(Closed) Can I invite first cousins but not their families? How do I word invites?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
1962 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Are the family members you’re worried about their kids or their husbands/wives? If it’s kids just don’t address the outer envelope with an “& family” and address the inner envelope specifically to the individuals invited from the household. 

If you are inviting one person’s spouse I think you need to invite everyone’s spouse. If you don’t people will get upset because so and so got to bring their spouse and get upset. They will probably take it as a personal insult. Sadly that means that the creepy husband gets invited. If he comes just try to be as gracious as possible.

Post # 4
Member
1650 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

The way of communicating who is invited is by listing who is invited on the envelope.  But I know that a lot of people will get an envelope addressed to Jane Smith and assume that it means Jane Smith and a date (whether she is seriously dating or not), or get an envelope addressed to Jane and John Smith and assume it means their kids and their live-in second cousin too.  So on my RSVP cards I have included a line that says, “We have reserved ___ seats in your honor” and am filling in the number of guests invited, i.e. 2 or 4 or whatever.  It’s a little blunt, but for me was the safest option.

I don’t think there’s any problem inviting a couple without their kids.  But it would be improper not to invite someone’s spouse, and you really should extend invites to your guest’s significant others (like fiance/es and steady boyfriends/ girlfriends, not the flavors of the week).

Post # 6
Member
1962 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Well if you have that many to narrow down just make sure you’re inviting the people you wouldn’t want to offend. Make sure if people do come to you upset about the lack of invitation (for them, kids, spouse… etc) just make sure you let them know you had limited space. Stick with the same sentence each time and repeat it if necessary. I know a lot of people like to say “Sorry, but we have a tight budget and could only invite a few very close people.” 

If you are worried about your cousins being mad about their spouses there probably isn’t a way to avoid that one. I would word the invite in the traditional fashion, but maybe stick a little insert in for your cousins or call them to explain the situation personally. If you give them a heads up it may not be so abrasive. Maybe your parents can help spread the word by mouth?

If the Uncle is so bad that you don’t want him around your kids I’d just not invite him. It’s not the polite thing to do, but not compromising the safety/well being of your children is more important.

I know how you feel on the large amount of people though. With the exception of about $1,000 (which we’re very lucky for) we’re paying for our wedding by ourselves. On my mom’s side alone I have 20 first cousins. Add their parents (18 people if you include my mom and spouses) and children… well that’s a lot of people! We’re not even inviting my dad’s family… Our guest list is about 140 people alone with just family. Ugh.

Post # 8
Member
418 posts
Helper bee

I really like how @GreenGables worded the invitations. It may be blunt, but I think it’s a fantastic idea. I may just steal it! =p

I definitely think that if the man you’re not inviting is someone you don’t want kids around, then it’s okay for you to do what you’re doing. Why have the added stress of making sure your creepy uncle isn’t accosting guests at the wedding? It may upset some people, but at least you’ll have peace of mind.

Post # 9
Member
1962 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@summitshannon: Yep… People pleaser here too. Just stick to your guns! It’s hard, but it’s best if you stick with your original guest list. I have a coworker who’s offered so much help and assumed she was invited to the wedding. I couldn’t say no. : ( Having that happen person by person will add up. I would definitely give that particular cousin a call if I were you. Everybody else may be ok as long as things are specified as questions come up.

Post # 11
Member
1962 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@summitshannon: The invitations all say the same thing. It’s the envelopes and the RSVP cards that differ (if you do the RSVP cards the way a PP mentioned with the _ seats reserved in your honor). Since she is an adult she gets her own invite if you follow ettiquette. If you know for sure that the other siblings are not coming it may be nice to send an invite out of courtesy. Otherwise just address the envelopes to each specific person.

The outside envelope is always proper and addressed to the person in their given first name (no nicknames) and any associated titles (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. etc…). The inside envelope is the casual one where you just address it to their first name (can be shortened derrivitive). If you have cousins that you are inviting on an Aunt or Uncle’s invitation the outside envelope should read “Mr. So and So & Family” Then you specify who the & family is by listing everybody on that inner envelope.

Post # 12
Member
3265 posts
Sugar bee

Social units must be invited together. Social units are marrieds, engaged and cohabiting couples. They are a duo.

It is 100 percent rude to not invite social units together. To not do so is against every single etiquette source.

Expect a lot of declines, and many upset family members if you don’t invite spouses.

Post # 13
Member
13015 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@andielovesj: +1!  If I were invited to a family wedding solo, or if I were invited and my parents were not, I would decline because I think it’s rude. 

Post # 14
Member
3265 posts
Sugar bee

The Spouses ARE family, so not inviting them to a family wedding is a real slap in the face.

Post # 15
Member
1526 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

In My Humble Opinion, if you can’t afford to invite spouses then you shouldn’t invite cousins at all.  How would you feel if you were invited to a wedding (an out-of-state one, at that!) without your FI?  It is pretty rude.

Post # 16
Member
1962 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@andielovesj: We tried telling her that already. : /   

Hmm you know OP if you want to avoid offending everybody you may just want to invite Aunts and Uncles with their spouses and not cousins. It would be nice to have the cousins there, but even after our posts last night I still think this will cause more trouble for you than it’s worth. This way you’d be able to at least invite one group’s spouses to avoid any faux pas.

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