Wedding Waitlist: Sending invites early

by epi on April 26, 2013

Q: We have a strict budget for a nice wedding that we want to have. We are limited to 100 guests and have had a short courtship and short engagement period. Instead of sending save-the-date cards, can we send our out-of-town invites earlier so that those who don’t wish to attend can be crossed off and we can add another guest that would love to attend? I would like to send out the first invites in 4 weeks, and give them 3 weeks to RSVP. Is this acceptable?

A: Ordinarily, you would send invitations six to eight weeks in advance. However, your idea to send invitations earlier to potential out-of-town guests to give you more time to mail invitations to others if they can’t come could potentially work for you, with a very early response date requested. Of course you would have to call those who don’t reply on time to see if they are able to attend, and there may be some who don’t yet know their schedules who delay answering. Best wishes.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Rose April 27, 2013 at 9:51 am

My husband and I were invited to a wedding. The invitation envelope read “Mr. and Mrs. etc” and the inside envelope had our first names.

My husband is unable to attend. Is it rude to ask someone else to attend with me? I don’t know a lot of people at this wedding so it would be nice to have a companion but I’m not sure if this is OK. Thanks!


Winifred Rosenburg April 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Yes, it would be rude for you to bring someone else. The invitation was for you and your husband, and you are not allowed to make your own substitutions. Hopefully the wedding will be interesting enough that you won’t feel the need to bring your own entertainment.


Jodi April 27, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Winifred, may I ask why you found it necessary to add the last sentence to your response? Rose asked if it would be rude to invite someone to accompany her because she didn’t know a lot of people; many people find it awkward and uncomfortable to attend events on their own, so her question was reasonable. No where did she say she was afraid it would be uninteresting. Your comment was inappropriate.


Winifred Rosenburg April 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

I apologize if my comment was offensive. I was paraphrasing a Miss Manners answer to the same question that I can’t seem to find.


Elizabeth April 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I just wanted to add a bit of explanation for why it is not ok to ask for substitutions. Most couples have a budget for their wedding, and often have to do the painful work of figuring out who to invite and who to leave out. When you are invited to a wedding, you can take it as a sign that the couple really wants YOU to be there. Lots of people think of a wedding as an intimate gathering of people important in their lives, and don’t necessarily want to open it up to strangers. IF you can’t make it for some reason, you have to assume that there are other people that they would like to invite in that place. So, the best thing to do is to RSVP for just yourself and allow them to do with that extra place what they want. That might be inviting someone else, or it might be saving the $50 or $100 (or more) that they would have spent.

(Naturally, not all people feel this way. I invited a number of people as Ms. Smith + guest, and allowed that person to decide who she wanted to bring. But many people do naturally want to control their guest list, and that’s why asking is not such a great idea.)


Nancy May 1, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi, my lunch group friends have received a save the date invitation from the mother of the bride (also one of our lunch group). After having received it, they all began e-mailing each other (including me) to ask where to stay, how they are getting there, etc. The mother of the bride is e-mailing back and has e-mailed me as well. The only problem is I didn’t receive a save the date invitation. I feel it is probably appropriate to let her know that since she has me on her e-mail list and I am receiving these newsy e-mails about the wedding. I feel a little shy about telling her though. Should I just wait a little longer and see if I receive an invitation or let her know now that I haven’t received the save the date. P.S. As far as I know, we are on good terms and there is no particular reason she would exclude me from the event.


Jody May 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

Nancy, that’s a tricky one. I would send a private e-mail to the MOB letting her know that somehow you got on the e-mail list even though you haven’t yet received a “save the date” invitation. Since you’re on good terms, if you keep the tone lighthearted it should work out fine. That will give the MOB the opportunity to either send you another invitation explaining that the first one must have been lost in the mail, or gracefully explain that they’re having to limit the size of the wedding.


Cyra May 1, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hi Nancy,

If attending this wedding does require you to make travel and lodging arrangements, then I think it is fine to inquire about a save-the-date since you are receiving information about the wedding. It could be that they simply have your address wrong.

On the other hand, if the wedding is local I might just wait and see if an invitation arrives.


Selena December 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I received a save the date card six months ago for a wedding in December. I marked my calendar and looked f orward to attending. When November rolled around I never received the wedding invitation. Should I assume it was lost in the mail and attend the wedding anyway?


Alicia December 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm

You should contact the member of the couple that you are closer to and clarify. You have not RSVPed since you did not get the invite but you should be invited as you got the save the date. I would ask for details of time and location from them member of the couple you are closer to. They will need to know your RSVP is yes.


Elizabeth December 16, 2013 at 12:52 am

I agree with Alicia. If you do not contact the couple and just show up, they may very well have not expected you and there may not be a place for you to sit or a meal for you to eat. Definitely contact the bride or groom.


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