One of my dearest friends got married recently. She and her wife had a beautiful destination wedding, surrounded by less than 30 of their closest friends and family. My friend and her new wife had the wedding they truly wanted and enjoyed it fully, so imagine her surprise when she came back from her honeymoon to hurt feelings and disappointed friends. Why? Because some folks were not invited to her wedding, and they expected to be. The minute she mentioned that people were hurt over not receiving an invitation, I instantly knew why they were upset. I experienced it myself as a bride and had to deal with people who assumed they would be receiving an invite to my wedding. I had folks that I barely knew excitedly telling me how they planned to attend my wedding…and that led to an awkward conversation.
People, I want you to say it with me - no one is entitled to, or “owed” an invite to anyone’s wedding.
Wedding planning involves a never ending list of decisions that must be made, but deciding on a guest list is one of the hardest decisions a couple has to make. There are so many factors that go into it, from family politics to impact on your budget. Even if you have a limitless budget, that doesn’t mean that you want everyone and their mama invited to your wedding - some couples are intensely private and don’t want a ton of attention. Every couple makes their own criteria for who gets invited to their wedding, and they shouldn’t have to apologize for not inviting someone.
But no matter their reasoning, or guest list criteria, it doesn’t matter, because once again, you aren’t entitled to an invitation.
I already know what you’re thinking - "Of course there are situations where I should get an invite! What about when my relative or child or BFF gets marred?” Sorry, but you aren’t entitled in an invite to any of those weddings either. Really, the only time you absolutely should be invited to a wedding is when you’re one of the people engaging in said marriage. Otherwise, an invitation is a gift, not a requirement or expectation.
The lack of invitation results in hurt feelings when one of two things happens: when the invitation (or lack thereof) is viewed as an indication of the relationship, or when the invitation is viewed as some type of transactional exchange. While some couples make their guest lists based on who’s closest to them, it’s not always a guarantee, and you shouldn’t assume that the lack of invitation is an indication that they don’t care about you. Similarly, just because you invited someone to your wedding, it doesn’t immediately obligate them to invite you to theirs. This isn’t a ti for tat situation.
The best thing you can do is to detach any type of meaning or expectations to the invitation. And you definitely should not hint for or outright ask for an invitation to someone’s wedding (or really any type of event). It’s rude and tacky. Wish your folks well, and if you get invited to celebrate with them, I hope you get to attend and enjoy the experience. But even if you don’t, don’t let that change how you view the relationship or the couple.