How to Politely Tell Someone They’re Not on the Guest List

Giving out your invites is one of the most exciting parts of your wedding planning journey! It’s when you formally announce the details of your big day to your family and friends, and they officially become part of your wedding party.

Now, let’s tackle things out of our control: a relative, friend, or colleague approaches you to ask where their invitation is. Some would even brave the path of asking for the details, such as what time the ceremony is and what to wear! What’s worse is when they guilt trip you by saying how bad they would feel if they weren’t invited. Uh-oh! What do you do if the person is not on your guest list?

For starters, we believe it’s always important to be honest and truthful. Beating around the bush will only cause more harm than good and might be misinterpreted later on. Here are our recommendations for tactful responses that would not only get your message across but would also preserve the relationship you have with the person you’re talking to.

Wedding Etiquette: How to Politely Tell Someone They're Not on the Guest List

Use the Budget Card
Every couple has a set budget for the wedding. Almost always, it’s the reception that takes the lion’s share of the budget because of the per-head cost. You don’t have to disclose the exact figures to illustrate how tight your budget is. Just be modest to tell:

“We only have a very limited budget for the wedding.”

“We only booked a small venue or location to save costs.”

Share your intentions for your guest list
On the other side of the coin, it’s possible for you to have the wedding budget, but only chose to celebrate your wedding day with a curated guest list. It may be just a party of family and closest friends whom you have been in touch for the last couple of years and who know you deeply as a couple. To start this type of conversation, you may say:

“We only have one seat reserved per family.”

My fiancé and I only set X number of guests for each of us.

Talk about your newlywed priorities
To look beyond their wedding day has been a practice for many couples who are still wedding planning. For them, instead of spending all their savings on a one-day celebration, they would rather save up for a new home or a dream out-of-town or out-of-the-country honeymoon. Communicate your plans by responding in any of these ways:

“We reserved our funds for much bigger plans after the wedding.”

“We chose to allocate our funds for our home and for savings rather than the wedding.”

Invite them to a separate celebration
There seems to be a never-ending celebration after a wedding! While your family member or friend will not be present on your wedding day, they will surely take the next best thing: a celebration with you and your spouse-to-be after all the stress of wedding planning is over. With genuine intentions of celebrating with them on a separate occasion, you may say:

“We’d love to catch up with you on a coffee/milk tea date soon!”

“We have a separate celebration in our place soon, and we expect you to be there.”

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