How to Not invite a Family

Member to Your Wedding

Couples Corner

Putting together a guest list can be challenging for many couples. Especially if you and your partner have large families and lots of friends you want to attend.

So whether you are needing to cut your guest list in half so that everyone can fit in your wedding venue, or perhaps you just don’t want a particular person at your wedding, here are some ways to respectfully not invite a family member.

We wish you could attend but…

For those of you who are on the side of needing to put a cap on your guest list, I get that it can be hard to choose who will make the list.

Common feelings of experiencing guilt or being worried that you may hurt someone’s feelings are normal! Especially, if it is a family friend who has known you since you were in preschool and are practically family. Regardless of the kinship you have with your family, this will often feel uncomfortable.

What you can say to them:

  • “As much as we would love to have everyone we know at our big day, our venue has a capacity and unfortunately, we cannot invite everyone and are unable to have you attend. I hope you can understand.”
    • It’s important to be direct that you are talking about them not being able to attend. Last thing you want is for them to assume that maybe it’s their children who cannot attend or that you are implying someone else.
  • “We are on a strict budget and cannot invite everyone, I hope you can understand. We would love to still be able to celebrate with you another way when we get back from our honeymoon.”

I feel uncomfortable if so and so shows up

No family is perfect and not all relationships within a family are secure, supportive, nor healthy. If you have experienced a fall out with a family member or perhaps have encountered an incident with a family member that now leads you to feeling anxious, worried, insecure, or nervous, it makes sense that you would not want them at your wedding. Know that you are not alone in feeling this way and you have a right to feel comfortable, safe, and excited on your big day!

Just because they are family, know that you do not have to invite them to your wedding. I know, this can sound very cold but this is a day that you can put yourself and your new relationship first and not have to do things to make others happy.

What you can say:

  • If you still communicate with them and want to avoid extra stress:
    • “My fiancé and I are paying for the wedding and cannot invite everyone. We are inviting close friends and close family members. Thank you for understanding.”
  • If you still communicate with them and wish to share with them the real reason:
    • “I know we haven’t discussed (name the event/situation) since it occurred, but when we do still see each other, I still feel anxious (or name another emotion) and want to make sure that on my wedding day I feel joy and love. For this reason, I am not able to invite you.”
      • You may be wondering, “why on earth would anyone be so blunt about this?” Well, depending on your personality and the situation, some people choose to be straightforward and clear for the reason behind their decisions. Again, this is up to you. But notice that each prompt expresses the same end goal, which is, they are not invited to your wedding.

Dealing with parent’s wishes and leaning on parents for help

For some situations, your parents can be helpful in breaking the news to your family, especially if it is someone that you personally do not have a close relationship with and they do. They can use the given examples above as a guide if needed. Your parents can also be helpful in being more assertive with family members who you may have had a fall out with and maybe you just feel really uncomfortable with telling them. That’s okay, lean on your support system. Also note, that you can also ask other people in your life to help you out on breaking the news as well.

Sometimes, parents may want to invite other people who you simply do not know, whether that is their coworkers, friends, or their second cousins, it can sometimes be hard to tell your parents no. It can be even harder if they are the one’s paying for the wedding. You can share with them the importance of having close friends and family at your wedding and would like for them to respect that.

I get that curating a guest list can be stressful, especially if you are running against a limited number due to our venue or budget. Remember your support system can help in this as well.

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