Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
I recently found out that I was not invited to the wedding of someone I had considered a close friend for the past seven years. Knowing that wedding planning is very stressful and tricky, I’m hurt, but understand that there could be any number of reasons for being left off the list. Do you have any advice for avoiding friendship awkwardness in this situation?
Hoping to Keep Things Smooth
P.S. Just to add, I’m planning to send her a congratulatory card, but any additional advice would be appreciated!
Miss Manners strongly promotes the idea of having a less fancy wedding so as to include as many people as possible so as to avoid these kinds of situations. Official etiquette always dictates taking the high road and not expressing anger at a snub like this.
Victoria: So I totally get the hurt- I’ve been mildly disappointed in not being invited to super old friends’ weddings who I definitely wouldn’t expect to be invited to. And I’ve been really thrilled to be invited when it was an old friend I hadn’t seen in YEARS. I think, if it’s someone you see frequently, the best you can do is just smile and hope they don’t talk about it too much.
Jaya: Yeah, it’s rough realizing that you’re maybe not as close as you once were. But that’s also only one possibility, right? Like, maybe this person just has bitchy parents and a small venue?
Victoria: Yeah, there could be a million reasons why they couldn’t invite you. Although, it won’t be much consolation if they’re having 500 people. In that case, maybe re-evaluate how much effort you are putting into the relationship v. what you are getting back.
Jaya: Definitely. A Practical Wedding had some great posts on this, about how friendships are relationships like any other. And even though there’s no cultural narrative about how to end them, they need to be re-evaluated and ended sometimes, just like any other relationship. If she feels like this girl is a super close friend but she didn’t get invited, yeah, take a look at how the friendship has played out.
Victoria: What’s that old romantic relationship advice? Don’t make someone a priority when they are making you an option? I just Googled that.
Jaya: I love that we can just Google sage relationship advice.
Victoria: It sounded way more poetic written in my high school notebooks.
Jaya: But that totally goes for friendships too. And as for how to act, I think sending a congrats card is totally fine, and then maybe stand back and see if this friend steps up post-marriage.
Victoria: Yeah, exactly. The card is above and beyond and very sweet. I personally just like to comment on the photos on FB about how beautiful they look.
Jaya: I mean, I don’t know their relationship, but if this is someone you thought was your BEST friend–like someone you talked to every day, shared everything with, and watched this relationship grow–I think you’d be justified in asking about it?
Victoria: Yeah, that’s a very good point.
Jaya: Maybe not saying “Hey, why the hell wasn’t I invited!?,” but I think it’s a decent catalyst for a conversation about your friendships. Especially if there was no discernible falling out. For instance, if you didn’t invite me to your wedding, and your wedding was a normal-sized, friends-invited affair, I might ask.
Victoria: There’s always the very TINY chance your invite got lost.
Jaya: True, but you probably would have gotten a phone call about an RSVP.
Victoria: Yeah, you’d have to be very sure. Maybe if the bride was talking to you this whole time as if you were invited, you could ask about that.
Jaya: If you feel like your relationship was close enough, you can maybe ask about it. But “closeness” is so subjective, and you have to be prepared for the option that this person didn’t consider you as close.
Victoria: I think this also might be a good time to remind brides and grooms that their wedding is still a party and maybe you shouldn’t be sharing all the details with your coworkers/acquaintances if you don’t want to invite them.
Jaya: Yessssss. I’m trying to be pretty aware of that with planning my wedding, but it’s so hard sometimes.
Victoria: Part of that is that people do like to hear these details, even if they know they’re not invited.
Jaya: Totally. I try not to put anything on facebook, because there are definitely people I’m not as good friends with who maybe think we still are? I hide behind Facebook a lot
Victoria: We all do.