A wedding is a special occasion in your life. It is an occasion that you would want to celebrate with your dear ones. We live in a connected world, where we have family, friends and colleagues to think about. For some people, this social circle could be pretty large. In an ideal world, you would like to invite them all to your wedding. After all, this is an occasion where you share your joy with the people who matter. Sadly, there may be practical considerations that may not make it possible to invite everyone.
There could be many reasons for this. For example, budgetary constraints and/or the venue of your wedding has limited space. There could be prohibitions to large gatherings e.g. during a pandemic. Or you simply want a small, private wedding. Whatever the reason is, you may be left with no choice but to invite your family members. The difficulty arises when you find yourself having to invite only family members who are close to you and leave out the rest.
The problem with a family-only wedding
Firstly, there’s that painful decision to exclude your friends, even the really close ones. Friends are pretty understanding but one cannot deny the possibility of disappointment at being excluded. One or two petty ones may even start to re-evaluate their value to you. Ok, yikes, you will need to deal with this uncomfortable situation. But you can quell any discontent by organising a friend’s only get-together luncheon or tea after the wedding. Good friends will put together a friends-only bridal shower to enjoy a slice of the celebration with you.
The bigger problem arises when you have to exclude some family members. When you have a large family of aunts, uncles, and cousins, excluding a few of them can get pretty sticky. Some of them may feel you are devaluing the special relationship you have with them. This situation may even affect relationships and must be handled tactfully.
Here are some tips on how you can invite only close family members to your wedding while ensuring that others are not offended.
1. Take the right decision
Before you take this decision, talk about it with your spouse-to-be, parents, and other close family members. Re-evaluate the decision. Discuss if there is any scope to change your decision. Once this is done, then make a list of the close family members to invite. Make a separate list of important family members who are not invited. If possible, arrange them in order of importance or hierarchy. You may want to send messages or small gifts as a token of respect and thoughtfulness. It is important that they are not excluded in silence.
2. Take help from key people
The elders in your home – your parents, grandparents, and others can help to handle communication with the family members you don’t invite. The many cousins and uncles who are left out need to be told why this is being done. Instead of you having to do this embarrassing task, leave it to your key and more experienced family members. They can either visit these relatives or talk to them on the phone.
In the same way, when you are leaving out friends, take the help of a core group to talk to them. Let them know what the problem is and how pained you are to leave them out. This is very important. Going ahead with the wedding and not informing close friends about it can be a relationship-breaker. You need not make specific excuses for doing so. Just share the practical reasons and communicate the decision … this is sufficient.
Another good idea is to have a separate small gathering of family members at home. Take this opportunity to explain your decision. You can get your elders to inform everyone during this gathering. This will prevent any misunderstanding and ensures people do not feel hurt by the decision.
3. Announce the wedding and write to those left out
You will probably have a beautiful wedding card to invite people to your wedding. Send a wedding letter to those who are not invited. This is the best way to deal with this situation. While your main family members can help to inform very close people who are left out, they will not be able to cover your entire clan. Here’s how you can handle this situation:
- Create a wedding announcement letter. Let the letter talk about how you have found your perfect partners and are entering into wedlock.
- Talk about how this is a special moment in your life. End the letter by explaining why you are organising a small wedding. You need not provide details. Share the news and explain that you are inviting very few people due to constraints. Tell them it pains you to do this, but you have no option.
- This kind of letter can help assuage hurt feelings.
- Create a beautiful letter using an announcement card that is well-designed. Either send the letter by post or through e-mail.
- Do not make a general letter. Instead, personalise it and address it to the person who is supposed to receive it. Write the name of the person by hand instead of printing it.
- If possible, you can send a small gift along with the letter. Uninvited family members can be given a special gift. This is a great way to handle this situation tactfully.
4. Use social media
You can use your social media accounts to announce your wedding. This will allow you to reach out to all your friends. You can tell them that you are organising a family-only wedding with only a few invitees. Tell them how you will miss them on the special day and end by requesting them to understand the situation. You can use a video to make the message more impactful.
5. Stream the wedding and share it on social media
You can consider live-streaming the wedding. This will help your close friends and family to still be a part of the joyous occasion without being present physically. Once the wedding is over, make videos of the ceremony. Videos of these moments can be shared on social media, on chat groups. This will allow your uninvited family members and friends to be a part of the celebrations.
Deciding on a close-family-only wedding is a difficult thing to do. The tips in this article will help you manage the situation effectively without hurting anyone.