Or, “How Sending Save-The-Dates Can Create Major Guest List Drama.”
Save-The-Dates are very popular in wedding culture. One quick Google search for “Save The Dates” yields 21,800,000 hits. I’m not quite sure when they became popular, but it’s clear from the millions of ideas and etiquette surrounding them, they are one wedding trend that is here to stay.
Save-The-Dates are great because they allow your out-of-town and extremely busy guests to plan ahead to attend your wedding. They’re almost certainly not necessary, but they are definitely a fun project to include in your wedding plans if you can.
We sent our Save-The-Dates around the 7 month mark. We didn’t send them to everyone on our eventual final guest list, mostly because some of the guests we weren’t sure we would end up inviting. The cardinal rule of thumb with STDs is that anyone who gets one should receive a formal invite as well. We kept that in mind, and if we weren’t sure yet about inviting a particular guest, we didn’t send one.
That being said, most of our guests and family members did receive them. Imagine my shock and surprise then, when I learned that a certain family member* who I am not very close to had called my father to question why her adult children were not invited to the wedding. Um, last I checked, we hadn’t sent invites yet…so how do you know they’re not invited?
Said family member assumed that because her children had not received a Save-The-Date, they were not going to be invited. Now, I am not here to argue the semantics…or even to debate the fact if they are going to be invited or not. I am simply here to share my experience and thoughts on this, as it has turned into a sticky family situation. With that, here is an open letter to wedding guests:
It is not appropriate to question a bride and groom—or their parents—regarding the guest list. This is never appropriate. EVER. Regardless of whether so and so got a Save-The-Date or an invitation or not. Although it is a gathering of many family members and friends in one place, a wedding is NOT a family reunion. It is a celebration of the couple, and their love and commitment to each other. Yes, there is a ceremony, and it is the most important part of the day. However, when all is said and done, a wedding, in essence, is a party, and the hosts will invite who they see fit. If that means they will not be inviting children, so be it. If that means they will not be inviting distant cousins, so be it. Would you call your best friend to complain that your little children are not invited to her adult cocktail and dinner party? No. Let me repeat: THIS IS A PARTY, not a family reunion. So, no—everyone does NOT get to be invited. And I am—truly, I am!—sorry if you, as a guest, have your feelings hurt, because someone close to you who you feel should be invited, is not. If you feel it’s too egregious an error, then by all means, please don’t attend the wedding or party you were invited to. But it is NEVER, EVER OK TO ASSUME that someone is not invited based on a Save-The-Date. Why? Because assuming makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” And assuming creates so much more drama than is ever necessary for a wedding. This is a happy time in the bride and groom’s life, and it is not a time for you to be making them feel bad about who they choose to—and can afford to—invite. But the most important reason not to assume? Because a Save-The-Date is not an invitation. It is an indication of invitation. That doesn’t mean other people aren’t going to be invited. Either way, it is not your place to question the bride and groom. Certainly, there are merits to your arguments, I’m sure. And certainly, there are instances when a bride and groom may, in fact, have made a mistake in not inviting someone. But these instances are rare, and they are not for you to question. Please, please, please…don’t be that guest who causes the bride sleepless nights because she is in a fit about the family dynamics surrounding who is invited and who is not. Be a bigger person than that, and understand that there are many factors that go into planning a wedding and deciding who should attend. If you are lucky enough that the bride and groom want you there, be gracious and kind and supportive. Because that’s why YOU’RE invited—to bear witness to the commitment they will make to each other, not judge them for who they didn’t invite.
Little Miss Wedding Planner
Hmm, maybe I need a copy of this book!
So, my dear friends, if you are experiencing or have experienced guest list drama because you’ve sent Save-The-Dates, please know that you’re not alone. I’m told that this is a rite of passage for most brides, and that we all deal with this at one point or another. So I am hear to tell you to hang in there. This too shall pass. And your wedding will still be wonderful and you will still be surrounded by those who love you and want to support your relationship.
Have you had guest list or family drama? Share your story in the comments!
*Said Family Member doesn’t actually know about the existence of this blog, so this entry falls on deaf ears, anyway.