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Dear ESB: I know you’re sick of the guest list question… but here I go.

October 23, 2012

But does anyone really tire of the guest list question? It’s something that seems to haunt even the most well organized bride-to-be. East Side Bride shares her take…

OK–i know what I need to do, just not sure how to go about it.

In brief: at my old job I was close with a group of four girls. We were pretty tight at work and though I liked them very much we never became friends in real-life (the four of them, though, are very close and hang out all the time). I left the company four years ago so we meet once or twice a year for drinks and/or lunch. We email here and there. I still do like them very much. Two were married in the past year and I was shocked when they invited me. I went to one but not the other (it was across the country).

OK. Now I am engaged and am not planning to invite any of them. It’s not a numbers thing (though 8 less heads is a lot of saved money). I just feel like we are friends of circumstance, not of choice. AGAIN–I like them. But I like a lot of people in my life who aren’t invited to the wedding. My plan was just to avoid them the next 5 months and not address the situation. Have the wedding come and go. If they brought it up tell them we had a strict headcount. Call me a coward–I can’t deny it.

BUT THEN … one of them got a job at my new company IN MY DEPARTMENT. I still don’t want to invite them but now I feel like I have to address it head on since I will be seeing her every day, all day and the wedding will inevitably come up.

Question 1 –am I correct to think I owe them an explanation?

Question 2–if I do owe them an explanation, how honest should I be? What do I say?

One more thing to consider: I AM inviting two friends from my current job who I have become very close with. I hate the idea of ranking my friendships but that’s just how it is, isn’t it?

You should invite who you want to invite without feeling guilty about it.

(I KNOW, this is easier said than done).


Yes, you should invite who you want to invite (and nobody you don’t) without feeling guilty about it.




But. Avoiding the issue will make you feel guilty. And think of how these ladies feel! They don’t know if they’re invited… They don’t know if it’s okay to broach the subject… And they might be dying to talk wedding and be supportive and admire your ring (or whatever) even if there’s no invitation forthcoming.

Under no circumstances should you tell them the whole truth. There is no reason to say, “I’m not friends with you by choice.”

When the opportunity arises, say to the semi-friend now in your department: “We have a really strict headcount….” Or: “We’re trying to keep it intimate….” And: “We can’t invite you and X and Y and Z.”

Be frank and friendly and unapologetic. You’ll all feel better.

Photo of Elle Fanning via designlovefest via Mary Rose