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I am getting married next year and want to invite some co-workers to my wedding because I have a friendly connection with them. I work at an open floor plan and we lunch with about 15 people every single work day.

The co-workers I want to invite to my wedding all have different expertises and share those expertises with at least 1 more person so we all have a small department we work in (except for me I am the sole operator at my department).

I don't want to invite all of my co-workers because of lack of space and lack of money, but I do want to invite some.

I'd like to invite person A of department 'x', but person B for department 'x' I do not want to invite.

I can imagine that inviting people to my wedding like this can cause some chatty behaviour in an already very chatty environment. Which I wouldn't prefer.

This is really causing me some stress, because I can only invite all of my co-workers if I scrap some friends, which I wouldn't do. But if I make a selection of co-workers it might come across as if I like working with others more . Which I do ofcourse, but other people might not see that and this could be an awkward wake-up call.

Someone else invited just all the co-workers from the IT-department. I could do this, but then some people I would like to be there would miss out and people I rather not to be there would be there as well.

What steps can I take to be as professional as possible about sending wedding invitations too some co-workers but not all?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 69 down vote accepted

It's your wedding, so you invite whomever you wish, and not others.

I handled this exact situation by emailing the people I was planning to invite, and asking them for their home postal addresses. I explained that it was for a wedding invite, and that due to pressures of space I couldn't invite everyone at work, so please don't shout about it during work hours.

Most people realise that weddings are expensive and therefore guests are limited, so not everyone can be invited.

But if someone asks why they weren't invited, all you can do is say that even though you'd like to invite everyone, pressures of space and cost prevents you. If they ask why they specifically weren't chosen, just say something like "I'm sorry, but I had to make a difficult choice". Don't continue the conversation, though, as it's really nobody's business why you invited someone and not someone else. It's your wedding, not theirs! Congratulations and good luck with the wedding!

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I think this is not a good attitude since you have to actually work with these people on a day to day basis and they won't like that they were excluded from your wedding. –  itcouldevenbeaboat Aug 1 at 16:20
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This question is being discussed on Meta Workplace SE as part of our weekly site cleanup of closed questions. You have the power to help save this question. Please weigh in if you think you can help. –  jmort253 Sep 1 at 23:24

I had almost exactly the same issue 7 years ago when I got married. Money and the capacity of the venue were the big driving factors for us when compiling the guest list so we both agreed that we would only invite people from work that we considered friends. That is, we saw them socially outside of work, went for meals, knew their partners/kids etc.

However, in order to not offend anyone who wasn't invited I sent an email to everyone (included those who were invited) worded along the lines of:

I'll be heading to (bar and restaurant name) on (a Friday evening a week or two before the wedding) to celebrate my upcoming wedding and would love it if you could join me. We'll be having a few drinks and those who wish to will be staying for a meal afterwards (pop in some times that work for you). If you wish to stay for the meal please let me know so I can book the table. I've attached the menu so you can get an idea of the food served. If you need an incentive to come along I'll be buying the first round of drinks!

This may be kind of informal but the company and teams were relatively small and colloquial emails like this were common.

In addition to no-one feeling left out of the wedding celebrations (at least to my knowledge, it certainly never caused any problems in the workplace afterwards) buying a round of drinks for everyone was considerably cheaper than the cost from the venue per guest.

Not to sound dismissive, for you this is one of the biggest day's of your life. But for those people who you are friendly enough in the office with, but don't know you outside of the 7/8 hrs that you spend in the office each day, it may well be that they're not going to be offended at all by not receiving an invite. Most people understand that weddings are incredibly expensive and are attended by friends and family rather than acquaintances.

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That's actually also a very good solution. –  Pierre Arlaud Aug 1 at 14:21
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This question is being discussed on Meta Workplace SE as part of our weekly site cleanup of closed questions. You have the power to help save this question. Please weigh in if you think you can help. –  jmort253 Sep 1 at 23:25

How to deal with sending wedding invitations in a small company where you cannot invite all co-workers but do want to invite some?

Invite only the people you wish to attend. Don't invite any others.

Send your invitations via snail-mail, just as you would for any friend who is not a co-worker.

If the invitees start chatting about the invitations or wedding at work, just find a quiet time to take them aside and talk privately. Ask them confidentially to keep it rather quiet so as not to hurt other co-workers' feelings.

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When faced with the same issue, we decided on a clear line about whom to invite. We ended up only and exactly those of my colleagues that had regularly met/worked with my spouse for one reason or another, even though I consider myself more or less friends with several others. Being at least acquainted with both halves of the engaged couple is not the only distinguishing mark that can be chosen, but it is certainly one that can be publicly communicated without offending anyone.

I don't believe that sending the invitations outside of work (e.g. via snail mail, or private e-mail) would be of any use:

  • The invitees may start finding out who else will be attending by asking around, to team up for driving, for (depending on where the wedding takes place) booking a hotel, and - the primary reason for not asking you directly - for buying a bigger present as a group. (Granted, you could counteract that by informing them who else is invited, but that again smells a bit of "Please team up for our present.")
  • After the wedding, word will get out because the invitees will chat about their impressions. The effect in terms of offending someone will not be any different after the fact compared to before, and while an upcoming wedding party might be treated as a secret, you probably won't be able to/want to remain silent about it afterward (e.g. when a non-invited colleague asks you how the party went).
  • At latest when a non-invited colleague tries to invite an invited colleague for something on the same day, the beans will be spilled, anyway.
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I would say the best solution is to not invite any of your co-workers. The explanation for this can be that you want to keep it small and save money.

The advantages of this are several,

  • Save money / space with fewer people
  • Do not offend the co-workers who you wouldn't have invited
  • Coworkers who you would have invited will understand as long as it actually is a small wedding

I'd say there's no way to cherry pick the co-workers you invite without offending many who you don't. Like your kindergarten teacher says, "If you don't have enough to share with the whole class, don't bring it to school."

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From when I was getting married about two years ago I found a decent amount of success just emailing my coworker's for their home mailing address. (Or asking in person if I bumped into them alone)

My entire department knew when the wedding was, and ultimately who was invited.

I think you're perhaps over thinking how people will react to not being invited. Sure there could be the one who is jealous or upset about it, but honestly I doubt it'll be too bad. Besides you're getting married! Some people will be far more jealous of that than not getting invited. You should spend this time not worrying about them or letting them rain on your parade.

Invite who you want, if someone gets bent over it crack a joke to try and take the edge off and leave it be. They'll get over it.

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This question is being discussed on Meta Workplace SE as part of our weekly site cleanup of closed questions. As a 3k+ rep user, you have the power to help save this question, including by casting a reopen vote and encouraging others to participate. Please weigh in if you think you can help. –  jmort253 Sep 1 at 23:26

We are in a similar situation. I can only tell you what we're planning to do.

There are some people at work who are genuine friends, you seem them outside work and socialise with them regularly. If it's no secret in the office then it's ok to promote these people (Invite them to the day instead of the evening or evening instead of not at all).

However after that I believe it gets too political, can you invite the people you work with and not your manager? Can you invite some people from a team and not another?

My suggestion would be to invite everyone at exactly the same level. Weddings are tricky things and it's very easy to upset people. It's unlikely you're going to be able to invite everyone to the day/meal, my suggestion would be to invite everyone in the team to the evening.

I'd be very surprised if many of them come, however it's the only sure way you can avoid the stress (there will be enough of that on your big day!). You have to weigh up the risk of excluding a manager/colleague against how disappointed you'll be that a certain person won't be attending.

If you're friends with someone outside work then invite them to the day. Otherwise put out a blanket evening invite.

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