We've all seen the reality wedding shows where the bride gets her dream wedding, which obviously includes 500 of her closest friends and family. The wedding wouldn't be the same without your second grade teacher and your mailman in attendance, right? That sounds like a nightmare, to me, but some brides can't imagine not having every single person in their lives at their wedding.
I had a bride who called me extremely upset because she and her fiancé decided to have a small wedding. When she was telling me the reasons why, I wasn't sure why she was so upset...until she told me that they could only invite 30 people each. As she started making her list, she realized that she would have to "uninvite" many people who assumed they would be at the wedding. The bride was already receiving calls from her friends asking for details about the wedding. She freaked out. She considered booking a bigger venue to accommodate more people but after consulting with her fiancé, they decided to stick with their original vision of an intimate wedding. Believe it or not, this is a very common issue for couples making their guest lists.
Breaking the news to one or two girlfriends that they aren't going to be bridesmaids seems so much easier than telling family, friends and co-workers that they aren't invited at all. Here are a few suggestions I gave to this bride on how to handle this very touchy situation:
First, make a list of the people who you can't live without having at your wedding. Kind of think of it as a boat dinghy and the ship is sinking and you can ONLY save 30 people's lives...yes, it feels this deep. Then make a list of everyone else who you would love to be there but won't "fit in your boat". Your third list should consist of people you feel obligated to invite but don't really care if they're there or not.
Next, sit down with your fiancé and compose an email/letter for your family and friends who didn't make the cut (those one list number two). Let them know how important they are to you and how you wish that you could have them there on your special day but unfortunately, won't be able to. I would explain the desire for having an extremely intimate wedding which doesn't allow for a lot of guests.
The reason you'll need to do this is because most people want to know that they're special to you and that they are important in your life. They'll understand and many hurt feelings will be avoided if you confront the situation before it becomes a problem. No invitation and no explanation will lead to too many problems and possibly drama. There will still be hurt feelings but at least you will have done your part.
Third step, throw away that third list. There is no need to open up the door and explain yourself to people you only feel obligated to invite.