Ask the Wedding Maven: A Wedding Guest List Dilemma

by Marta
Save to Stuff I Love!

Dear Maven,

My fiancé and I would like to keep our upcoming wedding small and intimate, inviting just the family and friends that will really make our day great. Additionally, that's about as far as our budget will go. Our issue involves a few acquaintances who know about our upcoming wedding and fully expect to be invited. While once closer to us (we even met at their house), they are no longer close friends of ours. There is no ill will. We've simply grown away from them and rarely even see them any more. This couple comes complete with a number of former friends who would also fully expect invitations and would be slighted if not invited. Basically, if we invited anyone from this group we would have to invite all, or risk a huge social headache (they're not all the most mature of individuals). This would add a potential 13 adults and children to our list. How can we politely decline to invite these friends from the past? We've thought of the "family only" excuse, but in this day and age with Facebook and other means of social exchange, it is far too likely that any lie would be caught out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Overly concerned of others

Dear Concerned
While I understand wanting to have a small wedding, and I applaud your desire to only have the wedding that you can afford, I think it’s pretty bad karma not to invite the couple that introduced you to your wedding. In fact, it seems like such an obvious insult to leave this couple out, that I wonder if there’s more to the story than you’re letting on here.

Although you say you aren’t close any more, you’re obviously still close enough that they know that you’re getting married, and even expect an invitation. They aren't completely out of your life. Adding two people to your guest list will not send you over budget or ruin your intimate vibe. As to the other eleven people, no matter how close they are to the first two, if they aren’t close to you, they don’t have to be invited.

Surely everyone in that group knows the story of how you met, so it’s pretty obvious that the original couple holds a special place of honor in your wedding story. I’m not saying that people’s feelings won’t be hurt, people’s feelings will always be hurt at not being included. But, you can do a lot to minimize both the drama and the bad feelings.

The first thing you can do is to follow your instincts and NOT lie. If someone asks if they’re going to be invited or asks why they weren’t, you should simply say, “We’re keeping things very small.” In fact, you should say that anyway, whenever the topic of your wedding comes up. Don’t feel like you need to preemptively let people know that they aren’t invited, but do give them a hint early on.

The second thing you can do is keep your wedding chatter online and in person to a minimum. It’s not really fair to subject your friends and co-workers to hours of conversation about a wedding to which they aren’t invited (Actually, it’s not really fair to subject anyone to that, even if they are invited). The same goes for your Facebook Wall. You can’t control what other people say, but you can avoid putting references to who is and isn’t invited on your wall. At OneWed we created Wedding PreParty so that people like you who want to be respectful of other people’s feelings have a safe place to indulge in wedding chatter with their guests and wedding party members.

Obviously, you are not obligated to invite anyone unwanted to your wedding, but please know that if you don't invite the couple who introduced you they will rightfully take it as an insult. Unless there's more to the story, spare yourself the headache of the backlash from insulting them and put a little good will in your karmic account. And if there is more to the story, write me back and tell me (I'm very curious)!

Do you need wedding advice? Do you have a question about wedding etiquette, traditions or relationships? Write the Wedding Maven at weddingmaven@onewed.com.

About the Wedding Maven