Inviting one spouse to a wedding.

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Posted 11/21/2012 by Epeanymous in NSBR Board


PeaNut 15,108
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Posted: 11/21/2012 10:50:03 AM
Surely this has been discussed. A friend of mine has been wedding planning and is on a tight budget. She is considering not inviting spouses of guests where she doesn't have an independent relationship with the spouse. I told her I thought that was a bad idea, and that in nearly sixteen years of marriage neither dh nor I have ever been invited to a wedding without the spouse, but I am coming here with two related questions.

1. If it is wrong to do this, why, specifically? I told her that as a practical matter non-invited spouses may not realize they are not invited and will show, or that the invited spouse may now sit out the wedding entirely, and that as an etiquette manner it seems inappropriate to invite only one half of a married couple to a wedding. I do not know if there is a more specific way to explain it, which leads me to--

2. Am I just wrong about this? Is it ok? It has been 10-15 years since that time when all of my friends were getting married--have invitation norms shifted? Or have I been wrong all along?

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Posted: 11/21/2012 10:53:09 AM
1. If it is wrong to do this, why, specifically?

Because it is rude as hell! She'll be offending not only the friends she invites (by excluding their spouses) but obviously their spouses as well, plus she'll be creating a lot of confusion because as you pointed out, people will assume the spouse is invited even if the invite doesn't specifically say.

2. Am I just wrong about this? Is it ok?

I don't think you're wrong and I definitely don't think it's ok. If their budget is so tight, perhaps she ought to rethink having a wedding a at all.

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PeaNut 51,257
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Posted: 11/21/2012 10:54:54 AM
I completely agree with Miz Independent.


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PeaNut 142,772
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Posted: 11/21/2012 10:57:06 AM
My husband was invited to the wedding of someone he worked with. I was friends with his ex wife, so the invite was to him and guest!! Needless to say he or guest didn't go!!


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PeaNut 59,094
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Posted: 11/21/2012 10:59:36 AM
I've never heard of this being done. It's not morally wrong. LOL But it's just not done. Let her do what she wants. But then she has to expect people to decline her invitation.

I understand a tight budget. Really, I do.

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PeaNut 52,841
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:01:52 AM

have invitation norms shifted? Or have I been wrong all along?

Invitation norms have not shifted and you have not been wrong all along. Many people have gotten ruder over the years.

I will say that my DH would much rather not go to a wedding. He hates weddings and only goes to those that are mandatory, like family or a very close friend, so he probably wouldn't attend. I also wouldn't attend if he were not at least invited.

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PeaNut 463,295
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:02:22 AM
It's so ridiculously rude.
A wedding is a celebration of two people who are getting married, becoming a union, a unit. So by not inviting the spouse you're effectively saying that their marriage doesn't matter and they are not a unit. I am not explaining myself correctly I'm sure, but my point is it's rude.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:03:29 AM
Wedding invites to a married couple are a package deal. If she tries this, she'll look terrible to the ones who figure out their spouse is excluded, she'll likely regret it later as she is invited to weddings for the rest of her life noticing it's always addressed to both of them, and finally, this is going to backfire on her and she'll end up with twice as many guests as anticipated as people will bring their spouses anyway, thinking it was an oversight.

Her best bet is to only include a predetermined amount of couples she can afford. If she cannot afford a couple, she can't afford the single spouse either.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:04:09 AM
I agree. I think it's totally rude. I can say, if one of us was invited and the other wasn't, neither of us would bother going.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:07:08 AM
Happened to me. I was invited and SO wasn't. I declined the invite. Funny thing is they knew my SO before they knew me!

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PeaNut 270,034
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:09:27 AM

I agree. I think it's totally rude. I can say, if one of us was invited and the other wasn't, neither of us would bother going.
This. Rude and neither of us would be going.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:19:42 AM
WTH!!!!! Ok, that is weird and very rude. I would be offended if my Husband was invited and I wasn't. Also, if she wants people to dance, they won't. That is the point of going to a wedding with your spouse so you have someone to dance with. A wedding is a romantic time, and I think that is the time to invite all the spouses. I don't think many people would go if their spouse wasn't invited too, I know I wouldn't.

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PeaNut 199,404
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:20:11 AM

The only times I've seen it happen were in regard to co-worker's spouses. We didn't do that for our wedding, but I've been to weddings with a group of co-workers seated together, without spouses, at the reception. Thinking back, I'm sure I've been an invited guest, sans spouse, to at least one co-workers wedding. We were all really young. Maybe that makes a difference?

IMO, life's too short to take offense.
But I wouldn't plan on her guests feeling like I do.

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PeaNut 74,479
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:22:17 AM

Dh was invited to a wedding without me when he was my DF after 6 years of dating. His family was invited and his sister and her SO were invited (but she was 'MOH). Dh asked if I could come (he was that close to the family that he felt he could ask). They said I could come to the ceremony. We went to the ceremony (it really meant a lot to dh) and then he took me for a fancy dinner. 3 months later the family called and apologized. When we got married we got a great guilt gift.

I got invited to a friend's wedding w/o dh. They were on a major budget. I was friends with both the bride and groom. I didn't get mad and I wasn't offended. I felt honoured that they include me. But I was worried I'd be uncomfortable without dh since I didn't know who else I'd sit with/talk with. I'm not great in social situations. So I said no and thought they'd be able to invite someone else's spouse since I wasn't going.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:25:51 AM

Now, DH and I were both invited to a co-worker of his wedding, but only he went. DD was just about six weeks old, and the last thing I wanted to do was try to find something appropriate to wear that fit, pack up all the kids' things so they could stay with a grandparent, and go to a wedding of someone I don't even know. DH was cool with it.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:26:12 AM
I don't think it would go over well. She may not be friends with the spouse, but at a wedding a married couple should be invited together.

People will not know that the spouse isn't invited and will make plans accordingly.

I would not attend a wedding w/o my husband unless I had really good friends there whose spouses would also not be there and it would only be an afternoon, not a wedding I would have to travel for.

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PeaNut 146,398
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:29:14 AM
No, not done. In my world (which may not be yours LOL), spouses and cohabitating SO's must be included.


PeaNut 172,235
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:30:08 AM
It'll be a way or another. If the budget really is that tight then I'd say only invite less people altogether.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:31:12 AM
I haven't read all of the responses yet, but the ONLY time I'd consider that appropriate is if I were inviting all of my coworkers as a group. Outside of that, I think she needs to invite an entire married couple or not at all.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:36:58 AM
I don't think it's great etiquette for sure. But I don't think I'd decline an invitation based solely on whether or not my husband was included on it.


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PeaNut 25,268
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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:41:17 AM

the ONLY time I'd consider that appropriate is if I were inviting all of my coworkers as a group. Outside of that, I think she needs to invite an entire married couple or not at all.

These are my thoughts on the subject, as well.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:46:24 AM
I can't think of a wedding that I have been to that I would want to go solo to. If it was just an invite to me and dh wasn't included, we would either a) not notice and both end up going or notice and would decline.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:58:07 AM
If she can't afford to have the reception she dreams of, then she needs to cut back on her magicial magical dress, her magicial magical hair, her magicial magical honeymoon, her magicial magical prime rib and her magicial magical 13 attendants.

She could also pare back on just the amount of ppl she invites. When we got married, it was immediate family, aunts and uncles. I didn't invite any first cousins which might have pissed them off but since I hadn't seen them in a decade I figure I'm in the clear.

Yes, it's horribly rude, and as someone said, to celebrate a day of love and marriage by telling you to leave your own spouse at home is rude as hell. If you invited me and told my husband to stay home, I'd not only stay home with him, but I wouldn't even send you a card.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 11:59:08 AM
I don't know what the norm is nowadays but I find it inconsiderate. I personally wouldn't go if my spouse could not go.
My DS is getting married in May and I am glad that they are not doing this. Adjust the budget somewhere else or don't invite them at all.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 12:02:04 PM
You might want to explain to the bride to be that she might know everyone at the wedding, but chances are, there will be people that don't know anyone else, and to have their spouse or a guest with them will give them someone to sit with and talk with, and heck.. even DANCE with.

I think it's very rude to invite one but not the other. If she's that tight for funds, then she needs to pare down her guest list or just have it family only.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:05:35 PM
I think it's odd but not unexpected in this day of "it's our wedding, we'll do what we want," "it's all about the bride and groom."

It may be their wedding, but they are also hosts. Be a gracious host and a beautiful bride.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:10:41 PM
This will cause hard feelings. Do not do it.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:29:13 PM

I have been invited to a couple of weddings where my name was the only name on the invitation. In both cases I was friends with the bride and she knew I was married but invited only me.

One wedding I went to, and the other I didn't. I thought it was VERY rude to not include my husband, but I didn't ask in either situation if he could come because that would have been equally as rude.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:39:59 PM
When I got married I was 24 and had not been to any other weddings. I did invite one person who was married and only invited her and the rest of my workmates were single so I only invited them. I sat my work friends together and they all came (including the one who was married). I hope I did not offend her-it was not intentional and did not know at the time how hat would be perceived.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:46:13 PM
I find it incredibly rude to invite only one spouse. If it is not in the budget, then invite less people overall or get married by the justice of the peace.

If I received an invitation that only invited me, I would decline it.

How many people want to attend a wedding by themselves when they are married?

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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:51:39 PM
Extremely rude. The bride needs to either pare back on the scale of her wedding/reception, or cut back on the number of invited guests.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:52:41 PM
It depends on how I know the person.
Recently, I was invited to a wedding (of someone I know through church - my Dh does not attend with me) and it was addressed only to me. This made sense as I know that they don't know my husband, and so only I went (my Dh had other plans that day anyway.)
When I got to the reception, clearly it was set that it was assumed that my Dh would be accompanying me. It was fine, and I had a perfectly lovely time with my friends, but I thought it was unusual to have assumed he'd be there when he wasn't on the invitation.
Which is all a long way to say it goes both way, I guess.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 1:59:32 PM
That is about as tacky as it gets. If you can't afford to invite the spouses of your guests, go to the courthouse, get hitched, and be done with it.



PeaNut 543,185
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Posted: 11/21/2012 2:07:02 PM
My answer is rude to not invite spouses. I know I'll get it for this one but to me the weddings today are all about the gifts and the dress up. A wedding should be for close family members and friends...not the neighbor down the street because they know your parents. If you don't like Uncle Joe...don't invite him. From the money spent on lots of weddings a couple could have a good nest egg or they could buy the items they really want. Dream weddings are too over the top. Spendinf hundreds of dollars to go to a wedding of a relative you've never even met. Wouldn't it be better to visit at another time when you could actually spend time with that person instead of "Hi, I'm your cousin." Move on down the line,and maybe see the bride or groom one more quick time when they thank you for coming ans it meant so much. Then they wouldn't even recognize you if they ran into you on their honeymoon. Have a small gathering of the people who really matter to you and all those uninvited guests will be relieved to spend time with their families instead of working their weekend into your plans. Nuff said.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 2:09:50 PM
I would cut my guest list in half before I even thought of not inviting spouses of guests.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 2:22:13 PM
I was invited to a wedding once and DH was not. It was an old family friend who I had known since early years and then not really seen from the end of high school till her wedding. I had stayed in touch with her parents though (She had moved interstate right after high school)

Anyway - she returned here for her wedding. I had never met her DH to be and she had never met my DH. I was telephoned by the mother and asked whether I, or DH, would be offended if, because of numbers being tight, the invitation was only extended to me.

I didn't mind. Dh could not have given a rats arse either.

So - in some circumstances I do think it is OK but in general I would have to say rude.


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Posted: 11/21/2012 2:27:03 PM
Oh, that would not work for me. If she has to trim her guest list, so be it, but to only invite the wife or husband, depending on which one she knows, that's really not acceptable.


PeaNut 300,909
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Posted: 11/21/2012 3:51:16 PM
Whats wrong with the couple?

I have had this happen many times.

First time it was a beard marriage, between a lesbian and a gay guy. They thought they would have babies at some time. The marriage didn't last. They both eventually came out.

Second time it was between a sterile gay guy and his beard. They both wanted bio children. They are still together but both have long term partners no children. It turned out she was sterile too. *sigh.*

Third wedding it was for a green card.

4th was for inheritance.

I have never been to normal wedding where one guest was uninvited. Fake weddings it's pretty standard. If I get an invite for just me my first reaction is what is wrong? Are they marring for inheritance to avoid having to pay for IVF? Companionship. A green card?

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PeaNut 175,521
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Posted: 11/21/2012 4:03:38 PM
How many people is she having?

We had a tiny wedding--20 people. That's all the room would hold. I only invited family and my BFF was my MOH. Her husband was invited. DH's family members all live very far away, and he had a few friends he wanted but inviting any spouses would have bumped another friend from the list. He invited 4 friends with no spouses. He talked to them up front about it. Everyone who was invited came. Nobody seems to have had any hard feelings. Because it was so small, I think people were honored to have been asked to participate.

If the list was 100 people it would be a different story.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 4:11:11 PM
hum. this gal needs to rethink her reception. Tea and tea sandwiches, mini-cookies, and wedding cake would do for a reception.

later in the evening they could a nice dinner with close family.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 4:28:30 PM

But I don't think I'd decline an invitation based solely on whether or not my husband was included on it.

I wouldn't either. But the problems it would cause (hard feelings, misunderstandings, declines) would not be worth it.

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Posted: 11/21/2012 5:29:17 PM
Obsidian, your post was cracking me up!

I've never been to a fake wedding - I know people who have had fake marriages, but they didn't invite anyone else to participate.

If I ever get an invite that excludes my DH, I will now wonder...
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