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Wedding Wednesday – The Non-Invitation Invitation

This particular individual is an acquaintance of mine, so I did not actually receive this “invitation.” I saw it when she proudly posted a picture of it on Facebook with a caption saying (paraphrasing), “All these years and people are still mad about this. Oh well, I thought it was funny!”

A few friends commented with supportive statements like, “Anyone who truly knows you would’ve thought it was funny!”

What do my fellow EHellions think?   0608-16


People are still mad about this invitation years after the wedding?  Let me count the ways…

  1.  Let’s start with the fact that wedding announcements, which is really what this is, are sent AFTER the wedding.
  2.  Alleged friends and more distant family, while earning a notice of the impending wedding, are informed bluntly that they did not qualify as “intimate family”.
  3. The allegedly funny reference to a lack of police presence implies these non-guests are of a criminally bent ilk.  While some guests may appreciate the humor, the notice was sent to enough people who did not.
  4.  And the reason why these phantom guests are not invited to the wedding is because the cost of an expensive Italian honeymoon precluded having enough money to invite everyone to the wedding.
  5. It is cognitive dissonance to want good wishes on your “big day” from people you don’t want anywhere near you on your wedding day.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • hopefull4 May 11, 2017, 7:30 am

    I agree with Semperviren. While those who ‘really know’ the happy couple who had this printed ‘know’ it was funny, obviously the happy couple did not know all the non-guests to whom they sent this. While some people may see the humor, I have no doubt most would find it offensive as “we do not want your presence at our wedding but your will take your presents”

  • A different Tracy May 11, 2017, 7:54 am

    I’d love to see the Venn diagram of “people who think it’s okay to ask for money as long as it rhymes” and “people who think it’s okay to send an unvitation in hopes of getting a gift as long as it’s funny.” I suspect it’s pretty close.

    • Jen A. May 11, 2017, 3:10 pm

      I think it would probably just be a circle.

  • Shoegal May 11, 2017, 8:02 am

    I read and reread the card and – could find the humor in it. None of it need be true – it was just – funny.
    No police were needed – just a joke, they didn’t even go to Italy – another joke and they weren’t implying that anyone didn’t make the cut. They just wanted a very very small, tiny little wedding – perhaps there were four people there and wanted to say “Hey we are getting married – next time you see us we’ll be hitched” that’s it. Why do we all have to look past the clear intent to be humorous and find malice in it? Are we all dying to be offended? I also didn’t see the purpose of this card as an effort to get gifts. As I see it – there is probably no possible way that you can get across that you really aren’t trying to get presents when sending out a card like this.

    • Agania May 11, 2017, 6:27 pm

      Then send it AFTER the wedding as an announcement. Not before. I think it’s the notification that you aren’t invited to our wedding that is offensive.

      • oregonbird May 14, 2017, 10:46 am

        Definitely a timing & tacky issue, but the point remains: people are looking for ways to be offended.

  • Lara May 11, 2017, 8:52 am

    I actually do think this is kind of funny. It’s also a bit tacky, and I can see why people would be offended.

    It could be that this couple was really just trying to prevent countless awkward conversations with co-workers, friends, etc, asking them when the wedding was, where it was, and how come they hadn’t got their invitation yet? (C’mon you *know* people will ask.) They didn’t want to have to explain over and over again that they had opted for a small ceremony (something I think they had every right to do), and offer justifications. So in their minds, they thought they could accomplish two things at once here. They would announce their marriage to all the extended friends and family they wanted to know about it, and then would let everyone know, up front, that they shouldn’t expect an invitation. They probably tried to make it funny for the very reason that they didn’t want to offend anyone. They were being self-deprecating, and making fun of their own choices, in the hopes that everyone would laugh too, and understand.

    And for a lot of people, this probably accomplished exactly what it was intended to. They smiled, stuck it on the refrigerator, and didn’t think any more about it. That would have been my reaction. But others would have been offended, both at the flippant tone, and at being told so bluntly about a wedding they weren’t invited to. But then, some people would be angry at not being invited, no matter how the news was delivered.

  • Anonymous May 11, 2017, 9:27 am

    I didn’t read all the other responses, because this thread is 81 comments long by now (and it will have grown even more by the time this comment gets approved), but…….this looks like a joke to me. It was written in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, because nobody sets out to have a “garish, ostentatious wedding,” and even if it turns out to be garish and ostentatious, the happy couple usually doesn’t see it that way. To them, it’s a “gorgeous, fairy-tale, dream wedding” or some such. They also wouldn’t come out and say, “you are not actually invited”; they’d use more flowery language, such as, “we regret that space precludes your attendance.” Whatever the actual wording, they’d blame the lack of invite on some external factor, that’s supposedly out of their control, forgetting that it actually IS within their control; they just prioritized their ideal venue/menu/décor/music/whatever other part of the wedding, over the guest list. On paper, during the planning stages of the wedding, that’s not supposed to be personal, but when someone gets a message like that, it comes off like, “we prioritized our ideal venue/menu/décor/music/whatever, over inviting YOU.” So, it’s fine to do that, and then later say that it was a “small wedding” (although, my cousin did that to me a few years ago, and we no longer speak), but you can’t do that, and also hint for well wishes (and, let’s be honest, gifts) from non-invitees.

    Sometimes I think the “not everyone gets invited to everything” etiquette lesson gets taken too far, and people forget about the flip side, of “don’t talk about events in front of people who aren’t invited, who’d expect to be invited.” I added the “people who’d expect to be invited” part, because with the advent of social media, people are more likely to share more of their lives with a wider audience of people, and I’m definitely Facebook friends with a lot of people whose weddings (or whatever) I couldn’t imagine being invited to, but the spirit of the rule is the same as the one I learned when I was handing out birthday party invitations in kindergarten–I was only allowed to invite six guests (because I was turning six years old), so I wasn’t allowed to talk about the party to anyone BUT those six people, and only quietly to them, so that others wouldn’t overhear and feel hurt that they weren’t invited. That lesson has stuck with me ever since.

  • hopefull4 May 11, 2017, 11:29 am

    Dear Prudence just addressed this issue. Although, in the case of the Prudence LW, she isn’t asking about announcing her upcoming wedding to those she isn’t inviting but requesting gifts, Prudie does address the issue in her response. Wonder if she is an EHell fan? The letter the column which is a little long so I also posted the letter itself. Mods, if the letter itself cannot be copied here, feel free to delete.


    Dear Prudence,
    My fiancé and I want to have a small, intimate wedding for close family and friends only. We chose to get married where my grandparents live so they could attend, as they no longer travel. Some members of my extended family live there as well, and they are also invited. Other aunts and uncles who live out of state are not invited. How do we tactfully announce our upcoming wedding to the out-of-towners without inviting them? How do we stop the guilt trips? For what it’s worth, we are paying for the wedding and reception ourselves and are not asking for any gifts. Another reason we’re keeping it small is my family is much larger (and louder) than my fiancé’s, and he doesn’t want to feel overwhelmed at his own wedding! When I’ve explained that, it’s been dismissed as silly. Any sample dialogue would be much appreciated so we can stop feeling sneaky and defensive when the subject of invitations comes up!


    Don’t be evasive or defensive: Be clear. Cheerfully refer to your limited budget and your desire for a small wedding that requires no travel on the part of guests, and make it clear the subject is closed. Don’t give your already-loud relatives a reason to argue about why you should make an exception for them by explaining your husband-to-be feels overwhelmed by them en famille. Just say: “We chose to keep it small and local to the grandparents, but I’m so looking forward to seeing you next month/holiday/funeral.”

    Then for everyone else not already in the loop, send a wedding announcement as soon as the feat is complete. (Don’t send wedding announcements prior to the ceremony; this is unnecessarily confusing to people who might mistakenly think they’re invited, and there is no polite way to say, “Our wedding is next month; please don’t come.”) You can write and address the wedding announcements in advance of the ceremony, just don’t drop them off at the post office until the day of. The traditional announcement wording is pretty simple:

    Mr(s). and Mr(s). Squeamish
    are honored to announce the marriage of their son/daughter
    Arboretum Stentworth
    to Donald Friendship
    Sunday, the first of June
    Name of nondenominational botanical garden the ceremony was held in
    City the nondenominational botanical garden is found in

    Good luck

  • Steph May 11, 2017, 12:39 pm

    Ill advised surely, but still 1000 times better than those brides who want to have “their big day” and expect all the guests to pay for it. This bride freed all of these people from any obligation by at least recognizing that they couldn’t have it all.

    I’d be far more incensed about a wedding invitation that came with a price tag for the meal or those people who do money tree/cash bar/dollar dance.

  • NoviceGardener May 11, 2017, 2:20 pm

    “All these years and people are still mad about this. Oh well, I thought it was funny!” I know that the OP was paraphrasing, but this is interesting! Maybe the person who originally sent this tacky announcement is actually the one who is still mad: mad that people still discuss this faux pas.

    Maybe people would have forgiven her by now if she wasn’t the type of person to insist that she did nothing wrong, and refuse to humble herself for a minute, and learn, and apologise where appropriate. Okay, it’s possible that I’m reaching myself here, but that was the first interpretation that came to my head.

    • Pat May 15, 2017, 9:55 am

      Or, maybe the senders didn’t get invited to some big “ostentatious” weddings because they made it so clear that they would rather not go.

  • BagLady May 11, 2017, 10:40 pm

    I wonder if the reason the bride brought it up again is because someone else did (e.g., Bride’s Mom: “I was talking to your Aunt Holdagrudge the other night and she went on and on about that wedding announcement you sent ….”).

    I’m picturing a scenario in which the HC’s culture/circle/families are accustomed to big “come one, come all” weddings, and they got tired of trying to explain to people that they were having a small, intimate wedding, so they decided to nip the questions and assumptions in the bud with this announcement. They probably saw the humorous approach as an attempt to soften the blow — instead of “You’re not invited,” it was “Be glad you don’t have to deal with the hassle.”

    It would have been a lesser faux pas if they’d left out the references to police and the honeymoon and sent the announcements after the fact. But I can see why they did what they did. With humor, though, not everyone gets the joke.

  • Jade May 12, 2017, 1:35 am

    So wait, have I got this right? The happy couple sent out these cards to people to tell them they were NOT invited to the wedding?

    Leaving aside the costs of printing up non-invitations which would definitely be a non-necessary expense and which would take money away from their precious honeymoon, I don’t see the point and at least half the people who received this card would have not read it properly and believed they were invited to the wedding anyway.

  • Banana Janitor May 14, 2017, 10:05 pm

    I dunno. This strikes me as going out of your way to be a bit rude. Why? Cuz you’re a bit rude I guess?