1. Jessica

    I have a question about inviting co-workers to my wedding. I initially asked a couple of co-workers how they dealt with invitations for their own weddings. Both co-workers, separately, told me they felt I should invite whomever I chose and that people would understand. There are about 25 people in my department. I feel closer to a few of my co-workers than others and asked the two co-workers who had been “advising” me if they thought it would be appropriate only to include several people including them. They were both delighted to be included on my small list. I felt really good about my selection. My mom, several weeks later, decided that it would be rude to invite only a few people from my work, considering I don’t really socialize with the small selection of co-workers outside of work and because I wouldn’t be inviting everyone. She has cut them from our list and insists that I tell them not to expect an invitation. I think the real reason is that she wanted me to cut people from our guest list and my co-workers (the small selection of them) and their spouses would add about 13 people to our list. My mom thinks that I should invite the leader of my group who has been a mentor to me and with whom I have socialized out of work (she’s taken me and my fiancé to dinner with her husband and indicated that we should socialize together on other occasions). I don’t know what to do because I feel that there is now an expectation of an invitation by the people I asked for advice. Would it be acceptable to apologize to them and to explain that, after consultation with my mom, that I should invite all or none from work? Can I still then invite my mentor and her husband? Will my other co-workers think I am disingenuous? I am in a huge pickle. I haven’t sent any save the dates, mostly because I am so stressed out and mortified about about this situation.

    • Elizabeth

      Jessica, you obviously know that it is not good form to extend an invitation (even casually), only to renege on it later. Yes, it will be awkward for you to disinvite your coworkers, and it would be even more awkward still to invite your mentor after you tell your work friends you decided against inviting coworkers.

      I think you have two options: stand up to your mother/find it in your budget to invite the handful of coworkers along with your mentor. Or, invite no one from work. The first option is more graceful, since you already discussed inviting these people. I realize that 13 extra people can mean a fair amount of money, but if you can swing it, it would be best. (When you work in a large office, it is perfectly fine to invite people you are close to and not everyone. Your mother is incorrect on this point. Think of it this way – would you feel strange not being invited to their wedding? Of course not.) The second option is a bit clumsy, but at least it’s fair. If you’ve only socialized once with your mentor and you don’t really socialize with the coworkers outside of work, these aren’t people that it makes sense to invite anyway. You can apologize profusely to your work friends, say that you goofed, and that the wedding is going to be more intimate than you thought and that you unfortunately can’t invite anyone from work (including the mentor).

      • Jessica

        Thanks for your reply. I will try to persuade my mother to just leave it as is, but she is very adamant even though I told her that I had casually invited the co-workers. The problem was that she was fine with our guest list as was, which is why I even mentioned the subject to the co-workers, but then abruptly changed her mind weeks afterwards and cut substantially from the list to my dismay. We almost called off our wedding as a result. It has been extremely stressful for both me and my fiancé. In my opinion, the issue isn’t money–but I am not paying for the wedding so it isn’t my choice. I don’t really understand her reasoning. It is not rational behavior and it is very unfortunate. I am in a real bind though because in this case my mother does not seem to care about damaging my relationships with co-workers or anyone else. I am sad about the situation. I appreciate your advice.

    • Christie

      Simple rule for co-workers. If you don’t find these people valuable enough of friends to make plans with outside the work place, then they’re not your good friends and therefore shouldn’t be at your wedding – they are simply acquaintances that happen to work where you work and nothing more.

  2. Elizabeth

    If we know that out-of-town cousins will not be able to attend the wedding (they have told us), do we: 1) still invite them to the bridal shower being held in their home town; and 2) still send them a wedding invitation.

    Thank you!

    • Alicia

      Yes still invite them to the wedding because you would like them to attend. If their plans change they may then RSVP yes. Plus it will feel nice for them and you.
      If you wish them to attend the bridal shower they may absolutely be invited. Even if due to conflicts can not attend the wedding a guest may be invited to a prewedding party as long as they were invited to the wedding even if they declined for whatever reason.

      • Jody

        Alicia is absolutely correct, the cousins should be sent a wedding invitation. They’ve already told you they can’t attend, but it’s not worth causing ill feelings by not sending them one.

    • Jody

      “Oh brother!” is the cleanest thing I can say, especially when I got to #7. In no way should you tell people they’re going to be invited to your wedding before you send out “save the date” cards or actual invitations. In no way should you tell somebody “oh, you were on my list but I can’t invite you after all.”

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      So many problems! The worst one was the tip that you should invite them to your shower if you can’t invite them to the wedding.

  3. Brockwest

    Oh my goodness, Just Laura, THANK you for making my day! What a Delicious horribly-wrong url! I laughed SO hard. Obviously the writer believes what they wrote, but they are SO etiquettely-challenged! I can JUST imagine, in fact I want to BE there when someone tells a friend….you are not invited to my wedding, but instead, I want you to do these preparation for the wedding you are not invited to!
    It sounds like a sit com. I’ll be giggling all day about the post!

  4. Noreen

    My friend and I have been debating etiquette regarding wedding invitations. Is it appropriate to invite single friends without guests? (I said yes; he thinks everyone should be able to bring a guest.)
    And if you are invited with a guest, is it okay to bring anyone as a guest? Can it be a relative or a same sex friend? (I’ve always thought that it is impolite, but my friend thinks any guest is welcome.) Thank you.

    • Alicia

      Yes you can invite single people without a guest. Actually as a single woman I view weddings where single people are not asked with guests to be a great way to meet already vetted guys. Also it is alkward when you are single to worry about a guest.Do you bring your guy friend who can dance or will people including him see you as a couple or do you go single and have nobody to dance with as everybody else has a date or do you bring a not so significant date and worry that he thinks you are rushing things. Seriously no date included is the best in my opinion.

      Also if invited with an and guest any guest you wish to invite is fine.

    • You may invite single friends with or without their own guests. It’s nice to let them bring someone, but certainly not required.
      If the guest is allowed to bring his/her own guest, s/he may bring whomever s/he pleases. This can be a friend, relative or significant other. Why do you feel this would be impolite?

  5. Alie

    I am fully aware of the “propriety” of only inviting to a shower those that will be invited to the wedding. Here is the problem. My cousin is a professional woman in her 40’s soon to be married for the first time. She and her fiancee live out of town and will be paying for a very elite affair. The bride has a large family on both sides, many elderly and young in the home town and many young scattered across the country. The couple will be inviting mostly business associates and close friends to an intimate affair. The problem is that some of the bride’s relatives want to give her a shower in the hometown which would mostly include local friends and family members that will not be invited to the wedding out of state. Is there a “proper” way to do this?

    • Alicia

      No a shower is not proper in this situation. It assumes people want to buy gifts for a wedding they are not invited to. It also implies that what is valued is gifts not friendship. However, a party in honor of the newlyweds after the wedding would be lovely and could include hometown friends and others not invited to the weddng.

  6. Donna

    My daughter is getting married in June. Her sister , who is the bridesmaid, wants to have a shower for her. But my mother says that you can’t invite people to the shower and the wedding because then they have to buy 2 gifts. I have never heard of such a thing. The family always has a shower, that is a fun, girl time celebration!

    • Alicia

      Actually the rule is the opposite you can only invite to the shower those who are invited to the wedding. Yes they end up getting two gifts but most people when budgeting just buy a smaller wedding gift. I usually spend about 25% of my wedding gift budget on the shower and another 75% on the wedding gift if not invited to the shower I spend 100% on the wedding gift.

  7. Linda

    We would like to host an event in our home to introduce our future daughter-in-law to our many, many friends, as she has just moved into our community and we would like to find a special way welcome her and introduce her to our friends, since hopefully, she will be living in our community for a long time to come. The wedding won’t be for another year, and she and our son have decided they would like a small wedding (we already have a large family), so it will be impossible for us to have more than a couple of our friends attend the special day. How can we do this without it appearing to be an engagement party? Is there a tactful way to word an invitation? Is there any way to have such an event for the purpose of introducing someone to friends without the implication of there being an invitation later to a wedding?

    • Elizabeth

      Sure, you could have a BBQ or cocktail party and bill it as such, and mention casually to invitees that the reason you are hosting the party is so they can meet your son’s fiance. Don’t “call” it anything.

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