Friday, November 2, 2012

How do we tell 130 people they've been uninvited?


Dear ESB,

I searched your site with "elopement" tags to see if I could find an answer without bugging you, but all the weddings you tagged with "elopement" are actual elopements.

Background: My mister and I got engaged after 6.5 years of dating and started planning a "laid back" wedding. We were going to get married in the backyard of a family member's home, eat pizza & donuts, drink beer and set up video games to play. This sounds WAY more laid back and cheap than it actual is. The yard was not taken care of in years, we would need generators/portapotties/tables/chairs/$$$$. And we are paying for the wedding ourselves. And we don't have much money. 

After 6 months of planning this and slowly telling family/friends (about 150 people) about it we decided it wasn't going to work. We couldn't swallow spending that much money on ONE DAY and I can't deal with stress at all. So we said fuck it and thought about the absolute basics of what we really wanted: to be married, have our nearest and dearest around us, have fun and have an awesome honeymoon. So we decided on San Francisco City Hall, immediate family & besties (18 people) and a few nights in San Francisco bar hopping and sightseeing. OH! The best part of it all: with the money we'll be saving on the wedding we are going to spend traveling abroad for a few months and then ending up in Hawaii for about a year to pursue even more dreams. AWESOME.

My question: How do we tell the 130 people that won't be invited? My favorite solution so far (and the classiest) is to send out emails & update our Facebook statuses with a paragraph of why we "ran off" with a little bit of "sorry" and "thanks for understanding." 

Any other solutions?

*****

Basically, what you're telling people is, "We decided we'd rather have the money than have you at our wedding."

You can spin it, of course. Tell em you were overwhelmed by the wedding planning, you decided to have a small, intimate ceremony, &c. But please call each of your un-invited guests personally.

THERE IS NOTHING CLASSY ABOUT FACEBOOK.

Ewan McGregor by Alexi Lubomirski via c ktnon
_______________________________

p.s. I answered a similar question over here. You might want to have a look-see at the comments….

40 comments:

  1. I was un-invited from a wedding a few years ago. The couple decided to just do a city hall wedding the two of them (mainly for immigration reasons, but also for financial reasons) and decided to just leave it at that. She called or emailed everyone and let them know and explained the situation. The personal aspect of it was helpful and everyone understood. If we all woke up one morning and saw it on FB I'm sure it'd be a different story.

    Man up and call people. They'll understand, but feelings will be hurt if they see it publicly on a social media website.

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  2. If I got uninvited from a wedding with a phone call explaining the desire to downsize and with a little "we love you so much" thrown in for good measure? I'd be totally understanding and just as happy for the couple. If I got uninvited from a wedding over facebook I would judge the couple for immaturity and poor manners and my feelings would definitely be hurt.

    Do whatever you want with your wedding, but for the love of God be a grown up about it.

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  3. How are we defining "invited" here? Were invitations sent out?

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    1. I was wondering the same thing. If you haven't actually sent out any invitations, then you're not really uninviting people. However, it sounds like you shared your wedding plans with quite a few people (which is basically an informal save-the-date). Those are the people who deserve an explanation. A phone call or personal email explaining the situation should suffice. Let them know that you've decided to have a tiny city hall wedding and that you'd love to see them sometime soon. But maybe leave out the part about using the money to travel the world.

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    2. I forgot to mention no STD's were handed out, but we basically informally invited people. I was (almost) joking about the FB thing because I hate phones, but after reading comments I think I'll just grow a pair and be mature and call people with a nice explanation (leaving out the travel part)

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    3. Totally agreed. "Uninviting" implies invitations and/or save the dates were sent.

      If you've just mentioned to people that you were having a wedding--they weren't officially invited.

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    4. I wondered about this distinction too.

      I feel like there's a huge difference between uninviting 8 people and having to worry about their feelings.. and totally changing your wedding so 132 people aren't coming. You aren't univinting people... you are pretty much cancelling the event.

      If it were a handful of people, you owe them a reason. At 100+ people that haven't been formally invited via Save the Date or Invite, I think a wedidng announcement with note is totally fine. If I received one, I'd just realize that you decided to have a private ceremony which is a fundamentally different thing than a 150 person wedding.

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  4. It's not really "uninviting" people if you haven't sent out save-the-dates or invitations yet. This is different. I mean, sure, extended family will be disappointed if you've been talking about it, but it's not like you're ripping invitations out of everyone's hands and saying "oh, sorry, we'd rather not see you on our special day." Do what you want to do, but just explain it to people. They'll understand. And I agree, Facebook is not the answer.

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  5. I think personal emails (rather than one mass email) is the very best option. I would absolutely hate having to talk to 100+ people on the phone- it would take days and days (especially if you haven't seen some of the people in a while- each call could end up taking 15-30 minutes. Not an option unless you love talking on the phone! I'm an introvert and detest it.) Emails are great because people can't ask too many questions, no dealing with phone-tagging, etc. And you can copy/paste your explanation, just switching out a few personal greetings.

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    1. I like this! I hate the phone as well and I like the personal email thing. Do you emails are still considered impersonal or do people understand how much people hate talking on the phone?

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    2. In this case, the fact that you hate phones is irrelevant. It *is* an option, whether you 'love talking on the phone' or not. You aren't supposed to enjoy yourself here, just do it.

      "Emails are great because people can't ask too many questions" um... they are entitled to ask questions. Send out save the dates, talk for months about your wedding plans with your friends and then uninvite them? They deserve a (verbal) explanation.

      Absolutely the only way you can minimise the number of people you piss off forever (all 130 of them) is by calling or visiting them and explaining the situation.

      If you email/facebook etc, you will become that couple everyone bitched about to their friends of friends of friends as 'those dicks who uninvited me to their wedding via a mass email.'

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  6. this just proves that the best way to approach the guest list conundrum is when you start planning don't give anything away - lines like 'we haven't made any firm decisions' and 'we are really excited, would love to tell you more but we are still planning and aren't ready to reveal plans' etc..

    We are a few months from sending out invites and I still tell people we are working on our tentative guest list, just to ensure expectations aren't raised AND because we still have some maybes that we haven't quite agreed on.

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    1. Good for you, but this isn't helpful for the questions being asked.

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    2. agreed, but i think it is helpful advice for anyone who could have ended up in the same situation down the road

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    3. it's a pre-emptive warning for brides starting to plan

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  7. I agree with ESB but also especially JB.

    To be a bit of a brat, I don't love the excuse of backing off a plan because weddings are expensive. Like, NO DUH. You shouldn't have talked about doing it if you weren't going to end up wanting to spend the money. It's one thing if something CHANGED financially but not if you just didn't realize shit was gonna add up. 150 people at $10 a head is $1500 already.

    Anyway, I think you should do a combination of calling and emailing. Don't email your aunts and uncles who barely check their email but I think an email is okay for friends/our generation.

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    1. Again, not helpful. Why make this woman feel worse than she already does? Just so you can tell her what she *should* have done? This irritates me. Good for you for knowing the "right" thing to do from the get-go.

      And, give me a break. Backing off from a big wedding because it's expensive is a totally valid reason if handled appropriately.

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    2. Ignore the anonymous above... I'm the poster and I appreciate your comment. I like the idea of calling some people but emailing others.

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    3. Hey Anon 8:31. . .back up. Who are you to decide what is helpful for OP? Hillary has a valid point in saying the perhaps money may not be the best excuse to cite when letting people know. She's not necessarily saying it's a bad reason to change plans, just not the best explanation for would-be guests. Sheesh.

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  8. If invites haven't been sent out, I don't even think you need to actively call or email anyone. Tell them as you walk to them over time.

    They should probably know at some point before you actually do get married, but I don't think some big explanatory email is needed. You slowly told people about it in the first place, slowly un-tell them naturally and casually.

    I think the more dramatic YOU make it seem, the more of a diss it might seem to the invitees.

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  9. OP, don't let anyone guilt you about not wanting to spend THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on what is essentially a big, expensive party. A party that you've now decided you don't even WANT.

    Your plans for the money - seeing the world, making a major move, starting anew together - are LIFE CHANGING. Getting married also falls under that category; I've never seen a reception that did.

    The 'uninvited' people who actually care about you will be thrilled to see you both do something you're obviously excited about. The people who are willing to put their desire for a big party above that? They don't matter - really, they don't.

    That being said, I'd go with the personal email/call approach rather than a Facebook post. As posters above have said, I think HOW personal it needs to be depends on how firmed up your plans are. If you've already set a specific date and it's pretty soon, I think people deserve a call (although I recognize that's pretty cumbersome). If you've just been sharing general future plans with people, email could be appropriate.

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  10. Just to totally nerd out, ESB, your "&tc" should actually be "&c." The ampersand actually accounts for both the e and the t (the Latin "et" meaning "and"). Thanks, and I'm done, I promise.

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    1. I love please RSVP. So bad.

      My brother has a boss that says "Just for your FYI."

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    2. I'm going to use the ATM machine
      I have sit the SAT test

      My personal favorites<3

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  11. Spend your money to reflect your priorities. My community >>> some stupid lavish trip to Europe and Hawaii. (This from a die-hard lover of travel.)

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    1. Not knowing anything about this woman's "community", her financial situation, or how much traveling she has had the chance to do (and will have the chance to do in later years), how can you reasonably judge her travel plans as "stupid" and "lavish"?

      It's great that you are a die-hard lover of travel. So am I. I'm guessing that you, like me, are fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to regularly indulge that passion. Not everyone has the financial capacity for that. I know people (my grandparents, for instance) who waited their whole lives for travel to become affordable for them. It never did - there were always other priorities (many of which, incidentally, had to do with their "community").

      I think it's pretty clear that the OP and her SO have figured out their priorities and decided who they actually need to have with them on the day. Normally, that decision wouldn't be judged, and I think it's kind of weird and sad that it's happening here just because part of the reasoning behind it is the need to save money for another big life goal.

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    2. Thanks Jackie!

      Our "lavish" travel will most likely consist of working on farms (wwoofing) and then "treating" ourselves with hostels and couch surfing (I'd prefer this over fancy hotels in main tourist cities anyway)...

      and our fancy Hawaii living situation? Moving in with his parents in small two bedroom (which isn't lavish, but it's HAWAII so a crawl space would suffice)

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  12. I don't see why this has to be a "have a party or travel" ultimatum. Yes, planning a wedding reception is expensive, but surely you can plan something that is a little more budget friendly than a huge backyard party with lights/portapotties/video games. There must be a public park or a restaurant that you can gather people at and celebrate.

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    1. This! We originally thought renting a warehouse space and having BBQ would be the lowest stress and lowest price. (We also wanted video games, incedentally.)

      It turns out both the cheapest price and the lowest stress is at a swanky pre-civil war church turned high end restaurant.

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  13. If she didn't send out invitations, she may not even have named a date, in which case this is really not a big deal. Having been through a wedding myself, I would be hell of understanding and supportive of someone who decided to elope. Maybe say something along the lines of "we love you so much, but we realized a big wedding is just not for us." People will understand that. Leave money, Hawaii, and Facebook out of it.

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  14. In other news, hellooo Ewan McGregor!

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    1. my thoughts exactly. he is such a fine specimen.

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  15. I would send out paper notices - I don't think there is anything classy about email and definitely nothing classy about facebook...

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