Are you wondering how to uninvite someone from a wedding? No one plans for this to happen, but sometimes situations arise that mean you need to reduce the number of people on your wedding guest list.
This can be a difficult decision to make, but it may be a necessary step for the well-being of all involved. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to handle these tricky situations and how to uninvite someone from your wedding respectfully and thoughtfully.
How to uninvite guests from your wedding
You may need to uninvite guests from your day for many reasons, whether it’s the budget, illness, or maybe you’ve fallen out with someone. Here are some steps you can follow to uninvite a guest from your wedding:
- Assess the situation: Consider why you must uninvite the guest. Is it due to budget? Is it a conflict or a change in plans, or is it due to an issue with the guest’s behavior or relationship with you or your partner?
- Discuss with your partner: It’s essential to have an open and honest conversation about the situation and make a mutual decision on how to proceed.
- Reach out to the guest: While it may be tempting to avoid the situation, it’s best to communicate with the guest as soon as possible. A phone call or in-person conversation is the most appropriate method for uninviting a guest.
- Be honest and direct: When you speak with the guest, explain why you must uninvite them respectfully and directly. Avoid being overly emotional or confrontational.
- Apologize and offer solutions: Express your regret for any inconvenience this may cause and offer solutions, such as a refund of any money they have already contributed towards the wedding.
Being honest with people is always the most important thing. Trying to make an excuse because you want to cover the real reason is not the right approach.
Respect them by telling them exactly why the decision was made and how you came to it. If your decision to uninvite them is practical and reasonable, they will hopefully be empathetic to you having to make this tough call.
If they’re close enough to be invited to the wedding in the first place, they should understand why you’ve cut back
Calling or in person
We all know emails can be misconstrued, and you will want to minimize relationship issues going forward.
It may be tough to do, but making a phone call, a video call, or in person, are the quickest method to let them know. While these are not only the quickest ways, they are also the most respectful way to let someone know.
Emailing or texting
While this is an option, we highly recommend avoiding this option where possible.
In the same way that it is bad etiquette to break up with someone over text message, it is the same for when you are scaling back the wedding guest list.
Sooner than later
Procrastination can cause stress, and when planning your wedding, you have enough to worry about. You have already come to the difficult decision that this needs to be done, so it doesn’t help you or the guest to wait on telling them.
You also do not want the guests you are planning to uninvite to spend money on a new outfit or book travel and accommodation. So making this decision and executing it quickly is essential for you and them.
Alternatives to uninviting guests
Uninviting guests will never feel nice, so if there is a viable alternative, it is at least worth considering. Here are the two main alternatives to consider.
Trimming the wedding budget
If uninviting guests is the last thing you want to do, consider whether you’re willing to cut a few things in your budget for your big day.
Changing the structure may mean you can afford to have everyone attend. This may be a good way to avoid an awkward conversation.
Ceremony-only invites – Invite some people to the ceremony only, then have an intimate dinner for immediate family only – you could even cut the cake immediately after to share for afternoon tea.
The cocktail menu only – You will only serve finger foods, which is much cheaper per head than a full meal. Be wary of this, though, as if you are supplying alcohol, then only having small portions of food can lead to drunk wedding guests.
Buffet Menu – A more casual buffet menu may be an option as it requires less staff to serve your guests, so, in turn, it should be less costly.
Bar costs – You could reduce the wedding budget by having a cash bar or a dry wedding. If you’re financially a bit tight, saving on your bar bill could be a huge bonus and allow you to not have to uninvite guests.
An alternative way to cut costs and reduce numbers due to venue capacity is to live stream your ceremony and/or wedding reception so uninvited guests can still be part of your wedding day.
Virtual guests may include a work colleague or distant relative who you have had to decide to uninvite. Utilizing social media like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube or using dedicated live streaming services like DaCast or Livestream can be a good option when opting for a smaller guest list.
This may also be an opportunity that allows you to invite additional guests virtually, not just uninvited guests. You can still make your guest feel involved by mailing out an actual invite to the virtual wedding and setting aside time for a virtual toast or speech. If budget is not the reason for reducing your guest list, you may even opt for a “dinner in a box” where a meal is delivered to your virtual guests or posting a bottle of bubbles along with the virtual wedding invite for them to join in your toasts.
If you can’t face the idea of telling guests they can’t come, and circumstances allow, perhaps you can postpone your wedding. This gives you the added advantage of more time to save.
If you’re going to do this, then send out ‘Change of Plans’ cards instead to wedding guests. This gives them some assurance for booking travel and making plans, and a physical reminder of dates (and locations if necessary).
You can also update everyone through a wedding website if you have one set up for wedding RSVPs.
Trying to figure out how to uninvite someone from a wedding is never a nice position. If you need to trim the guest list for whatever reason after sending Save the Date cards or invites, don’t procrastinate. At the end of the day, having a mature conversation, being honest, and calling them is the best way to navigate this awkward situation.
Most importantly, you will still want to have a relationship with your uninvited guest after the wedding, so telling them with respect is essential.