I wrote about this in the Offbeat Bride book — dealing with your wedding’s guest list can make you feel like a big mean club bouncer, deciding who’s in and who’s out of the VIP line.
While there’s no way to make everyone happy, I do believe that there are a few key phrases you can use if an uninvited guests asks you if they’re invited.
To clarify the obvious here: I’m NOT suggesting you contact people to tell them they’re not invited.
The “you’re not invited” cards featured in this post are funny elopement announcement cards for newlyweds to send after their elopement — no one here is actually suggesting you send people cards to tell them they’re not invited to your wedding.
But, if someone ASKS you if they’re invited, there are ways you can tell them that you love them, you SO appreciate their interest, but no, they’re not invited.
Below, I’ve wrassled up ten of my favorite copy ‘n’ paste gentle guest list rejection responses.
How you want to approach your response can depend on which angle you want to take. Whatever you do, don’t get into the specifics of how many people you’re inviting or how you’re choosing guests. Keep it vague and loving.
BLAME THE BUDGET
Due to tight limitations on our budget, we’ve had to be pretty brutal in chopping down our guestlist. I’m so sad that we can’t have you there with us on the day, but we look forward to catching up afterwards!
Since we are paying for the wedding ourselves, our budget is very limited. It’s SO hard not to go into debt over this, because of course we want to invite everyone… but we’re really trying to kick off our marriage by being financially responsible about the wedding.
We would love for you to be there with us, but because of our tight budget, we weren’t able to invite as many people as we would have liked. But I’d love to find time for a one-on-one visit afterwards!
POINT TO INTIMACY
We made the difficult choice to keep our wedding pretty intimate, and unfortunately that means there are a lot of friends and family who won’t be there on our wedding day. I hope you can understand that it’s nothing personal, and respect our wishes to keep our sacred event small.
There are so many people we would love to have been able to invite, but we’re trying to keep our wedding small. It means so much to me that you’re interested, and I so wish I could have everyone there with us!
Oh, man. We SO wish we could invite everyone… but we made the difficult decision to just keep the wedding very small — mostly just close family.
We’re keeping our wedding pretty small, so we’re only able to invite our very closest family and friends. This means we just can’t invite everyone we’d like, as much as we’d love to. I’m so sorry that we can’t extend an invitation.
BLAME THE VENUE/FAMILY
The venue we’ve chosen comes with some pretty stringent limitations on the number of guests we can invite. The process of making our guestlist has been really difficult for us, and I hope you can understand that it’s nothing personal — let’s make plans now to meet up after the wedding!
Our venue has a limited number of people they’ll allow, and our guestlist is primarily taken up by very close family and the wedding party. I hope you can understand how difficult this process has been for us — there are so many people we wish could be there with us.
DANCE AROUND THE ISSUE
I strongly discourage the use of white lies, but do want to acknowledge that some folks like going this route:
“While we don’t have the guest list finalized yet, we’re only planning for our families and closest friends, due to money and space issues.”
Ultimately, remember that no matter how loving or articulate you are, people are entitled to their feelings of disappointment. Try to remember that their disappointment comes from a place of LOVE: they want to be with you on your wedding day! You’re not responsible for their disappointment, nor can you control it — all you can do is try your best to be respectful and kind, and make sure they know that you understand how much they care. But then you’ve got to release it, and get on with your planning.