Can I Invite My Co-Workers, But Not Their Spouses, to My Wedding?

Let's put this age-old question to rest

Smiling and embracing couple about to kiss during outdoor wedding reception

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There will inevitably come a time when you and your partner will need to sit down and trim the guest list. You have to draw the line somewhere, but when it comes to co-workers, is it acceptable to invite them only and not their spouses or plus-ones? Our in-house wedding etiquette expert is here to weigh your options to ensure that you handle this potentially sticky situation like a pro.

The Answer Is No

It's true: Once you start factoring in spouses, fiancés, and serious partners, your guest list will grow exponentially. But you will need to include those significant others to avoid causing any hurt feelings. You'll want to use tact and discretion when deciding which, if any, of your co-workers you want to invite.

Be Selective

If you can't possibly account for a potential group of 20 (those 10 co-workers and their plus-ones), then one option is to invite your immediate boss, your assistant, and/or those with whom you are closest. Sharing a cubicle with someone doesn't warrant an automatic wedding invitation, especially if you're not friends with them in the first place. As a rule of thumb, we recommend separating your "work relationships" from your IRL friendships to help thin down the roster. (Pro tip: Be sure to mail your wedding invitations to your co-workers' home addresses, not the office. Being discreet can go a long way to prevent upsetting those who are not invited.)

Drawing a Line

Another perfectly acceptable alternative is to invite no one from work to your wedding. Yep, you heard right. If anyone inquires, you can say something along the lines of: "Now that we're into the realities of planning, it looks as though we're going to have a fairly small wedding." Or, if you or your partner has a large family, you could say, "We already realize that, once we invite our families, we won't be able to accommodate as many friends and co-workers as we had previously hoped."

Those comments can help get the point across that the guest list will be limited. And if spots open up on your wedding guest list down the road—perhaps, a large number of attendants won't be able to make it—then you can always re-evaluate at a later date. Should you go this route, we recommend keeping the wedding talk to a minimum at the office out of respect for your colleagues' feelings.

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