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!


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
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. My husband and I had a very small, surprise wedding. Which meant many of our family and friends weren’t invited. We sent out announcements that said we were married on September 17 with 40 family and friends who were just as surprised as you, and we included a picture of just the two of us in the card. This way they knew is was very small, it was a surprise so know one knew before they arrived and they got to see the wedding dress. It went over very well. I should dig up the exact wording we used, but it was 20 years ago and it’s a bit fuzzy.

  2. Like newspaper engagement/wedding announcements, I always thought that mailed announcements were (for my personality) a bit over the top. I just don’t handle attention very well. However, my partner has family in India and Germany who simply can’t make it to the States for our wedding–and I just found out that a few of my college friends can’t come to our ceremony because they’re in another wedding that day. At this point, we’re planning to take a silly picture to send to those people with a “missed you, here’s our new address, hope to see you soon!” message.

  3. We haven’t gotten to that point yet (we’re having a small destination wedding on July 30th) but our plan was to host a large reception for everyone who couldn’t come to the big shew. We were going to combine our wedding announcements with our reception invitation. This way the folk who couldn’t come to the wedding can still party down with us. 🙂

  4. If you have the space, it could be fun to invite everyone to a holiday party saying something like, the new mr. and mrs. wish to start a new family tradition by having a party! Or something like that, that way everyone feels like you still like them, but don’t feel obligated to do anything but bring a casserole.

  5. We ended up having to cancel our 40 person due to venue issues.. We sent out VistaPrint announcements with the following announcement:

    It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
    You could see that Pierre did truly love the madamoiselle
    And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell,
    “C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

    Anna + Patrick
    were married on
    October 2nd, 2011

  6. Oof – this is a hard one!

    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.

    I also like the Facebook suggestions. It used to be that you would post your wedding announcement in the local paper and that would serve as a way to inform people without obligating them to send a gift. Facebook has kinda taken over that niche, as the concept of community grows beyond physical geography.

    I’m not suggesting your friends will have my same reaction. You know them better than I do. I’m just warning that the threat of coming off as “gift-grubbing” is real.

  7. I just had to downsize my guest list (AFTER already asking everyone for their mailing address for the save the dates) because I had to change my venue and change my date. Venue is significantly smaller. Awkward.

    So I am taking many of my aunts and uncles and my fiance’s parents’ friends out for a really nice brunch at a private club. Partly because I DO want gifts from them (esp. my fiance’s parents’ friends … his mom is like, “Damn straight; do you know how many wedding gifts I’ve bought over the years?! It’s payback!!”) but also because I had to trim the list, but I’d like some of the grown ups to meet one another and frankly I don’t want to get sued if one of them breaks a hip on the dance floor.

    It’ll be nice to have a quiet, yet very nice brunch with these folks so that they can get to know one another as well as whichever one of us (me or my fiance) that they don’t know as well. Plus frankly the food will be better since we are serving corn dogs and stuff at our reception … so they’ll be getting the better end of the deal in some ways!!

  8. I thought the updated address method thing would work and go quite smoothly if, say, you were doing a small get-together at the new home or something. A house-warming or having a game night and invite each set of guests to bring a snack, beverage, or their favorite board game! 🙂

  9. I really think if most of the people you didn’t invite are on Facebook it would be easier. When I got engaged, me and my fiance tried to take a day off and celebrated alone. We made no calls and no announcement to anyone except I changed my status on Facebook. Was that a mistake… it caused major drama because friends and family all expected to be the “first person” I called. In most situations now and days Facebook is going to cause the drama and issues before you even get to send the wedding announcement out after the wedding. The announcement may be a good follow up, but don’t let the problem build if everyone already knows.

    • GAH, that day off! I knew I had to make calls before we posted it on Facebook and it was KILLING. ME. I sent the picture of him on one knee proposing to me that night right after it happened to my closest friends, by way of an announcement, because I was in a loud bar and couldn’t call anyone, so a couple people woke up to the texts. None of them, thankfully, seemed pissed–they all assumed rightly that I had done it that way because I COULDN’T wait until the next day to tell them! And because if they’d been local they’d have been at the restaurant where he proposed or the bar where we celebrated all night anyway. But then we had to call our parents because they’d have been PISSED if they found out we posted to FB before calling. So we called my parents at 7am, my time, 10am theirs. My parents were panicked for a moment wondering why I was awake so early but then were geeked that I woke up so early to tell them. His parents we had to wait until 10am, which was still a bit early for his mom, but she appreciated that it was good news anyway. After that, we put just the proposal/One Knee picture on FB and let everyone else sort it out. But then, to be fair, traditions and “rules” for the sake of “this is how it’s done” aren’t really our thing so, if we stepped on toes doing it the way we did, no one seemed surprised by the lack of… formality? But I think it set the tone for the rest of the wedding celebrations, because people aren’t expecting a lot of doing things because we’re “supposed” to.

  10. We officially became engaged a week ago, but we know that we want a small wedding (<50 people) with immediate family and close friends only. Can I share the news now with family that won't be invited to the wedding or would that be considered poor manners?

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