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How to Tell a Guest They're No Longer Invited to the Wedding

An etiquette expert offers advice for dealing with this complicated situation.

Contributing Writer
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Photography by: Meg Smith Photography

There are really only a handful of reasons why you might seriously consider uninviting a wedding guest, but is it ever okay to actually take someone off of your list after the invitations have been mailed out? While it might feel like having the guest in question attend your wedding would be worse than telling them they're no longer welcome, it's important to carefully consider this decision and its future implications. So, we've turned to Beaumont Etiquette's wedding expert, Anne Chertoff, for clarification on how best to handle this difficult dilemma.

 

Related: Wedding Guest Dos and Don'ts

 

Is it ever okay to uninvite a wedding guest?

From an etiquette perspective, the answer is overwhelmingly no. "There are two conceivable reasons why you may wish to uninvite a wedding guest to your wedding," Chertoff says. "The first is a miscalculation with respect to budget or venue and is never appropriate to do. The second, is a falling out or fight with a person. Regardless of the reason, we would advise trying everything in your power not to uninvite a guest."

 

What if we can't afford for them to attend?

Consider cutting back your floral budget, sizing down on the bar arrangement, or doing your own hair and makeup if you need to save money. Chertoff says, "You should never uninvite someone for the first scenario, as it is completely avoidable. Be sure that your budget and venue can accommodate everyone you wish to invite. Only then can you even consider sending out your invitations. Financial issues are avoidable during the planning stage, and not a fault of your guests. Cut back on other parts of your wedding rather than uninvite someone because of a budget issue."

 

What if I really don't want them to attend the wedding anymore?

Whether because of a breakup, a falling out, or a huge argument, consider the long-term implications while making this decision. Chertoff says, "If, after invitations have been sent, you have a serious falling out with one of your guests you must first determine if that relationship is repairable. If it is, try to do so before the wedding. If you determine it is not and you do choose to uninvite him or her, realize this disinvitation will make reconciliation later much more difficult. If you have a falling out with a guest be sure not to uninvite them in the heat of the moment and take some time to think and cool off before making a decision or communicating anything."

 

How to uninvite a guest, should you decide to do so.

Chertoff says that the best way to go about this is to be direct. "If, after considering all the consequences, you and your fiancé are determined to disinvite this person, let him or her know directly," she says. "Avoid going into details and reasoning and keep the conversation brief and to the point." Be sure to explain the situation to this person over the phone, with a text message, or—best of all—face-to-face. Chertoff says, "Although it may be tempting to send an email or letter, it is better to have direct contact and inform this person that they are no longer welcome. With email or snail mail you cannot be sure that they are aware that they were disinvited. And while a second confrontation will be uncomfortable, it's better to have the second confrontation ahead of the wedding day and not on your wedding day."