When A Hoped For Invitation Is Not Forthcoming

by admin on April 1, 2013

I’m in a dilemma here. A friend of mine is getting married very, very soon, and I have yet to receive an invitation. A year ago, he sent out requests to us friends (including me) for our addresses so he could send wedding invites. The wedding got delayed a bit until recently. I found out through the grapevine (other friends that were on the list) that they finally sent out the invitations a couple weeks ago. Before that, at least one of my friends had actually contacted our friend and flat-out asked him if the wedding was still taking place, and if they were going to be invited or not. She needed to know for her schedule. Was she right to do that? He gave her the wedding details (time, place, location, etc.). He would also say the details at social events (that I wasn’t at because of my work) if he was asked. I have no idea how many of our other friends received invites, there’s not really a good way to find that out. It’s so hurtful and sad to me to know that all my friends will get to celebrate their special day with them, but I apparently won’t. Right now, I have no idea if my invitation got lost in the mail, they accidentally left me off the list, or if they just decided not to invite me. I don’t know if there’s a good way to find out, either. I don’t want to put anyone in an awkward situation if I indeed wasn’t invited, but if it was just a simple mistake, they need to know about that, too. What do I do? 0329-13

It is a dilemma.   The only situation I can see it being appropriate to inquire a possible missing invitation is if you are a very close friend or family member.  Otherwise there is the possibility of causing much awkwardness should the situation be that you were either forgotten or purposely not invited.

What happens with too many weddings is an utter sloppiness of communication about wedding plans and guest lists.   I’ve seen it many times where, in the exuberance of freshly being engaged, all kinds of verbal faux pas are made such as inviting far more people than you eventually can actually accommodate or telling people of the details of the wedding plans when the bridal couple has no intention of inviting the people being informed of a wedding they will not see.    One of the worst examples I’ve witnessed is where the bride’s mother, very well-intentioned and good hearted, kept inviting people to what was originally supposed to be a small wedding because she could not remember who had actually been invited and she could not bear to leave out any old friends.  The number of guests exceeded the facility limits and there was not enough food for all.   In her case, the actual invitations had been sloppily executed, too many went missing and in trying to rectify that, it was chaos on steroids.  I was actually one of those last minute invitees whose original invitation was allegedly lost in the mail but I declined because the chaos was well established at that point and I did not prefer to add to it.

Some people are horrendous planners and the invitations are sent either quite late or in a sloppy manner. And by sloppy, I mean they have disorganized guest lists, incomplete addresses (which always makes me wonder just how close you can be to someone whom you have no idea where they live).   It sounds like your friends may fall into one of these types.    I do believe that if the planning is so disoriented that wedding invitations are not sent until mere weeks before the wedding, that the hosts of the wedding are going to pay a consequence for that action by having a higher number of declines than if they had been sent weeks earlier as etiquette deems right.   Not sending timely invitations is actually ungracious as it puts distant guests in the very awkward position of scrambling to make travel plans on much shorter notice.  And sometimes those travel plans do not gel and the happy couple will miss out on having supposedly dear friends and family celebrate their wedding.

So, OP, I’d say buck it up and accept that you are probably not invited to this wedding.   To be honest, if the groom had to ask for your address, you are probably in that class of friends who are really not close enough to ask him if there has been a mistake in sending your missing invitation.


{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Goldie April 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

Not sure if I agree with this last part: “To be honest, if the groom had to ask for your address, you are probably in that class of friends who are really not close enough to ask him if there has been a mistake in sending your missing invitation.” Off the top of my head, I only know the exact mailing addresses for myself and my parents. Especially with my close friends, or people I visit often, I don’t remember their mailing addresses anymore, because I know so well where they live, I don’t need to remember the house number or zip code. That said, I always err on the side of caution and assume that, if there’s no invitation, then I’m not invited.


KarenK April 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Yep, I was going to say the same thing. I know the actual mailing addresses off the top of my head for only my dad, my MIL, and me. If I wanted to send mail to my brothers, I’d have to call and ask. In these days of texting, e-mail and Facebook communications, I think it’s less and less likely that you have people’s snail mail addresses.


AthenaC April 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm


And I see from below that I’m not alone. I have very dear friends who have been invited guests to my house several times and whom I would definitely invite to my wedding (if I were to have one), but I have no idea even where they live or even how to get ahold of them. Someone in our social group who knows their phone numbers will call / text them and let them know to come to our house on a particular evening. So if I were to send invites to them, it would take some detective work, since no one in our group knows their address. With the frequency of get-togethers either at our place or someone else’s, we all see each other enough that it doesn’t really matter if we have each others’ phone numbers or not.


Decimus April 2, 2013 at 12:11 am

I have moved about once a year or two for the past five years or so. Three years ago I lived in three different states in one year. My friends contact me via email or phone and we met at other places. Asking for addresses seems reasonable and not a per se warning sign. But it’s probably best to just assume you aren’t invited unless they specifically tell you you are invited.


Bint April 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm


I genuinely don’t understand how this even works. Don’t you ever have to post anything to them? Don’t you send cards? Does everyone you know live really close to you?

Doesn’t this drive you up the wall?

I am totally astounded. I have never encountered this to this level in my life.


Jenn50 April 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm

No, our family aren’t really card-senders, and I seldom send packages. Most people I know are perfectly happy to communicate electronically, so it’s pretty rare for me to need a mailing address. I know some people consider electronic communication cold and informal, but I see it as an evolution, not worse. I honestly cannot remember the last time I used the postal service.


Bint April 2, 2013 at 4:30 am

I do communicate electronically. I just know people’s addresses. So does everyone else I know. So do all the kids I know. “Where does your friend Lucy live?” “She lives on Willow Street, number 56”. A very young kid may not know, or people may not have the exact house number to mind (and not the postcode), but otherwise they do, unless you get the odd person who just doesn’t remember that kind of thing.

I’m just fascinated because I suspect this is a cultural difference I’ve never encountered.


Kai April 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

Bint, how old are you?
If you’re under 30, and everyone you know knows everyone’s addresses, where do you live? As apparently, it is a change moving at different speeds in different places.


Agania April 1, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I totally agree Bint. Hasn’t anyone heard of a personal address book? I don’t know the exact address of friends I visit often but I’m a stickler for birthday cards via snail mail. Call me old fashioned!


KarenK April 2, 2013 at 9:04 am

There’s no right or wrong to this issue (knowing people’s mailing addresses), but what those of us who do not know the mailing addresses of friends and family are saying is that the HC having to ask for the OP’s address is not in and of itself an indication that they are not close enough to the OP to invite him/her to the wedding.


admin April 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

For all those commenters stating that they have no idea what the physical address is of friends and family, you concern me. You have no address to plug into a GPS and if there were some emergency happening at friend’s house, there is no way for you to effectively inform emergency personnel where to go. You don’t send holiday greetings, notes of thanks or condolences. You don’t order flowers to be delivered or direct purchased gifts to be mailed to anyone. Your “affection” for your friends is totally ethereal and pixelated across internet networks with no tangible, material expressions of care. With information technology so ubiquitous, addresses can be easily stored in email toolboxes and phone apps for easy access but many of you in this thread claim to have no addresses at all which seems both foolish and lazy to me.

Kate April 2, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I love birthday cards too, but if a friend is close enough for a birthday card I’ll give it to them in person. I don’t send people packages or flowers because I’m a uni student and I’m not made of money.

Kai April 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

Do, I never have anything to post to my friends. No.
No, I never send cards.
Cards are a waste of paper that you read once and then recycle. I’m either close enough to the friend to actually meet them and give them my birthday wishes, or at least call, or I’m not.
The friends who live close to me are the ones I am least likely to have an address for – I know how to get to their home, why need the number?


admin April 2, 2013 at 11:21 am

Why do you need the house number? Try telling the 911 dispatcher how to get to someone’s house using “directions and landmarks” but no house number. You will waste valuable time and make emergency responders’ jobs difficult.

And then we have the age old etiquette rule that wedding gifts should be sent to the bride’s house prior to the wedding. Oh, but wait! You don’t know her street address! So you become one of “those” guests who schleps the gift to the wedding thus forcing the family to haul them back home after the reception.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Wow, Admin. I never bothered to remember my brother’s street address, because he lives a mile away, and I see him all the time. If I’m going to give him a card, I hand-deliver it. The only time I mail something to him is if I’m on vacation, and sending a “wish you were here,” postcard, and then I pre-printed the address labels, or on occasion when I order something for him online, and want it delivered to his house, rather than mine. And in that case, it’s already programmed in on my Amazon account. I just don’t have much call to remember his mailing address.

However, your point about the 911 call really made me re-think the situation. I lost my old address book, and it never really bothered me, because my contact was in person, via phone (numbers programmed) or email (also programmed in). Now I want to go out and get a paper address book again.

Thanks, admin! That is a very wise point you made.

Kai April 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

It’s something I never thought about either until now, but I still can’t think of any situation in which I am not *at* my friend’s house, yet know there is an emergency there and need to call 911 for them.
What situations are people coming up with here?

Mae April 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I agree admin. I know electronic communications are great, but I do keep family and friend’s addresses in an address book at home and in my outlook (email) file at work. My father, his entire family and a good bit of my mother’s family live in another state. I send cards, letters, gifts and flowers a few times a year. My father has so much stuff, I generally send him a differnt, unique bouqet of flowers for Christmas each year. He LOVES it. Once they start to wither, he can trash them and not have to worry about storing it.

I can imagine telling the person I am ordering flowers from to take them to the last apartment of the third building of the second left turn on the third street. Ha! They would roll their eyes and ask for the number and street.

NostalgicGal April 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Deliveries of goods need a physical address.

If you want to use a nav program, you need a physical address.

The Post Office is still afloat at the moment, and anything involving them needs the mailing address, which may or may not be the physical address.

If someone needs to have emergency services dispatched to their place, they need a physical address.

I live in a small town and the usual mapping services use algorythms unless the address is a very very very well known one, and in our town there is more than one ‘street grid’ used (long story due to ‘additions’) and the mapping services are useless for about half the town; so when one needs a package delivery service (big brown truck, white/purple/green van, etc) and they schedule their delivery routes, our address messes up. I have had many places where I wish to purchase stuff, that will refuse to ship because our physical address doesn’t exist according to those map programs. The DEFAULT is to put in the post office’s physical address in… then the local regular route driver knows the town and deals with it from there.

As for if I need emergency services, the locals know the town… (in my case it’s easier to tell them a physical, “know the ‘dip’ on XXX street? Just past the dip going YYY direction, on the ZZZ side of the street. yes that one.”) Still.

Most of my friends… I don’t have their physical addresses or mailing addresses. On the few times I have to send someone something, I have to ask for the address, then copy it from the email onto the envelope or box.

Ms. Admin, respectfully, some weddings they WANT the gifts at the wedding to open them. …


admin April 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Open gifts AT the wedding reception? Horrors! That really does cement the idea that some brides and grooms view wedding gifts as the entrance fee to the wedding and reception and unfortunately elevates gifts to being a crucial element of any wedding event.

Tracy April 1, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I agree with Goldie – the idea that goof friends keep track of each others’ mailing addresses is, unfortunately, outdated. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it’s a true thing, and the idea that you can judge your level of friendship based on knowing where to send snail mail is erroneous.


just sayin' April 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Agreed. Even with close friends whom I visit with often, I don’t know their addresses. I know they live in the yellow house with the white fence off of this street, or the one on the corner by the grocery store, etc. I don’t even know my sisters’ addresses. This is especially true in the case of close friends and family who live far away, if you communicate by telephone or by way of the internet (with Facebook, you only need to know their name and you have several solid ways of contacting them).


Kate April 2, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I agree. I sent out a request for addresses to pretty much everyone on my guest list except close family members. My friends and I tend to meet out at venues rather than each other’s houses, and when I do come to their house to pick them up or something, I usually know it as ‘the apartment building down the end of that street near the milk bar’ rather than Unit X, XX Street, X Suburb.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I don’t know the exact mailing address of my BROTHER. And yes, we are super-close. I go there all the time. I just never mail him anything.

Back in the days when people used snail-mail, they kept address books for all their friends and family. Now, we keep the email addresses, and if we actually need to mail something, we call and tell them. “I’m mailing a package to you. What’s your address?”

Some people are organized enough to keep a full listing of all contact information, but frankly, that level of organization is more rare than you might think.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Admin’s reply about the 911 information really made me change my mind. I’m not saying the situation is not as common as it is. I do agree, now, that everyone should have the physical address for their nearest and dearest, even if they live right next door. Because in the case of an emergency, you may not remember your own house number, let alone your friend’s, so it’s best to have it written down somewhere, where you can read it.


Greencat April 3, 2013 at 12:11 am

I, likewise, do not know the mailing addresses of many of my close friends (except the one who also happens to be my neighbor, but I think that might be cheating.) Many of us live in apartments and the complexes tend to have rather different mailing addresses from the physical location identifier – like, “Building 225, Apartment 101” is actually “12241 Street Name, Apartment 101” as far as the USPS is concerned. Also like other posters, with many people I don’t really think about their street numbers anymore, so much as “I turn here and here and their house looks like that and I should park on the left side of the driveway.” There are also a lot of extremely similar (or identical) street names in the different areas of town, so I’d also need to double check that I had the correct street name, type, and zip code in order to make sure my wedding invitation arrived properly at my friend’s place on N. Smith Street in the University area instead of accidentally inviting some random stranger living on W. Smith Street across town.


Mary April 1, 2013 at 10:54 am

I have to agree with Admin and think it was sloppy planning and execution.It may simply be you were overlooked in the choas of rushing to get invites out. As hurtful as it may be, just accept that you were not invited and let it go.

If you think of them as friends and want to, send them a gift and card (if able to budget-wise) with well wishes and make other plans for the day so you will not spend it dwelling on the fact you are not there. A mani/pedi, massage, or getting your hair done almost always helps you relax or do something fun- go to a amusement park with a friend or ride a zipline.


Cass April 1, 2013 at 10:56 am

One comment on the issue of addresses (which will undoubtedly not help the LW!). I know exactly where my best friend lives, in another town about 35 miles away; I know exactly how to get there and I have rock-solid confidence in our friendship, etc, but I have utterly no idea of her address. It’s possible that this isn’t as good a criteria as it used to be, given that so few people write letters or send packages and therefore don’t need addresses as a general rule of thumb.

It was brought home to me recently how little of that information is necessarily retained any longer when I got a new cellphone, incompatible with my old one, and had to put all the contacts in by hand. I’m normally really good at memorizing phone numbers (I still have a number memorised that have been defunct for 20 or more years) and it struck me that I have no idea what my dearest friends’ phone numbers are any longer because I never actually dial them.

LW, you have my sympathies – it’s a nasty feeling to find out that actually, you weren’t invited to something you’d thought you would be, particularly when some or all of your friendship group is invited. In this case, I wouldn’t go looking for malice, as the situation was presented, and just assume they aimed a little bigger than they managed in the end.


KiKi April 1, 2013 at 11:16 am

I agree with the admin. Unless you know you were invited, you should just plan on not attending and don’t ask. Also, don’t feel bad or left out. Perhaps they weren’t able to invite everyone they wanted to because of budget or venue restraints. Yes, they should not have told you to expect to be invited, but, like the admin pointed out, they may have been caught up in the euphoria of the moment.

However, it is possible that the invite was lost in the mail. I sent one to a couple who were friends of mine several weeks ago. I was finalizing my head count when I emailed them to check on their RSVP (it wasn’t like them not to send it back). They said that they hadn’t received the formal invite, just the save-the-date last year. I apologized (though I’m positive I sent them one) and gave them all the details. If the bride and groom notice you haven’t RSVPd, perhaps they’ll do like I did and correct the error (if it was, indeed, lost in the mail).


Gellchom April 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

In general, I agree with the admin’s thoughts.

In the OP’s case, though, I think she should ask. There are a few factors suggesting that he did intend to invite her, particularly asking for the mailing address. That not only shows that at least at the time she was to be invited, it gives her a green light to ask a question that would otherwise be a no-no – albeit just barely, so extreme caution and tact are necessary, to the point of building a graceful “out” for the groom right into the question.

I disagree about asking for mailing addresses being a sign that the host isn’t very close to the guest. My daughter recently became engaged, and I as soon as she triple-checks the list of relatives to be invited, I will send out emails and make phone calls to get current addresses. I’ll start with the list from our son’s wedding, just a year and a half ago, but right off the top of my head I can think of several people who have definitely or probably moved, or are about to, especially young people and elderly people — including our best friends, my favorite aunt, and my niece and nephew. And although I am very fond of several of my dughter’s close friends, I have no idea what their current addresses are in their new cities, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t, either.

But the main point here is well taken. I especially cringe when I see people announce their wedding plans on Facebook. I understand that they are used to sharing what they’re up to on Facebook. They describe their craft project and their vacation plans, so it seems natural to do the same with a wedding. But it’s still the huge faux pas of discussing a social event in front of people you aren’t going to invite. My cousin even put “save the date!” on her Facebook page. I’m sure she didn’t invite all her FB friends.


Sarah Jane April 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I agree with this…I look at someone’s asking me for an address to which to mail the invite as a sort of informal invitation in itself. I think she has every right to ask him if there is a possibility that he mailed an invitation to said address just in case it’s been lost.

If he has changed his mind and is embarrassed, well, he deserves to be.


Kimstu April 1, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Agree as well. A host who says “please send me your address so I can mail you an invitation” is a host who is implicitly saying “you are invited”. I think the OP is entitled to inquire tactfully whether that implied invitation still holds good.

However, the key word here is “tactfully”. The Admin is dead right that a lot of people just have slop for brains when it comes to managing guest lists. So it is highly likely that the OP’s friend is now trying to back out of that implied invitation or has just plain forgotten that he ever intended to invite the OP at all.

At most, the OP could casually inquire by email (not putting the friend on the spot in person or on the phone), along the lines of “By the way, last June (or whatever) you asked me for my address so you could send me a wedding invitation, but the invitation never actually arrived. Let me know if you’re still expecting an RSVP from me, but if the plans have changed in the meantime, I totally understand!” That’s not fishing for an invitation, that’s gently reminding somebody who already offered you an invitation that they need to follow through on the paperwork.

Yes, if the OP’s friend really changed his mind about sending the OP an invitation after telling her he would, that was very rude. However, this guy sounds like someone who might very well have simply forgotten that the OP’s invitation was never sent and is just assuming that she didn’t reply to it. It would be a pity if the OP missed her friend’s wedding due to nothing but a careless misunderstanding on his part.

Still, wedding hosts really ought to make the effort not to let any such careless misunderstandings happen in the first place. A wedding isn’t like a casual evening out with the gang where if somebody gets overlooked or left out then you can just invite them next time. Wedding hosts are entitled to keep their guest lists small and to modify their original wedding plans if necessary, but they shouldn’t bait-and-switch people by informing them that they’re on the guest list and then failing to do anything about it.


AthenaC April 2, 2013 at 10:02 am

I like your phrasing because it puts the focus on the convenience of the hosts rather than the feelings of the potential guest – “Let me know if you’re still expecting an RSVP from me.”


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm

For the wedding of Cordelia Drexel Biddell, it happened that an entire box of invitations were written out and addressed, and then never brought to the post office. They were later found in a closet.

Sometimes, you just HAVE to enquire. Tact is the important thing.

In the case of of the Biddell wedding, the groom’s mother asked, because they were invitations for the groom’s relations. Perhaps you could enlist the aid of one of the other friends who DID receive an invitation. “Sarah tells me she hasn’t received an invitation yet. I thought she was going to get one, since we’re part of the same circle of friends and we all got those save the date cards. Did her invitation get lost, or did you have to cut back from when you sent out the save the date cards?” Make sure it is a TACTFUL friend doing the asking, and one who is close to both you and the groom. And please don’t take it hard if you were cut. Weddings get crazy, and sometimes the most unexpected people become casualties of the “guest list wars.”

However, it is possible that the invitation was not mailed, mislaid, or even lost in the postal system.


Kate April 2, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I agree with this. I wouldn’t be asking for the address of people I did not plan on inviting.


Kai April 1, 2013 at 11:36 am

While I don’t disagree with your assessment of the invitation question, I think you might be not familiar with the younger generation in terms of addresses.
Young people today are not in the habit of sending letters, and thus, do not need their friends’ full addresses. If a friend moves away, we generally communicate by email, or for those even younger and further ahead than me, I hear email isn’t even used any more in the face of facebook and its messaging, and twitter links. I doubt the average person under thirty would know the postal code of more than one of her friends.
I got married a couple years ago, and although I know where all my friends live, I just know how to drive to their homes. Many of them, I have been driving to for long enough that I don’t pay attention to the house number, and I don’t remember the street. And again, I’ve never known anyone’s postal code.
I had to email all my friends and ask for their complete addresses to send them an invite. Anyone that has moved out of town, I just know their city. Even the two I’ve visited since they moved away, I knew their address once to drive to their house (or from the airport to their house), but I didn’t write it down at the time, and only remember the general area.

For a young person getting married today, asking for addresses doesn’t mean you’re not a good friend – it just means the couple is traditional enough to send physical invitations.


Filiagape April 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Side note. The fact that he had to ask the address does not mean they are not close. My daughter has many very close friends whose addresses she doesn’t know. She can’t even tell me on which street they live, but put her in a car and she can drive right there. Today’s young people don’t use “snail mail” addresses for anything but wedding invitations…and sometimes not even then. Evite?


Jay April 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

After college, one of my college friends wanted to invite me to her wedding (which would’ve been a plane flight away for me). She asked for address 3 months in advance. Never heard from her and forgot about it. A week before the wedding I get a call asking why I haven’t RSVPed, and am I coming? I say I never got an invitation. She reads back the address she sent to, and the number, streetname, and zip code were all a bit off. I probably couldn’t have gotten there anyway, but certainly not at at that point…


No Wedding April 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Yeah I agree with a lot of the other posters so far. I know exactly how to get to my best friend’s house, I know the street name, no idea the house number. Same for her last place. Christmas card season is about the only time I ever mail anything, so that’s the time of year I’m calling to update my address book – “I know you moved, what’s your address again?”

Thinking about all my friends’ houses I’ve been to that I couldn’t tell you their address (but I could tell you the area of town/landmarks/etc. how to get there) – I just realized, I don’t know my FIANCE’s address!


AthenaC April 2, 2013 at 10:06 am

Well clearly your fiance is not as close to you as he thinks you are and he should probably not expect an invitation to your wedding. 😉


NostalgicGal April 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm


I’m sure that NoWedding knows where he lives though, and he knows where she lives. I’m betting that invitation is a hand-delivery in person. 🙂


Bint April 1, 2013 at 1:36 pm

The fact one friend had to hassle the groom to pin him down suggests this couple is sloppy to the point of rudeness and certainly inconsiderate. The fact he didn’t seem to mind her doing this suggests he has not grasped why this lack of organisation is so bad-mannered.

There is a good way to find out who’s been invited though. If they’re your friends, just ask, “Did you get an invitation to X’s wedding?” Why wouldn’t you do that? Seems pretty straightforward. Plus you’re assuming that everyone else has been invited. I bet they haven’t. I bet quite a few are in the same position as you. Just ask around. This is not fishing. It’s fine.

In your place, I wouldn’t be too upset about not being invited. Someone who basically says you’re invited then doesn’t follow it up and shows no consideration for your plans isn’t someone whose ‘special day’ I’d be that sad to miss.

On the whole ‘not knowing postal addresses’ thing…this has got to be cultural. I honestly don’t know anyone like this from 12 upwards. I just don’t. All kids I know know their friends’ addresses. So do all my mates.


Jenny April 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Something similar happened to me when my cousin was married. I had received no invitation a month before the wedding, so I assumed I was not invited – Until I received a text message asking for my address so an invite could be mailed to me, I was also urged to RSVP as soon as possible so the caterer could be informed. I supplied the address and still received no invitation. A week later, I received another text message stating that regrettably it was too late to mail me an invitation but if I gave him my email address, I would receive an e-vite, and again I was urged to RSVP as soon as possible for the caterers benefit. I received no E-vite and as such neither RSVP’ed nor attended the wedding – now I’m wondering if I was rude to not RSVP to a wedding which I was never actually invited to?


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Why didn’t you just call them, and speak to them?

I am a great advocate for the telephone call when there is any danger of miscommunication. Face to face is best, phone is second best, email and texting are third, because you cannot fully express tone in written communication. Business schools teach this all the time, and unless you just really need that paper trail, you should have your communication be face-to-face or via phone, as often as possible.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about waiting for a response, or whether it was lost en-route.

Now, I am not a phone chatter. I like to get on, get my business done, and get off. But I fully agree with the business world on this. Even for personal matters, if you have a specific task to perform, a question that needs answering, an appointment to make, do it in person, either face to face or on the phone.


June First April 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I wonder if this was a text sent to multiple people at once…


Catrunning April 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Who hasn’t been taught that you never discuss a social event in front of those who are not to be invited to that event? I always thought that was basic manners. Well, I guess engaged couples are the exception to that rule. They believe that their upcoming wedding is the most pressing subject on earth, and consequently drag everyone they know into the details of planning and execution. So naturally, having “lived” the forthcoming wedding for months, if not years, their audiences assume an inviation is forthcoming, and when it isn’t, hurt feelings naturally result. It gets worse when some members of friendship groups are invited and others are not – that really makes you feel excluded. What is it about the narcissism of planning your “special day” that turns some otherwise nice people into insensitive and even cruel people? It would be fascinating to do a psychological study on that.

I have run into especially venal brides and/or their mothers who I believe deliberately keep everyone dangling just so more people can be invited to showers and other gift-giving activities that they otherwise would not attend had they known they were among the “uninvited”. Only later do their hapless victims find out there was never an intent to invite them to the actual wedding.


Kimstu April 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Swoon-a-RAMA! There is hardly ANYTHING tackier than inviting someone to a wedding-related GIFT-GIVING event if you don’t intend to invite them to the actual wedding. That shouts loud and clear, “You’re all right as a humble provider of tribute but not good enough for us to spend serious money entertaining you”. Crass, crass, crass.

However, I’m more lenient about the social “leaking” of wedding plans. Guest lists can be limited for any number of reasons, and nobody except perhaps immediate family members is entitled to assume they’re going to be invited to a wedding unless they’ve been explicitly told they will be. I agree that engaged couples should not insist on discussing details of their weddings with other people, invited or not, but I don’t think it’s terrible if some of their plans end up being topics of casual conversation in their social circle, even if some members of that social circle aren’t on the guest list.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm

When my friend and co-worker was busy planning her son’s wedding, I enjoyed hearing the details, but never expected an invite. I suppose it all depends on *how* the detail-discussion is done.


Lakey April 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm

OP, even if you weren’t invited, don’t take it personally and feel sad about being left out. Wedding receptions are expensive and many couples simply can’t afford to invite everyone they want, especially if they have a large number of family members. It is much better that they accept the fact that they can’t invite a large number of people, than their getting the bright idea to charge people to attend, or set up websites for people to “donate”.


Bint April 2, 2013 at 4:34 am

This might be valid had the groom not already *asked for her address* to invite her! This couple needs to organise themselves – their behaviour is awful.


Shoegal April 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I just don’t think you can ask about it. If you weren’t invited – and doubtless it is because of space of financial constraints more than anything else – you have just put the groom in a very awkward position. If your invitation was lost in the mail and it was due to sloppiness – it is unlikely the situation will be fixed if they can’t get the guest list/ addresses correct at the get go. Perhaps asking a close friend to inquire on your behalf is the way to go. They can say something like “I asked Maryann about her plans for the wedding and she said she wasn’t invited. I just wanted to double check if that was actually the case.”

As for the address, I don’t know the correct mailing addresses for my own brother and sisters without checking with them but I can drive to all of their houses. I would certainly invite them to my wedding and they know it.


--Lia April 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Here’s a way you could find out. The bride and groom have never mentioned the wedding date and time to you directly, right? You’ve only found out through the grapevine. So officially, as far as you’re concerned, your old friends are available for a movie that night. You could call them up, say it’s been a while since you’ve all gotten together, and invite them over, maybe for that weekend or the week after. Then wait. They might say “don’t be silly. That’s our wedding. Didn’t you get the invitation?” Or they might say “that’s not a good time for us. We’re busy. Let’s get together some time next month.”

I’m not actually recommending that because it puts them on the spot and makes them uncomfortable. That’s not what etiquette is about, but it would work. I would recommend letting this one go. If you were supposed to be invited and would like to go, do the noble thing and skip this celebration. You’ll get together with your friends some other time. If your friends skipped your invitation for one reason or another, even because they’re that disorganized, do the noble thing and get together with them some other time. You can’t lose with being being noble.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Lia – Sneaky! I like it, if they are local, and the type of friends you call up to invite to movies and the like.

Alternately, if they are the type of friend you can be upfront with, you might call up the groom, and say, “I got the save the date card, and I’m still saving the date. However, if I don’t need to save the date, anymore, please let me know, so I can make alternate plans.” It would be gracious to add, “By the way, I got your gift! Do you want me to mail it to _____ address, or should I send it somewhere else?”

If you don’t feel close enough to them to actually want to send them a gift, then you probably shouldn’t worry about attending the wedding, so I highly recommend making THAT choice first, and then checking on the invite only if it’s actually still applicable.


MAGGIE April 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm

If you have several close friends who are going, I might talk to one of them and explain your situation. See if one of these friends might casually mention you to the person being wed. Something like “oh, do you know if so-and-so has rsvp’d? I was thinking we might ride to the wedding together.” You might then find out without embarrassing anyone. Remember though, you might not be on the list simply for budget reasons.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Ah, carpooling is a good reason to ask.


Marozia April 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

The friend that contacted the BGTB was perfectly in the right to do that. Other people have schedules, as well as people planning weddings. A wedding doesn’t mean the world has to stop for everyone else.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get answers.


Cat April 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm

I can’t think of a way to ask if one is invited to a celebration if one has not received an invitation. I would not want to have a conversation in which I would have to be told,”No, you are not invited.”
If your invitation was lost in the mail. someone will probably ask you about your rsvp. That’s the only way I would mention it to them. Otherwise, it’s just something that needs to be one of those hiccups we meet in life.


Karen Tippett April 2, 2013 at 5:52 am

I have to say, when I got married one of my good friends (who I in fact had sent an invitation to) phoned me, feeling very uncomfortable, asking if she was still invited, as I had previously sent her a save the date. She has (unbeknown to me) moved house and her invitation had been lost in the mail. I was so glad that she phoned me to ask, as I hated to think that she was worried that she had been un-invited.
I think that if people have sent save the dates it is OK to (politely) ask them if they still intended to invite you. I see a save the date as a pre invitation, why would you send one to someone you did not intend to invite? It sounds like they are somewhat disorganised with the changes in circumstances.


EJK April 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

I wouldn’t ask; I would assume I’m not invited despite having been asked for my address. It has been a year; we cannot know what sorts of changes have taken place in the planning. Yes, it is not very nice to imply an invitation then not provide it, but it happens.
Also, I don’t know if this is common practice, or if my MOH was simply particularly organized, but she called any non-responders a week or so after the RSVP date to see if there had been any misunderstandings. This tied up any loose ends. Has anyone else heard of/done this? If it is common, there may still be a phone call in your future.


Kimstu April 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Yes indeedy @EJK, all wise wedding hosts will make a point of (politely) chasing down the non-responders in this way—unless, of course, their wedding arrangements and/or budget allow them to be a bit more flexible with the margin of error in attendance numbers.

Alas, too many hosts are too timid to give non-responders even a gentle reminder, and end up just assuming either that people who didn’t RSVP are not planning to attend or that people who didn’t RSVP *are* planning to attend. Either assumption will probably turn out to be at least partly wrong.

Invitations to major social events such as weddings need to be taken seriously, by the issuers as well as the recipients. If you’ve told somebody you’ll invite them then it’s rude not to follow through, and if somebody’s been gracious enough to invite you then it’s rude not to respond. Cluelessness is no excuse.


ali April 2, 2013 at 11:55 am

Stuff happens and something could have happened to the invitation. For example at my brother’s first wedding somehow about 20 invitations didn’t get mailed and in the wedding stress they just assumed the people didnt’ RSVP but were coming. Only they didn’t come. Months later they found the invitations, which had been misplaced and each had assumed the other had mailed them.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:53 pm

This reminds me of my days as an office worker. I can’t tell you how many times someone would call to ask, “Did you get my email?” or “Did you get my fax?”

Some people think this is ridiculous and redundant. However, I also cannot tell you how many times the answer was, “No, please send it again.”

I highly recommend that people planning a large party, with a “Respond by” date, should set that date as early as possible, to allow some time to call the people who have not responded. It may very well be that they did not get the message, in the first place.

Yes, invitations do get lost in the shuffle.

And OP, even if you were cut from the list, please do not think of it as a malicious intent on the part of the groom. We have read here many times of the guest-list wars, and seen how often friends, even good friends, are cut from the list over the objections of the bride and/or groom, who were just not strong enough to fight and win that battle.


Michelle C. Young April 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Do you care about them enough to send a wedding gift? If so, send it NOW. Call the groom to find out the bride’s address, if necessary, as it is proper to send gifts to the bride’s residence before the wedding.

If he says he looks forward to seeing you at the wedding, or wonders why he has not received your response to the invitation, yet, you can say, “Oh, dear! I think my invitation was lost in the mail. Please do confirm that I am on the guest list, and wish to attend.” If he does NOT mention it, then assume that you were not invited.

You do not have to give a gift, just because you were invited. Likewise, you do not have to be invited, to give a gift. You give a gift only if you really care enough to want to give one.


Taylor April 4, 2013 at 2:20 am

How about just plain the idea that they wanted to make sure everyone’s address that they had was correct? I’ve double checked people’s addresses even though they’ve lived in the same place for five years if they’re far away. I want to make sure it goes to the right place. Asking for the address is not “I don’t really care to be close friends with you”.


CountingDown April 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm

S and FDIL graduated from college last year and moved cross-country, and many, many of their friends are in grad school/have recently started jobs, etc. They have had to reach out and get snail mails for almost everyone. That’s just part of the process of assembling invitations.

That said, STDs only went to folks who were absolutely on the invite list. It’s a lot easier to order a few extra invitations for folks we might have forgotten in the hubbub than committing the faux pas of sending an STD to someone who you ultimately do not invite.

When DH and I were married, we had one person contact us about a “lost invitation.” She had gotten hers, but her BF (and DH’s colleague, so he got a separate invitation at his own address) did not. We had indeed invited him, but the address was spelled wrong and never got there.

S and FDIL are still debating whether to have a registry. They don’t care about gifts and just want folks to attend, but feel if they don’t have a registry, people will assume they want cash — and they don’t want money. S & FDIL have good jobs and the prospect of grad student friends sending them checks is horrifying to them.


Kimstu April 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm

@CountingDown: “STDs only went to folks who were absolutely on the invite list.”

Oh dear, we really need a better acronym for “save the date”, don’t we? 😉

Made me think of that old Tom Lehrer song, “I Got It from Agnes”: “…and if you will be my friend, then I might, I just might, give it to you!”


Michelle C. Young April 12, 2013 at 4:09 am

If they want to have a registry so they don’t look like they’re fishing for money, then may I suggest they set up a very tiny registry? Like for new towels and a couple of bath mats?


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