The Mum Network

Wedding Invite Etiquette – Who do you Invite? Who Do you Cut out?

When it comes to weddings, it can all turn to shit fairly quickly. The subject of wedding invite etiquette is a sensitive one and it can pull friends and families apart. I’ve seen so people deeply offended because they’ve not been invited to a wedding and I’ve seen others congratulated for keeping it small and doing what they want.

Have you ever heard the story of the painful mother who says “if so and so isn’t invited, then I’m not coming!”. It must be hard dealing with that much pressure as it’s hard enough organising a wedding if you’re not a professional event organiser.

Either way, the bride and groom can’t win and we’re hearing some corker stories in the office this afternoon! The questions we’ve been asking include:

  • Do you give single friends a +1 invite at the risk of them bringing someone you don’t know or like?
  • Do you invite someone just because they invited you to their wedding?
  • Do you invite kids?
  • Do you invite your boss?
  • Do you invite the partner of a friend if it’s a very new relationship or someone you don’t like?
  • Do you invite an evil stepmother if you don’t like her and she doesn’t like you?
  • Do you invite family friends who invited your parents to their kids weddings?
  • Do you invite workmates?
  • Do you invite a friend’s ex if you are still friends with them?
  • Do you invite your own ex if you are still friends with them?
  • If you have a large family but are closer to some cousins than others, do you feel obliged to invite them all?
  • If you know people can’t make it to your wedding, do you still send them an invite?

Everyone has some level of dysfunction in their lives but this office is in between totally dysfunctional or possibly a reflection of the 2012 norm. You see, two of the gals in our office refer to their biological fathers as “the sperm donors” – there’s no relationship, no love, nothing at all. Never in a million years would they invite their father’s to their own weddings, it’s not a political decision, they simply have no relationship with their Dad’s and therefore see no reason to invite them to the biggest day of their lives. However, Josi in our office thinks that her ‘sperm donor’ is so delusional that he’s still waiting for his invite to her upcoming nuptials. We’re all waiting to see the day come and go with or without comment from him.

Traditionally and from my experience alone, Asian, Middle Eastern and Italian weddings involve inviting everyone from your kindergarten teacher to the friend of your next door neighbor that you met when you were 7 years old. I recall going to the wedding of a staff member once and introducing myself to a guest, naturally I said ‘how do you know the lovely couple?” He replied “I don’t” – I was in shock!

I’ve mentioned in the past that I rather enjoy not being invited to a wedding, it takes a whole lot of cost and hassle out of life. It’s a happy occasion of course but I completely agree with a bride and groom’s decision to invite whoever they like, it is afterall, their big day.

We had a reasonably big wedding, about 140 people but there was one rule that hubby and I agreed to, we’d been together for close to four years by the time we got married. We agreed that if either of us had not met someone we wanted to invite in the time we’d been together, they weren’t really close enough to warrant an invite (the only exception to the rule was immediate family members who lived overseas). We conquered the “family friends” issue by giving each set of parents a table each, they could fill it however they wanted, with cousins, best friends or next door neighbours but it had to be one table only. We worked for the same company and socialized with workmates all the time so there went another 20 places for work friends. A decision I certainly don’t regret as I’m still friends with all of them. However once the rules were set, it worked, no politics and no drama’s, the rules were the rules plus both of our parents were fair and reasonable in their expectations.

Likewise when my little brother got married in Malaysia recently, they had a very intimate wedding with about 30 people in total (not including the kids). It was immediate family and only their closest friends. I’m fairly sure the people not invited weren’t offended as all our friends and family knew it was going to be a very small and intimate wedding.

When it comes to weddings, you’re better off setting the ground rules fairly early and remember that it’s your big day and one that you need to remember forever. It’s no one else’s wedding day. If it happens that parents who are paying for the wedding have a strong opinion, perhaps do what a friend of mine did, she said “you can pay for the wedding but it doesn’t buy you an opinion. You can have two tables but beyond that, please let me organize my own day and remember that your money isn’t buying you your dream wedding. If you don’t like it, we’ll pay for it ourselves.” Her mother was very quiet after that.

What were your rules for your wedding day? Was it a nightmare or did you establish the ‘rules’ early on. Comment below:

One comment

  1. Sally Leese

    Hubby & i got married on Hamilton Island for a few reasons: the first reason is that hubby is is English and we thought our English family and friends would appreciate the nice location and could combine our wedding with their travel. The second reason was that we knew our ‘real’ family and friends would make the effort to travel for our wedding.

    As we are both from big families, we decided up front about having a smaller wedding of close family and friends and to throw a party in Sydney when we returned from our honeymoon to celebrate with all of our other friends. Otherwise we were heading towards a wedding with 200 guests!

    We also had a rule that if we had not met someone, they were not invited to the wedding. We were very upfront with family and friends about having a ‘small wedding’ and ended up with a wedding of 50 people and a party of 150 people.

    I think we got the best of both worlds and celebrated with all of our family and friends in someway, shape or form. No one was offended and we ended up having two fantastic parties to celebrate our marriage!

    The one piece of advice many people gave me when I got engaged was, ‘it’s your day’ do what YOU want’, I stuck by this advice and would not change a thing!

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