Wedding Trend Alert: The Anti-Invite

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Anti InviteOk, I know I’ve been mother of the bride several times over but either I’m getting old or the world is going bonkers (probably both…).  I just don’t get some of these newfangled wedding trends that have emerged over the past couple of years – for example, the trend of brides trashing their wedding dress as a symbol of, well…who knows what this is supposed to symbolize.  Now the latest trend I just heard about is something I will refer to as the anti-invite.  It seems as though more and more couples are sending notifications to people telling them that they are NOT invited to their wedding.  Huh?

Ok, despite my snarky intro, upon further review I can see why this trend is emerging even though I don’t quite agree with it.  These days, the internet – particularly social media – enables instant access to information, so whenever a couple announces their wedding date it often quickly becomes part of the information highway.  As such, it is generally easier for people to learn about your wedding whether you specifically tell them about it or not.  And if one of your tertiary friends or relatives learns about your wedding online and expects an invitation that is not forthcoming, misunderstandings can arise and feelings can get hurt.  So the perceived solution is to proactively let these folks know that they will not be invited, and explain why.

Generally speaking, anti-invites come into play when there is a lack of space or if the bride and groom simply decide to have a small and/or destination wedding.  In these cases, the bride or groom usually feels guilty about not being able to invite everybody they’d like, and as such a heartfelt, proactive explanation is a tool that can be used to help alleviate this guilt and avoid hard feelings.  Anti-invites can take many forms, from email to a formal letter or card to a phone call.  It really depends on the level of sincerity and personalization required.

Obviously this is a touchy situation, but I can see how in many cases it is simply not possible to invite everyone you’d like to.  But it’s important to communicate the message in a way that is not offensive.  Luckily there are a few simple rules of thumb you can follow to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

First, make sure you communicate your anti-invite message as soon as possible so the uninvited guests aren’t left for weeks thinking that they’ll be invited – in other words, proactively manage expectations, otherwise you’ll be setting yourself up for resentment.  Second, always express your gratitude toward the invited guest, and do not get defensive if the uninvited guest makes a stink – remember, this is not good news so you must be gentle and empathetic.  Third, briefly explain why you are forced to minimize the guest list, and be apologetic.  Finally, include uninvited guests in some other way, such as a pre- or post-wedding happy hour or party.

So that’s the skinny on this new “anti-invite” trend.  For more info, check out this article from Today that talks about you’re not invited notifications.  Again, I can see why this is becoming increasingly common, but I don’t think I’d ever have the balls to do it.  Maybe by the time I’m grandmother of the bride I’ll accept this as normal!  What about you?  Do you think this is an acceptable practice?  Does this fall into the bucket of proper wedding etiquette?  What are your thoughts about this?  Please do drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.  Thanks!

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