(Closed) Invite Spouses of People You Work With?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
1021 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

absolutely invite their spouses. a married couple is a social unit, even if you don’t know the other person 🙂

Post # 4
Member
636 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I think you should invite their spouses.  I would be a little offended if someone invited me without my husband and I probably wouldn’t attend.

Post # 5
Member
1523 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I agree, absolutely invite the spouses of co-workers!

Post # 6
Member
4385 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I agree, you need to invite their spouses!

Post # 7
Member
1426 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I’ll warn you, this question can sometimes get heated on WB.  I’m going to give you my honest opinion here in the spirit of being helpful, so please don’t take it as a personal criticism (towards you or anyone else reading this who did not invite coworker’s spouses…)

Proper etiquette recognizes something called “social units” and says that if one member of a social unit is invited to something, the other member must be welcomed as well.  Social units are defined as anyone who is married, engaged, or living together (some people debate the last one, but with the modern trend of some couples living together as life long partners without ever marrying, it is considered only right to respect their partnership in the same way one would respect a marriage).  So in your case that means that you have to invite the spouses of your coworkers. 

Practically, it’s a good idea because many people are insulted when this rule is broken, and feel like they don’t want to go anywhere where their spouse isn’t also welcomed.  The people who belong to that “I’m insulted!” category generally see inviting spouses as a part of providing good hospitality, and generally get frustrated at being invited to a celebration of marriage while they feel their own marriage was disrespected.  It’s true, there are others who would have no problem and not be insulted at all if they were invited to a wedding solo.  However, since it concerns your supervisors, I definitely would not want to take that chance, you know?  If they are the type to be insulted, it could have very negative repercussions for your work-place relationships.

I’m sure some people will argue “Well they shouldn’t be insulted!  It’s nothing personal!”  Maybe they shouldn’t.  However, the people who would be insulted by this have 200 years of etiquette on their side which will serve to justify their hurt feelings, and as we all know, actions can still be hurtful even if they were not intended to be.  So even if you are a laid back person who would never be upset by something like this if it happened to you (and good on you!  The world needs more people like that!) it’s good to remember that your guests may not be.

So yeah, it sucks to have to invite three practical strangers when space is already tight (I dealt with the same thing myself!) but the repercussions of not doing it are likely to be even worse.  If you really can’t find space for them, then I suggest not inviting them at all.  Most people will be more understanding about not getting an invite if space is tight, but they won’t be as understanding if they are invited solo.

Good luck!

Post # 9
Member
2704 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

i am inviting all of my co-workers husbands and serious gf’s.

Post # 10
Member
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m going to buck the trend a little here, because I didn’t invite my co-workers spouses. In your position, I would have, though, I have to say. Generally, I 100% respect the “social unit” rule, and I agonised for months over my co-worker situation. I still feel a little guilty.

Basically, there are 12 of them, plus partners. I really didn’t have the space. Really. So I had a choice; I could offend everyone LOTS by not inviting anyone, I could offend a few people LOTS by inviting half my co-workers with partners, and not inviting the other half, or I could offend all of them a little by inviting them on their own. And if I’m brutally honest, I felt a strong social pressure to invite them all, mixed with a personal preference to not have any of them there. So, instead of making it clear that I’d prefer not to have any of them there by not inviting any of them (which a previous colleague had done, and caused a lot of bad feeling by doing so), I went for the slightly cowardly and definitely questionable etiquette of inviting everyone with a hand-delivered invite that I prefaced with an apology for not inviting their spouse, and explaining the problem with space. 

People have seemed ok with that – I think explaining it in person helps. I also decided that if they were offended that much, they could just not come (with any luck!) but at least I’d have given them the invite. So it is possible, but you should be prepared for it to cause offence – I don’t think you can go about assuming that it’s ok, and be shocked if it’s a problem. 

Post # 11
Member
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

ooh, just had another thought on this one. If the shoe was on the other foot, I would be offended to not receive an invite for me and my fiance from a friend, but from a colleague I wouldn’t – I’d assume that I was only being invited to be polite, and decide whether I was going to attend based on how many of the other guests I knew. That’s just me though, and I may be biased 😉

Post # 12
Member
31 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 1969

yes, unfortunately you do. I had this same issue. Actually one may be offended if you didn’t invite their spouse. I know the feeling all to well.

Post # 13
Member
2186 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

you should invite them – however if its enough of your co-workers they might make it a “weekend” and leave the spouses at home! (thats what im hoping my FH’s friends do since i know NONE of his friends wives, so thats like 15 people at my wedding i wont know who they are. *sigh*)

Post # 14
Member
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I agree with inviting social units but went it comes to work it can be tricky, If it were just three co-workers I would invite the spouse but I have seven co-workers that I am inviting (enough to fit alone at one table) and I did not invite their spouses.  I explained to them before hand that there would be no +1 for anybody due to limited space and everyone has been fine with it.

Post # 15
Member
7772 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

Yes, invite spouses always.

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