After a close friend gets engaged, you’ll probably send a congratulatory text, stalk her engagement photos online, and anxiously await the save-the-date. But what if, after months of checking the mail, you realize that you weren’t actually invited?
Not getting an invitation to a friend’s wedding is like a slap in the face, and many of us take the situation personally. You may feel disappointed, resentful, and confused about your entire friendship — but are these reactions justified? Here, a wedding planner and relationship expert break down the etiquette guidelines for handling this sticky situation.
1Try not to overreact
“It can be so disappointing to feel left out of a friend’s wedding, especially if you were excited to celebrate the [couple],” said Amanda Wiig of Amanda Wiig Weddings in Memphis, Tennessee. But instead of calling your friend and demanding an explanation, you should take a step back to assess the situation. “The bride (and groom) are under a lot of stress, so bringing this up to them is probably not the best idea. The wedding is all about them and their preferences. It’s not about you,” said Wiig.
2Consider a logical explanation
According to Wiig, there are several reasons why a friend wouldn’t invite you to their wedding. For example, the couple may be dealing with budget restrictions, a too-small venue, or a guest limit. They might also want to hve an intimate affair with immediate family members only. “The truth is there’s almost never a wedding that the family, bride, and groom all get to invite everyone they’d like. Guest list cuts are hard on the people making the decisions, too,” said Wiig.
If none of these reasons seem likely, then think about your own relationship with the engaged couple. Have you fallen out of touch? Did you recently struggle through a huge argument? Did you ever make negative comments about her fiancé? Try your best to understand things from your friend’s point of view, and you’ll likely see the situation more clearly.
3Ask your friend why you weren’t invited
If you’re still bothered about not being invited, Vijayeta Sinh, Ph.D., a psychologist and relationship expert based in New York City, recommends reaching out in a kind way. For example, say, “I heard you’re getting married — congratulations! Should I expect an invitation?” Alternatively, you can say, “I’m really bummed that I’m not invited to your wedding. Do you have a reason?”
The ideal conversation starter depends on how close you are with the friend. “Remember that the aim of the communication is not to secure an invite, but to communicate how you feel,” explained Sinh.
4Let it go
At the end of the day, it’s best to forget the lack of invitation. Consider re-evaluating your relationship with the friend, but always give them the benefit of the doubt. According to Sinh, “Friendships are based on mutual trust and likeness or fondness for one another. Sometimes, we have to overlook things in order to maintain friendships and give the person the opportunity to know and appreciate us. Cutting things off because we feel disappointed or rejected by other people more often than not says something about us than them.”