(Closed) Guest List Dilemma

posted 5 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

If it were me, I would probably just wait until after graduation to send the Save-The-Date Cards.  I know that’s a lot later than you planned, but it might help avoid some of this.  I sent mine out 6 months before the wedding.  

Post # 4
428 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

After December you won’t talk to any of the people you don’t like again, anyway. Is it really worth it to you to have their shadow on your wedding day? Only invite who you want and let the chips fall where they may. Your REAL friends will stick by you. And if anyone says anything mean, tell them you had a limited guest list and the decision was really hard, yada yada. Offer to go have a meaningful, one on one dinner with them instead (I bet they won’t do it!)

Post # 5
1536 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@collegebride621:  I wouldn’t worry to much about it. If someone complains you can say something like this: “Since we are paying for the wedding ourselves, our budget is very limited. It’s SO hard not to go into debt over this, because of course we want to invite everyone… but we’re really trying to kick off our marriage by being financially responsible about the wedding”. And yes this probably won’t sufficent enough for some ppl but THEY will get over it.  Good Luck.


Post # 6
3276 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’d just invite your close friends. Some may be upset but that’s life, you can’t please everyone. They may talk but don’t let it get to you. Hopefully they’ll come around eventually and understand. 

Post # 7
3565 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013



She said her wedding is June 2014, and she won’t graduate until Dec. 2014.

Just invite the people you are actually friends with, and don’t worry about the rest.  You can’t be expected to invite a whole sorority.  Chances are, if you don’t like them, they probably don’t like you, so they may not even care about not being invited. lol

Post # 8
765 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@collegebride621:  Send Save the Dates to family and friends that are coming from a distance (ie. NOT your sorority sisters). Send everyone else the invitations 3-5 months early…once you’ve graduated. If they’re local, you can probably hold off on the save the dates until after you graduate. 

Ultimately, it’s YOUR wedding. Invite who YOU want. No one expects you to invite the entire sorority. 

Post # 9
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

@MissCountryGirl727:  Oops I misunderstood.   Maybe she could just send them to family/non-college friends for now.

Post # 10
1876 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

1. Don’t send Save-The-Date Cards to anyone in the sorority.

2. Tell everyone that the wedding is going to be super small. Tell your BFF’s that they will of course be invited, but that you don’t know who else you’ll be able to invite, so to please not talk about it.

3.When other sisters ask about it, say something along the lines of “We are trying to keep it small because our venue can only hold so many people. I’m really sad I can’t invite the whole chapter!”

4. When you get closer to the wedding, discreetly send out invites.

Post # 11
1696 posts
Bumble bee

@collegebride621:  Please consider not sending “Save the Date” cards at all.

I am convinced that deep in the feminine psyche lies some primaeval force that attracts us to cute shoes and stacks of custom stationery. I sympathize with the sensual thrill of stacks of postcards printed with your name and photograph, all smooth-surfaced and guillotine-edged. But so many brides send them early as you are planning to do, and then find out later that venue restrictions or budget or sudden change of vision makes them wish they could curtail their guest-list. And since you should never advertise a party to people who are not invited, you become guilty of exactly that solecism if you curtail your guestlist after broadcasting your Save-the-Date cards.

Do not worry about defying etiquette by not sending Save-the-dates. They are a new-comer in the arsenal of print-shop’s techniques for extracting money from brides, and not approved by etiquette anyway. Etiquette considers it somewhat impertinent to demand that people “Save the Date for me-me-me!” in an impersonal mass-mailing. Such advance-advertising mail-outs have been borrowed over from the convention industry, but they tend to commercialize your event and detract from its elegance. The sweetest, most proper way to do that is to send personal hand-written notes to the people whose presence you absolutely must have at your wedding, sharing your plans with them.

That being said, if you do decide to send them anyway, or later when the time comes to send invitations, you will have to face your sorority sisters somehow. What you need to understand is that, for all that you call them “sisters” and may have a close relationship with some of them, it is far more a collegial relationship than a familial relationship. And viral emails to the contrary, most sororities do emphasise the value of some level of social sophistication and good breeding. A wise mature hostess makes a distinction between her business relationships and her social relationships, and maintains the appropriate personal boundaries between them. And well-bred guests who paid attention to their kindergarten teacher know better than to discuss other people’s parties in front of third parties, ever, to avoid discussing an event in front of people who are not invited!

In short: include your sorority sisters in college parties, farewell-to-the-U parties, graduation parties, pre-grad parties, and so on. But restrict your wedding to the “sisters” who are also deep personal friends outside of college events and sorority events.


Post # 12
1876 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

PS – As far as who makes your “cut” of people, I would maybe sick with people from your class and those within your family. That might make it easiest for you to decide who to invite and who not to.

Post # 13
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Etiquette Snob here… lol

Save The Dates and the hassles that they bring about are a relatively NEW thing in Wedding Stationery (some would say it only lines the pockets of the Stationery companies even more than before)

Save-The-Date Cards are NOT a requirement.  They are nice.  But NOT A MUST DO.

The true time they are nice is if one is planning a Destination Wedding, or somewhere out of the norm (ie not your hometown where you Parent’s live, or where you are now)

Otherwise… quite honestly you can skip them (and much of the drama) altogether.

Just send out the Actual Invites in the appropriate timeframe leading up to your Wedding.

The ONE very important thing with Save-The-Date Cards, is you absolutely MUST have worked out all the Wedding Details BEFORE you send them out.

Have a FINAL GUEST LIST… KNOW precisely who is going to get an Invitation… and the only way to know that is to be aware of your Budget, and have your Venue booked so you know the capacity & costs.

Otherwise… just send Save-The-Date Cards to the immediate family members that you know for sure are going to be on the FINAL GUEST LIST

But then, as I said above… IF this isn’t a Destination Wedding… your Family won’t be that surprised by the News anyhow… they’ll get it thru the Grapevine pretty much anyhow.

So maybe save all the money you plan to spend on Save-The-Date Cards… or you could also do an Electronic Version if everyone is on Email

Which brings up another topic…

Want to avoid a lot of Drama / Trauma… don’t talk a whole lot about your Wedding (otherwise someone inevitably will ask for more details RUDE on their part… but WBee posts that doesn’t stop people from doing it, and it will suck to be put in that position “Oh sorry, we are having a small intimate Wedding”… hard to say with a straight face if you are infact having aprox 200 Guests).

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… Don’t put any mention of your Wedding on FaceBook.  As that seems to be a sure fire recipe to causing upheaval !!

As for a Shower…

There are 2 kinds of Showers…

Those that are typically organized by Friends & Family… where folks who attend are indeed close enough to the Bride to be on the Guest List for sure.

And those that are organized by Larger “Social Groups” that the Bride may be involved with (or was).  These are given by folks who LOVE the Bride for who she is, with no real expectation of being Invited to the BIG DAY.

Such is the case for say the Baseball Team she plays on weekly… or the Group she Volunteers with… the Kids in her Brownie Pack.  OR even given by the local Chruch Ladies, the Neighbours where she grew up… or in this case the Sorority you belong to.

BUT sadly, many young people don’t necessarily KNOW A LOT ABOUT ETIQUETTE… so sometimes they assume things that are not true… so may get their noses bent out of shape over PRESUMED misteps.

It would be perfectly fine for your Fellow Sorority Sisters to throw a Bridal Shower in your Honour *… knowing that they won’t all be invited to the Wedding.  BUT chances are that someone will misread this to mean you are being Gift Grabby, or RUDE in that they aren’t all invited to the Wedding.

So the question will come down to which is the greater offense to social sensibilities.  Will it be that some don’t “understand”… or that you will be seen to be UNGRATEFUL or SNUBBING them by not inviting them in turn to the Wedding ???

Personally, I’d skip the whole drama.  It is sad, that friends cannot share in anothers good fortune in life… but so it goes.

All stuff to think about in the months to come… and the weeks leading up to the Wedding when Showers are usually held.

*NOTE – As the Bride you can most certainly consulted on the Guest List for a Shower… who you’d like to see there.  BUT in reality, the Hostess is the one to take the reins on a Bridal Shower… for it truly is HER EVENT that is held in your honour.  As the Honoured Guest, you can express your opinion (cautiously / don’t step on her toes) but in the end it is the Hostess who makes all the calls.  So you can always feign ignorance if the situation warrants (altho then you really are putting your friend the Hostess in an odd position).

Sorority Sisters tend to be a tough crowd to play to in regards to what to do… without looking like you are playing favourites, or snubbing others.

Hope this helps,

EDIT TO ADD – Interestingly it looks like  aspasia475 and I were posting at the same time… good to see we are both pretty much on the same page on this one.  Sorority “colleagues” do indeed have a lot in common with work colleagues… just that “the work” at hand is slightly different.

Post # 14
1844 posts
Buzzing bee

Agree with Aspasia and This Time Round  – don’t even send them.  They truly are the bridal industry’s recent attempt to extort more money out of brides and grooms.  For generations and generations guests received their invitations 6 weeks before the wedding and all was good.

I have been on wedding boards for many years and have seen many a time when a bride says, “I sent them an STD and now I can’t afford to invite them.”  I’ve seen it at least a couple of times here recently.

Once you send that STD you HAVE invited that person to your wedding.  Couples get excited and send them out to everyone they would like to invite but before budgets are set in stone.

Skip them altogether and keep wedding talk away from your sororiety sisters.

Post # 15
412 posts
Helper bee

Other bees have addressed the “to send save-the-dates or not” portion. You’re a sorority girl. They’re sorority girls. We love our cute invites (alumna here). I probably would send them, but it might minimize drama to not.

First off, how big is your chapter? I would invite the girls you’re closest with and those you think you’ll stay in contact with post-graduation. And then maybe the rest of your EC since you’ll have worked with them all year (especially if there’s only one or two that wouldn’t make your list – if only one or two would, you’re probably good to exclude the others) and then any girls you regularly hang out with due to your friendships with other girls (ie. my best friend has another really close friend in the sorority, and i’m also really close with that friend’s biological sister.. so she’s getting an invite to not make it awkward in future interactions). Sororities tend to clique up a bit once they get to a certain size anyway, so while you’re friendly day-to-day with everyone, that doesn’t make you close with everyone (because quite frankly, there’s just too many girls even if they ARE all amazing). I’m sure people who don’t hang out with you outside of sanctioned sorority events won’t really expect an invite. If someone asks you about why they weren’t invited: “i really like you, and enjoy hanging out with you, but i can’t invite everyone, and i haven’t gotten the chance to know you as well as some of the other girls” – or something else equally fluffy/feel-good/”we would have loved to have you but we really just can’t” line.

Another option would be just pledge class, if you guys are pretty close (which should have shrunk since you’re close to graduation), plus individuals you’re close to in other years, plus younger EC members – and possibly your current team (ie people under you). Just added that up, and if that were my chapter and me in my graduating year, that sounds huge. Stick to the girls closest to you, and draw lines where they make sense/sound plausible to explain to a third-party. If you keep it to less than 20% of the chapter, then girls can’t really get upset that they were *personally* excluded.

To add – I know normally you don’t invite people without dates, but I wouldn’t give the girls +1s unless you’re actually friends with their bfs and then just have a few girl tables. Other girls who have gotten married here haven’t, and there hasn’t really been much drama (although they’ve also all been recent alumni). I’d say weddings generally have 10-20 sorority members, and total when i was active was about 70…. so 10-20 out of the 100-120 or so a girl would have ever been active at the same time with (since i’m sure you have some recently graduated/graduating members you’d also like to invite)

That ended up longer, and probably more garbled than I expected. Just make your lists justifiable to minimize the drama, and then add in iffy/borderline girls if there aren’t too many of them.

Post # 16
412 posts
Helper bee

I read a post above – family’s another great one! I didn’t think of that because I was active during a growth period at my university, so my family multiplied like rabbits, and almost everyone has multiple littles (i have three), so once you get to gbabies and ggbabies, I don’t really have a relationship with them… but I know family lines on some campuses are really close, and might also make a good differentiator.

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