Should I invite friends to our wedding I'm not that close to?
June 22, 2012 1:18 PM Subscribe
Should I invite friends to our wedding that I'm not that close to and/or haven't really stayed in touch with? Do people think of wedding invitations as obligations to give gifts? Would it be really awkward? Or am I over-thinking this and I should just invite whoever I want to invite?
We have a pretty short guest list so far for our wedding. With our core family and friends, we're only at 50-75 people likely to attend, probably closer to 50-- we have pretty small families, and most of our family and friends live far away and many probably won't come. Our wedding venue has a food and drink minimum, so the additional costs for each new guest are minimal. So we're thinking about broadening the list past the obvious friends we're closest to.
There are two groups of friends I'm not sure whether I should invite or not: old friends who live far away who I've barely talked to in years (and the married ones have not invited me to their weddings); and mostly local close acquaintances/casual friends, many of whom are co-workers (big workplace though, so no "if you invite x you must invite y" issues), who I like and would like to be closer to but I rarely or never socialize with outside of work and after-work happy hours, and it's frankly a stretch to call them friends rather than just "friendly."
Part of me just wants to draw a really big net and include all those folks and send the message "Hey, I like you, I want you there for this special day in my life." But there are two different concerns I have about this:
1) Gifts. I really don't want them to feel obligated to send me a gift! (And, honestly, I also don't want them to think that maybe I'm just inviting them because I want a gift from them because otherwise why would I when we're not that close/haven't talked in ages?) Especially for those folks who live far away and are highly unlikely to actually come, I don't want the gesture of "Hey, I still care about you and would love to have you at my wedding on the off-chance you can come" to turn into "I'm getting married, send me a gift!"-- do people usually feel obligated to send gifts to weddings they don't go to? Is there any way we could truly convey they're not necessary or even desired? We have a whole blurb on our wedding website about how we really, really don't need gifts and their presence/a lovely card is more than enough... and then a link to our registry, because we know our relatives are going to want to give gifts anyway. That doesn't feel like enough, but is it? Is there something else we could say/write along with the invitation?
2) For both groups but especially the second (in town casual friends/friendly acquaintances), I have this weird sense of shame about inviting these folks to my wedding when I'm pretty sure none (or almost none) of them would to invite me to theirs. Especially because of how small our wedding's going to be. It would be one thing if we had a huge wedding and they could be like "Oh, they wanted a big wedding and are inviting all their old friends and close acquaintances on top of all their close friends and family." But I'm kind of embarrassed at the thought of them coming into a room with 50 or 60 people in it, most of them family, and thinking, "Really? She only has a handful of friends here, and I'm in the top 15-20, and I barely know her/don't even like her that much? I wouldn't even necessarily invite her to a party and she invited me to her wedding? How awkward!"
This may be a relevant time to mention that I have an anxiety disorder and I've always had a hard time inviting people to do social things with me (which is a large part of why I have so many local folks who I like a lot but haven't socialized with all that much.) But I don't know how much of this is distorted thinking and how much of it is an appropriate questioning of where you draw the lines for
your wedding guest list, because it seems rational that it would be weird to invite someone to your wedding when you wouldn't even necessarily end up on the list for their house parties. (I don't know for sure that all of these folks are having parties or other social events and not inviting me, but it wouldn't surprise me.) On the other hand, I'd genuinely love to have them there, and it would be absolutely wonderful if inviting them to the wedding actually helped lead to us being closer. And maybe I'm just over-thinking things and most people are just pleased and touched that someone wants them at their wedding even if they're not that close?
So, how weird/awkward/inappropriate do you think it would be to invite these people? How would you feel/have you felt about getting a wedding invitation from someone you haven't talked to in ages or only consider a friendly acquaintance? About deciding to attend and then walking in to discover it's very small? How much difference does it make if they live far away vs right in town? How much difference if we used to be friends before we lived in different cities but haven't stayed close, versus locals who I just don't socialize with much? Is it extra-awkward if they either recently had a wedding and didn't invite us, or are currently engaged? Are they likely to feel obligated to give a gift, and are there ways I can avoid that? I know that generally inviting people in the last few weeks so they realize they're on your "B" list is super-rude, but in this case would it possible actually make things *less* awkward around inviting the local folks if we do it more casually at the last minute? Did you struggle with this kind of decision in inviting people to your own wedding, and how do you feel about what you chose to do?