Let Friends Know They’re Not Invited To Your Wedding

by K M

Let Friends Know They’re Not Invited To Your Wedding

As much as you may wish you could, you can’t invite everyone to your wedding.


Somewhere, among all of the childhood playmates, coworkers, and distant cousins, you’ve got to draw a line. As the wedding budget looms ever taller over the planning process, you may realize you’ve got to cut even treasured friends out of your guest list.

So what’s the best way to let them know?


Don’t Wait

The longer you wait, the harder the bad news will fall. As soon as you’ve finalized the guest list, send out invitations and get ready to field the tough questions from the friends who didn’t make the cut. It’s tempting to put off wedding inquiries with wishy-washy assurances like, “We’re really not sure who we can invite yet,” but prolonging the news only leads to more disappointment along the road. After all, you don’t want to wait until your friends start shopping for the perfect wedding shoes “just in case!

This doesn’t mean that you should immediately call all of your friends and let them know that they didn’t make the cut, of course. (Although, some couples are sending out “anti-guest lists” to help would-be guests join the festivities in other ways.) The best way to proceed is to feel out each person individually; if your friend doesn’t bring up the topic, you don’t need to, either. If it’s someone who normally would assume an invitation (such as a sibling), however, you need to bring up the topic along with a very compelling reason why you were forced to make your wedding so intimate.


Don’t Rub It In

Once you’ve established that your friend isn’t invited, it’s time to remove them from all the wedding news updates. After all, you don’t want to rub in the bad news. On social media sites, create a “wedding filter” that limits the news to your guest list. (You don’t want the whole world knowing your nuptial details anyway, do you?)

The same goes for in-person encounters. Don’t gush about your beautiful dress or the great deal you got on your flowers unless the person hearing the news gets to enjoy the end result.


Get Your Reasons Ready

When a friend starts gushing about how excited she is for your wedding and how much fun the reception will be, you have a very narrow window to gracefully push forward the topic. Even though the conversation is by all rights an awkward one, any hemming and hawing could be translated as reluctance on your part to invite them to your wedding. Instead, practice explaining your reasons ahead of time.

Maybe you’re financially restricted to an intimate ceremony of just family members. Maybe your parents are paying for the wedding and insisted on filling all of the chairs with their own guests. Maybe you’ve always loved the romance of eloping. Practice explaining yourself until you can do so gracefully.

Whatever happens, don’t change your story and never tell even a little white lie. (For example, don’t claim that you’re having a small wedding when you’re actually inviting 100 people.) Your friends will talk to each other and encounter wedding-related news on social media sites no matter how careful you are. If you stretch the truth in an attempt to save someone’s feelings at the moment, it’s almost certain to backfire later.


Strengthen the Relationship

As soon as you’ve broken the disappointing news, get ready to soften it with an invitation. Reassure your friend that you value her presence in your life and you wish you could celebrate your wedding day together. Instead of inviting her to the ceremony itself (feel free to emphasize how stodgy it will be), ask if you can spend a special afternoon together catching up over tea, going on a stroll, or catching a movie. As long as you take the sting out of the rejection by showing your friend that you do still feel close to her, the actual wedding invitation won’t matter as much.


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