How Do You Stop People From Inviting Themselves to Your Wedding?

but make it double in a pandemic

Q: Hi APW!

I’m getting married next fall and have been with my partner for eight and a half years (we’ll be getting married right before our 10th anniversary). Needless to say, we are very excited for a super fun party. The issue is, we want a small wedding as we both have small families and a group of core friends that we’ve had since we met in college. We’ve moved in the past few years away from our home city and in the pandemic I’ve made friends with a lot of people in my area through a shared musical interest, which has been great! We have a lot of fun but most of the friendships are not deep. I’m not someone who has ever had a lot of friends so this is all new to me but now I’m running into this problem of YAY I’M GETTING MARRIED but also I CAN’T HAVE 30 MORE PEOPLE OF VARYING LEVELS OF MATURITY AT MY WEDDING. This has been the internal conflict.

Now, external conflict: a girl in this group of friends keeps assuming she’s invited to the wedding even though I’ve said many times we’re keeping it small and that I don’t have a set guest list yet. If we have room after the first round she’ll definitely be part of the second round of invites but we have no desire to have a bigger wedding than we’re already planning.

Obviously, I’m a long time away from invites going out and the wedding actually happening but whenever the wedding comes up in conversation, I get nervous because she always says stuff like “I can’t wait for your wedding, it’s going to be so fun” or “OMG this dress is SO CUTE I would totally wear this to your wedding.” When she says this I make a joke about things being expensive or that I’m going to just sit in the venue by myself at this point…

Maybe this is common for people but… how do you get it across that there may be a spot for someone at the wedding but that it’s nothing against them if they aren’t invited?

—Confused by friendship


Hey Confused,

Wow, do I get it. Wow. As a fellow small wedding enthusiast, I have found myself in the middle of some very awkward and uncomfortable conversations. So, I’m going to offer you some blunt advice that I pinky promise will not be the most… ahem… pleasant.

From reading your letter I can tell that you are a kind person. One who probably makes all your friends (long-term or short) feel close to you, and important. And that leads to confusion for people who think of themselves as close to you. What does that mean for you? It means you’re going to have to be really straightforward with folks.

Ask that friend to coffee, sit down with them that friend down and say:

“_____, I just want to let you know that I care about you so much, but I didn’t want to leave room for misunderstanding or false expectations…. ‘partner’ and I have decided to prioritize our families and keep the guest list tiny. We look forward to celebrating with you and our other friends after our small wedding day. I hope you understand and appreciate your support and love.”

Confused… you just have to rip that bandaid off so that folks know what to expect and don’t continue to make you feel like you’re dropping the ball for the next year and a half. You’ve got this.


What do you think APW? Have you experienced this issue in the midst of wedding planning? How would you handle a well-meaning friend who doesn’t seem to be getting the hints you’re dropping? Leave your most helpful tips in the comments, Let’s help a fellow reader out! 

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