What to Do When You Accidentally Forget to Invite Someone to the Wedding

Updated 10/26/19
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Wedding planning can be hectic and crazy stressful. With so much to do in so little time, it's no wonder things are frequently forgotten amidst the chaos, you know, like your dear Aunt Betty or Uncle John. To avoid any family drama or bad blood, put these wedding etiquette tips to the test if you happen to accidentally leave someone off the guest list.

Be Prepared With Extra Invitations

The guest list is often at the root of many wedding day woes. "Whether it's an invite that never arrives or someone is accidentally left off the list, it's best to always be prepared with extra invitations that you can send out on a moment's notice," says wedding planner Amy Shey Jacobs, President of Chandelier Events. You'll be glad you did when you don't have to deal with reorders and additional shipping costs, not to mention timing concerns too.

Use This Tried-and-True Excuse

Not feeling like owning up to your mistake, and there's still plenty of time to go until the big day? Invitations occasionally don't make it in the regular mail due to zip code errors, postage miscounts and wayward addresses, points out Jacobs. "If you don't want to fess up, you can always simply say that the original invite must not of made it to them and that you're terribly sorry and will have one in the mail before the day's end." Problem solved.

Pick Up The Telephone and Personally Call Them

If you discover your mistake close to the wedding date, Jacobs recommends picking up the phone and making a call, as opposed to simply sending a text or email. "A text is so impersonal and your guest will know that they are an afterthought," she warns. It could also come across as cowardly, adds national etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas. Instead, Gottsman advises expressing your embarrassment and saying something like, "I just realized that you were inadvertently left off our wedding guest list. I was stunned and wanted to call you immediately and ask you to please forgive me for my unintentional blunder. I started to get suspicious that something was awry when I didn't see your RSVP. I made a quick review of the guest list and realized my slip-up. Please accept my sincere apology. I certainly hope you are free to attend." Chances are, your friend or family member will greatly appreciate the call regardless of whether or not they can come.

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