It’s OK to tell your friends they’re not invited to your wedding.

Planning a wedding is hard work, and one of the trickiest tasks is the guest list. You may dream of having all your loved ones with you on D-Day, but that’s just not possible due to your budget or the location you have chosen. At that point, you need to decide who isn’t making the cut and let them know, hopefully without ruining your relationship.

Below, the wedding planners explain how to handle this tricky conversation.

Be polite and honest

Whatever you say to people, be polite and respectful of their feelings.

It may be difficult for you, but it’s probably just as difficult for them, especially if they consider you a good friend or if you’ve discussed wedding plans with them.

Christina Baxter, wedding planner in Charleston, South Carolina, said Newsweek that a true friend would be sympathetic. “They will understand that not everyone can be invited and that there are tough decisions to be made when creating the guest list.”

Be honest, though. Lying and making up excuses will only make the situation worse, according to Los Angeles wedding planner Alexa Farese.

A newly married couple slice their wedding cake. A festering family feud could lead a bride and groom to cross some relatives off their guest list.
Getty Images

Call, don’t text

If you can’t say it in person, do it over the phone. A conversation is much more natural than a text message, where your words or tone can be misinterpreted.

“Nobody likes rejection, but if you have to let someone know they can’t attend, call them and be direct,” said Washington, DC event planner Andrew Roby.

Explain yourself…or don’t

After the lean years of the pandemic, the wedding industry expects the summer of 2022 to be a bumper season, which means prices for cakes, flowers and more will go up. Shane McMurray, founder of research firm Wedding Report, told CBS in February that the average cost of a wedding will exceed $27,000 this year, up from around $24,000 before COVID-19.

If these rising costs force you to reduce the guest list, Baxter thinks it’s best to be open about it.

She suggested you could say something like, “Unfortunately, we are limited in the number of people we can have at the wedding and we need to go through our list. It’s a tough choice, and of course, if we could get more people than you would be on the list. I hope you understand.

If you’re cutting back on friends or co-workers because you or your partner have big families that need to be invited, you can tell people, she added.

On the other hand, Roby thinks that you don’t need to explain yourself too much. “One thing I’ve seen during the pandemic is a lot of grace from guests. They realize it’s a very strange time and things are going to happen, so hopefully they are nice about it,” he said. Newsweek.

If budget is the main reason for eliminating your guest list, Roby added that it might be “time to remove any guest plus one” or consider inviting “people to attend only at the ceremony and not necessarily at the reception”.

do it early

It’s an unpleasant conversation, but don’t put it off. This is especially important if the news will surprise your friend or if the wedding is close to the holidays or in the middle of summer when he might want to go on vacation. Give enough notice so that your friends can make other plans rather than saving the date for no reason.

Bride and Groom Cake Topper on Calculator
Image of a cake on a calculator. The average cost of a wedding is expected to exceed $27,000 this year.
Getty Images

Some couples want their big day to be childless. If this is your choice, let guests who are parents know in advance, so they can arrange childcare for the day if needed.

Be upfront if you decide not to have children at your wedding and try to avoid exceptions to your rule that could hurt before or during your celebration.

When to uninvite a guest

The average number of guests is expected to increase this year, according to wedding website The Knot, returning to something close to the pre-pandemic figure of 131 people.

However, some couples may not want a particular relative or friend present for fear of ruining everyone else’s day. This may be due to previous bad behavior or a festering family disagreement.

“I think a guest should be uninvited if there is a serious conflict you have with them recently [or] if they have strong opinions on subjects, especially politics, and are not able to be cordial in public places,” Roby said.

According to Farese, it’s best to avoid not inviting people by writing your guest list early, then revising it and revising it again before sending out the invitations.


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