How to Tell Friends and Co-Workers They Aren't Invited to Your Wedding

Cutting down a guest list is hard. This will make it less awkward

Updated 08/17/19

Photo by Rachel May Photography

Your guest list is done and the save-the-dates are ready to be stamped. Yet you can’t help but feel all kinds of emotions, not just about your upcoming wedding, but about those who won’t be getting an invite.

Even though you know you can’t host every person you know or even care about at your big day, whether it's due to budget or venue restrictions or just general wedding plans, letting those in your life, from friends to co-workers, know that they aren’t on the guest list can be all kinds of awkward.

Read on to find out the best ways to inform those in your life not to expect a save-the-date or a wedding invite, even though they matter to you.

1. Send a Handwritten Note to the People Who Matter Most

While it might feel easier to just not tell the people who didn't land a spot on your guest list that they aren’t invited, it might help clear some guilt to reach out to the people you care about with a personalized note.

Katherine Frost, owner of A Frosted Affair, says If the people you are not inviting are close enough that you wish you could invite them, but can't, they should get a handwritten note. Frost suggests the language below:

Dear Jay and Mike,
I would love to welcome you to my wedding celebration, and I am disappointed that I cannot include you. (Fiancé name) and I have promised each other in the name of _______ (ex. saving for a house) that our wedding guest list will include only very close family.

Please do not interpret our choice as anything but practical. It is not indicative of the genuine love and affection we have for you. I hope that the four of us can get together and celebrate privately at another time. (And we promise not to bring a hideous wedding video or honeymoon photos!)

2. Send a Personal Email to Each Co-Worker You Are Close With or Speak to Each Privately

When you’re dealing with co-workers, the rules are a bit different. Of course, there are office folk you are closer with than others. For these relationships, Frost suggests you pull them aside for a heart-to-heart over coffee or send a personal email such as:

Dear Diane,
You have heard me discuss my wedding plans around the office, so I want to be sure I let you know what's happening. Though my fiancé and I would love to welcome you to our wedding celebration, we have had to focus the attendee list on the friends and members of the family with whom we are closest.

I am truly disappointed that I cannot extend an invitation to you. I hope you understand this bears no reflection on how I value our personal and professional relationship.

I hope that you will allow Fiancé and I to take you to dinner sometime after our honeymoon. (I promise we won't make you sit through boring honeymoon photos!)

3. General Co-Workers With Whom You Are Not Close

After you’re engaged, word will spread around the office that you’re having a wedding, and co-workers, even ones you aren’t close with, might assume they'll make the guest list.

Frost says it’s okay to send a group email to coworkers you are not close with. For example:

Dear Team,
As many of you know, I am getting married next month. As much as I would love to invite all of you and make it an unofficial Company Name/Team Name event, my fiancé and family want to limit the guest list to just closest friends and family. (Clearly, he/she does not understand the epic fun you would all add to the celebration!)

Seriously, I wish I could have a huge wedding and welcome all of you, but it's not possible. I hope you understand it bears no reflection on my genuine gratitude to each of you for being the amazing coworkers I look forward to seeing every day.

Unfortunately, this part of wedding planning will be one of the less pleasant tasks, but hopefully with these tips you'll be able to have a great wedding day and still maintain your other relationships long after it ends.

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