Wedding Invitations: When Your Partner or Spouse Is Left Out of the Invite
It’s standard etiquette to allow a plus-one for every wedding invitation — especially when inviting married couples. But what do you do when your spouse is left out?
Wedding planning by its nature is complicated and sometimes issues arise that are almost unique. This wedding guest has an unusual problem.
A Hudson Valley wedding guest asks: “I just got an invitation to my best friend’s son’s wedding. The invitation was addressed to me and did not include my husband (we’ve been married for about 35 years). Both my husband and I have known the groom since he was born, so I can’t understand why my husband was omitted from the invitation. I don’t know what to do about it.”
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The Wedding Guru says: This is a strange situation. It’s proper etiquette to invite the significant others of the invitee, so a spouse, fiancé, or partner should be invited. This holds true even if the significant other isn’t known by the bride or the groom.
This omission could have been an oversight. (It’s also possible that the host and hostess don’t realize that the couple invitation is standard etiquette.) Perhaps the couple has a serious budget issue and their remedy is to invite one half of each couple. My husband’s mom had three sisters; when there was a wedding in the family and money was really tight, the eldest aunt was invited “to represent” her sisters, their spouses, and her husband. Budget constraints can make people behave in unusual ways.
Guessing their motivation is easy; suggesting how you should handle it is not so easy. If the groom’s mom is a close friend, you should be comfortable having an open, frank conversation with her. If an in-person chat doesn’t work, then the phone is the next best thing — but I advise strongly against speaking through email, which can be “misread” by the recipient in ways you that miss your intentions.
Ask your friend whether she realizes that your husband wasn’t invited. If she is unaware and surprised by your information, it can be easily rectified with a new invitation addressed to both you and your husband.
Here’s where it gets sticky: If she’s aware about the “error,” then it’s perfectly appropriate to tell her that you’re deeply hurt. Unfortunately, you might find that your husband was purposely omitted — and if that’s the case, you may have to decide whether you want to put your long-standing friendship on the line and say that you will not be attending. Or you could attend the ceremony, but not the reception. That may be less awkward for you.
I wish you luck and hope that things resolve to your satisfaction.