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”

Is It Rude To Un-Invite Someone To My Wedding?

The-Uninvited-movie-posterDear Uncommon Courtesy,

I am getting married soon, and included among the guests is a woman who  was a friend until recently.

When we compiled the guest list and sent out the Save the Dates, she and I were on great terms and, in fact, she was one of the first people I told about the engagement. Subsequent to that, she has gone through some personal turmoil that I was tangentially involved in, collateral damage-wise. As a result, she is no longer speaking to me though the turmoil really had only the smallest amount to do with me and I’ve indicated to her in about a hundred ways that I’m not upset with her over it.

What’s an exasperated bride-to-be to do?


Invitation to Danger


The official etiquette is that if you have sent someone a Save the Date, you must send them an invitation. However…


Jaya: So do you send an invite?

Victoria: Hmmmm. Yeah, technically if you sent an STD you have to send an invite. But in a case like this, I guess it depends on if you want to reconcile.

Jaya: Yeah. Here it sounds like she does, so sending an invitation is a great way to show that. And if the other person doesn’t come, it’s not any shock.

Victoria: But if you don’t want to reconcile, I would actually not send her an invitation. I mean, it’s not news to her you’ve had a falling out. But that only works when, like in this situation, both parties know they’re fighting.

Jaya: Right.

Victoria: If you just randomly decided you hate them in between the STDs and the invitations, it’s a bit harder. In that case I’d invite them anyway!

Jaya: It’s easy enough to ignore someone at your wedding, I think. There are lots of people, no one will begrudge the couple for saying “Hi” and “Bye” and that’s it.

Victoria: I think this is a good lesson in being very judicious in who you send STDs to. It should be mostly people you REALLY REALLY must have there, or people who have to travel very far.

Jaya: Yeah, but it’s hard. If it’s a small wedding, everyone really is a necessary guest. And no one anticipates falling outs like this.

Victoria: True. In this case, they were really close before, but maybe for people who you aren’t super close to, just hold off sending anything until a little closer to the wedding, just in case (like coworkers and such!)

Jaya: This question is hard!

Victoria: It’s so eloquently written though!

Jaya: Save the Dates are strange. It’s such a recent invention, and now can be so easily accomplished by calling or emailing people.

Victoria: But then if you had specifically told someone to start making arrangements to come, you’d still be in the same boat. Because a verbal Save the Date still requires an invitation, I think.

Jaya: Yeah, I think you have to gauge where this anger is coming from. Here, it’s highly unlikely she’ll come, whether she receives an invite or not. So send the invitation if you honestly want to make amends. But you don’t want it to look like you’re trying to bury the hatchet when actually you’re just following the std=invite rule and you don’t really want her there anymore.

Wedding Invitations for the Guest

Make sure you know your stance on bells before RSVPing. (Via)

Make sure you know your stance on bells before RSVPing. (Via)

Welcome to our first how-to etiquette post! In this feature, we will be giving you a guideline for a basic etiquette situation. As these are guidelines, always take into account your situation and circumstances when applying them. If you have a tricky situation, write us and we will answer!

Wedding invitations have their own crazy etiquette (which we will definitely be talking about later on) that can be intimidating and confusing for the first time guest. There’s really formal language and it looks so fancy! And there are so many inserts and what’s this little stamped envelope? Should you be judging people based on their fonts? Let’s break it down:

Save The Dates

Save the Dates are sometimes sent out WAY in advance to let important people know the wedding date. They might be a cute card or a little magnet to stick on your fridge, or it might just be an email. They do not require a response, they are simply a notification of the wedding date and that you can expect an invitation. However, they are an opportunity for you to start planning. If the wedding is far away, you will want to start making travel arrangements. And if you know for a 100% fact that you won’t be able to make it on that date, let the couple know.


RSVP stands for respondez-sil-vous-plait, which is French for “please, please tell me if you are coming by the deadline posted here so I can give the caterer a headcount in time.”

There may be a little card included in the invitation with its own stamped envelope (though sometimes you will have to stamp it yourself!). On this card there might be a M___________. You are suppose to write Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms. YourFirstName YourLastName on this line. Sometimes I forget the title in my excitement and just write my name. Or there might be a box for you to write the number of people. Just make sure your name is on there somewhere so they know exactly who it is that is coming. Send it back ASAP and definitely before the deadline if given.

If there is no response card, either call or email as directed- the important thing is to make sure they know you are or are not coming. You MUST still RSVP even if you are not coming.

If you want to be really fancy, you can write your response on your own stationery as follows (try to mirror the formatting and language from the invitation):

Ms. Honoria Snodgrass

accepts with pleasure

Mr. and Mrs. Doodly’s

kind invitation for

Saturday, May 31


Generally, the only people invited to the wedding are those listed on the invitation. If Mr. and Mrs. Chatterton are the only names on the invitation, they are not welcome to bring their 5 charming children. “Mr. and Mrs. Chatterton and Family” is sometimes used to invite the whole family, though it is nicer to write out the names of all the kids. Sometimes though, single people will be invited with an “and guest” or “plus one”. In these circumstances you are welcome to bring a date. DO NOT BRING A DATE IF YOU ARE NOT INVITED TO BRING ONE. Whew! Also, you can’t just write plus one or Ms. Tiddlywinks and Mr. Fancypants (Mr. Fancypants being your uninvited date) on your RSVP if you haven’t been given a plus one in the first place. You also cannot substitute an uninvited guest for an invited one who can’t make it- wedding invitations are not write-in ballots.

Inserts and the Wedding Website

Often an invitation will come with a bunch of inserts of information. There might be directions and hotel info or registry info. There might even be a little card with the groom’s parent’s names (this is very old fashioned and unlikely- it is used when his parent’s names aren’t on the invitation so that their side of friends and family will be reminded of who the groom is).

Nowadays, more people are putting this information on their wedding website and they will either send the address along with the invitation or will announce it or email it to you some other way.

Do I have to keep the invitation?

No! Keep it handy until the wedding so you will have the information about the time and location, but after that feel free to discard or keep as you please.