We Can’t Invite everyone to our Son’s Wedding! What Do I Tell My Friends?

Question submitted to Ask Hello50

One of the most exciting times in our lives is when our children get engaged! Planning for the wedding can be so gratifying, however, there can also be a lot of stress when making the arrangements. One area that often causes conflict is narrowing down the guest list. Between the two families and friends, the list can explode in no time! This week, we received a great Ask Hello50 question from Rochelle from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She wants advice about how to communicate with close friends who are not on the guest list to their son’s wedding.

“My son is getting married next April and I have had some good friends assume they are invited to the wedding. I wish we could invite everyone but we can’t. Do I tell my friends ahead of time they will not be invited or just wait for the invitations to be sent out? How do you think I should handle this?”


Women from the Hello50 community shared their thoughts regarding how difficult it can be to finalize the wedding list and what to tell their friends who are not invited.

Here are just a few good reasons why families limit the wedding guest invites:

1) Cost and Budget: The average cost of a wedding is close to $40,000 which can include $100 or more per guest. Some families have limited funds and need to consider the additional expense for each guest.

2) Venue: The bride and groom fall in love with a particular venue but it only holds up to 100 guests. This is their day and as a couple, they decide the venue is more important than inviting distant family members and/or all of their parents’ friends.

3) Experience: The bride and groom do not want to meet new people on their wedding day. Just because you have a tight friend group does not mean they are significant in your son or daughter’s life. As a couple, they want an intimate experience with friends and family who have had an impact on their lives and that might not include your friend group. 4) Wedding or home down payment: Some parents offer to give their sons or daughters money to use for a wedding and funds not used can go towards a home down payment. As a couple, they decide to minimize the cost of wedding so more money is available for a new home. This option can really make an impact on the invites.


As far as communicating with your friends, the consensus is if your friend thinks she will be invited, it is best to gently let them know before the invitations are sent out that she is not on the guest list. Tell her you wish you could invite all of your closest friends, but both families had to come together and make difficult decisions when it came to the wedding list. Ensure her it is not a reflection of how you feel about your friendship but rather due to wedding limitations. It is best to not assign blame or give every criteria that went into making the final list but rather emphasize that they needed to restrict the final wedding guest list. Your friend might have had a similar situation with a wedding or event in the past so she might understand how difficult it is for you to not invite her.


You might also discover that by having this open conversation with your friends, you will relieve unwarranted stress. You can always share details and pictures with them throughout the planning and after the wedding so they feel included in the experience. At the end of the day, your good friend wants you to be happy and will respect decisions that went into your son or daughter’s wedding planning.


Thank you Rochelle for submitting your question. If you are looking for advice, go to the top tab and select Ask Hello50 to submit your question.

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