If i invite one boss, am I obligated to invite the other?
June 10, 2015 11:36 AM   Subscribe

The CEO of my company shot me a chat saying something alongs the lines of "My wedding invite must have been lost in the mail". (I requested time off from my job and cited the reason that I was getting married).

I work for a small tight knit but completely remote startup, except for 4 team members, we all work from home. I like and respect all my co-workers but do not feel close enough to invite any of them to my small wedding. Additionally, they would all have to travel a great distance to get to my remote location. The CEO of my company shot me a chat saying something alongs the lines of "My wedding invite must have been lost in the mail". (I requested time off from my job and cited the reason that I was getting married). I report to the CTO, who I very much like and respect. I like and respect the CEO as well but do not work closely with him or regularly interact with him. I had wanted to invite the CTO but did not want to offend any other co-workers or management team members so I held off. I'm sure the CEO was just ribbing me a little but also it made me wonder what's good policy in this kind of situation? I don't want to offend my boss's boss or anyone for that matter but I really only feel like I developed a more personal relationship with one team member.
posted by memi to Human Relations (23 answers total)
CEO is joking, but being a dick. You are super, super not obligated to invite coworkers to your wedding, and it's really rude for people to be weird about not getting invited. It was probably smart to not invite CTO - just keep it separate. And just don't respond or worry about the CEO's comment. If he brings it up again, pull out the "you know, we had to make hard decisions about the guest list" or "we're keeping it small" excuses.
posted by brainmouse at 11:38 AM on June 10, 2015 [25 favorites]

Definitely just a joke. Don't worry about it.
posted by something something at 11:40 AM on June 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

Are you asking if it's ok to invite the CTO?

Yes, it's ok to invite the CTO.
posted by jaguar at 11:40 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is YOUR wedding. Invite who you want. Send the CEO a smile emoticon back, or something like ":) Everyone's did. It is going to be a very small wedding."
posted by bearwife at 11:48 AM on June 10, 2015 [49 favorites]

Yeah, that's a standard "joke" when someone is getting married. Not really funny because it can cause awkwardness, but pretty standard.

You are under no obligation to invite everyone and you have to draw the line somewhere. If you invited everyone in your company except the CEO, that might be a Thing, but you obviously only invited your co-workers that you are closer to. That's perfectly normal.

Just laugh it off if he brings it up again.
posted by bondcliff at 11:50 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's possible your company has a culture where it's sort of a Thing to invite the CEO, who doesn't go but does send a present. You can always ask the CTO about it.

But that's a common joke. I had a CVS clerk make the same joke when I had to make an emergency stop after my hair appointment/veil installation.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:51 AM on June 10, 2015

Response by poster: Just to clarify. I haven't invited anyone from work. I was *thinking* of inviting the CTO (and only the CTO-- my direct boss) but reconsidered when I got the CEO's message. It already seemed odd to invite only one coworker and I worried that it might offend others.
posted by memi at 11:58 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

The CEO is trying (and IMO failing miserably) to be funny. You certainly need not invite him to your wedding.

However, since you ask...I myself would not invite the CTO in this situation. I think if you work in a "small tight knit" company it could very well become a Thing if you invited This One but not That One. Better to just avoid the whole thing.
posted by holborne at 12:01 PM on June 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

Invite all or none. It's only 4 co-workers (plus or including the 2 seniors?). I think it will be awkward if you only invite one person. You don't have to give them a +1, and it might be not all of them will accept.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:02 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

The CEO of your company is immature and unprofessional. It'd probably be safer to not invite the CTO at this point because of that.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:03 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oh I totally think you can invite just one person from your organization. (But you should also invite that person's partner.) You can also mention to him directly that you didn't invite anyone else from the organization, which might be a kindness so that he is discreet and also so that he knows that he won't know people at the wedding.
posted by vunder at 12:11 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

It's your wedding and you should invite whoever you want.

That said...in a small company I wouldn't invite just one person.
posted by radioamy at 12:12 PM on June 10, 2015

I'm going to dissent and say that it is perfectly normal to invite your direct supervisor and not his boss. The CEO was just joking (admittedly not in a very well thought out manner). I'm sure that there have been weddings in my organization to which I wasn't invited but one or more of my direct reports was. I'd never give it a second thought. I think this is especially true in an organization where everyone works remotely and it would be expensive to travel.
posted by Lame_username at 12:22 PM on June 10, 2015

The CEO is making a bad joke. I think it's fine to invite the CTO if you would like them to be there, but I would probably mention that you aren't inviting anyone else from work just to avoid any comments that could potentially make people feel bad.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 12:29 PM on June 10, 2015

Could he also be making a very passive/agressive statement saying "I really don't believe this time off is for a wedding"?

Or am I overthinking that? I've worked for a smaller firms where the executives got all bothered if you were taking time off they didn't personally rate as a critically important life event.

Like if someone said "oh gotta go to the doc this morning I've got a sinus infection" the next casual encounter would bring up a "so, what medicine did you get for it?" as kind of a bullshit detector on your absence.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:41 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hermione's correct. And honestly, this is a tiny red flag for you around your company's leadership. Your CEO has bad judgement and isn't wearing the mantle of authority well :(
posted by Susan PG at 12:50 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

One possible comeback: "I didn't want you to think I expected a gift!"
posted by amtho at 2:30 PM on June 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

It doesn't hurt to invite people to your wedding that live so far away that they will definitely not attend.
posted by w0mbat at 3:31 PM on June 10, 2015

Invite whoever you want, don't let what the CEO said influence you as they were just making a very common joke (which I feel like some people here are overreacting to).
posted by The Monkey at 4:21 PM on June 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Geez, invite who you want. People don't honestly expect an invitation to your wedding if they're not all that close to you, such as work colleagues or acquaintances. This CEO was making a lame joke.

If you do have colleagues you're close to, go ahead and invite them. People will get it - you're actually fairly close to them, makes sense for them to go. In your case especially, it's not like your direct boss will really get the opportunity to gossip about it around the water cooler. Don't worry about it.
posted by lizbunny at 4:24 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Nthing that that is a super-common joke, and I wouldn't read more into than it being... a super-common joke. I wouldn't even call it a particularly lame or awkward one--one that just got misinterpreted over IM, which easily happens. I think your gut is right that inviting just one person out of company of less than a half-dozen is probably best avoided, regardless of your relationship with that one person.
posted by whitewall at 3:31 AM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think bearwife's response above was perfect.
posted by amicamentis at 11:57 AM on June 12, 2015

Before you assume the CEO is being passive-aggressive or a jerk or whatever, bear in mind this might be a case of "who will rid me of this troublesome priest", i.e. someone in a position of power not realizing how their position gives much greater weight to their words.
posted by Ndwright at 10:23 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

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