Reader Question: I myself am planning for my wedding next July in the Colorado mountains (and am a little bummed I secured a place before finding your blog and reading about the Sunshine Mountain Inn – that’s exactly what we were looking for). Anyway, in part of our effort to “be green”, we decided to send out email save-the-date/invitations with a link to a website where you can RSVP online. We just sent out the emails to our 80 guests and I’ve been having fun reading people’s comments who have RSVP’d. It was very difficult to narrow down our invite list, especially since my dad has 10 siblings which includes several cousins, second cousins, etc. But since I haven’t spoken to most of them in years and my fiancé has only met a handful, we’ve decided against inviting any – just our parents and siblings. I talked to my dad and my mom about this decision. But apparently my dad didn’t relay this information on to my step-mother who took it upon herself to forward the website to my uncle who is local and to her sister who lives in Maine! I just found this out because I saw that my uncle and his wife have already RSVP’d! We made a point to personally address each web-invite so that this wouldn’t happen, but obviously I should have gone one step further by putting some type of notice on the email saying “please don’t forward this on to anyone” – I just felt that seemed a little tacky. I just got off the phone with my dad and he will be talking with my step-mom and to ask her not to send it to anyone else. I’m just having a real hard time figuring out why she would think it’s ok to send it on without asking me first, but that’s another issue altogether.
Well, after having a bit of a nervous breakdown, I know I need to just take a deep breath and realize that a few extra people won’t make that big of a difference. But it’s the bigger picture I’m worried about - now I’m faced with more dilemmas – should I now invite my cousins who also live in Denver? Seems weird that my uncle will be there but not the rest of his family. And then what if other aunts/uncles hear about this particular uncle’s invite and are bitter or angry that they didn’t receive one. Most importantly, what about my soon-to-be in-laws who we literally had a conversation with LAST NIGHT about our decision not to invite extended family? They were practically insisting that we invite their siblings, etc. but my fiancé and I stood our ground saying that’s not the tone we wanted for our wedding – close friends and immediate family, people we have real sincere relationships with and people that have a significant part of our lives. We promised each other we wouldn’t invite people out of obligation or anyone our parents wanted that we didn’t know.
What do I do? I need some perspective on how to deal with this. And how do I break it to my fiancé (who already thinks my family is completely cooky). Sigh.
Oy vey. I'm so sorry for your technical difficulty! (Although, kudos to you for going the eco-friendly route!).
The good news is that none of this planning stress will matter on your wedding day. You will be basking in so many other (er, happier) feelings and emotions.
But in the meantime, here's what I would do:
- Let the invitation to the uncle go. Like you said, a few extra people won't make a difference. (Although, if you can muster the courage to uninvite him, you totally have the right to do it. I would say something like, "I'm so sorry that our decision to send an e-mail invitation has caused this kind of confusion. In an effort to limit the scale of our wedding, we decided to invite only immediate family members. The invitation was forwarded to you without our knowledge. At this point, I feel like my only options are to invite all the uncles/aunts/cousins or to retract your invitation out of fairness to the family. Given our decision to invite only immediate family members, it makes the most sense to retract your invitation." Or, ask your mom or dad to do it--whoever is closest to him.)
- Don't invite his children. Stick to your original decision to only invite parents and siblings. If this feels weird to your uncle, he can talk to your step-mom for clarification.
- Don't worry about the other aunts/uncles. Have your family members explain the situation to them (we all know families gossip about this kind of stuff, right?). They'll quickly realize it was an accident and that he shouldn't have been invited.
Sometimes, expanding the guest list a little bit can actually help you forge deeper, stronger relationships with family members, and it's worth it to deviate a little from the original plan. Other times, you're merely deviating out of obligation or cowardliness. In your situation, it sounds like you really, really want to stick to your original intention. If that's the case, I say go for it!
May the force be with you...