How to Say “Please Don’t Come to My Wedding” in a Nice Way, Kind Of

It’s every bride’s worst nightmare: the dreaded uninviting.

Maybe you thought your budget would stretch further than it did, maybe you felt obliged to verbally invite some not strictly necessary guests, maybe you simply decided to downsize at the last minute. Whatever the case, you face the task of uninviting one or several guests to your wedding. How exactly does one do this
without incurring the wrath of the parties involved?

Before flying into a full-blown panic, assessing the damage is key.

If you just invited someone verbally before even sending save-the-date cards, then the solution is simple: just don’t send them one. Take the opportunity to fall back on an unspoken rule of polite society, namely that a person isn’t really invited to a wedding unless they’ve actually received a card that says so. In this case, there’s no need to even inform the non-guest – if they do happen to ask you about it, simply apologise and say you had budget constraints and weren’t able to invite as many guests as you’d hoped.

When it comes to deciding who to actually invite (for real this time, on paper and stuff), it can be difficult to whittle down your guest list.

Do you invite your million-and-one cousins? Your great-aunt’s daughter? Your co-workers? Bearing in mind that not everyone you invite will necessarily be able to attend, draw up two guest lists: an A list and a B list. Invite all the A’s, and if someone declines, send out an invitation to one of the B’s. For this to work, you’ll need to be working quite far in advance to allow time for the two batches of invitations and RSVPs to go out and come back in. But, don’t bank on being able to invite extras. Sometimes every single person invited really does RSVP “yes” – in that case, you should just be stoked about the fact that everybody loves you because you can’t help it that you’re popular. (Shout out to Mean Girls fans.)

Lastly, there’s the most unfortunate scenario of all – that is, having to uninvite someone you have already officially and unequivocally invited.

This might seem like an unlikely set of circumstances, and it is, but when it happens, it sucks. Take, for instance, those internet horror stories of bridesmaids confessing their love for the groom, or of a guest-to-be being convicted of a serious crime. The best – and really only – way to approach this is to be completely honest but still respectful. After all, there’s no use in burning bridges completely (or at least not until after the wedding when you actually have the time of day to occupy yourself with such things). Start off by explaining why you think their presence may create a tense atmosphere for everyone. Once you’ve got this part down, any reasonable person should be quite willing to give it a miss if they feel it’s for the greater good of everyone involved, and themselves. Especially themselves.

Have you ever had to uninvite someone to an important event? Back in high school, I remember having to uninvited people to parties on a number of occasions because they’d simply invited themselves, probably with some secret and malevolent agenda. Ah, to be young again!