This could technically be my second in my new “Real Talk” series, because in order to really discuss this, it has to be “real talk.” I have a feeling what I’m about to share will resonate with those who are planning / have planned a wedding and will probably annoy those who have never planned a dinner party for 150 of their closest friends. So…here goes!
If you’ve been involved with planning a wedding, you know that one of the first things you do is sketch out your guest list. The number of people that will be in attendance dictates many things about your wedding, from the venue to transportation to…perhaps most importantly, the number of guests determines how much pretty much everything costs! If you are like K and I (i.e. fortunate enough to have some help paying for the wedding, but still contributing a not insignificant amount of your own [limited] cash), then you will think very carefully about the guest list. Naturally, you’ll start with those closest to you – family, friends that have known you for years, etc. Then you move on to the tougher selections – thinking about people who may be new additions to your life or people that are part of various groups. For example, can you afford to invite your whole flag football team? Can you afford to invite everyone in your small group at church? Can you afford to invite all of your office buddies? You will probably have to answer “no” to some of those questions.
And then comes the pushback. I have had a couple people ask me causally about their lack of an invitation (well, save the date) to the wedding. Those conversations have gone like this:
Person: “Hey, so I didn’t get an invite.”
Me: “Yeah, while we love you, we just can’t afford to invite everyone to the wedding.”
Person: “Yeah, I understand.”
While I would never question someone as to why I didn’t get an invitation to a wedding, when it’s worded similarly to the above scenario, I am at least not filled with rage. However, I’ve also had more than one person send me a text message demanding to know where their save the date was. Those folks did not only not get a save the date, they didn’t get a response because I knew I would have nothing nice to say. After speaking with some married (and engaged) friends, I learned that this is all too common. Here’s the thing, y’all: you can’t take it personally if you discover that you haven’t been invited to a wedding. Sure, if it is your best friend of 15 years — take it personally (and maybe it’s time for some “real talk” of your own with that friend). But if someone that you’ve known for just a year or two and maybe you’ve hung out a few times gets engaged, don’t assume that you will automatically warrant an invitation. Not because they don’t enjoy your company or because the time you’ve spent together meant nothing – simply because weddings are extremely expensive and most people can’t afford to invite everyone they’d like to. Ask yourself this: would you be willing to treat that person to a $150 dinner? Because that’s roughly the cost per person on weddings in the Washington DC metro area (and many other areas across the country). Your answer is probably no, which makes sense. Try and remember that and grant your newly engaged friend a little grace and give them the benefit of the doubt that cost is the primary reason you aren’t on the guest list.*
Has anyone else dealt with this situation?
* I’ve also had situations where a friend suddenly had numerous folks turn down a wedding invitation and then invite a group of former coworkers (myself included) a couple weeks before the wedding. She was gracious and honest and I completely understood that she had other folks that she had to invite — and I also completely understood our “b list” invitation and happily accepted it! So be nice – it may work out that there is more wiggle room in the guest list than initially anticipated!