Monday, July 23, 2012

Can you ever say "I'm sorry I didn't invite you to my wedding?"


Hey ESB,

I'm one of those annoying ask-your-opinion-more-than-one-time people, but (to butter you up here) I did take your advice last time, and I could really use a dose of no-nonsense. I emailed you about the royal wedding inspiring me to purchase a fascinator, and thank you for talking me out of that one. It was terrible. I went with a headband from Twigs and Honey, which I loved. Our wedding was imperfectly perfect, and almost a year later, I am so happy with the memories... except for one thing.

We were strict with the guest list. It was the terrible combination of wanting an intimate wedding, coming from a huge (80+) family, and paying for it ourselves. As a result, it was only family and our close friends, but everyone was invited a guest. We bent the no-family-friends rule for one couple, the parents of a bridesmaid whom I have known forever and who are very close to me. 

We did not invite one couple that used to be close to my parents, and, in ways that I did not appreciate, still are close to my family. We used to have holiday dinners with them, but I haven't personally spoken to them in years. However, over and over again, they pop up in my life, always supportive, gracious, and lovely, and I immensely regret not extending the invite. I feel bad, and I'm not a sentimental, guilt-laden person.

To make matters worse (and this is where I blush, even as I write this), an old friend's mother threw me a bridal shower in my hometown and invited some old family friends, even though they were not invited to the actual wedding. (For the record, she wasn't invited either, and said she would make it clear that our across-the-country wedding was a family only affair). 

Hindsight 20/20. I would have nixed the shower because it made me feel awkward to be celebrated by people I didn't invite and I'm not sure the 'family only' bit came through. Ugh. The couple in question came to the shower (including the husband, who crashed the lady only event by sweetly saying, "No way I was going to miss seeing you and saying congratulations!"), were nothing but gracious, and even gave me a bit of money in a card. Did I mention they are great people? Which makes me feel worse. This is my one wedding related regret, and I have a pit in my stomach whenever I think of them or hear their names mentioned.

ESB, how do I say :Sorry, I should have invited you to my wedding?" or do I shut my trap, swallow my guilt, and don't bring it up?

*****

Send these lovely people a wedding photo (I CAN'T BELIEVE I SAID THAT I NEVER SAY THAT) along with a little note to the effect of: "I just wanted to tell you both that I missed having you at the wedding. I wish we'd allowed ourselves to be more flexible with the guest list."

Then let yourself off the hook.

Photo: Laure de Sagazan

19 comments:

  1. I think that's the best way to do it. If they are as nice as you make them sound, they will understand and frame that photo in their house. I feel like this sort of thing happens all the time and people understand the constraints of wedding budgets.

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  2. Most reasonable people, especially the gracious ones you describe, understand the tyranny of the guest count. I think writing them a note ans sending a picture would be a lovely gesture.

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  3. Sidenote: good call on the Twigs & Honey headband. I've fallen in love with it before I've even found my dress (which may be a little dangerous...)

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    1. I LOVE the Twigs and Honey headband - but I'm always headache prone when headbands fall right behind the ears. Has anyone that's ordered from them weigh in where it falls/how tight it is?

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  4. My husband and I had a similar situation with our wedding, but it is with some friends (not super close friends, but friends nonetheless) who live in the same city as us. We were thinking of having them over for dinner/drinks, but I can't help but feel like it's a bit awkward...any thoughts?

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    1. Definitely have them over for dinner/drinks. But you are not making this about you and your wedding at all, right? There does not have to be a reason for dinner/drinks - it's just a nice thing to do for no "occasion" whatsoever. I wouldn't mention your wedding unless they do, at which point you could say something similar to ESBs suggestion.

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  5. best advice! I agree with the comments above, they will understand, but this is such a sweet gesture.

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  6. This couple sounds very lovely and will appreciate your thoughtful note and photo (if they were younger I wouldn't send a formal/frameable picture but they sound parent-aged). It'll make you feel better, which is really the only current problem.

    For Anonymous: if the couple are friends/good people, they would appreciate being invited over for a nice dinner.

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  7. I totally feel your pain, love. We had what we'd consider a large wedding (almost 200 ppl) because we had basically no choice- my husband and I both have huge extended families and we're close with all of them. In order to stay under 200 (for reasons both financial and because our venue had a limit) we invited all the family members, but left quite a few friends off the list. To this day I have regrets about leaving some of those people off the list. It sucks- we wanted them there with us.

    But luckily our friends understood: we have huge families, we had to make though choices. It's not that we don't love and appreciate them. ESB's advice is awesome. And at the end of the day you do just have to let yourself off the hook.

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  8. This happened to me - someone apologized to me for not inviting me to their wedding. It was an old friend, we weren't in contact that much at the time.

    I had been really excited about her wedding when she told me she was engaged. But like I said, we didn't see much of each other, so it was understandable that she didn't invite me.

    When she revealed to me that she was now married and that she wished she had invited me, I told her not to worry and offered to meet up for drinks so she could show me her wedding photos. I got this idea from APW.

    So we did, and it was fine.

    If you see them for dinner, don't be embarrassed about talking about the wedding if they bring it up - if they're nice people they won't be angry or upset, it's just life and they'll want to hear your stories (within reason of course!)

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  9. Yes.

    It is one day. Tell them and then have them to dinner.

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  10. addendum: a friend told me this weekend (at her wedding, actually) that she was so, so sorry she didn't come to ours, to which she'd been invited (it was nearly six years ago and overseas). the apology was in no way necessary, but it was still a very thoughtful thing to say, and i appreciated the sentiment behind it.

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  11. Wow totally unsnarky.

    I agree with everyone, this lovely couple seem like perfectly reasonable humans, with huge hearts. They would love a picture of the two of you and a hand written thank you for being awesome and supportive. They will apprecitate the thought.

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  12. I am afraid this sort of thing is going to happen to me. We are keeping our guest list very small due to budget concerns and I am going to have to leave a few dear friends off the list, not to mention cousins. Sad. :( Not looking forward to breaking the news to people.

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  13. If you're going to have one regret, this seems like one of the least painful possible. I'm sure they'll appreciate the card esb suggested. Please let yourself off the hook, weddings are complicated.

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  14. So the idea is that I am not invited to the wedding but I am 'invited to hang our wedding picture in your home', are you nuts?

    I agree the card would be nice but suggesting they frame the picture is not, at all.

    Give them something useful instead!!! A couple of bottles of wine for example!

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  15. I disagree with sending a card or a picture. If it were me I would, the next time you see them, tell them in person how much you think of them and how you wished you had been able to invite them to your wedding and how much you appreciate their support over the years and be honest that it's the one regret from your wedding. Not only will you get to see their reaction in person and genuinely be able to let yourself go of the guilt, but they will appreciate the personal sentiment of actually having a face to face conversation.

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