Wedding announcement wording that won’t hurt the uninvited

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Wedding - Mark & Anne
Whee! Our wedding was fun! Sorry we didn’t invite you! Photo by Katie Donaghue

I got married in May of this year.

There were many people I could not invite to our wedding for various reasons, mostly to do with size and budget.

I would like to send them a card with a couple of pics to let them know we got married, but I am not sure how to word the cards.

I would like to let them know we are thinking of them even, if we couldn’t invite everyone we know to the wedding. I don’t know how to do wedding announcement wording that won’t piss people off!

-Katherine

Here’s your challenge: how to share your good news without making people feel like A) they were excluded from the good times, or B) you expect anything from them. In other words, you want to share the news without bragging or making it seem like you’re fishing for gifts.

Urg. It’s a delicate balance, to be sure. Let’s talk through some options that may help you reduce hurt feelings from unintived guests.

Email your marriage announcements

First, before you print those announcements, consider this: for some people, anything wedding-related that shows up in their mailbox triggers feelings of a gift-grab. As one Offbeat Bride reader said:

I have gotten those announcements before and there wasn’t one time I didn’t think, “Great. Now I have to get a gift.” Never once did I think “Oh darn! I wish I could have gone to their wedding!” Or even “Gee I’m so happy for them.” Nope, it was always straight to “Shit, will a nice frame do?” (LOL — what does that say about me?? )

I think I wouldn’t have that reaction if I got an *email* announcement, especially if it appeared to come just to me from my friend – like a “catch-up” email. Or even a hand-written note. But there’s something about any type of printed announcement that seems “formal” and triggers the old school rules about gift-giving.

This is where email announcements can be great, and you know what? They’ve gotten REALLY cute. Look:

Love is patient… but we’re not email marriage announcement from The Green Envelope
Yes, I know these “We did the damn thing!” email marriage announcements look like they’re printed… but they’re delivered as an email.

 

Wording suggestions for printed wedding announcements

Cottonwood Foil-Pressed Wedding Announcement – $82.00
from: Minted

Ok, so you really really want to send out paper cards. We respect that! Here are a few wording suggestions for how to announce your wedding to folks who weren’t invited

Wording example: the family method

One way to get around the awkwardness is to have your parents issue the announcements. Obviously, this only works if it’s mostly family and family friends who you want to reach, but the advantage here is that it comes off just as parental pride, instead of you being like OMG Y’ALL WE DID THIS AWESOME THIIIIING AND TOO BAD YOU WEREN’T THERE LA LA LAAAA!

Here’s a wording example:

Mr. and Mrs. Your Parents
are proud to announce
the marriage of their daughter
Your Name
to
Mr. Your Groom’s Name
on Saturday, June 4th, 2015

Love + Heart Foil-Pressed Wedding Announcement – $82.00
from: Minted

Wording example: new home method

If you and your partner are moving in together for the first time after your wedding, you can bundle the announcement in with announcing your new address. This way it’s less about the wedding, and more about “Hey, we moved because we got married!” Aim for a card design that’s more about announcing a move than a marriage. (Vistaprint has super cheap, customizable options.) Here’s a wording idea:

It’s been a busy time for us!We were married on
Saturday, June 4th, 2015
Austin, TexasWe’re beginning a new life together
in our new residence:
Our Names
1234 Our Street
Austin, Texas 78704

Do note that if you’re trying to avoid looking like you want a gift, this method is a bit risky. You’re including your address, which could be seen as a request to be mailed something. It’s up to you as to whether that feels right.

Airmail Wedding Announcement Postcards – $53.00
from: Minted

Wording example: “cut the shit, let’s be straight-forward” method

So you want to tell your friends (so the family method won’t work), you’ve lived together for years (so the moving method won’t work), and you don’t want to play games. Just be honest with your guests. Here’s one way of wording it:

With great joy we announce that
we were married on
Saturday, June 4th, 2015
in Austin, TexasOur painfully small [guest list/budget/venue/whatever]
meant there were many loved ones
we were not able to invite.We deeply missed having you there,
but you were in our hearts.We love you.
We miss you.
We hope to see you soon!Love,
Your Names

Gold Rush Foil-Pressed Wedding Announcement – $82.00
from: Minted

I’d love to hear from readers who sent wedding announcements to friends & family who weren’t invited to your wedding. How did you word your cards?

Comments on Wedding announcement wording that won’t hurt the uninvited

  1. Great ideas! Seems to me, though, that facebook is responsible for informing me of a few of my more distant friends’ weddings with a status change update! I suppose if you found out about a close friend’s wedding that way it would be uncomfortable…but it also allows lots of congrats without begging for a gift!

  2. Depending on the timing of the marriage, if its in the later part of the year, maybe it could be tied to a holiday card, letter or postcard?

    Something about “here’s our address to update your holiday card list – we moved in after we got married this year” (if you exchange holiday cards with that person) or list a few things you’ve been up to that year including “we got married.”

    • I was thinking the same thing. If you have other exciting news to share: move (like Ariel mentioned), baby, graduation, new job, etc. you can roll it into an update letter about more than just the wedding. Holidays are a perfect excuse, but if you’ve had some big life changes I think it’s fine to send out a short note at any time of year. If you include something like, “That’s what’s going on with us; we’d love to hear from you and find out what’s new in your world” it comes across as a sincere attempt to stay connected. In a world of Facebook, I think people really appreciate a personal note to catch up with each other.

    • I sent out a New Year’s email that included all the things that happened that year, including our wedding. I had a blurb about each thing and linked to flickr pictures and our offbeat bride profile. I hope it came off as “this is what’s up with us.”

    • The nice thing is that by including the info about being married, you can send it to people you don’t typically exchange Christmas cards with, under the topic of “starting a new family tradition!” Bonus, you can also announce it that way by saying something like, “We wanted to start a new family tradition of exchanging Christmas/Holiday cards, so thought we’d start off our first Christmas as a married couple by sending the first round!” OK that wording kind of sounds like “oh, didn’t you hear already?” but you could maybe follow that part up with “That’s right, we’re married now! We had a super tiny ceremony in July and while it was beautiful, we missed everyone we couldn’t invite so we’re hoping to catch up with you all over the holidays. [More Christmas Letter-type news, blah blah, somebody graduated college this year, we’re also expecting a baby, someone is enjoying their new job, what have you.]”

  3. I have been pondering this issue for a while. I’ve been thinking about maybe sending response cards with the announcement asking for my loved ones thoughts or dvice for us in lieu of the gift giving thing. I love the idea of having a compiled book of advice from multi generations and friends with wildly different experiences.

  4. How about sending a card with a photo or two and a link to any online compilations of photos/videos? As for wording, keeping it light and breezy seems less “give us gifts” to me than a formal style. Somehow formal wording gives off a demanding or obligatory tone in my mind. Perhaps subtle hints such as “x and y would like to share that they were married in an intimate ceremony at z”, “small wedding” or “in front of a small gathering”. The key isn’t drawing attention to the fact they weren’t there but that only a few actually went. Plus if you include lots of info such as photos, websites for sharing, it might reduce instances of people phoning etc asking for more and hinting at why they aren’t invited. Awkward!

  5. We had a very small wedding of 40 people, but have about 150 aunts/uncles/cousins, etc., not to mention friends and work colleagues. Facebook informed most of our friends/family that we got married pretty much immediately. However, we did send out an announcement saying we were married on DATE in a very small ceremony. We thought of you on our special day and wanted to share our happy news. wishing you love and peace, the *** Family… mom, dad, and kidlets. it had a few pics of bride, groom and kids, and that’s it. we’ve gotten no pushback, though anyone who knows us knows there is no way we’d ever have a big wedding (center of attention phobia) even if we had the cash to do it (which we did not).

  6. I actually never understood why these cards need to be sent at all. If someone wasn’t invited to the extent that they don’t even know that you’re getting married, who cares? Why do they need a special announcement mailed to them? Personally, I’d be pissed to receive one of these, no matter what it said, because, no matter how you wrap it, I wasn’t included and now you want something from me.

    • “I actually never understood why these cards need to be sent at all … Why do they need a special announcement mailed to them? ”

      Re-read the original question in the post — this is not a NEED. This is a reader who wants to send cards, and is looking for ideas how to do it. I say anyone NEEDS to send wedding announcements.

      Like most things on Offbeat Bride, not all concepts are going to be a good fit for all couples. If this isn’t something that you’d do, that’s cool! But this particular reader is asking for guidance on how she can send wedding announcements, so that’s what we’re aiming to provide.

      • I’m doing this because my mother-in-law is afraid she’ll be a social outcast if she doesn’t invite the entire small town they live in, but our venue won’t hold the people we already have on the guest list. This is my compromise. Also I don’t talk to half of my mom’s family (not even on Facebook), but my mom thinks they’d like to know.

        We’re including a link to our blog, and maybe our wedding website so that they can see pictures and other details if they are interested. After reading these comments I don’t want people to think that the point is to get more gifts, so I’m going to delete the link to the registries before we send these out.

        • Maybe your mom in law can throw a get together in her town? It might make her feel better, and she can take the lead in planning and paying 🙂

    • I think they’re more aimed at those who knew you were getting married but couldn’t be invited, like people not close enough to be at your 20 guest wedding. But you’re right, sending them out to any Tom, Dick or Harry who didn’t know you even had a partner to be getting married to is going to piss them off

    • Yeah, I don’t get them either, but I’m pretty certain they’re something that “just isn’t done” in my area. On occasion that pays off.

    • I’d be absolutely fine not sending out announcements, but my Grandmother has a list of people she does not want me to invite because she would feel obligated to help pay their way. She does that for family very often. So, to these slightly distant cousins I don’t remember meeting, she wants me to send announcements.

    • I am having only 15 guests at my wedding (parents, siblings, grandparents), due to the headache and cost of large weddings. I’ve been main of honor 5 times, so it sounds unappealing to plan ANOTHER large wedding. People who are sensitive about not being invited to a small wedding need to get over it. My friends (who are NOT invited) are even throwing me a shower. I am planning on sending announcements because our loved ones want to be involved and in the loop, even though they won’t be attending the wedding.

        • Well typically, yes. Sometimes special circumstances preclude them from doing so, and sometimes they’re asked especially without obligations to do so, but otherwise yeah, societal expectations is that the attendants’ job is to help plan. Especially the maid of honor in weddings where the bride does most of the planning. I mean, you usually pick your closest friend and most supportive person, so it stands to reason that you’re going to be talking to them about plans and getting feedback and help from them.

    • I love to see friends’/acquaintances’ notices like these – I don’t understand why you’d be pissed off? It would be great to live in a world where we could all invite everyone we’d ever cared for to attend our wedding, or if we could all afford to travel to wherever someone we knew was having a wedding, but we don’t. I love reading the posts and seeing the photos of complete strangers here on OBB – OF COURSE I want to see a wedding announcement from my partner’s cousin twice removed etc etc as well! SHARE ME SOME JOY BITCHES!

      • Exactly. Everyone has their own situations and its all about joy. We got cards and gifts from people that we didn’t invite (which we certainly didn’t expect or ask for) just because they wanted to show that they were happy for us and understood. People have so much sensitivity and ego about other people’s weddings.

    • I think this is a regional thing. Wedding announcements, especially for couples who eloped, who had tiny ceremonies, or who went to city hall, are very much Done in parts of the South. We’re planning on doing this ourselves. My extended family is huge (40 some odd folks in just my father’s immediate family alone), they can’t all come, and sending a card with a wedding picture and a breezy announcement that the union is formalised is considered proper, respectful, and expected, frankly. It’s not for everyone. But if you have people in your life who expect either an invitation or an announcement, or if informing your extended family that the marriage has happened and a name change has occurred, or something like that, figuring out how to do it without trodding on toes is important.

      Different strokes for different folks, and I’d wager, different cultural expectations, too.

  7. Ooh forgot to mention it might be an idea NOT to include photos that have guests on. Avoids the situation where people fall out because friend a was there but not cousin b! I’ve recently experienced this at a funeral of all places

  8. When you go to sites like minted.com, you get the idea that just like all the wedding hoopla, you should personalize the heck out of announcements with photos from the wedding, color scheme, and a “story” of how you met.

    But if you consult dear Miss Manners, you find that wedding announcements can be very simple:

    * are sent the day after the wedding, to people who could not attend/were not invited because of the size of the function
    * are not mandatory
    * have a pretty standard format, closest to the one in the “parents announce” post. If you do not wish to have your parents announce, you can write “We [partner full name] & [partner2 full name] announce our marriage – August 20, 2011 – City, State.” Done and done. You can also include “Partner and Partner are at home at [address].”

    Announcements are meant to inform about the wedding & couple’s address. They are not gift grabs, but sadly, people may interpret them such. See Miss Manner’s advice to a Washington Post reader who had a 20-person wedding.

    Formal wedding announcements are rarely sent nowadays, possibly because couples are too busy telling the entire world about their weddings on the internet. But announcements are intended to inform people who you believe would care to know; they are not demands for presents, however many people mistakenly think so. (They require merely a return message of good wishes.) But if you are wary of your friends’ reactions, send them individual chatty messages instead.

    If you don’t have TOO many announcements to send, invest in some simple flat card stationery and write notes to each person who would’ve gotten an announcement. If you want to have note paper or cards printed with your “new name,” or initials, this would be a good time to bust it out…

    • Love the “write a note” idea. I think it’s a great way to show that you ARE thinking about the recipients while still letting them know “Uh, yeah, we did sorta have a wedding without you. BUT WE STILL LIKE YOU.”

      • I am in my late 60’s and just married after living with my friend for 6 years. We finally decided to get married. I called my high school girlfriend in another town, said we were coming over and asked her to get us a notary to perform the ceremony. No one was told, much less invited. With our family and friends scattered all over the US it was just too complicated to have a “wedding.” So now I am going to send out a simple announcement by email. We have called family and told some close friends who came to our house for a visit right after but feel I need to let everyone else know in the same manner and at the same time so as not to have hurt feelings. I think sending out formal announcements would seem like we wanted some kind of response which would be ridiculous considering our age and the fact that we have lived together for 6 years. I am hoping the email will be considered as a friendly “FYI” by one and all.

  9. My husband and I wanted a quiet ceremony, with immediate family and only very close friends. This did not sit well with my 14 aunts and uncles, his 20 aunts and uncles, any of their kids and grandkids, not to mention great aunts and uncles, and their respective kids. We wanted <30 people, including us. "They" wanted our 500 nearest and dearest. So what we did was invite who we wanted (fuck it, we're paying, we get to say) and then anyone that our parents wanted some formal recognition to go to got an announcement. This was almost an exact duplicate of the invitation (I did letterpress myself, so this wasn't a hard change to make, but this was NOT an inexpensive proposition – they were nearly $10 per), with the wording "are thrilled to announce," replacing the "are thrilled to invite you to". We did a rush print job of our 3 favourite photos from the wedding, and included those within the invitation. My aunts are still being bitchy about it. (They were going to be bitchy regardless… they were bitchy about how much work it'd be to come, before they found out they weren't exactly invited anyways) The people who I like and get along with immediately "got it" and understood, and thought it was just awesome that they got the photos right away, and the "fanciness" of the announcement went over really well with them.

  10. As far as the GIFT GRAB goes, this is the time to use word-of-mouth; make sure your friends/family spread the word that you don’t want anything, you just want to share your joy.

    For a “real wedding” example, here is what I’m doing:

    I’m having 20 people at my wedding this summer. I’m going to send announcements to the far away friends, cousins, etc whom we did not invite. I may enclose a separate, small “save the date” card for a backyard barbecue/anniversary party my parents are throwing next year. Or I may just jot a note.

    We’ll have them printed on postcards – the front will have some original art by us, and include our names, date, and place of marriage. Back will be blank, for writing individual notes. You can get them printed from Moo or many other spots; minted and Vistaprint have simple, pretty announcement designs.

    Personally, I will not include photos from the wedding for 2 reasons: it would prevent us from sending the cards the next day, as is proper, and it would rub it in to people that they weren’t there. But each of us knows our own family/friends so do what you please!

    A sample “chatty message,” cribbed somewhat from Miss Manners. If you did this you could just use stationery, no printing costs (just sore hand)!

    “Dear Aunt Gertrude,
    Monty and I are wanted to share the happy news that we were married on August 20. It was an intimate gathering in [city,] where we met. We treasure your love and support and we hope to see you next time we are in Timbuktu. Please give our love to [little cousins].
    Love, Priscilla”

    (This chatty note could also include the info about any delayed receptions or anniversary parties.)

    (Our real names are not Monty or Priscilla.)

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