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. Wow, the comments string here is great. I would love a follow up blog with sample announcement language pre and post wedding.

    I was also thinking of sending pre-wedding announcements to the non guests who we would love to have had there (but need to keep costs down) with a request for a note to be sent to my mom for our “wall of wishes” which will be featured in the ceremony.

    I think it will be best to send these out 2 weeks ahead so they’re not confused as an invitation!

  2. My best friend is having a tiny wedding in her back yard. The parents are throwing a huge Chinese Banquet after that. My mom was miffed, but the bridal party would like a bit of space before the 300+ party, thank you very much.

  3. We are going to the JP in December and our Honeymoon is in March. We initially weren’t going to do any reception and just send out announcements to inform the family and close friends. Well, certain family is pushing for at least a reception. It is too late as far as I’m concerned to have one the same day so we were thinking of doing a spring party. We are the non-traditional ones in both our families so it won’t be a big surprise, I just don’t know how to go about with the announcement/reception invite without sounding like we want gifts. I’d like to keep it informal and lighthearted so maybe something with a picture of us saying “We got hitched!” With the date. And then “the room was too small to fit all yall but we missed you so and are ready to party… Blah, blah, blah…” LOL. Thoughts?

  4. YAH FOR OFFBEAT BRIDE,
    A KUDOS SHOUT OUT TO YOU.
    I WANTED TO KNOW IF YOU COULD HELP ME WITH THE WORDING ON MY INVITTATION.
    MY HUSBAND AND I MARRIED SEPT 30,2011 PRIVATE WITH OUR PREACHER AND WIFE.
    THAT IS NOT THE DREAM WEDDING I WANTED. I HAVE NEVER BEEN MARRIED B4. MY HUSBAND(FIANCE’ AT THE TIME) BOUGHT MY WEDDING DRESS. BUT, NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO WEAR IT. DID NOT HAVE A CEREMONY NOR A RECEPTION. MY HUSBAND WANTS ME TO FULLFILL MY DREAM OF WEDDING DRESS AND ALL.
    I DO NOT WANT TOHAVE THE WORDS WEDDDING RENEWAL IN THEE INVITATION.
    PLEASE HELP ME.
    THANK YOU

    • This kind of invite will likely need to follow a much less traditional structure… Maybe send a “Save the Date” that’s more detailed and explains a bit….Maybe something like this:

      “Four years ago, without fanfare and fuss, Bride and Groom made legal the commitment they held true in their hearts. While life did not allow for a celebrate worthy of the occassion at that time, Bride and Groom will be celebrating their marriage with a wedding ceremony that matches the love and joy their commitment brings to their lives.”

      Then you don’t really need to go into it when you send invites? Or you could use the same wording, add something about “Your presence would be greatly/add to the/etc” so it’s clear that you’re inviting them, if you aren’t interested in an overly complicated invitation process.

      I think it would also help to get people who will be supportive to understand why you are doing this in all areas of your social circle that you will consider inviting. Like a couple family members, friends, etc. People who are likely to hear those “They’re doing what!?!? What the hell?!” comments and will have your back.

      By the way, congrats & good luck!

      • THANK YOU ALEXIS : )
        The wording fits me to a “T”
        Your awesome!!!!
        another thing, thanks for not being judgemental of my situation.
        kudos
        Brenda

  5. We are planning a super-small ceremony with just us, the minister, and one member of each family. We want to send announcements because it’s important to us that friends & family share in the good news but it’s also important to have a minimal crowd present. I wanted to say in the announcements “performed by (minister) and witnessed by (family members),” but will that just serve to make people jealous? Or will it underscore how small the party was and reduce jealousy? (Including the minister’s name because she’s a close friend and not just the nearest ordained person we could find).

  6. I’m sending out announcements to my family and friends who are long distance because I want them to know I am thinking of them on my special day. I made a pretty postcard that included pictures of me and my fiance and worded the announcement:

    Because of the distance that separates us from our families and friends, we decided to keep our wedding super small because we know travel is expensive. However, we want all of you to know you have not been forgotten and will be in our hearts on our special day. Gifts are not expected, though we would love to hear from you!

    Then I listed my address, phone number, and a personalized note to each family member. Most of the people I sent these to I haven’t seen or talked to in forever and they may not even know I live completely across the country now (I moved from New Jersey to Washington state). Besides that I truly decided to keep my wedding small because I didn’t want people to have to fly all the way out here for just one day. The only people I invited were my parents, my fiance’s parents, and a handful of my closest friends. We’re not even having bridesmaids or groomsmen. Mostly I sent out the announcements (at the same time as my invitations) because I wanted them to hear it from me rather than finding out about it via social media or word of mouth. I just wanted to send out something to my family that lets them know I moved, that I am getting married, and that I love and miss them. At first I was of the mindset that it was rude to send out announcements because I didn’t want them to feel excluded, but after careful thought I would rather they know my reasons for why I am keeping my wedding small rather than keeping them in the dark and also give them the chance to give me a call or get in touch!

  7. My daughter will be having a very small wedding! She did not register as she and financee have been together for 4 years and have established all the household things they need! They need ideas on date nights! They have a child together and he has 2 from a previous marriage! Would it be correct to simply just put a small note in the invitation speaking to this? Thanks, Mom of Bride

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