Cheperdak believes there are several reasons a couple may want to have a smaller wedding, whether it’s about finances or craving a more intimate affair. But she also believes the couple doesn’t have to disclose the minute details that could potentially spiral into oversharing. “I think that’s where a lot of people get into trouble, trying to overexplain their rationale for having a smaller wedding,” she tells Vogue. However, it’s important to be mindful of disinviting, especially if you’re getting help from others to pay for your wedding. “It’s gracious to give them more of a say in what the wedding ultimately looks like. So if your parents are paying for the wedding, then it would be kind to consider their preferences and what their priorities are,” she says.
If You’ve Drifted Apart or Had a Rift in the Relationship
If there are guests who you’ve simply drifted apart from, Post says that as long as they haven’t done something offensive, keeping them on the list is a “better way to go”: “Consider whether or not your wedding might be the chance for you guys to be reconnecting and coming back together,” she says. If you don’t want to reconcile, she suggests sending an email explaining your decision to limit guests. Should you ever just, well, ghost them instead? Post is pragmatic: “If you haven’t talked in two years, and neither party has been reaching out, they probably think you’ve already [gotten married],” she says, although she points out there’s the off chance they’re still waiting for an invite. “Ghosting is not polite, but I know it happens and often happens without consequence.”
This scenario can be a little tricky, says Cheperdak, but it’s less rare than you might think. “It’s generally best to include people with the hope that the relationship can be repaired, and perhaps this wedding could be a moment of moving the relationship back into a better direction.” If you have a disagreement that’s definitely more than just an awkward situation, it’s still respectful to acknowledge the issue at hand and be straightforward with uninviting the wedding guest. Now, whether the bride or groom does the uninviting depends on the situation. “If having the groom tell his friend makes things worse, then it might be better to have an impartial or a more removed third party to communicate the message,” Cheperdak says. “You should choose whoever would be in a position to de-escalate and be the most kind.” This means a conversation face-to-face is preferable, but if that’s not possible, a phone call may just be the next best thing.
If It’s a ‘Friends-Only’ Wedding
Sometimes your friends are the real family in your life, and that’s more than okay. Your wedding day may be stressful, but it’s still intended to be a cheerful celebration, and sometimes that means a ‘friends-only’ wedding is the way to go. According to Cheperdak, this scenario might actually be more comfortable to handle than excluding specific guests. “From an etiquette perspective, it can be easier for people to understand if you’re not inviting all family versus just a few family members,” she says. But it’s important to note that there are ways of establishing boundaries without disinviting. If you’re sure about this decision as a couple, communicate clearly and compassionately that this decision has already been made and is final.
If You’re The Uninvited Guest
In the cast that you’re being uninvited to a wedding ceremony, whether it’s a family member or friend, it’s okay to share those hurt feelings, shares Cheperdak. Maybe you had an inkling your invitation would get rescinded after a dispute between you and the bride, but it’s still okay to express interest in repairing the relationship. Weddings are incredibly stressful, so if the relationship doesn’t improve in the months leading up to the nuptials, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a resolution after the honeymoon. Cheperdak notes that sometimes a rescinded invite can result from a multitude of wedding planning factors outside of the couple’s control. If you want to wish the couple your best, you can still buy them a gift or send a card for their big day. “What’s not okay is to be vengeful,” says Cheperdak. “Gifts shouldn’t be given with any sort of strings attached or ulterior motives.” If you’ve been disinvited, know that it was probably a difficult decision, and the most mature thing you can do is accept the circumstances with grace.
You Can Still Include the Uninvited Wedding Guests
Although many have now returned to gatherings and wedding customs as they were pre-pandemic, there are still tools from the past few years that couples can use to include guests. Options like virtual weddings over Zoom or live streaming are still available, in addition to sharing wedding photos on social media or directly to people. “There are ways to include people without totally alienating them,” says Cheperdak. “Communicate with kindness and assume the best of others, and go into the conversation expecting your message to be received well, rather than fearful that they won’t.”