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Etiquette

How to tell people they aren't invited?

My FH and I are wanting to have an extremely small wedding (50 max invited) in Charleston. The problem is that I know a lot of people who would love to come but I don't know how to tell them they won't be invited. Even some of my family is excluded. Whereas, my sister just had a wedding with 300+ show up. How can I explain to people that they won't be getting an invite? Even people I haven't seen in two years have been emailing me saying how excited they are to see me get married.. but they won't be invited so I don't know what to say. The way I see it, if you helped me get to the place I am with my FH, then you should be there as we make our vows. I don't think I'll be having a reception in Missouri, either. How can I say it nicely?
Thanks!
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Re: How to tell people they aren't invited?

  • Tell them that you're planning a small wedding and venue limitations mean you can't invite everyone you'd like to (the first part is true anyway.)  They shouldn't be coming right out and asking where their invite is, so you shouldn't have to answer the question directly.  They'll figure it out when their STD or invite doesn't show up in the mail.  For now, lots of smiling, nodding, and "have you tried the bean dip?" (changing the subject) should suffice.
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  • ac_in_dcac_in_dc
    2500 Comments
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    edited November 2009
    You don't need to bring it up directly with anyone.

    It seems odd that folks are e-mailing you with this statement. Are your parents or is someone else spreading the news that you're engaged? If they are, make sure they are aware of your plans for a small wedding, and on board with it, as much as they can be. Your mom can run interference for you with the relatives if she's willing.

  • I am in the same boat...I have some people I have not talked to in a while but then emailing me about not being able to wait for my wedding. I had no idea what to say, i felt bad.

    I decided to say nothing, just smile and change subject as laurenclair said and when they dont get a save the date they will get it.
    Coming right out and asking or assuming they are invited is pretty bold on their part so I would just ignore it. If it gets so bad,  just tellthem small intimate wedding.

    Good luck.
  • I have been running into a similar problem and have found it really difficult to be appreciative that they are interested in coming but to let them know that we are not able to have everyone we would like. I have tried changing the subject, sometimes "yes" spills out". But I think the best answer is something along the lines, of (insert finace's name) and I are working the type of wedding we would like to have. At the moment we are considering have a very small ceremony which fits both are styles.
  • "Well, we haven't finalized the guest list yet, so we're not totally sure who will be invited, but we do know it will be a very small wedding." Then, they don't get their hopes up.
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  • "That is so sweet!  We are planning a very small ceremony, though, and just won't be able to invite everyone we would like.  I hope you'll understand."  And then change the subject. 
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  • In Response to Re: How to tell people they aren't invited?:
    "That is so sweet!  We are planning a very small ceremony, though, and just won't be able to invite everyone we would like.  I hope you'll understand."  And then change the subject. 
    Posted by squirrly
    This.  And only when they ask.  You shouldn't bring it up otherwise, and you shouldn't be talking about your wedding to people who aren't invited.
  • Also, do you have a good mediator in the family or your group of friends? Some one with a lot of tact? You can help spread the word that way. I wouldn't have just any one do this, but the right comment about you wish for an intimate wedding from the right person can go a long way to help control things a bit.
  • Our guest list was under 25 people, 17 or which are coming.

    So, there was a LOT of family not invited. Including some immediate family (like our fathers, step-siblings). Some of them I am sure don't even know we are getting married (we aren't exactly close - that is why they are not invited!).

    When people expressed their excitement and asked for the details, we simply told them we were keeping it very small and intimate/personal (helped that we are doing a destination wedding).

    We did not go out to TELL anyone they were not invited, though they seem to figure it out when they did not get an invite ;)

    You may be surprised how many people are not at all offended, and in fact express "that is the way to go!".  We have had more than a few people express they WISH they had done it that way but then FMIL/MOB or whoever started to interfere - which is exactly why we keep the details pretty quiet and are paying for it ourselves ;)
  • Thank you, everyone! I feel a lot more confident!
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  • One word of advice is to make sure you verse your DF in this as well.  My DF just stood there like a log once, and now we have 2 more coming (ours isn't super small, but I didn't want people there that weren't special to us).  After I explained to him what to say, etc he got much better at that question.  He was so shocked that people would even ask.  He gets it now that he has seen the RSVP additions.  lol
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  • I have been running into this dilemma as well. I am kind of surprised at how bold some people are!

    I don't talk about my wedding at work, but the entire office thinks they're invited. Of course, it doesn't help that every coworker who has gotten married has invited the whole office. Apparently I'll be the first not to.

    Even the former receptionist who hasn't worked there in two years is inviting them to her wedding (which is a few weeks after mine). So, obviously, why wouldn't the CURRENT receptionist (me) do the same?

    I've firmly and politely cautioned that we're having a very small wedding with primarily family-only, but I still get the "I am so excited to go to your wedding! When is it?"

    Yikes. Embarassed
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  • Maybe i'm a crazy bitch, but if people are rude enough to ask me about their invite to my wedding, then i'm usually rude right back and tell them point blank that they won't be invited. I've had a few "friends" from high school that I have not seen or heard from in years ask me about it. I've gotten e-mails on facebook saying, "I haven't gotten my invite yet." So I responded back, "and you won't get one." Our wedding isn't small, but we have huge families, and for me family comes first. Then, as you said, people who have been there and a part of this whole relationship process with us. Folks who don't know him and hardly know me anymore are not on the list. It's a little different when you have to see the people all the time, but I guess I figure if I were that important to you, you'd've made a better effort to be someone i couldn't live without at my wedding. 
  • This is allgreat advice and I am so glad to see it!  I am still having the same problem.  I work at a hospital so everyone who knows I am getting married thinks they are getting an invite!  Even people I don't work with directly!!!  I have just smiled and said nothing and when pressed told them that becouse of our budget we are keeping it limited to family and close friends.  This has worked pretty well except for one woman who hassled me everday about coming and even said it was because of her race that I wasn't inviting her!!! I politely told her this wasn't the case and that if she wanted to pay for herself then she was welcome to come...she hasn't said anything since!!!  Good luck to you and to everyone else!
  • I've had this same problem. I've even had people I haven't seen in 10 years look me up on facebook and ask if they can go! I just don't say anything when people invite themselves. The akward silence explains it for me. No one has asked me why I haven't invited them, but my mom has been spreading the word to those who bring it up that we just wanted a very small wedding and that's what we're doing.
  • I have had the same issue.  I have had former co-workers ask me for details and I have had "friends" on facebook ask me if they are going to be invited.  I tend to say we are having a small wedding and that I have a large family to include, so we are not planning to invite a lot of friends.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I am tired of people coming out of the woodwork to ask if they are invited... now I know how people who win the lottery must feel! 
  • I've only been engaged one week (today!) and have already had this problem.  My fiance and I are also coworkers so it seems people in our office may believe our wedding will be another office holiday party.  NO WAY!  When we announced our engagement a few days ago, a coworker (whom I barely speak with), came and congratulated me and ended with "well, i hope I'm invited!"  I stammered something along the lines as "It's too soon to work on a guest list but we'll try to work something out."  "TRY" being the key word but now I wish I hadn't even uttered it. 

    Like everyone previously mentioned, I'd reiterate the decision of a small wedding while graciously thanking them for the support and interest.  If they're offended, oh well, they'll just slink back into the woodwork until they resurface for the baby shower Undecided
  • A lot of people don't know they are being rude, they think they are just showing you how excited they are about your wedding.  I'd usually just smile and say, "thanks!  It's going to be really small, but we appreciate your support."
  • I had the same problem with my daughters wedding and now with my son's. We explained it as circles. The bride and groom in the center circle,  parents and siblings in the next, and so on. We explained that only those people whom had been in my child's lives since birth were invited. (besides their friends).  Once you go outside to the next circle of people, you are then stuck with inviting everyone in that tier of the circle or hurting someones feelings. It can escalate. I even had a friend ask to give my daughter a shower and I had to tell her that she was not getting an invitation because the kids only wanted our friends  that had known them all their lives. I also explained that it was not our wedding that it was the brides and grooms wedding and we needed to make sure that there was room for all of their friends to be invited. I also told one friend that she would be the one of the first on my invite list when my husband and I decide to renew our vows. Then it would be our invite list. and not the bride and grooms.
  • Yes this is a very sticky subject and their are some many different ways to see this and even approach it. I think that this is faced by every B&G. I think that it should be approached has tactful has you can possibly.

    I do agree with others that I think it is rude to drop hints or even ask to be invited. I look at it this way If I want you I will send an STD or Invite.
     
    I had made a guest list and it was well over 100 people and wanted my FI to look it over and add to or remove whose who he did not want. He took out half the list and it shocked me and I asked why he took these people off the list. his response was that those he did were not really involved in our lifes has a couple, or were not supportive of us. I was like ok no problem. I really had to look at who I invited and really felt the same way.

    I think that you invite who means the most to you and your FI and are supportive of your marriage.

    One thing that bugs me is that we has brides feel like we have to explain to people why their not going to be invited. Its really noones business that we are on a budget or not or you want it to be small, or big or whatever. I guess just talking with your FI and making the call has to what will be said if and when you do get approached. It depends on the personality of the people that are asking. I think that if their going to be so bold into asking or assuming that they will be invited then I think I would be bold right back and tell them no that not. Ouch I know that would probably cause some of them to step back in shock.
  • are both sets of parents on board with this decision? i have a large family and a few years ago one of my cousins got married in the Caribbean and did not invite any of the family, though her father and my father (brothers) are very close. My parents are retired and wanted to attend and were VERY upset when told they were not invited, as were the other siblings. many of them are still annoyed about it and when i got engaged i was asked by many of them, "you're not going to do what So-and-So did, are you??"

    i am completely on board with not having to invite every co-worker, distant relative, etc., but for close relatives, be aware that you might have a LOT of hurt feelings to contend with--so much so that it might not be worth it to you.
  • I'm having the same problem already too!  Only 2 weeks engaged.  Ok it doesn't help that we announced our engagement and wedding location on Facebook page..  I was just so excited - but that was a mistake.   We are having a destination wedding and pretty short notice, so we may be some inviting extra people who would have been hurt if not invited... and the same time we're pretty sure with the short notice won't be able to come.  In the mean time I'm just saying "It's going to be expensive to get everyone there, so we're trying to keep it pretty small"
  • Just don't back down if anyone goes batty on you.  I had one set of cousins I *never* see asking about their invitations - publicly, yet! - on facebook, and when I tried to explain in a private message (we're so not close we don't even have each other's phone numbers), they went nutty on me and made all these insulting posts about how horrible I was.

    I stuck to my guns, and it ended up kind of funny when my friends, who didn't even know the circs and some of whom also weren't invited to the wedding, stuck up for me and posted things like, "it looks like you chose exactly the right people to exclude from your guest list" and "nice way to be happy for your cousin."  Ha.
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