Wedding invite list is sure to offend someone

Dear Helen:

I’m having a relatively small wedding in the fall and want to invite some, but not all, of the people at work. How can I do this without offending those who don’t make the list? Do I have to invite my boss?



Dear Yikes:

The only folks who’d be offended by being passed over are those who already dislike you, who will whine and complain no matter what you do. The key word is small. If the wedding were to be “family only” or primarily family, you’d have a free pass to invite no one, where no one means just that: zero, no one, no exceptions. That’s an ironclad defense and allows you to convey sincere (or seemingly sincere) regrets all around. But if you truly want to invite some but not all co-workers, no amount of diplomacy is likely to satisfy everyone.

The clearest invitee might be a single best friend, the obvious best pal you coffee klatch with, confide in, “go down the hall” with. No one would question if she got an invite. Or are you willing to alienate a best friend to save relations at work? The only impossible solution is inviting everyone except your boss. My guess is that even Solomon would have trouble successfully cutting an office in half, so my admittedly imperfect suggestion is to quietly invite the few people you absolutely cannot imagine your wedding without, which may or may not include your boss. Explain to those you’ve invited the intricate dance of office politics you’re facing. Ask if they can keep their participation discreet. (Yes, this involves trust). Then ask them to organize a small wedding shower at work before the event. Absolutely no gifts and no big fuss. Just a silly lunch of good wishes and bad jokes. Get people excited for you. Then go off and have a wonderful wedding and honeymoon. Or else invite everyone, be gracious and have a great time anyway. Mazel tov!


Dear Helen:

My fiancée and I are getting married in February. We’re adults who used to have very satisfying regular sex. The wedding details and all the fussing instigated by the opinions of relatives about the choices we are making are taking a toll on our relationship. We’re getting snappy with one another, which has only happened once before in the three years since we met. I know we’ll recover, but do you have any sage advice to get us through the next month that does not include excommunicating close relatives or running away and eloping? BTW, we’re deferring our honeymoon, so the only respite we’ll get from the planning and event frenzy is a beach weekend after the ceremony.

Grinchy Groom


Dear Grinchy:

You need a united front plus unassailable solutions. You’ll probably prefer phase one of my advice, but trust me: it works.

Phase One: Take a 24-hour respite from all things wedding. Go out to a nice dinner, come home and put on romantic music, then cuddle, smooch and snuggle. Repeat this at least once a week for three weeks.

Phase Two: You need to remember that you rely on your partner and don’t want to solve every problem on your own. List every unresolved final decision and then divvy up the list, either by who cares more or by horse-trading until you’re equally happy or sad. Usually people compromise toward the other’s priorities rather than being selfish, but yes there are risks of decisions you (or your uncle) won’t like. When you discuss the choices, you can represent other folks’ input, but whichever of you makes the decision makes it final. Do not tell relatives who decided what: united front!

Phase Three: Sleep in separate rooms for the week before the wedding, as in no sex, though occasional cuddling is permitted. Allow the longing and romance to return. On your wedding night, say and show the “I love you” as you’ll really mean it. Mazel tov!


A Nosh of Jewish Wisdom:  Necessity can break iron. Yiddish saying


Print Friendly, PDF & Email