What Do I Do With This Non-Invitation?

Is it okay to do this before it happens?

Is it okay to do this before it happens? [Via]

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

I have a friend who is getting married. I don’t see her very often, so I found out about the relationship and the engagement via Facebook (which is fine, that is what Facebook is for). Via social media I also know that her wedding will be small and intimate, and that they can’t afford to invite everyone they would like, which I totally understand, and I did not expect to be invited, as we  don’t see each other very often. Today I got what I guess is an announcement card.  It’s not a save-the-date, it basically says “we’re getting married on X date but you’re not invited, we’ll send pictures”.  I was resigned to not being invited, but when I saw the envelope for a minute I thought maybe I had made the cut, so seeing that I hadn’t was a wee bit of a let-down.  But I have also never encountered a formal “you’re not invited to our wedding, but here’s when it is” card before, and I wondered what you guys thought of them and what the etiquette is as the recipient of one.

Not Invited


According to the Emily Post Institute: “Printed or handwritten announcements are sent to those left off of the guest list, or to acquaintances or business associates who might wish to hear the news. Announcements carry no obligation to return a gift, and they are never sent to anyone who has received an invitation. Ideally, they should be mailed the day after the wedding but may be sent up to several months later.” The bolding is theirs, so you know they mean business.


Jaya: So this is wrong, yes? So very wrong.

Victoria: Traditionally you CAN send an announcement after the wedding, to anyone who was interested but perhaps not invited, for whatever reason. But it’s really fallen out of favor. And you definitely don’t send it before, because thats like na-na we are having a wedding and you aren’t invited. I guess after it seems better because it’s already done, but it still seems like a weird concept to do a formal, printed announcement. Everyone now will know from Facebook pictures anyway.

Jaya: Yeah, it definitely seems like a tradition that used to be very practical but isn’t really necessary because of modern changes. Before, it’d be really good to let people know about new addresses or name changes, but the point was the information, not the way the information came. I wonder if they somehow think this is akin to an announcement in the paper, but just for people they know.

Victoria: I also wonder how common the wedding announcements really were to begin with, honestly. Just because there are official etiquette rules doesn’t mean people did it.

Jaya: That’s true! It may have worked backwards–a rule is written just in case you do it, and then everyone reads an etiquette book and thinks “Oh shit, I have to do this.”

Victoria: Also, people get really confused about announcements, even if they’re sent after! A lot of people think it means you have to send a gift, which you most certainly do not. I mean, you can if you want, but they should NEVER have registry information on them.

Jaya: I wonder if their sending this out has to do with guilt over having a small wedding. Like, this idea that you must explain yourself if you’re not inviting every person you’ve ever met. And I hope we can get over that idea.

Victoria: That’s a good point. Besides, if you really do feel guilty about say, not inviting the close group of friends you hang out with- it would be better to explain the situation on the phone or in person or something anyway.

Jaya: And yeah, the writer explains she had no presumptions of being invited anyway. Most people have a handle on who they’re really close to and who they’re not, and don’t get all butthurt about it.

Victoria: I would probably get this and be like “Well, I wasn’t expecting to go to your stinky wedding anyway :-P”

2 thoughts on “What Do I Do With This Non-Invitation?

  1. Some Latin American countries send a “Participación”, which is basically an announcement, to people who are not invited to the party/reception. It usually has info on the date and place where ceremony will take place (most likely a church, if that’s the case, everyone is welcome to attend but not obligated to send a gift), and it will say if there’s a “brindis” or toast after where you can congratulate the couple. An extra card will be placed in the envelope if you get invited to the celebration after. Though I’ve never seen one that mentions when or where you can see pictures, this sounds kind of similar?

    • That does sound similar, though at least there you’re at least invited to the church part of the wedding? That makes a lot more sense, rather than a card that just tells you where something you can’t go to will be happening. Though as usual, most of our questions come from North American readers, so our response applies to those customs. Everyone should follow what their community and culture deems best practices!

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