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When you don’t get invited to the wedding, or you just don’t want to go

Christine | CC

Katrina Fernandez - published on 04/13/17

Invitations to spring and summer weddings can cause havoc and hurt, in both directions.

Dear Katrina,

My cousin is getting married this summer and I’m so excited for her. I was really looking forward to sharing this with her; in fact I was hoping she was going to ask me to be a bridesmaid because we’ve always been super close like sisters.

I was a little disappointed when she told me that I wasn’t going to be a bridesmaid but I get it because she has a lot of friends from college. She’s always been social and pretty popular. But her sister let it slip that she didn’t want me to be a bridesmaid because I have three kids. When I asked my cousin about it she said she just didn’t want kids at her wedding. Sure enough, when the invite came it read “adult ceremony” and “adult reception.”

I’m really upset because now I can’t attend her wedding. She’s having a luxury destination wedding out of state and I would have to leave my children for the whole weekend if I wanted to go. The youngest is only two months old and still breastfeeding. I’m just really surprised she wants to exclude kids at her wedding since we have such a large family and she’s the youngest cousin. The rest of us, for the most part, are all married with kids. It seems like she’s excluding a lot of family by banning children at her wedding. She was actually in my wedding and I really wanted to be there for her. How should I respond?  

St. Paul, MN


Dear St. Paul,

RSVP that you regretfully cannot attend. Offer your sincerest congratulations and pick out a little something nice from her registry. That is how you should respond. You love her and you two are close; it isn’t worth straining the relationship by feuding over this.  

Your cousin is well within in her right to have any type of wedding she wants. Personally, I don’t like excluding children from family functions because they are, after all, family. But I am not the one paying for your cousin’s luxury destination wedding … and neither are you.

Try not to take her requests for an adult ceremony and reception as a personal affront that she doesn’t like or want your children around. I highly doubt that is the case since you indicated that you have a rather large and extremely close family. I bet every holiday and reunion is a big boisterous affair filled with laughter and the joyful sound children. Which may be precisely the reason why your cousin wants to celebrate her wedding at a quieter, more sophisticated venue. If the family is as large as you indicated she runs the risk of her wedding getting a little over-run, and the possibility of that happening might cause her added and unnecessary stress. To remove the stress and reduce the uncontrollable surprises that every bride dreads, she made the decision with her fiance to not extend their invitation to children. That is all.  

I know you were looking forward to celebrating this day with her but there will be other days to celebrate – anniversaries, baby showers, and the birth of their future children. I know it’s a small consolation now but I hope that you can truly be happy for your cousin and not let this spoil the occasion. I am sure she will understand and not love you any less.


Dear Katrina,

How would you politely decline a wedding invitation from a friend getting married for the third time? I got an invitation from a co-worker who has become a pretty decent friend. I know a few other people from work also got the invite and I don’t want to make things awkward at work by not going, but at the same time I don’t really support this marriage. It’s my friend’s third wedding and his spouse’s second. So how do I delicately walk the line? Do I still give a gift? Won’t a gift look like I support their arrangement?


I just don’t want to go


Dear Don’t Want To Go,

If you don’t want to go, don’t. You don’t owe them an explanation for your absence. The only thing you are obliged to do is RSVP.

I do understand that since you work with this person you’ll see them everyday, so to avoid any avoidable awkwardness just RSVP and graciously decline, and that should be the end of it. There’s no need to offer that you don’t approve of their nuptials.  

When people extend a wedding invitation, they don’t expect you to give your opinion on the actual event, they just want to know if you can go or not for budgeting and seating purposes. I think offering anything more than an honest RSVP would be in poor taste and cause tension between you and your co-workers.

I know you may not approve of their wedding but I recommend still getting them a gift from their registry to keep the peace at work. There’s no reason to add stress and drama at your workplace over this.

Honestly, I am sure your co-workers probably do all sorts of things in their private lives that you may not approve of, and vice-versa, but while we’re on this earth we have to live and work together. Keep work relationships professional and treat everyone with equal dignity.

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