and write notes to each person who would’ve gotten an announcement. If you want to have note paper or cards printed with your “new name,” or initials, this would be a good time to bust it out…

    • Love the “write a note” idea. I think it’s a great way to show that you ARE thinking about the recipients while still letting them know “Uh, yeah, we did sorta have a wedding without you. BUT WE STILL LIKE YOU.”

      • I am in my late 60’s and just married after living with my friend for 6 years. We finally decided to get married. I called my high school girlfriend in another town, said we were coming over and asked her to get us a notary to perform the ceremony. No one was told, much less invited. With our family and friends scattered all over the US it was just too complicated to have a “wedding.” So now I am going to send out a simple announcement by email. We have called family and told some close friends who came to our house for a visit right after but feel I need to let everyone else know in the same manner and at the same time so as not to have hurt feelings. I think sending out formal announcements would seem like we wanted some kind of response which would be ridiculous considering our age and the fact that we have lived together for 6 years. I am hoping the email will be considered as a friendly “FYI” by one and all.

  9. My husband and I wanted a quiet ceremony, with immediate family and only very close friends. This did not sit well with my 14 aunts and uncles, his 20 aunts and uncles, any of their kids and grandkids, not to mention great aunts and uncles, and their respective kids. We wanted <30 people, including us. "They" wanted our 500 nearest and dearest. So what we did was invite who we wanted (fuck it, we're paying, we get to say) and then anyone that our parents wanted some formal recognition to go to got an announcement. This was almost an exact duplicate of the invitation (I did letterpress myself, so this wasn't a hard change to make, but this was NOT an inexpensive proposition – they were nearly $10 per), with the wording "are thrilled to announce," replacing the "are thrilled to invite you to". We did a rush print job of our 3 favourite photos from the wedding, and included those within the invitation. My aunts are still being bitchy about it. (They were going to be bitchy regardless… they were bitchy about how much work it'd be to come, before they found out they weren't exactly invited anyways) The people who I like and get along with immediately "got it" and understood, and thought it was just awesome that they got the photos right away, and the "fanciness" of the announcement went over really well with them.

  10. As far as the GIFT GRAB goes, this is the time to use word-of-mouth; make sure your friends/family spread the word that you don’t want anything, you just want to share your joy.

    For a “real wedding” example, here is what I’m doing:

    I’m having 20 people at my wedding this summer. I’m going to send announcements to the far away friends, cousins, etc whom we did not invite. I may enclose a separate, small “save the date” card for a backyard barbecue/anniversary party my parents are throwing next year. Or I may just jot a note.

    We’ll have them printed on postcards – the front will have some original art by us, and include our names, date, and place of marriage. Back will be blank, for writing individual notes. You can get them printed from Moo or many other spots; minted and Vistaprint have simple, pretty announcement designs.

    Personally, I will not include photos from the wedding for 2 reasons: it would prevent us from sending the cards the next day, as is proper, and it would rub it in to people that they weren’t there. But each of us knows our own family/friends so do what you please!

    A sample “chatty message,” cribbed somewhat from Miss Manners. If you did this you could just use stationery, no printing costs (just sore hand)!

    “Dear Aunt Gertrude,
    Monty and I are wanted to share the happy news that we were married on August 20. It was an intimate gathering in [city,] where we met. We treasure your love and support and we hope to see you next time we are in Timbuktu. Please give our love to [little cousins].
    Love, Priscilla”

    (This chatty note could also include the info about any delayed receptions or anniversary parties.)

    (Our real names are not Monty or Priscilla.)

  11. My husband and I had a very small, surprise wedding. Which meant many of our family and friends weren’t invited. We sent out announcements that said we were married on September 17 with 40 family and friends who were just as surprised as you, and we included a picture of just the two of us in the card. This way they knew is was very small, it was a surprise so know one knew before they arrived and they got to see the wedding dress. It went over very well. I should dig up the exact wording we used, but it was 20 years ago and it’s a bit fuzzy.

  12. Like newspaper engagement/wedding announcements, I always thought that mailed announcements were (for my personality) a bit over the top. I just don’t handle attention very well. However, my partner has family in India and Germany who simply can’t make it to the States for our wedding–and I just found out that a few of my college friends can’t come to our ceremony because they’re in another wedding that day. At this point, we’re planning to take a silly picture to send to those people with a “missed you, here’s our new address, hope to see you soon!” message.

  13. We haven’t gotten to that point yet (we’re having a small destination wedding on July 30th) but our plan was to host a large reception for everyone who couldn’t come to the big shew. We were going to combine our wedding announcements with our reception invitation. This way the folk who couldn’t come to the wedding can still party down with us. 🙂

  14. If you have the space, it could be fun to invite everyone to a holiday party saying something like, the new mr. and mrs. wish to start a new family tradition by having a party! Or something like that, that way everyone feels like you still like them, but don’t feel obligated to do anything but bring a casserole.

  15. We ended up having to cancel our 40 person due to venue issues.. We sent out VistaPrint announcements with the following announcement:

    It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
    You could see that Pierre did truly love the madamoiselle
    And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,
    “C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

    Anna + Patrick
    were married on
    October 2nd, 2011

  16. Oof – this is a hard one!

    I have gotten those announcements before and there wasn’t one time I didn’t think, “Great. Now I have to get a gift.” Never once did I think “Oh darn! I wish I could have gone to their wedding!” Or even “Gee I’m so happy for them.” Nope, it was always straight to “Shit, will a nice frame do?” (LOL — what does that say about me?? )

    I think I wouldn’t have that reaction if I got an *email* announcement, especially if it appeared to come just to me from my friend – like a “catch-up” email. Or even a hand-written note. But there’s something about any type of printed announcement that seems “formal” and triggers the old school rules about gift-giving.

    I also like the Facebook suggestions. It used to be that you would post your wedding announcement in the local paper and that would serve as a way to inform people without obligating them to send a gift. Facebook has kinda taken over that niche, as the concept of community grows beyond physical geography.

    I’m not suggesting your friends will have my same reaction. You know them better than I do. I’m just warning that the threat of coming off as “gift-grubbing” is real.

  17. I just had to downsize my guest list (AFTER already asking everyone for their mailing address for the save the dates) because I had to change my venue and change my date. Venue is significantly smaller. Awkward.

    So I am taking many of my aunts and uncles and my fiance’s parents’ friends out for a really nice brunch at a private club. Partly because I DO want gifts from them (esp. my fiance’s parents’ friends … his mom is like, “Damn straight; do you know how many wedding gifts I’ve bought over the years?! It’s payback!!”) but also because I had to trim the list, but I’d like some of the grown ups to meet one another and frankly I don’t want to get sued if one of them breaks a hip on the dance floor.

    It’ll be nice to have a quiet, yet very nice brunch with these folks so that they can get to know one another as well as whichever one of us (me or my fiance) that they don’t know as well. Plus frankly the food will be better since we are serving corn dogs and stuff at our reception … so they’ll be getting the better end of the deal in some ways!!

  18. I thought the updated address method thing would work and go quite smoothly if, say, you were doing a small get-together at the new home or something. A house-warming or having a game night and invite each set of guests to bring a snack, beverage, or their favorite board game! 🙂

  19. I really think if most of the people you didn’t invite are on Facebook it would be easier. When I got engaged, me and my fiance tried to take a day off and celebrated alone. We made no calls and no announcement to anyone except I changed my status on Facebook. Was that a mistake… it caused major drama because friends and family all expected to be the “first person” I called. In most situations now and days Facebook is going to cause the drama and issues before you even get to send the wedding announcement out after the wedding. The announcement may be a good follow up, but don’t let the problem build if everyone already knows.

    • GAH, that day off! I knew I had to make calls before we posted it on Facebook and it was KILLING. ME. I sent the picture of him on one knee proposing to me that night right after it happened to my closest friends, by way of an announcement, because I was in a loud bar and couldn’t call anyone, so a couple people woke up to the texts. None of them, thankfully, seemed pissed–they all assumed rightly that I had done it that way because I COULDN’T wait until the next day to tell them! And because if they’d been local they’d have been at the restaurant where he proposed or the bar where we celebrated all night anyway. But then we had to call our parents because they’d have been PISSED if they found out we posted to FB before calling. So we called my parents at 7am, my time, 10am theirs. My parents were panicked for a moment wondering why I was awake so early but then were geeked that I woke up so early to tell them. His parents we had to wait until 10am, which was still a bit early for his mom, but she appreciated that it was good news anyway. After that, we put just the proposal/One Knee picture on FB and let everyone else sort it out. But then, to be fair, traditions and “rules” for the sake of “this is how it’s done” aren’t really our thing so, if we stepped on toes doing it the way we did, no one seemed surprised by the lack of… formality? But I think it set the tone for the rest of the wedding celebrations, because people aren’t expecting a lot of doing things because we’re “supposed” to.

  20. We officially became engaged a week ago, but we know that we want a small wedding (<50 people) with immediate family and close friends only. Can I share the news now with family that won't be invited to the wedding or would that be considered poor manners?

  21. I have the opposite problem. My fiance and I don’t mind sharing our wedding with everyone but we only want our close friends at the wedding following the reception. We want to be able to celebrate, drink and karaoke at the reception thats following the wedding without offending some of our older and more religious family members. Still trying to figure out the invitation wording to not offend those who wont be invited to party later.

    We are actually having 3 receptions as well due to the fact my fiance is Canadian, therefore one will need to be in Canada for those who cant travel, one for my family who is a state away and more religious, and one right after our wedding, which will be our only real chance to party.

    So how do you tell people, I’d love you to come to my wedding..but please leave afterward so I can drink and karaoke?

    • My daughter recently was married and we had a similar situation. We had the wedding, then the traditional cake/punch/throw the bouquet/garter reception. Then the DJ announced that we were taking a 15 minute break for everyone to change into more comfortable clothes and the dance floor/bar would be opening then. This gave the religious minded relatives plenty of warning that if they didn’t want to be aroundall that “sinning” they better be getting out of there! Worked out great. Good luck!

      • That’s AWESOME. I was at a wedding where we did something similar. We had a lovely early dinner, then those of us who were staying just helped to clean up at an appointed time (cued from the MC, who thanked everyone for coming, etc.). The people who hadn’t been invited to the after party just thought this was their cue to leave, and the couple who hadn’t been invited but chipped in with the cleanup simply felt that this after party developed organically rather than having been necessarily planned. When the drum circle started they made their exit, so they never had any idea there was a midnight hand-fasting ceremony!

  22. My husband and I were planning a big wedding for next fall, but we were really disappointed with the vendors and venues we found. There was a site that was nice and we found food and cake that would be decent, but really nothing special (the cake would look amazing, but taste like fairly bland sugary stuff with a decent texture). Even the most expensive and fancy options were just disappointing (not surprising as we’ve been noticing all our favorite restaurants going downhill in the last five years and started eating almost exclusively at home). Taking a shower late one Monday night thinking about the deposit checks we had to send to all the vendors we’d settled on during our weened visit to the location we were picking. I felt disappointed and like I was having buyer’s remorse before we’d even payed. It was depressing. Spending thousands on a dream come true is one thing, but spending thousands on something you aren’t even excited about when you buy it? So I yelled out to my then fiancé to come in there and asked how he’d feel about just getting married instead of having a wedding. We slept on it and decided the next morning to get married that Saturday with just parents, siblings, and grandparents and then have an anniversary party and vow renewal in 5 years or so when we can find decent food and make that be what we envisioned our wedding being. We are sending announcements because we don’t want people to feel that they were excluded on purpose. We want them to know that they are important to us and that we truly wanted to share our wedding with them, but that the options for doing that as we wanted just weren’t available in the current economy (our theory about why the food is getting crappy). We’re going with a modification of the cut the shit method given above. We ordered the invitations I’d originally fallen in love with to use as announcements because they were one of the few details I was actually set on (who cares if they’re fancy for announcements, they’re beautiful and people know how much I love stationary) and in the pocket that the response card would normally go, we’re instead including the story of how we decided to just get married instead of having a wedding and all the funny things that happened in those four days of rushing to get marriage lisence, rings, and something to wear, old women thinking I was crazy when I spontaneously burst into happy tears in the grocery store because I was getting married in a couple days, and catering my own wedding (14 people including us) because we want our extended families and all our friends to feel included in some way and to be able to understand and share in our joy.

    • Alyssa, that is an awesome story! Good for you- I wanted to elope originally, after we realized we would have a tiny budget, and I knew what a struggle it would be. We struggled through it, with my family helping out, but i still wish i’d had the balls to insist on eloping.

  23. We wrote on a postcard:

    Announcing the marriage of (names)…
    “A smaller gathering, true, nevertheless, our hearts share joyous news with you.”

  24. I know this post is older – but for future brides looking, here’s what I’m doing for my elopement announcements, where we are eloping with our 3 year old daughter in Spring, and having a small adults only cocktail party in the Fall with my 8 siblings and their spouses, and his 3 and their spouses, and our 6 parents:

    Page 1 of announcement/invite (made in powerpoint, printed on dollar store cardstock):
    Husband & Wife request the pleasure of your company in celebration of their recent Union on such and such date, and address

    Page 2:
    As you are aware, we recently united our family in a private ceremony in place on date.
    Our wish is to have a small party with the ones we love the most, our parents and siblings. We hope you can join us to celebrate our nuptials in a semi-formal, adults only affair at our home. There will be plenty of cocktails, mocktails, hors d’oeurves and desserts.
    As always, we thank you for your love and continued support.
    Love, Husband, Wife & child

    Kindly respond via email before date to email@emailaddress
    **Best wishes and prayers only**

    Then a small coordinating Thank You will go out to those who came.

    I hope this will help! I think I’d still like to include another sentence but not sure where or what to say.

  25. Hmmm, what about if you’re one of those kinds of people who don’t broadcast your engagement/nuptials on Facebook yet still want to let you’re closer friends/family know of you’re marriage? I’m kind of old fashioned minded when it comes to communicating with people & feel the intimacy of communications is lost nowadays with technology & social networks. My fiancee and I are temporarily livng overseas and will be getting married with just the few friends (no family nor our bestest friends) in our new “home” town. But we still would like to share the news with our family/close friends back in the states. Would adding our new address sound like we’re asking for gifts in our announcement?? Or would the return address on the envelope serve as enough evidence our address?

    • I think the address on the envelope is enough. Adding it to the actual announcement seems like you’re expecting gifts.

  26. This was especially helpful for me, due to the fact my mother’s side of the family is enormous and I don’t know any of them well enough to invite to a wedding. I am thinking of applying this idea to engagement announcements, since my parents won’t allow us to forgo that stupid tradition. Thanks again!

  27. To avoid it seeming like you are asking for gifts try adding a Ps at the bottom that reads something like PS The only gifts we will be accepting this time will be Your Love, prayers, and continued moral suport. Thank you

  28. My daughter is marrying in Las Vegas but doesn’t want family to make the trip (also due to our budget). So how do we announce – ahead of time – and just give date but say we don’t want you to make the trip???

  29. I know this is far after the fact of this post being written but I’ve actually decided to be preemptive about it. Instead of waiting until after we are married to send out letters telling people we already are married I’ve decided to send out letters pre-wedding letting everyone we can’t invite know we are getting married also sending a blank card with it asking them to write us a letter or story or wish and send it back to us so we can hang it on a tree at our wedding that way they can be with us on are wedding day without actually being there.

  30. This is such an apropos topic for us! We are planning our “big gay wedding” after 16 years and 3 kids, and an amazing new law in our home state! We are having a wedding of about 100 people, but to our parents’ horror inviting only a very few realtives, mostly of our generation, and tons of friends. We just want the people who truly love and support our family there. We are “compromising” by sending an announcement, from us, to all our 47 aunts and uncles (im not kidding on the number) after the fact. The ‘rents are still horrified, but all your thoughts and ideas are much appreciated!

    • After several years together and a domestic partnership in our former state (which isn’t acknowledged in our current state), we’ve decided to legally marry this summer. Unfortunately, our two families feel quite differently about our relationship, and religious and social differences are likely to make each side quite uncomfortable around the other at any sort of gathering. So we are eloping to Maryland without any family from either side in attendance, and we’re sending out announcements just after we marry to let people know that we’ve tied the knot and that we’ll be “on tour” in the months ahead, taking weekend trips to a few of the different cities where we’ve lived to have smaller, informal gatherings with people we love. We’re hoping that by giving family and friends the opportunity to celebrate with us more intimately and in ways that best suit each group (e.g. without drinking/dancing/etc around those who have a religious issue those behaviors; with AMPLE drinking and dancing and fabulousness around others), people won’t feel left out of the initial ceremony and won’t see the announcement as a gift-grab. Most importantly, I hope that celebrating our relationship this way will maximize fun and minimize stress and drama for us!

  31. After reading alot of advice and posts on wedding etiquette, I have come to the conclusion that weddings for most people have turned into children’s birthday parties. Its all about entertaining the guests and to heck with what the bride wants! If you want to have a small private wedding you are an awful person because you are not inviting the world and don’t even think about having a shower because you are not inviting the guests to the wedding. A shower is supposed to be a celebration with the bride and an occasion to give the couple gifts to help set up a household. I had many a person come to my showers and bring a gift that knew they wouldn’t be on the guest list for whatever the reason but they came with happy hearts and not because they expected anything in return! As for letting people know, you’re not supposed to send announcements to family and friends ahead of time if they’re not invited. I would much rather get an announcement from someone I knew before the fact saying that the wedding would be small and private but that they cared enough to want to let me know they were getting married than get one after the fact saying we got married but we didnt want to say anything about it until it was over! What happened to what the couple wants instead of what the family and friends want?

  32. I hadn’t even thought of doing announcements until I had a talk with my mom before the wedding about who was getting invitations. She suggested sending the announcements after the wedding to the far away family members who we wanted there, but didn’t invite because we knew they wouldn’t travel (like my grandparents who live 2 states away, etc.). Since they’re pretty much only going to my family, she suggested sending a simple announcement with a wedding picture that introduces my new husband (since none of them have even met him), and it also lets them know my new name. One aunt even called to ask for our address, knowing she wasn’t invited, because she wanted to send something. I think people (especially the more traditional) are going to want to give gifts, even if you request them not to (at least we’ve found that to be the case). But I want them to know our address and my new last name. I’m not putting the address on anything but the envelope though.

  33. You can post a free, formal, wedding announcement online and then share the link with everyone. is a recently launched web-site that uses custom software and professional editors to write formal wedding and engagement announcements. It’s a free, ad-supported Web site. After the bride fills out a detailed form, the site runs the announcement as a news story. The bride and groom and their parents can then share the link with everyone in their network

  34. I am so confused as to why this is an issue. Here’s a newsflash – HEAPS of people love and care for you! That’s right, heaps of them. More people than you could possibly invite to your wedding. People who you dont know THAT well, or you have only known for a short time, or you havent spoken to for ages… they still care about you. And they want to hear about your wedding and get excited for you! If any of my acquaintances are reading this, send me a fucking wedding announcement because I want to share in that joy, dammit. If you’re worried about me getting you a gift, just fucking say ‘Don’t send us a gift or anything silly, but we just thought you’d like to share in some of the joy from the day!’. I wasnt going to get you anything anyway. I was just going to ring you and squeal and say ‘YEAH BABY RIGHT ON!’

  35. This is wonderful! My son and new DIL just got married and did it “their way”, consequently none of the cousins, great grandmas or our friends were invited. I’m fine with that, but I do want to let the above mentioned people in our lives know about the wedding without it seeming like a “give us-a-gift -even -though -the -kids -couldn’t -afford -to -invite -you” deal. Good ideas here, thanks.

  36. I like this idea, right now I’m stuck on the guest list and trying to figure out how to cut people and kindly let them know. I have family that I am not very close with and don’t see very often that I may leave out in trade for my very good friends and my finance’s close family. We are thinking of having another very cheap BBQ party that includes everybody we can’t have at the wedding due to budget. Right now I just need to figure out how to tell them this and how to word those separate invitations! Also, should I have that extra party before or after the wedding?? hmmm so much to think about

  37. My husband and I were recently married in another country and only two people came with us (it was a vacation with a wedding thrown in). The two of us had been together for almost 9 years and we are in our 40’s/50’s. I want to send out announcements (a flat photo card) because lots of people I know put pictures of their friends and families on their refrigerators and I thought they might want one of us. If not, they can just do whatever with it.
    The problem I see is that many of the responders here assume that EVERYONE is on the internet. I can’t just email every person or announce it on FB and know that everyone was informed.
    I know you’re not supposed to say “don’t send gifts” on the announcement, but I might do it anyway. I’ve never been one to follow rules.
    I find it odd that one person said she’s be mad if she got an announcement. It just goes to show you that you can’t make everyone happy.

  38. my daughter after years of being with the same man and i mean years they have finally decided to marry-they are having a very small destination wedding basically both sets of parents 1 set of grandparents maid of honor her spouse and best man and his spouse and 1 only brother each, but……they are having a larger casual reception approx 3 weeks later in their home town(which neither live in) what is a good announcement wording or form to follow?

  39. We knew right away that we wanted a small wedding, and with drama on my family’s side, it was an easy decision to make. Because we kept getting asked questions about the wedding (did you settle on a date, when, where, blah, blah, blah), I decided to sent out Announcements that we where going to get married. In my announcement, I said we were having a ‘private ceremony’, I put the month (but not the date), and said, “since we intend to have a private ceremony, we’d like to share our wedding experience with you through our wedding website.”
    OMG… apparently our friends and families don’t read or something because everyone was referring to the Announcement as a ‘Save the Date’ (uhhh…. funny, there was no date on there) or an ‘Invitation’ (again, there was no date, and there was no specific information – not even the city its in).
    So my plan backfired and apparently opened up more questions for people than it answered, and I have to explain to people who got the announcement thinking they are invited that they are, in fact, NOT invited. Its been such a headache, to the point, I tried to convince my fiance to just go elope and get it over with so I don’t have to deal with people anymore (that didn’t work for him).

    Long story short – my advice is to be as straight forward as possible, because not everyone understands ‘private ceremony’ means ‘you’re not invited’.

  40. Wow, the comments string here is great. I would love a follow up blog with sample announcement language pre and post wedding.

    I was also thinking of sending pre-wedding announcements to the non guests who we would love to have had there (but need to keep costs down) with a request for a note to be sent to my mom for our “wall of wishes” which will be featured in the ceremony.

    I think it will be best to send these out 2 weeks ahead so they’re not confused as an invitation!

  41. My best friend is having a tiny wedding in her back yard. The parents are throwing a huge Chinese Banquet after that. My mom was miffed, but the bridal party would like a bit of space before the 300+ party, thank you very much.

  42. We are going to the JP in December and our Honeymoon is in March. We initially weren’t going to do any reception and just send out announcements to inform the family and close friends. Well, certain family is pushing for at least a reception. It is too late as far as I’m concerned to have one the same day so we were thinking of doing a spring party. We are the non-traditional ones in both our families so it won’t be a big surprise, I just don’t know how to go about with the announcement/reception invite without sounding like we want gifts. I’d like to keep it informal and lighthearted so maybe something with a picture of us saying “We got hitched!” With the date. And then “the room was too small to fit all yall but we missed you so and are ready to party… Blah, blah, blah…” LOL. Thoughts?


    • This kind of invite will likely need to follow a much less traditional structure… Maybe send a “Save the Date” that’s more detailed and explains a bit….Maybe something like this:

      “Four years ago, without fanfare and fuss, Bride and Groom made legal the commitment they held true in their hearts. While life did not allow for a celebrate worthy of the occassion at that time, Bride and Groom will be celebrating their marriage with a wedding ceremony that matches the love and joy their commitment brings to their lives.”

      Then you don’t really need to go into it when you send invites? Or you could use the same wording, add something about “Your presence would be greatly/add to the/etc” so it’s clear that you’re inviting them, if you aren’t interested in an overly complicated invitation process.

      I think it would also help to get people who will be supportive to understand why you are doing this in all areas of your social circle that you will consider inviting. Like a couple family members, friends, etc. People who are likely to hear those “They’re doing what!?!? What the hell?!” comments and will have your back.

      By the way, congrats & good luck!

      • THANK YOU ALEXIS : )
        The wording fits me to a “T”
        Your awesome!!!!
        another thing, thanks for not being judgemental of my situation.

  44. We are planning a super-small ceremony with just us, the minister, and one member of each family. We want to send announcements because it’s important to us that friends & family share in the good news but it’s also important to have a minimal crowd present. I wanted to say in the announcements “performed by (minister) and witnessed by (family members),” but will that just serve to make people jealous? Or will it underscore how small the party was and reduce jealousy? (Including the minister’s name because she’s a close friend and not just the nearest ordained person we could find).

  45. I’m sending out announcements to my family and friends who are long distance because I want them to know I am thinking of them on my special day. I made a pretty postcard that included pictures of me and my fiance and worded the announcement:

    Because of the distance that separates us from our families and friends, we decided to keep our wedding super small because we know travel is expensive. However, we want all of you to know you have not been forgotten and will be in our hearts on our special day. Gifts are not expected, though we would love to hear from you!

    Then I listed my address, phone number, and a personalized note to each family member. Most of the people I sent these to I haven’t seen or talked to in forever and they may not even know I live completely across the country now (I moved from New Jersey to Washington state). Besides that I truly decided to keep my wedding small because I didn’t want people to have to fly all the way out here for just one day. The only people I invited were my parents, my fiance’s parents, and a handful of my closest friends. We’re not even having bridesmaids or groomsmen. Mostly I sent out the announcements (at the same time as my invitations) because I wanted them to hear it from me rather than finding out about it via social media or word of mouth. I just wanted to send out something to my family that lets them know I moved, that I am getting married, and that I love and miss them. At first I was of the mindset that it was rude to send out announcements because I didn’t want them to feel excluded, but after careful thought I would rather they know my reasons for why I am keeping my wedding small rather than keeping them in the dark and also give them the chance to give me a call or get in touch!

  46. My daughter will be having a very small wedding! She did not register as she and financee have been together for 4 years and have established all the household things they need! They need ideas on date nights! They have a child together and he has 2 from a previous marriage! Would it be correct to simply just put a small note in the invitation speaking to this? Thanks, Mom of Bride

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