Dear ESB: How do I tell him he’s not invited?

Categories   Wedding Advice

Ah the guest list. It’s just one of those things you can’t avoid, unfortunately. And it’s touchy, isn’t it? Here’s an interesting situation from East Side Bride that many of you have probably been in. The assumed invitation. Eek.

Dear ESB,

I have a co-worker/sort-of friend that keeps mentioning how excited he is for my wedding (which isn’t until next year!). We went to school together, had a few mutual friends and now work in the same building. He thinks we’re better friends than we are because I am a nice person and have helped him out with some life-things in the past. He’s a good guy, but I had no intentions of inviting him to the wedding. He’s just assumed, so far, that he is.

How do I tell him that “dude, we just got engaged THREE WEEKS AGO and the wedding isn’t until NEXT YEAR and while I want you to be a happy person and live a good life so I will sometimes help you out and stuff, I only want awesome people that I love and cherish to celebrate with me. and while you’re cool and all, you’re not invited to my wedding, so please stop assuming that you are. it’s making me uncomfortable.” without coming off (and feeling) like an insensitive ass?

Because, as we all know, when you assume… you make an asshole out of you and me.

Thank you!!!



Rather, suggest in a low, gentle tone, “[Insert A*hole’s Name Here], I think the wedding’s gonna be pretty small. We haven’t even talked about the guest list.”

Photo by Bruce Weber for Vogue Paris 2007 via Kathryn Grady.

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Meena Mathis on Sep 7, 2011

I've had the same situation happen recently for my wedding, except my "friend" was a bit more pushy. What I did was something similar to the original advice, but a bit more stern and I had a few other things on my side - my fiance's family (she'd never even met my fiance) is much larger than mine we chose not to invite guests under 21 years of age (she has 2 young kids) we had a destination wedding (a flight and hotel she couldn't afford) and we had a venue that could only hold 85 at a max Given all of these reasons and the fact she and I hadn't talked in years still weren't reason enough not to invite her (in her mind). So I had to take a different approach and make up a little white lie and let her know that there wasn't really room for any of our friends on the guest list. In the end, she was pissed and never really got over it. I have to ask myself if that's really a friend i want and i also had to recognize that some people think very highly of themselves. I wish it were easier

Melissa on Sep 7, 2011

I had a friend who my fiance and I were trying to separate ourselves from for various reasons invite himself to my super informal engagement party, and then slip me his address so we could send him an invitation. Talk about an assumed invite! Since you work with him, ESB's advice is golden. That's all you have to say. Hopefully you won't be inviting anyone else from work to lessen the blow a little.

Rebecca (Artifact: Fine Vintage Bridal) on Sep 7, 2011

When my sister got married, her neighbor assumed he was invited, and sent a hand-written RSVP on notebook paper for himself and SEVENTEEN FRIENDS. This is a true story. They minced for weeks about how to tell him that wasn't going to work, and eventually went over with a peace offering of zucchini bread and an explanation that the party was really very little and for immediate family and loved ones only (which it wasn't, really, but the excuse seemed to work).

K on Sep 7, 2011

I have been telling people, "small wedding, big family".

Vittles on Sep 7, 2011


Danielle on Sep 7, 2011

Just to echo what a couple people have said: I think it would be pretty easy to just say, "If we were having a big wedding we would love to have you celebrate with us, but right now it looks like we are just having a smaller family wedding." I might throw something in there like - "But thank you so much for being so excited with me!" **And yeah, hopefully you aren't inviting a bunch of other co-workers. If you are, and you don't want to hurt this guys feelings, maybe finding a spot for one more might not be the worst thing to do - at least he seems genuinely happy for you.

K on Sep 7, 2011

Hey! I wrote this! So surprised and excited to see it up here on 100 Layer Cake and I really appreciated the advice. Thank you. No, we're not inviting any co-workers and there are no plans to include the mutual friends either. It really is just family and close friends. I haven't brought up the wedding at all, he has initiated all conversations. I've tried to change the subject as quickly as possible, but I just feel bad about the whole thing because you're right Danielle, he does seem just genuinely happy for us...

Vittles on Sep 7, 2011

K you really should let him know asap, and even if he doesn't stop being excited even sans invitation after that, let him be. You can't help it if the guy is happy for you! But, if you seem to have wiggle room in the future, I'd give him consideration. :] What's a little more happiness on a happy day? (omg, pardon the cheese).

Stacy on Sep 7, 2011

I was in the exact same situation with our wedding and I really didn't want to offend anyone so I thought ohh well it's just one more. Well this "one more" got incredibly drunk, hit on anything with two legs, I had pretty much every other guest complain about him that night and in the end he jumped on a glass display case and broke a 10 foot by 3 foot piece of glass. So my advice is to stick with your gut feeling, you won't regret it.

Sugar+Oysters on Sep 7, 2011

We had a small wedding (45 ppl) Every time someone suggested they would be invited I just kept saying "You have to be blood related". It got old, but people got the point. I work with 400 people and I am friendly with over 100 of them. Once we told several people the word spread, and they got over it. Side note - I told one person "you have to be blood related" and they asked if the blood of Christ counted. Really? Don't bring Christ into a guest list discussion.

Mouse on Sep 8, 2011

Dude. This may be a little too subtle for people who assume they are invited!

Melissa H on Sep 8, 2011

@Rebecca - hysterical! I think at this point, subtlety à la ESB is enough. And since you're not inviting anyone from work, I think it is okay to say - "Since we just got engaged, we haven't discussed specifics, but it's looking like we won't be able to include coworkers on our guest list." If he keeps pressuring you or bringing it up, perhaps “We’re still planning on keeping it small. I’ll let you know if things change”. We had a few folks assume they were coming to our wedding. We decided to extend an invite for a few folks we could see becoming better friends with in the future; for others, we know them only casually and may happen to see them 2-3x a year (we don’t seek each others’ company) so it was easy keeping them cut.

Barn Weddings on Sep 9, 2011

It's kinda difficult thing to consider. I don't know what's the best way to do with that matter. But I have ask my other friends regarding you story. They just told me that you may tell him that you only invited a few people and it is a private wedding with your relatives only. Approach him with a kind gesture so that he wouldn't be hurt on the way you would speak to him about the wedding. You must tell him as early as possible so that he won't get hurt on the future. Hope I help. :D

promstreet on Jul 14, 2012

I gave her a description of each of them, along with the dress each of the girls picked out for the wedding and she’s designing a set to match each dress AND personality!

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