I Wasn't Invited!


My best friend's son is getting married. Beth and I have been very good friends for over 10 years and I have been around and seen her son as he has grown into a wonderful young man. I wanted to give him a gift, so I went to the "bride and groom" shower with Beth. Beth was the only person there from her side of the family, everyone else was from the brides family-and it was a MOB. As I understand it, the brides folks are paying for about 2/3 of the wedding and Beth is picking up the rest. Beth is not well off at all so not sure why she is doing that, but I guess it was by agreement between the families.

I called Beth a couple days ago and asked her if the invitations had gone out and she said yes. Long pause. So then I asked her to wish them both well and I hope they have a long and happy marriage. Beth seemed kind of surprised that I hadn't received an invitation but not overly upset. She explained that the kids were on a tight budget and that they may not be able to afford to invite friends in addition to family. OK.

After I got off the phone I told my husband that we were not invited to the wedding and he was very surprised. He was sure it was an oversight and that a last minute invite would be arriving shortly. I told him that even if it does, I don't think we should go. I am very hurt not to have been invited at least to the wedding. I know that the reception is often costly and that sometimes people are invited to the wedding and not the reception.

I am so disappointed and hurt. Am I just being a baby about it?

Comments (6)
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Yes, probably. If there is a tight budget, then perhaps the groom's family invited relatives only. The bride's family and the couple would have had people to invite too. It is amazing how quickly the guest list fills up, especially with each guest also bringing a spouse or significant other.

However, if you received an invitation to the shower, current wedding etiquette practices say that you should have also been invited to the wedding.

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"I am so disappointed and hurt. Am I just being a baby about it?"

If you didn't make the 300-person guest list, then I'd say you were perfectly justified in being hurt.

If you didn't make the 30-person guest list, then I'd say not to take it personally.

But if you do get an invitation, do try to go. Yes, that probably means Beth interceded on your behalf. But it could also mean that the invitation that was sent to you got lost in the mail, or that the invitation Beth asked to be sent to you was scratched by a bride or MOB who didn't know you from Adam and wanted more of their friends. (Sound like the shower?)

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These days, the guest list is mostly controlled by the bride and groom. In my day, back in the 70s and 80s, the bride's parents threw the wedding and controlled most of the guest list, allowing the groom's family a certain number of invitations. So, back then, there would be more friends of the parents involved being invited, because they were the ones in charge of the party.

Now that control has moved to the bride and groom (even if the parents are paying for all or most of the wedding). The guest list is made primarily by the bride and groom, with differing amounts of input from both sets of parents.

While you are good friends with Beth, her son may not consider you a good friend of his. He may consider you mostly as his mother's friend. In a situation where he has to pick a limited number of people to attend his wedding, he probably picked his relatives first, then his own friends. Friends of his parents would come last and there might not be room on the guest list for them.

I do think it was a bit odd that Beth didn't know if you were invited or not. Or maybe she did know that you weren't invited, but didn't know how to tell you that without hurting your feelings. And if you were invited to the shower, you should have been invited to the wedding.

While etiquette does allow for invitations to the wedding and not the reception, many people don't like to do this, as it creates a two-tier invitation system. Some people getting to go to the reception and some don't. Not everyone is comfortable with that level of distinction among their guests.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is understandable that your feelings are hurt. But be aware that Beth may not have had much say in the final guest list.

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I agree with what others have said. I don't blame you for being disappointed. But as Beth is your very good friend, if I were you, I'd assume (not just out of giving the benefit of the doubt to a friend, but because it's probably true) that one or more of the reasons suggested by others are probably the case. The bride and groom controlled the guest list, and it may be a small wedding.

Indeed, even if it's a 300 person wedding, the couple may have been stubborn about "No friends of our parents! Just people that WE are close with!" Beth may well have pleaded with them to invite you and your husband and been shot down, and she probably feels terrible about it.

I don't like that attitude; it's true that it's the couple's wedding, but it's also true that your child's wedding is a very big event in your own life, and it's nice to be able to share it with the people you are close with, too -- certainly your very best friend. And it's not just that day, either -- for all those months of planning, it's very awkward not to talk about it with your best friend, but you really shouldn't if they are not to be invited.

For a thirty person wedding, fine, Mom's best friend probably isn't invited, but for a big wedding, I think that the brides and grooms should be more generous about it. They won't even notice the people that they don't know well.

At our son's wedding last year, this came up. The kids were flexible about it and we were able to compromise: more of our friends than they wanted, fewer than we wanted. (The fact that they chose to have the wedding in our city made this more of a problem for us. If the wedding had been in the city where they live or where her parents live, then we could've given a party here for our friends and invited more people to that, fewer to the wedding. But as the wedding was here, that would have made an A list - B list situation, so we couldn't.)

This is an unfortunate consequence of the shift that camlan pointed out: brides and grooms (not just older ones) being both hosts and guests of honor at their own weddings. But the parents are still hosts, too, especially if they are paying or otherwise involved in the arrangements, and it can be really awkward when the bride and groom don't let you be as hospitable as you feel you need to be.

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I realize this post is old, but....

seamommy said:
I wanted to give him a gift, so I went to the "bride and groom" shower with Beth.

She didn't say she was invited to the shower.

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I also realize this post is old but this same situation came up with my daughter's wedding last month. The groom's family is very large so we were not able to invite all the people we wanted. I felt terrible but didn't feel there was much I could do. Now that I have been in those shoes, I'll never feel bad for not being invited to a wedding. However, I will start to send gifts to those that I want to send to. But that's just me.

On a side note, I have a wedding today for a distant cousin. I was only invited to the wedding dance/reception which I'm fine with. I know that they also have a large family. My elderly aunt wasn't invited at all and she is very hurt. When I asked her if she would go had she been invited, she said she wouldn't but that wasn't the point. I told her that when my daughter got married last month, she didn't invite those that she knew would not be coming especially those that lived far away. She didn't want people to feel that they needed to give her a gift. Maybe that's what happened with my aunt. She still is furious. I think maybe it is a generational thing.

Anway as far as the situation above, I can understand why she is hurt, but I wouldn't let that hurt linger. I'd send a gift or at least a card wishing the couple well. I may also be a wedding crasher in this case. Only go to those things that are "free" such as the wedding dance.

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