Q: I sent an e-mail to friends requesting their addresses for my daughter’s wedding invitations, but she wants to cut a few of them from the guest list.  Do I disinvite them?

A: No.  There’s not a polite way to disinvite someone to a wedding.  Talk to your daughter about why she needs to make the cuts.  If it’s financial, offer to cover the expense of accommodating your friends.  Few wedding-planning tasks are more stressful than negotiating the size of the guest list.  That’s why it’s best to wait to talk to family and friends until the details are final.  Remember that some invitees will decline the invitation, creating wiggle room on the final guest list.

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Posted in Wedding, Wedding Etiquette

14 responses to “Weddings Whoops: Un-save the date?

  1. I completely disagree. The Mother should have waited until the daughter had narrowed down the final guest list for her and her fiancés wedding. Offering to pay for extra people doesn’t solve the issue. Her daughter is obviously cutting down the guest list for a reason.

    1. I’m with you, Erica.

      These people didn’t get a “Save the date” or an invitation from the couple. They were given the wrong impression by the mother of the bride. I think it’s time for the mother to present a grand Mea Culpa and use the addresses obtained for lovely marriage announcements and future holiday cards.

      Really, if the mother of the bride isn’t close enough to these relatives to know their addresses, I don’t think they’ll be too offended at being cut from the guest list.

    2. If she specifically said she wanted their addresses for wedding invitations, then she is required to send them invitations. She basically told them to be on the look-out for an invitation so it is the same as a save-the-date. The mother and daughter should have finalized a guest list (and I mean final, not “this is what I’m thinking”) before contacting anyone. I had a similar problem when my husband and I were planning our wedding and he mistakenly emailed a few people that weren’t on our guest list asking for their addresses, again specifying that it was for wedding invitations. Fortunately only one of the people he accidentally emailed responded so we only had to invite one extra person.

    3. I’m with you both. Only the bride and groom are eligible to invite people to their wedding. It’s as if I invited someone to my friend’s party – it’s not my party! It’s mom’s job to apologize to her friends, explain that she jumped the gun and that daughter is actually having a much smaller wedding than she anticipated.

    4. I agree with you Erica. The mother should not be telling people they are invited to the wedding prior to the invite list being finalized and going out. The solutions above are not solutions; the mother needs to apologize for herself to her friends and not blame in on the daughter.

  2. Nope, I think Emily got it right. Etiquette isn’t supposed to be about, “…Was it right to…?” or “…Will they be offended if…?” etc.. It’s not about who is to blame or how you got into the scrape to begin with. Morally, I agree with you guys that the mother in this case made a significant error. But etiquette is about the proper outwardly response, for better or for worse, in order to maintain societal relationships. Sometimes it can be painful, other times it may be costly. But in the long run it’s about reputation, which is everlasting.

    Yes, they should be invited to the wedding.

    Great blog!

    1. Bouge Boy: You are absolutely correct that etiquette is not a score card for assigning blame. But it is absolutely wrong to say that mom’s guests should be invited to the wedding without the bride’s blessing. Why? Consider this example: I’m going to throw a dinner party and invite 12 people (including my parents). My mother asks someone for their e-mail address to send them an evite. Under your logic, I’m required to invite this person. But that’s just absurd! Same rules apply to the wedding.

      There are two social “bads” in this question. On the one hand, mom overstepped her bounds by offering invitations she was not authorized to make. On the other hand, however, it is daughter’s wedding — daughter is not required to socialize with people she doesn’t want to socialize with. If one of these “bads” has to win out — mom’s discomfort or daughter’s discomfort — based on these facts, mom is going to have to bite the bullet.

      EPI’s suggestion that mom offer to cover the extra cost is a great potential solution if the issue is about cost. But if there is another reason daughter doesn’t want those people to attend — perhaps daughter always disliked one of mom’s friends, perhaps daughter’s fiancee doesn’t like mom’s friends — mom is going to have to make an uncomfortable phone call. Etiquette does not require daughter to subordinate her wishes (particularly if there is a non-financial reason for daughter not wanting the invite) to clean mom’s mistake.

      1. The thing that makes this different from any other social event is traditionally the bride’s parents host the wedding. Therefore these people didn’t get invited by someone who clearly doesn’t have the right to invite people but by the hostess.

        1. Traditionally the bride’s family also paid for the wedding! Can’t have control over the guest list without paying for the event! (Or, yes they did!)

  3. I have the oppisite problem, people are sending me addresses to me assuming they will be invited to my sons wedding. But they are not, my son has only met these pople once at family funeral !!! What to do ?????

    1. If they aren’t asking if they are invited or any other questions about the wedding, you don’t need to say anything. They’ll figure it out when they don’t get an invitation. If they ask about being invited, say “it’s going to be a small wedding.” (Small is a relative term.)

  4. The third child of long time friends is getting married. We were invited to the oldest son’s wedding as well as the middle daughter’s. After their youngest son’s wedding was announced, we were invited to a lovely engagement party hosted by our friends, the groom’s parents Shortly after the party, we received a “Save the Date” card. I put the card on my calendar for safe keeping. Yesterday, I realized the wedding is less than three weeks away but we still haven’t received our invitation. I did confirm with a friend that the invitations went out about two weeks ago. What should I do? If I don’t say anything and our invitation was truly lost in the mail, our friends and more importantly, the bride and groom, will think we are ignoring their invitation. But if I say something and for some reason they pared down the guest list after the “Save the Dates” were mailed, then I will make everyone feel awkward. Help!

    1. Ruth, Contact your friend. Let them know you received the Save the Date card and you wanted them to know you have not yet received the invitation to the wedding. People who are invited to the engagement party and receive a Save the Date are supposed to be invited to the wedding. It is perfectly fine to call your friend and ask about the invitation. If you were cut from the invitation list, they should feel awkward and uncomfortable. You have have no reason to feel awkward. It’s all on them if the guest list was pared down.

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