Post # 1
My parents seem to think that if another couple invited them to their children’s wedding, they are somehow obligated to invite that couple to my & SO’s wedding, even if it was 10+ years ago, they and the other couple are no longer close, or my parents declined the invite for some reason. I am glad to have the vast majority of my parents’ friends at our wedding, but not extending reciprocal invites to some of these people would really help cut down the list. What do other bees think of this issue? FWIW, my parents are basically inviting the people in question out of a sense of obligation and what they think to be the proper etiquette in these situations, rather than out of a true desire to have them at our wedding.
My SO and I have also been invited to weddings of random people (for example, a college friend of his that he has seen once or twice in the last five years and does not talk to on anything approaching a regular basis). Is it necessary to reciprocate the invite even if we don’t end up going and just send a gift?
Post # 2
FantasticFawn: It is not at all necessary to reciprocate invitations to weddings.
Post # 3
- Wedding: Hawksnest Cove Beach St John USVI
Not needed. Especially if you’re having a small wedding or keeping the guest list down due to budget reasons. You never know why a couple chooses why or why not to invite certain guests and you shouldn’t feel obligated to invite someone to your wedding because you were invited to theirs. Future Mother-In-Law feels that way and my Fiance felt that way at first too, until he looked at the budget. We are having a super small wedding (parents, grandparents, and super close friends only), and that’s the style of wedding we want. We had to tell his mom, we are paying so we get the final say on the guest list
Post # 4
no way! Especially if they’re no longer close. your wedding should be your close family friends and loved ones. Just because they were invited to a wedding 10+ years ago has no bearing on if you have to invite them.
Post # 5
It is not required or necessary. You may reciprocate but are not obligated to.
Post # 6
Thanks! These replies are making me feel better. Our wedding will not be small by most standards (we’re hoping no more than 250), but it is small/intimate by the standards of my culture. In the end, it’s my parents’ call since they’re paying, but I just don’t want to create all these obligations (obligations on our part to invite random people, obligations on their part to come or send a gift) or have people at our wedding who barely know me and don’t know my fi at all, or vice versa.
Post # 7
FantasticFawn: Absolutely not. I had to have this conversation with my mother just recently. We are keeping our wedding to immediate family members only (and FI’s father isn’t even invited because they aren’t close and having him there would be stressful). My mom tried to guilt me into inviting one of my aunts (an aunt I’m not even close with). I just had to tell her “we aren’t excluding anyone, but the guest list is what it is.” It’s YOUR wedding, invite who YOU want.
Post # 8
No. i will be inviting family that did not invite me to their wedding (due to space limitations). While I know that is just the opposite of what you are asking, I mention it because you should invite who you want to be there. Not simply out of reciprocity.
Post # 9
There are too many degrees of separation. Relations may have changed in the interim. If you’re not close with the potential guests, you don’t have to invite them. If you invite these distant people, it puts them in a place of obligation too, so you might as well cut the cycle.
Post # 10
“Our wedding will not be small by most standards (we’re hoping no more than 250), but it is small/intimate by the standards of my culture.”
I’m guessing your parents attended the weddings of their friends’ children and gave a large cash gift? If so, I think it’s polite (if not necessary) to give the friends the same opportunity to reciprocate whether they attend or not. I wouldn’t want to risk insulting anybody.
I think the rules are lot more relaxed for younger generations though, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to invite college friends, etc. I don’t think any offense would be taken there.
Post # 11
canadajane: “I’m guessing your parents attended the weddings of their friends’ children and gave a large cash gift? If so, I think it’s polite (if not necessary) to give the friends the same opportunity to reciprocate whether they attend or not. I wouldn’t want to risk insulting anybody.”
Yup, this is the case (maybe we’re from the same culture!). If my parents were still close to these people or even saw them regularly, it would be a non-issue because they would never not be invited. It’s more people that my parents have fallen out of touch with or didn’t know well to begin with, but they were still included in these people’s children’s weddings due to cultural traditions (aka invite everyone and their mom…and dad…and third cousins…lol).
Post # 12
FantasticFawn: Your parents are actually quite right, that they have an obligation to return hospitality with a like-for-like invitation. This is a general obligation of guests to their hosts, and exists for any form of substantial entertainment regardless of the occasion that prompted the invitation in the first place. What this means is, if someone invites you to dinner, then you must invite them to dinner within the same season. If their invitation was for a wedding dinner, and you do not happen to have a wedding coming up in the same season, then you invite them for dinner “just because”. If they had a wedding tea, then you invite them for tea. It is the substance of the entertainment itself that must be like-for-like, not the reason for the entertainment. And the social debt is owed by the guest to the host.
So your parents should have already paid off those obligations, back whenever it was that all those other weddings took place. If the bride and groom were hosting their own wedding, then it’s the bride and groom, not their parents, that your parents should have invited to dinner. If you are hosting your own wedding dinner, then having you play host will not pay off your parents’ social obligations anyway.
Social obligations end with the social season. If it’s been a year since those other weddings, then your parents’ social debt has already been written off. But if they still feel obligated, they should issue dinner invitations to the couples that they owe, and take care of their obligations that way. Your wedding has nothing to do with it.
Post # 13
FantasticFawn: Are your parents paying for the wedding? If not I say cut these people out of the guest list. You should only invite people who you absolutely want to be at your wedding. Do not invite people just out of obligation.
Post # 14
Bored6: They are paying, so like I said above, they have final say on whether they want to invite these people or not. I have a strong sense they’re just doing it out of obligation than out of a true desire to have these people there, and I would rather not have my wedding turn into a three-ring circus with hundreds of people who barely know us/don’t know us at all in attendance (which is a distinct possibility if we let it get to that point). I feel like it would be easier on all concerned to cut those people from the guest list, but am having a bit of trouble convincing my parents.
Post # 15
FantasticFawn: Can your guest list accommodate these guests? My parents initially had some people on their guest list who were more there out of obligation. But once we saw how massive our guest list was, we realized that we all needed to make cuts. But if there’s room for these guests, I wouldn’t worry too much. Your parents’ friends probably want to celebrate your marriage with them! And don’t forget, the people you are going to spend the most time with on your wedding day are your husband, your wedding party, and probably your immediate family (or, at least, that’s how it was for me). And for me, it was incredibly special to have so many guests from so many different areas of our life in there to celebrate us, and I was especially touched when some friends of the family I hadn’t seen in a while made a concerted effort to be there. 🙂