One Day, Two Weddings: What's a person to do?

by EPI Staff on January 22, 2010

Q: I’ve received two wedding invitations for the same day–one from a college friend and one from a cousin.  Which one should take precedence?

A: The decision is yours:  Think about which person you’re closer to.  If you choose your friend, reach out to your family immediately (and in person, if possible) to minimize hurt feelings, and try to set up another time to see the couple.  But whichever invitation you decline, send a note of thanks with an explanation and be sure to RSVP promptly to both.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Mom January 23, 2010 at 7:56 am

Help! My daughter included registry information inside her wedding invitations. Is there a way to address this after they’ve been sent out, or should I try to forget about it?

Thanks from a concerned Mother of the Bride

Reply

Graceandhonor January 23, 2010 at 8:10 am

The damage has been done. Do encourage your daughter to be especially careful from here on out and learn about good manners so that this faux pas will hopefully be forgotten.

Reply

Julie January 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

My sister is getting married in May and I am the Maid of Honor. I’ve never planned a shower before but the other brides maid is fighting me on everything. The shower is at the end of March. Our wedding dress colors are black and silver. She thinks we should decorate the wedding shower with black and white carnations with silver balloons. I feel like that is something for a birthday party or new years eve party.. not a spring wedding shower. I decided to go with spring flowers. She tells me I am wrong and we should be doing wedding colors. Is there etiquette for this?

Reply

Graceandhonor January 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Relatives do not host showers for relatives as it is considered grabbing and in poor taste. Aside from this, a shower is not required to be decorated in the same color scheme as a wedding, though some are. Seems to me a spring shower should rejoice in the season, though; if the wedding is an evening affair, the b/w/silver theme works well, but may seem harsh for a daytime shower. Carnations are not the prettiest flower to begin with and a black one? Hmmm. Rather funereal or Goth, don’t you think?

Reply

Julie January 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I thought the carnations were tacky and the black ones especially! Thank you for your reply. It makes me feel better since I haven’t a clue what I am doing. The brides maid fights me tooth and nail on everything and makes me feel bad about doing something nice for my sister. I didn’t know that relatives are not supposed to hold showers for relatives. It always seems to me that holding a shower is one of the duties of the maid of honor. Once again, thank you very much.

Reply

Graceandhonor January 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm

It is not a requirement that a maid of honor, nor a bridesmaid for that matter, host a shower for the bride, but good luck with your soiree!

Reply

Carleigh March 10, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I have also received wedding invitations from two people for the same day. They are both male best friends whom I have known since high school. One weeding is a traditional Catholic mass at noon followed by an afternoon reception. The other is an evening wedding. I have informed my two friends of the conflict and the later groom has insisted that I leave the reception of my other friend to make it to his ceremony. The thing is, I am an informal part of the wedding party as the host for the earlier wedding! How can I politely insist to the second groom, that while I would have liked to attend the wedding (which is 40 minutes away from the other reception) it isn’t plausible? Please help, I don’t want to hurt either friend.

Reply

Daniel Post Senning March 11, 2010 at 8:41 am

Groomzilla! Who knew? This is however one of the classic etiquette questions, as this happens more often than you might think. Groups of friends often tend to get married within a few years of each other and it is not unusual for these weddings to overlap during the same short wedding season. If you have already made a commitment to be a part of the first wedding and you intend to honor that commitment you should rsvp to the hosts of the second wedding as soon as possible. Simply express your regret in writing that you will not be able to attend. Be sure to wish them well and maybe even consider sending the rsvp with a wedding gift. Having done these two things you will have fulfilled the roles that you are supposed to play as an invited guest. Having done this, if you feel you should, contact your friend personally to explain that you have to honor your earlier commitment. He should be understanding as he would probably want you to pay him the same respect if you had committed to be part of his wedding already and someone else asked you to do something at the same time. This would be a great time to offer to get together and celebrate the new union in a way that works for both of you.

Reply

Melody March 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Hello,

I have a big issue. My sisters wedding is slated for 9/10/11 and I am the maid of honor. My boyfriend was asked a month ago if he could supply the music and possibly sing and he agreed. Now one of his good friends has just decided their date and it is the same day. The weddings are no where near each other and my boyfriend has now told his friend that he will sing at her wedding thus breaking his engagement at my sisters. My sister also picked the date because the weekend following is my boyfriends birthday so she didn’t want it to fall on the same day. He is now saying that he barely knows my sister and feels more obligated to his friend however he is not the best man nor is he giving her away. I feel that because he already committed to my sisters wedding that he needs to keep his word, not to mention she is my family. He thinks that I am being inconsiderate and that he needs to go to his friends wedding because he has known her longer. What is the proper etiquette for this type of situation?

Reply

Alicia March 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

He had already commited to your sister. Once you make a commitment you are honor bound to follow thru unless illness ect. Basically you can only cancel for worse things not for better. The honorable thing he should have done is to tell friend that he was unable to attend her wedding as he had already commited to be at another wedding that day and that he was sorry and to wish her al sorts of happiness. He is being inconsiderate. That said he is your boyfriend not your husband and his not caring about your and your family and his commitments makes it unlikely you will still wish to be dating him come september so maybe you will have the change to meet a lovely groomsman at your sisters wedding instead.

Reply

Just Laura March 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with Alicia.
A dear friend of my fiance’s had already committed to attend a wedding on the same weekend as ours. The guy doesn’t want to go (it was a friend of his wife’s with whom he is only cordial), but says he is sorry and wants to set a good example for his two sons; i.e. that promises mean something, and aren’t just around for convenience. Sure, we’ll miss him, but completely understand.

Reply

bonnie April 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm

I have a similar dilemma and would appreciate thoughts and suggestions. Two of my closest friends are having their wedding on the same day in different states. One asked me to be in the wedding party and I agreed, not having known a confirmed date for the other friends wedding. I would think I should go to whoever asked me first but the other friend is practically a sister to me (the first friend to ask me I am really close to but not for as long and deep as my other friend.) What should I do and any tips on how to politely let down one of them?

Reply

Just Laura April 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

You have agreed to be an important part of a friend’s wedding. Please do not be so unkind as to leave this friend hanging on her special day.

Reply

Elizabeth April 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm

It’s an unfortunate situation, but I think Laura is right – you already committed to be in a wedding party. Tell your other friend that you’ll make a special trip to see her and celebrate another time soon, but after she has the proofs so you can see all the photos. What else can you do?

Reply

Alicia April 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I think you need to go to the one you are wedding party at. The other one did not officially invite you yet or else you would haveknown the date from the invite. Go to the one where you are a bridesmaid. Send a gift and plan to get together with the other couple shortly after they are back from their honeymoon to view wedding pictures
Sad but this is the only option. Elizabeth is right.

Reply

Espe May 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I see it’s been a while since there was activity here, but I thought I’d go ahead and see what advice I can get anyway.
About a week ago I got a wedding invite from a college friend. She is one of the sweetest people I know, and my roommates and I were among the first she came to tell after she got engaged last fall. Today, I got an e-mail from one of my best friends from high school, and even though we haven’t seen each other in person much the past few years, I still consider her one of my best friends. She said she was following up to see if I was going to be able to make it to her wedding, as she is trying to get the final count. She apparently sent the invitation at the beginning of March, and it must have gotten lost somewhere along the way. I know the college friend would understand if I could not make it, because not only would it cost more (a 6 hour drive v. right in town), but I am more likely to see her in the future than my other friend, who is moving across the country after the wedding. Even so, she is an amazing person and I would love to help her celebrate…and she is also hoping that as many choir members as possible can sing on of the songs from our tour last year that she and her fiance love. My participation does not make or break it by any means, but it would be a lot of fun.
I would know plenty of people and have a good time at either wedding, so that does not help me make a decision either. I love both of them dearly and wish I could be there for both, but unless Doctor Who shows up with the TARDIS, that is unfortunately not possible. Do you have any advice in making the decision – the incredibly sweet college friend versus the high school friend moving across the country?

Reply

Elizabeth May 10, 2012 at 11:01 am

Espe,
Unfortunately I don’t know any rules of etiquette that will help you decide which party to attend. Normally, it would be easy to decide based on which invitation you received first, but even that seems to have gotten messed up. Both weddings sound lovely, but unfortunately you have to make a decision. Personally, I might go to the wedding of the friend who I’ve been more in touch with and more likely to see again. But that’s just me.
Good luck!

Reply

Alex June 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I have a two wedding same dilemma. My husband is a groomsman for a high school friend of his, who was also a college roommate. We don’t spend much time with this friend, have only met the fiance post engagement and I won’t know many people at the wedding. They had originally planned a September wedding but about 2 months ago decided to switch it to October. In the meantime we were invited to a cousin’s wedding which was on their original date.. Now the friend has informed us that they are now switching back to the September date. I was wondering would it be rude if we were to divide and conquer, meaning my husband uphold his groomsmen responsibilities and go to his friends wedding and I go to the family wedding.

Reply

Alicia June 18, 2012 at 8:35 am

Absolutely you can go to cousins wedding and he can go to friends wedding. He has agreed to be a groomsman so he needs to attend that one but you can absiolutely decline that invite and go to cousins as long as you have not RSVPed yet for either event.

Reply

Elizabeth June 18, 2012 at 11:47 am

Given how early it is (middle of June for September and October weddings) I doubt the invitations have gone out yet, and people have just let Alex know when the weddings will be. I agree 100% with Alicia – you can absolutely divide and conquer. Enjoy the wedding(s)!

Reply

nikki June 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm

hello,
i have a similar delimma, two weddings in one day, but they are accross the street from eachother. i was going to try to go to the earlier ones ceremony and cocktail reception and the other reception. is this ok to do?

thank you

Reply

Alicia June 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

Are they at the same times?

Reply

Nikki July 1, 2012 at 7:28 pm

similar times, one starts an hour and a half earlier

Reply

Elizabeth July 2, 2012 at 11:40 am

Hmmm…Nikki, you have an interesting dilemma! The fact that the two events are so near each other does indeed make it possible to try to attend a bit of both. If they were farther apart, you would have to choose and be done with it. I think, if it were me, my decision would depend on my relationship with the two couples. If one was a very close friend or a close cousin and the other was much less close, I think I would just choose one and send my regrets to the other. If I really wanted to do both, I think I would try to attend the ceremonies of each. That is really the most important part of each wedding. So, if you can attend the first ceremony, then go across and attend the whole wedding of the second, that would be proper. I think you get into difficulties when you try to split time. Then you will have to explain to both couples your situation. If they are good friends and will be understanding, it might be fine, but I could also see how both couples could be miffed at your not just attending or declining. Only you know them and have a sense for how they would react. Best of luck!

Reply

Renee July 18, 2012 at 2:40 am

Two of my best friends are getting married, one from college and one from high school. The girl from college told me her wedding date would be in June and the high school friend said hers would be in April. Both have asked me to be a bridesmaid and I agreed. The friend from high school, it appears, has changed her wedding to the same day as the friend from college. I am unsure what I am supposed to do in this situation as I do not feel closer to one friend over another.

Reply

Alicia July 18, 2012 at 7:46 am

You tell the one who has switched her date that you have a commitment and are already a bridesmaid on that date and will not be able to be there on that day.

Reply

Jody July 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

Renee, I agree with Alicia — you should tell the high school friend (who switched her date) that unfortunately you won’t be able to be a bridesmaid because you’d already promised to be a bridesmaid for another friend on that date. You should call her as soon as possible, so that she has plenty of time to find another friend to act as bridesmaid.

That’s very nice, that you have several friends who consider you a close enough friend to act as bridesmaid.

Reply

Sarah January 29, 2013 at 12:36 am

On the trend of weddings: I have received a save the date for two weddings on the same day. The first wedding, I have known of the date for a month now, the second I just received the date today. Both are friends from college. The first friend/wedding I have been closer with over the past few years. The second is my sorotity pledge sister and I’m afraid I would hurt her feelings, however I am fairly certain there will be people in attendance that I don’t get along with. The weddings are both in the evening and 2 and a half hours away from each other. HELP!

Reply

Alicia January 29, 2013 at 7:21 am

Save the dates are not invites. Until you RSVP for one wedding or the other you have no commitment to either. So think about the two and decide which wedding you would like to attend. You must then when you recieve the invites RSVP promptly based on which you wish to attend and which you wish to decline. ( or technically could decline both) You do not need to decide until you recieve the invites but please RSVP promptly when you do so.

Reply

Jessica April 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm

My cousin and my husband’s cousin are getting married on the same day about 4 hours away from each other so we can’t go to both. I knew the date of my husband’s cousin’s wedding before my cousins so when I heard that my cousin was getting married, I asked her what date she was thinking. When she told me the date she was thinking of, I already knew that it was the date of my husband’s cousins wedding so I told her that I already have a wedding on that day and that didn’t want to have to choose. She still ended up choosing the same date. We see my family all the time (just about every holiday, birthday, etc.) because they live locally. We don’t see my husband’s family much because they live all over the US, but when we do see them we have a great time. I feel that it makes more sense to go to his cousins wedding because it’s a chance for us to see everyone together that we otherwise can’t/don’t see. I already told my mom this and she was upset saying that it’s my family and that my husband and I should split up. I don’t like the divide and conquer idea though because a wedding is something that celebrates marriage and who wants to go to a wedding without their significant other?! I just don’t think that sounds like fun. Am I wrong/being selfish? Which wedding makes more sense to go to?

Reply

Jen August 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Two weddings same day. I am in a state of panic. I have two weddings for the same day one for a close firend (wedding #1) and another for a close work friend (wedding #2). I had been planning on going to the wedding #1 that is a t 2:30 then the wedding and dinner for the wedding #2 that starts at 4:30 then back to the wedding #1 for the late evening (it is closer to home). Teh weddings are 60 miles apart. wedding #1 invitation invited me with a guest, but wedding #2 has not allowed a guest. I had talked to #1 prior and she specifically asked me to bring one of our other friends. The plan was for both of us to go to both weddings. Since I cannot have a guest at #2 wedding would it be rude to go to just the ceremony then back to wedding #1. And if I do this should I have to buy a gift to a wedding with a reception that I am not going to (after all this is the major expense of a wedding) Or should I just decline wedding #2 completely?

Reply

Elizabeth August 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm

What you’re describing (going to bits and parts of two weddings, 60 miles apart) sounds like a nightmare. And neither bride will be happy with you or appreciate the gymnastics you’re putting yourself through. I think you have two options. Option one: Pick which wedding you’d rather attend and do so fully, declining the other. Or, second option: go to the ceremony for the first and then attend work friend’s wedding fully. Driving back and forth sounds nuts. The ‘guest’ status seems unimportant. Attend the first wedding completely and take a guest, or pick option 2 and don’t take a guest to either. (Whoever your guest would be would probably be thankful not to be dragged around!) Your wedding gift should reflect only your well wishes for the couple and your closeness to them. The gift is NOT tied to the price of your plate or whether you bring a guest, because the gift is not meant to help ‘fund’ the wedding.

Reply

Cyra August 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm

It sounds like you have already RSVP’s for wedding #1, but have not yet responded to the invitation to wedding #2? If that’s the case, I think you should honor your first commitment and decline wedding #2. Since these are both close friends of yours, I would suggest sending a gift even to the couple whose wedding you don’t attend.

If you do decide to attend both events, you cannot take your guest to wedding #2, event if it is just for the ceremony. If you leave wedding #1 early, then your guest must leave with you since he/she was not specifically invited, but you cannot take that person along to wedding #2.

I have never been in this particular situation (thank goodness!), but I have been in situations as a host where a few of my guests were trying to juggle multiple events in an evening. I can tell you, I would much rather have had them just say, “I’m sorry I won’t be able to come; I have a prior commitment that evening.”

Reply

Alicia August 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Skip wedding two. Attend wedding one fully. work friends will drift and are not as close as friends. Also you will be aubjecting your guest to a lot of leaving amd sitting in car waiting for you and both to hours of driving. Skip wedding two send a gift and ask to see pictures after the wedding.

Reply

Becky April 23, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Thought I’d give this a try. I also have two weddings on the same day, and they’re both more than a year away. The first one I am a bridesmaid in and I was asked about 4 months ago. I was surprised because I never thought of this person as a close friend, nor had I been in touch for quite some time, but in the heat of the moment said yes. An extremely good friend is also in the wedding and was surprised to be asked, but we figured we’re in it together. I just found out today my friend who I am much closer with and about to live with up until her wedding day has picked the same date. From the moment I knew it was a possibility I knew I would rather be a guest at her wedding, than stand up in the other. I am also about to spend a ton of time with her leading up to it and it would feel very strange not being there for the day of. I also know her family and fiancé better. Both weddings are only about an hour from where I live, so distance isn’t a factor. I have not been excited about the first one, and have considered backing out even before I knew of the other, because I didn’t think it was fair for her to have a bridesmaid who wasn’t very enthused about her big day, but I do feel bad leaving my other very good friend to go at it alone while I attend the other wedding. Either way this is going to be hard.

Any thoughts on what to do would be much appreciated!

Reply

Elizabeth April 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm

The rules of etiquette require you to live up to your word and promise. It is considered quite rude to break plans with one person when something better comes along. I honestly can empathize with your situation. The best thing to do would have been to avoid agreeing to being a bridesmaid in the heat of the moment, to have taken time to consider the commitment and your lack of relationship to the bride, and to have politely declined the honor. However, you did accept the honor, and to back out now would not be very honorable. If you do decide to back out, I cannot imagine the bride will ever again think of you as a friend, nor will she probably have anything good to say about you. You may ultimately decide that this is a price you are willing to pay to be at your other friend’s wedding. It may be early enough that it doesn’t negatively impact the bride too much.

Reply

Alicia April 23, 2014 at 5:25 pm

You put your word down on wedding 1 and need to attend and be a bridesmaid. Tell couple from wedding 2 right away that you mist RSVP, no to make it easier on them plans wize. Reality is that no day will be conflict free for all guests. It no longer matters which you want to go to your word of honor says wedding 1.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: