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. I have the opposite problem. My fiance and I don’t mind sharing our wedding with everyone but we only want our close friends at the wedding following the reception. We want to be able to celebrate, drink and karaoke at the reception thats following the wedding without offending some of our older and more religious family members. Still trying to figure out the invitation wording to not offend those who wont be invited to party later.

    We are actually having 3 receptions as well due to the fact my fiance is Canadian, therefore one will need to be in Canada for those who cant travel, one for my family who is a state away and more religious, and one right after our wedding, which will be our only real chance to party.

    So how do you tell people, I’d love you to come to my wedding..but please leave afterward so I can drink and karaoke?

    • My daughter recently was married and we had a similar situation. We had the wedding, then the traditional cake/punch/throw the bouquet/garter reception. Then the DJ announced that we were taking a 15 minute break for everyone to change into more comfortable clothes and the dance floor/bar would be opening then. This gave the religious minded relatives plenty of warning that if they didn’t want to be aroundall that “sinning” they better be getting out of there! Worked out great. Good luck!

      • That’s AWESOME. I was at a wedding where we did something similar. We had a lovely early dinner, then those of us who were staying just helped to clean up at an appointed time (cued from the MC, who thanked everyone for coming, etc.). The people who hadn’t been invited to the after party just thought this was their cue to leave, and the couple who hadn’t been invited but chipped in with the cleanup simply felt that this after party developed organically rather than having been necessarily planned. When the drum circle started they made their exit, so they never had any idea there was a midnight hand-fasting ceremony!

  2. My husband and I were planning a big wedding for next fall, but we were really disappointed with the vendors and venues we found. There was a site that was nice and we found food and cake that would be decent, but really nothing special (the cake would look amazing, but taste like fairly bland sugary stuff with a decent texture). Even the most expensive and fancy options were just disappointing (not surprising as we’ve been noticing all our favorite restaurants going downhill in the last five years and started eating almost exclusively at home). Taking a shower late one Monday night thinking about the deposit checks we had to send to all the vendors we’d settled on during our weened visit to the location we were picking. I felt disappointed and like I was having buyer’s remorse before we’d even payed. It was depressing. Spending thousands on a dream come true is one thing, but spending thousands on something you aren’t even excited about when you buy it? So I yelled out to my then fiancé to come in there and asked how he’d feel about just getting married instead of having a wedding. We slept on it and decided the next morning to get married that Saturday with just parents, siblings, and grandparents and then have an anniversary party and vow renewal in 5 years or so when we can find decent food and make that be what we envisioned our wedding being. We are sending announcements because we don’t want people to feel that they were excluded on purpose. We want them to know that they are important to us and that we truly wanted to share our wedding with them, but that the options for doing that as we wanted just weren’t available in the current economy (our theory about why the food is getting crappy). We’re going with a modification of the cut the shit method given above. We ordered the invitations I’d originally fallen in love with to use as announcements because they were one of the few details I was actually set on (who cares if they’re fancy for announcements, they’re beautiful and people know how much I love stationary) and in the pocket that the response card would normally go, we’re instead including the story of how we decided to just get married instead of having a wedding and all the funny things that happened in those four days of rushing to get marriage lisence, rings, and something to wear, old women thinking I was crazy when I spontaneously burst into happy tears in the grocery store because I was getting married in a couple days, and catering my own wedding (14 people including us) because we want our extended families and all our friends to feel included in some way and to be able to understand and share in our joy.

    • Alyssa, that is an awesome story! Good for you- I wanted to elope originally, after we realized we would have a tiny budget, and I knew what a struggle it would be. We struggled through it, with my family helping out, but i still wish i’d had the balls to insist on eloping.

  3. We wrote on a postcard:

    Announcing the marriage of (names)…
    “A smaller gathering, true, nevertheless, our hearts share joyous news with you.”

  4. I know this post is older – but for future brides looking, here’s what I’m doing for my elopement announcements, where we are eloping with our 3 year old daughter in Spring, and having a small adults only cocktail party in the Fall with my 8 siblings and their spouses, and his 3 and their spouses, and our 6 parents:

    Page 1 of announcement/invite (made in powerpoint, printed on dollar store cardstock):
    Husband & Wife request the pleasure of your company in celebration of their recent Union on such and such date, and address

    Page 2:
    As you are aware, we recently united our family in a private ceremony in place on date.
    Our wish is to have a small party with the ones we love the most, our parents and siblings. We hope you can join us to celebrate our nuptials in a semi-formal, adults only affair at our home. There will be plenty of cocktails, mocktails, hors d’oeurves and desserts.
    As always, we thank you for your love and continued support.
    Love, Husband, Wife & child

    Kindly respond via email before date to [email protected]
    **Best wishes and prayers only**

    Then a small coordinating Thank You will go out to those who came.

    I hope this will help! I think I’d still like to include another sentence but not sure where or what to say.

  5. Hmmm, what about if you’re one of those kinds of people who don’t broadcast your engagement/nuptials on Facebook yet still want to let you’re closer friends/family know of you’re marriage? I’m kind of old fashioned minded when it comes to communicating with people & feel the intimacy of communications is lost nowadays with technology & social networks. My fiancee and I are temporarily livng overseas and will be getting married with just the few friends (no family nor our bestest friends) in our new “home” town. But we still would like to share the news with our family/close friends back in the states. Would adding our new address sound like we’re asking for gifts in our announcement?? Or would the return address on the envelope serve as enough evidence our address?

    • I think the address on the envelope is enough. Adding it to the actual announcement seems like you’re expecting gifts.

  6. This was especially helpful for me, due to the fact my mother’s side of the family is enormous and I don’t know any of them well enough to invite to a wedding. I am thinking of applying this idea to engagement announcements, since my parents won’t allow us to forgo that stupid tradition. Thanks again!

  7. To avoid it seeming like you are asking for gifts try adding a Ps at the bottom that reads something like PS The only gifts we will be accepting this time will be Your Love, prayers, and continued moral suport. Thank you

  8. My daughter is marrying in Las Vegas but doesn’t want family to make the trip (also due to our budget). So how do we announce – ahead of time – and just give date but say we don’t want you to make the trip???

  9. I know this is far after the fact of this post being written but I’ve actually decided to be preemptive about it. Instead of waiting until after we are married to send out letters telling people we already are married I’ve decided to send out letters pre-wedding letting everyone we can’t invite know we are getting married also sending a blank card with it asking them to write us a letter or story or wish and send it back to us so we can hang it on a tree at our wedding that way they can be with us on are wedding day without actually being there.

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