my boss thinks I’ll invite her to my wedding, but I don’t want to

A reader writes:

I’ve been reading your blog for months now with varying degrees of delight and sympathetic chagrin, but I never thought I’d have a question for you myself. I just moved from a staff position in one library in my university to a faculty position at its sister library. I’m also getting married in the fall. That’s where the problem comes in…

I worked at the first library for several years and am very close to many of my coworkers. We often spend time together outside of work and I couldn’t imagine getting married without them in attendance. It’s a very relaxed, supportive kind of work environment. The sister library, however, is much more rigid and structured, I haven’t been there very long, and, most importantly, the director is abrasive and difficult to get along with. She can be a fun person when she wants to be but I’ve also seen her make people cry in meetings (more than once). I don’t want her at my wedding both because I couldn’t relax around her and because some of my coworkers from the first library would likely NOT come if she was on the guest list. The director, however, is quite excited about the wedding and clearly expects an invitation.

I don’t want to offend anyone, but I don’t want to have to cave in to pressure on my wedding day by having some one who makes me feel on-edge and uncomfortable there. I also don’t want to leave out people who I care about a great deal (my former coworkers). This is a hugely sticky situation and I’m not sure how to tactfully proceed. Any advice would be welcomed!

Ugh. Ideally, the first time you noticed that the director seemed to be expecting an invitation, you would have mentioned that you were having a small wedding … or having a small wedding and not inviting many people from work … or that you’d already finalized the guest count before changing jobs and can’t get any more in the venue, blah blah blah.

Is it too late to do that now? Have you implied that she’ll be getting an invitation, or could you use one of the explanations above?

Or might you be able to have plausible deniability if you just didn’t invite her and didn’t address it unless she asks you directly? (Probably not, but without knowing more about exactly what’s been said, it’s worth throwing out there.)

But if you’ve said or done anything that has encouraged her to think that she’ll be invited … well, then I think you probably should suck it up and invite her. Yes, I know it’s your wedding, but when you let someone think they’re getting an invitation to something, you do create a social obligation, and that would be true whether she was your boss or not.

The other alternative would be not to invite anyone from work, because then you could issue a blanket “we had to trim our guest list and couldn’t invite coworkers” … but you want to invite your other coworkers, and it seems silly to not invite people who you want there just in order to avoid inviting someone who you don’t want. (And if they won’t come because she’s there, well, that’s a crappy reason not to go to someone’s wedding.)

And for whatever it’s worth, just because she’s abrasive and difficult to get along with at work doesn’t mean that she’s going to be awful at your wedding. Plenty of people are quite different outside work, and if she’s this excited about the prospect of attending, she’s probably happy for you and won’t go around making people cry while you’re on the dance floor or interrupt toasts to criticize that work you turned in last week. (Unless you think she is truly a vindictive sadist, in which case you can revert to one of the excuses above.)

I don’t know, I’m of the school of thought that says life is messy and weddings with more than two guests are messy and any attempts to make them otherwise are fated to result in failure, and we might as well embrace the messiness and cede some control and we’ll be happier for it.

What do others think?

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 295 comments… read them below }

  1. k*

    This is one of the few times I strongly disagree with AAM.

    Just as there is no obligation to get anyone gifts at any sort of birthday/wedding/other celebration, there is no obligation on the part of anyone to invite people to that celebration, no matter that the OP might not have expressly said anything to clarify her plans for wedding invites. I think the question is more how to handle the possibility that this supervisor could express displeasure at office, before and/or after the wedding. I’m not sure what the right answer is, except to come up with a brief one-liner like, “I’m so sorry we had to make some difficult decisions about the guest list” and maybe add on something about budget constraints, the way you might respond to a disappointed friend or other colleague.

    1. Ess*

      Totally agree with you, K – weddings aren’t a free for all for anyone who thinks they should get an invite. Unless you’ve specifically said “the invite is in the mail!” or sent a save the date there is no obligation to invite anyone. Your wedding is a special day for you and your future spouse, don’t invite someone that a. you don’t want there and b. would cause you distress.

    2. Jamie*

      What kind of person assumes they are invited?

      I have a co-worker who is also a friend who’s getting married. For the last year she’s talked to me about the wedding prep, guest list, who she is inviting from work and I still didn’t assume I was on the list until the invitation arrived.

      Which may be weird, but that’s me.

      1. some1*

        “What kind of person assumes they are invited?”

        Some people get really, really hurt over this kind of thing. I have co-workers who get offended about not getting invited to Happy Hours or parties on the weekends of co-workers they aren’t even close to. I don’t get it, either.

          1. Anonymous*

            That’s very true, but you still have to deal with the fallout. Just because the OP is within her rights to not invite the boss, doesn’t mean the boss isn’t going to get wounded. Just because the boss has no basis to feel wounded doesn’t mean the boss isn’t going to act out.

            There’s what *should* happen and what is *likely* to happen, and the consequences could be eternal.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          I KNOW.

          I had only 50 people at my wedding. I had one coworker in particular who really, really expected an invite and kept asking about it. I kept telling him no, we weren’t even having any family beyond immediate family, and he STILL KEPT ASKING. I think it’s because he came from a huge family that has huge weddings (I come from a huge family but refused to have a huge wedding), and he couldn’t conceive that “not invited to wedding” didn’t mean “I don’t actually like you.”

          OP, this is harder because it’s your boss, but unless you’ve already indicated to your manager that you’re planning to invite her, there are some steps you can take to manage the issue. First, DO NOT deliver any invitations at the office. Mail them, even to coworkers who are in the same physical location as you, so that your boss won’t see an invitation in someone else’s hands. Second, ask your coworkers who are invited not to talk about your wedding at the office (and don’t YOU talk about it, except to say things like “it’s going to be really small” and “Ugh, my parents told me I have to cut another ten friends from the guest list”). Third, when you do get hitched and bring in photos to show the office, make sure you show only photos of the two of you and perhaps your bridal party (if it’s small). No photos that show how large the party is in any way!

          1. Katie the Fed*

            I am so not into weddings, and if/when I do have one I want it to be very small and only include people who are very close/important to me/husband. That means excluding some of the trashy family members who will only drink excessively and embarrass me, and generally aren’t part of my life otherwise.

            1. Jamie*

              I tried to elope both times.

              Maybe next time (kidding, kidding)

              Seriously though, weddings rival software for scope creep…more like scope gallop.

                1. Jamie*

                  I am not rich, but I am employed…I’m also an orphan with no interest in politics.

                  Are you trying to auction me off? :)

                2. The gold digger*

                  Jamie, I didn’t think you were available. However, the BBC did just do a very interesting article on polyamorous relationships. I would be quite happy for my husband to pick up a sisterwife for me. Are you a good cook?

            2. Tina*

              On my side of the invite list, I invited one aunt, and that was it for outside my immediate family. She’s the only one I have a relationship with. And some of the relatives I outright dislike and won’t even let on my Facebook page, so I was flat out not inviting them. That meant my mother’s entire side of the family. When I told her that I wasn’t inviting them, she said “well I didn’t think you wanted a ho-down” lol.

        2. Tasha*

          I admit to being sad when 5-10 other people are in a room at work and they arrange a long itinerary of fun things they’re going to do right after leaving, then invite everyone except me. But I’m the new person in a crowd of people who have been there 1-6 years, and taking offense won’t magically make me have a fun evening. So I keep it to myself and spend the evening reading.

          Outside of the everyone-else-gets-invited scenario, I see no reason to feel offended, much less take offense out loud.

          1. Pussyfooter*

            I’m not sure where I was “taught” this, but I always understood that it’s equally bad form to either invite oneself to somebody else’s social occasion, or for them to discuss what you are excluded from in front of you.
            It is twinge-inducing sometimes <:'(

            1. Jamie*

              I think we were all taught this in K-1st grade when we were told that if we weren’t inviting the whole class invitations should be delivered outside of school.

              And the not discussing it part – that’s just common courtesy if it’s something they can expect or would want to be invited to. So yes, it’s rude for an 8 year old to discuss her birthday party in front of another 8 year old who isn’t invited…but my friend can tell me all about the 90th birthday party she’s throwing her gramma since she can assume I won’t be home crying because I was left out.

              1. khilde*

                ” if we weren’t inviting the whole class invitations should be delivered outside of school.”

                I’ve even heard some of my friends with grade school aged kids say that the teachers say no parties at all – even if you were going to invite kids “offline” and it doesn’t overlap or even touch school time. I think it’s crazy that teachers get involved in that level of detail to veto personal parties? I think the reasoning from the teacher is that it makes the teacher’s life miserable to deal with the fallout of uninvited kids at school. Then again, I’ve never been a teacher of young children and never been the parent of a left-out, hurt kid. So perhaps I’d feel differently. Still…it seems a bit overzealous.

          2. Claire*

            “Getting offended won’t magically get me invited.” What a great way to look at it! Relationships happen naturally and it can inhibit them to force them. Hopefully, after some time you’ll start receiving invites. If not, maybe they aren’t interesting people anyway.

            For the record, I think it’s horrible to makes plans in front of people and then exclude them. But kudos to you for being mature and reasonable about it.

            1. Zahra*

              And for having lived it, it’s also horrible and rude to invite the *whole* office (say 15 people or so) except one person for lunch. I’ve been that person. I was livid (and did not handle it professionally in the heat of the moment, but I learned from it). If it happened again and I knew where they were going, I’d go and blithely inform them that they must have forgotten to tell me, since *everyone* was there. I probably wouldn’t do it for a wedding, but I would resent it. If you invite everyone from a category except one or 2 people, you open yourself to hurting feelings or getting a colder shoulder.

              1. Rae*

                This. Especially if you’re ordering takeout and having it brought in, and exclude 1 person (especially someone who’s obviously going to see the food being brought in!). :(

        1. Jennifer*

          Hah. I’ve been “save the date!”-ed twice and never received an invitation to the wedding either time. Never assume you’re invited even if you got invited to be invited…or whatever.

          1. Katie*

            Sending a save the date card to someone and not inviting them is so rude! poor you!
            Having said that, I’m of the school of thought that save the dates should only be sent to people who you feel you don’t want to get married without (favourite aunties, best friends etc)

          2. DLB*

            We sent save the dates for our wedding, and of course the invitation. I was calling people who had not RSVPed and found out some invitations got lost in the mail! I was mortified.

      2. Melissa*

        I’m the same way, but you’d be surprised how many people are like that. They assume that just because they know you, they should be invited. I even had people ASK me if they could come, people I hadn’t known for more than a couple months when I got married.

    3. Kristen*

      I agree with K. If you don’t want her there (for any reason, it doesn’t have to be a “good” one), then that’s the end of it. You can certainly decide that it’s worth it not to have to worry about this carrying over to work, but if I were you she’d be out. :)

    4. Kristen*

      I agree with K. If you don’t want her there (for any reason, it doesn’t have to be a “good” one), then that’s the end of it. You can certainly decide that it’s worth it not to have to worry about this carrying over to work, but if I were the OP she’d be out. :)

      1. Also Kara*

        Ditto. “I don’t want to invite her” is, to me, the beginning and end of the story. As has been said, the time for “inviting the whole class” is over. We are adults; some people get invited to things, others don’t. It’s the way of the world. If she doesn’t act right about not being invited, that’s a separate issue, but I’m with you – for my money, she gets left off the invite list.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That’s only my stance if she encouraged her in any way to think she’s invited. If you do that, it’s rude to then not invite the person. If she didn’t, then that’s where my suggested “no invite for you” wording at the start comes in.

      But if she encouraged it? Then I stand by following through.

      1. Josh S*

        Or, when invites go out and the Director’s invite doesn’t exist, you can poke your head in and say, “Hey, I was really hoping to include you at the wedding, but we have more guests from out of town/family members who are planning to attend than I thought, and there simply wasn’t room/budget. I’m really sorry and disappointed that I wasn’t able to invite you.” Or something along those lines.

        Even if OP gave her that impression, there’s still no *obligation*. Things change. Plans change. Budgets change. And saying that “things have changed” can both work as an excuse and soften the disappointment, (hopefully) without any negative boss/underling repercussions.

        1. Anonymous*

          Just be careful. I did this “wish I could invite you” for my wedding and got a few “Oh, don’t worry, I don’t have to eat. I will just mingle. I’m really looking forward to it.”
          What I recommend is starting to say now that you are really sad because you are having to really cut the list, and then boss will (hopefully) get the point when she doesn’t get an invite in the mail. And don’t say much about the wedding other than that. Also, tell coworkers to stop talking about it.

          1. vvondervvoman*

            This is where venue capacity can come in to play–there literally isn’t room to mingle!

        2. fposte*

          Whoa, I’d strongly advise against this. Any direct unsolicited “Hey, we’re having a party but we didn’t invite you” is pretty obnoxious to be the recipient of, even if she didn’t want to come in the first place. And any mention of room or budget conjures up the notion that she lost out over providing a second hors d’oeuvre. If somebody asks, you’re always just having a small wedding with family and old friends, whether it involves 20 people or 2000.

      2. Anonymous*

        So I totally understand this from a different perspective. I’m having a small wedding this winter. I’ve been engaged for two years, and it has taken me forever to plan this tiny affair. Since the day I got engaged I’ve had several people continuously put me on the spot about my wedding (before I had anything planned) and basically tried to pin down an invite from me. I mean literally, “ill be on the guest list right? I definitely don’t want to miss it”. Since I had no idea what I was doing, and being caught totally off guard I would just respond, “of course!”. Now, the wedding has been planned and these people definitely didn’t make the cut. I find myself preoccupied with worrying about how to tell them my wedding plans, and that they’re not included. I know I should have been more honest, but sometimes I get tongue tied when I’m caught off guard. These people are only acquaintances , I could t imagine my predicament if it was a boss! They’re really are some assuming, forward people out there, and for some (like me) its hard to think on your feet when dealing with them. Now I just feel like a super rude person, and honestly cannot wait until my wedding is over so I can forget about. I also hope I never see these people again so I don’t have to feel humiliated about being so rude and not inviting them.

        1. Sadsack*

          No need to feel humiliated. Why would you care so deeply about what someone who is a pushy acquaintance thinks? There have been plenty of great suggestions here for how to respond when you do happen to see these people that should be acceptable to any reasonable person. If the person is unreasonable, then be glad she is just an acquaintance and keep it that way!

          1. Oops (anon above)*

            I’m not the best at social situations so I have a nasty habit of responding to people with what I think I should say, or what I think they want me to say. For some reason I need to think things through before I speak so when some one has a conversation with me (that I’m not expecting) I just start responding how I think I’m supposed to respond. It’s a knee jerk reaction. Whenever I’m walking away I’m like, “why would I agree to do that? That’s the last thing I want to do”! It’s doesnt make much sense because its not me being a people pleaser, it’s me just needing more time to process things then a conversation will provide. In any case, because I’m always responding in a favorable way (from pov of other person) I’m always getting myself into these types of predicaments. I’ve tried so hard to not do it but nothing works! Anyways, sorry for the tangent.

            1. Jamie*

              You have to stop being afraid of silence. Blurting stuff out to fill the void because you think you have to say something will get you in trouble every time.

              There is a lot of power in embracing conversational silences and either letting the other person trip over themselves to fill the void or just waiting until you’ve formulated your thoughts before speaking.

              1. Oops (anon above)*

                Yeah, I need to be more aware of that. Sometimes I feel like I’m just on auto-pilot. Trying to move the conversation forward so I can move on. Nothing against people. I’d just rather be in my head thinking about stuff than conversating with others.

                1. khilde*

                  Maybe develop a couple of non-commital, generic phrases you can whip out in those moments when you feel compelled to respond but haven’t had time to think through the answer. Something like (and said in a neutral, pleasant tone):
                  — I’ll have to think about that
                  — That gives me something to think about!
                  — That’s interesting, I have never thought of it that way before (this is my personal one – it’s non-commital, it’s a legit response, and validates the other person without disagreeing, especially if you end up disagreeing later on. You’ve validated their opinion and that can be helpful).

                  On a side note, the fact that you need time to process information before responding is not a bad thing. It’s a very real characteristic of your personality and there are a LOT of people that need that. Some people come to their conclusions by talking things out (me) and there are others that think it through, come to their conclusion, and then say it. So it’s nothing to feel regretful about. More of us need to shut up and think it through before we respond. :)

              2. Chinook*

                Embracing the silence and let others fill the void (sometimes with incriminating conversation). This more than anything proves you are married to a cop. Since he learned that technique in training (and shared it with me), arguements have gone from verbal to long bouts of us waiting for the other person to crack and say something, anything.

              3. Rana*

                Oh, the power of being comfortable with silence is grand. I was taught it early in my teaching career (when students don’t answer questions right away the natural tendency is to try either answering the question yourself or asking it about ten different ways, neither of which is helpful). Since then I’ve found it useful in all kinds of situations.

                1. Melissa*

                  I learned this early in teaching, too. Especially if you are comfortable with the silence and your students are *not*. Gets them to start talking. But then, my students also learn pretty quickly that I 1) learn names very quickly and 2) am not averse to putting them on the spot by calling on them, so they learn to speak up pretty quickly anyway.

              4. Trillian*

                Alas, people will assume ‘silence means consent’, and just fill your silence with what they want. I’m still working on getting out, ‘No, I don’t agree,’ and ‘No, I can’t,’ even if I can’t get any further into explaining or finding a socially acceptable phrasing. Introvert. Slow processor. Not verbally agile. Drat.

              5. shannon313*

                This is the best advice I ever received from the most intelligent and thoughtful boss I ever had!!! I always pass this along when appropriate. The power of silence is a wonderful skill to master !

              6. Melissa*

                I was just about to say the same thing. Actually, silence can work in your favor a lot of times – people who ask questions like that are *counting* on you to say something just to keep the peace, but if you go silent for a few second coupled with a blank stare that makes it look like you are trying to figure out what they just said, a lot of times they will trip over themselves and help you out. At the very least, you give yourself time to formulate a response – “Oh, I haven’t quite gotten to the guest list yet.”

                I still think the tried and true “We’re having a small wedding with just family and close friends” works well.

            2. KJ*

              You might consider practicing various scenarios with a friend. I find that saying something repeatedly, out loud, with a helpful participant, makes it easier to do when you need to in real life.

        2. Kristen*

          Yes, I worry that the OP will think she may have encouraged by not explicitly discouraging the director’s continued interest. I don’t think that’s terrible because, as you point out, it’s hard to think of a polite refusal on the spot. If she clearly told the director she was invited, then yes it’s rude to renege; otherwise boss is out.

      3. Felicia*

        I don’t know how I got this impression but the director sounded like she assumed she was invited just because the OP mentioned the wedding. I’m not sure how the OP gave her the impression she was invited unless she was speaking about the wedding as if the director would be there (which I don’t think would happen if she was never intending to invite the director) Even when fairly good friends get married I don’t assume I’m invited. I just say congratulations and ask if they have any venue/dress ideas. I good friend of mine got married not long ago and had 10 people there. I wasn’t invited, and I was still very happy with her. With a coworker who wasn’t also like my best friend I’d assume I wasn’t invited then end up pleasantly surprised if I was.

        1. Anonymous*

          It’s easy for someone to get the impression they’re invited without you participating:

          Director: “It sounds like it will be lovely! I can’t wait to go!”

          Bride: [nothing]

          The quick thinking Bride will say things that indicate that the guest list will be small and limited and everything, but that she’ll be sure to bring in pictures!

          It’s easy to get caught flat-footed on this one, and wind up in the situation where Bride did nothing wrong, and Director assumes all kinds of stuff she shouldn’t, and feelings get hurt.

    6. Ruffingit*

      THIS x 1000!! I completely agree that this person should not be invited and if she makes it an issue, the OP can simply say they had to make difficult decisions about the guest list. That’s a perfect out. And if the boss doesn’t take that well, it’s on her. No way should the OP cave and invite the boss.

    7. Job seeker*

      I agree with Alison. I would probably just invite her. You are stressing this way too much. I would think you have more important things (having a wedding) than this to worry about right now. Would it really kill you to just let her come? I doubt most people would do anything that horrible just attending a wedding.

      1. Ellie H.*

        Weddings are really personal. Maybe in the abstract you wouldn’t really interact with her beyond the bare minimum, and it may not affect the actual experience of the day very much, but it’s a big deal to include someone in one of the most important events of your entire life. I think a lot of people think it has symbolic, not just logistic significance.

        1. Bean*

          Ellie H.,

          I agree that weddings are really personal. I will only invite people to my wedding if my fiance and I truly want them there. I do not like the idea of inviting somebody just for the sake of them not getting upset over not being invited.

          I feel bad for OP, as her decision does have the possibility of affecting her career.

        2. Melissa*

          I honestly don’t understand people who invite themselves to weddings, anyway. With the exception of one friend who just happens to have some really awesome friends, whenever I go to a wedding where I don’t know anyone or only a very few people I always feel awkward and out of place! Why would you invite yourself to a wedding where you don’t know anyone?

  2. Brooke*

    We had a similiar situation at our wedding (albeit with family members who are a little harder to disinvite!). Our solution was to have table seating assignments at the wedding. Yes, it was a little extra work on our part, but so worth it! We were able to keep individuals who did not want to bump into each other on opposite sides of the room and minimize potential confrontations.

    1. Adam V*

      Unfortunately, while that will fly with family (since most people in the room will be family of one form or another), it will stand out if you have most of your coworkers on one side of the room at a table together, and then your new director on the other side of the room.

      1. Brooke*

        I’m guessing they would actually appreciate being separated. And if these specific guests feel awkward, who cares? I would hope they appreciate the fact that this is a special day for their friend and put on their big boy pants and act like mature adults.

        If the OP has already let her boss assume she’s invited to the wedding, it’s probably best that she extend the invitation. That’s not a popular viewpoint, but it seems like poor form to take back an insinuated invitation. I would still make an effort to minimize the interaction of the two groups, but the OP will likely be busy enjoying her own day she’s not even going to notice the manager.

        1. Emma*

          …it seems like poor form to take back an insinuated invitation.

          Anyone else think of Peep Show where Sophie accepts Mark’s wedding proposal before he even made it (and was planning to back out) because she found the ring in his bag?

          1. Bwmn*

            That’s one of the greatest proposal scenes ever.

            I think I’m in the minority of agreeing with Alison that if I were in that situation, I’d feel obligated to invite my boss. I get in the general manners sense that you don’t *have* to invite people who bully you to your wedding, but in this case I’d let it go.

            If your boss does have problems with certain coworkers, and if the guest list isn’t too narrow then – if there is a coworker who she’s friendly with, then inviting that person also would give her a buddy and free up your closer coworker friends from feeling as pressured to hang out with her.

            1. Melissa*

              I’m in that minority, too, but only if the OP has already implied that the boss was invited and/or if not inviting the boss was going to cause problems at her job. While I agree that weddings are highly personal events, you’re honestly so distracted and happy throughout the whole thing that having one or two people there that you wouldn’t have otherwise invited really isn’t really a big deal.

      2. Rana*

        Actually, at least one approach to seating is to try to mingle people rather than letting them stay with only people they know; the OP could distribute her co-workers among the various tables, and avoid that obvious clustering entirely.

        1. Sadsack*

          Good idea, if the coworkers want to all get together, they can do it at the bar or on the dance floor!

        2. Melissa*

          Personally I always dislike when the bride and groom do this unless they are particularly skilled at it. For example, the last wedding I went to sat me at a table full of people I didn’t know, but the bride REALLY knows her friends and knew that we’d all get along. Some of them were alumni of my graduate school and we all lived in the same city, and we were all talkative and around the same age, so we actually had a great time talking and laughing.

          But other times I’ve been placed kind of randomly with people I have nothing in common with or who don’t want to talk (to me, or at all). And I am the kind of person who will talk to *anyone*, and I love to meet new people, so it’s not for lack of trying that I don’t have fun at those kinds of events.

    2. Ellie H.*

      Out of curiosity, are seating assignments less common than they are the norm? I have been to a lot of weddings (25 or so) and only two (both were among the three weddings I’ve been to for people my then-age, early 20’s) had open seating instead of a seating plan. The others all had a seating plan. I thought this was basic standard and it was atypical to have open seating.

      1. Jamie*

        I have never been to a wedding with open seating – except mine!

        I think seating charts are by far the norm.

        1. Tina*

          We had just under 50 people. I reserved a table for the assorted parents and my SIL and her dh (because they let us use their house for the wedding), and my siblings sat together at a table with a couple other people. It was seat yourself for everyone else.

        2. Anonymous*

          I think it is becoming a bit more popular as people look for cheaper food options such as buffet or heavy appetizers, rather than a plated dinner. In those two alternatives assigned seating doesn’t really make sense.

      2. HAnon*

        I have been to several weddings recently that did not have seating plans. I think people are trying to be “casual” but it really became a problem at two weddings I attended for extended family where the family (not limited to but including both sets of grandparents — 80+ yrs old) did not have assigned seating and they ended up awkwardly standing around for half an hour while friends of the couple were already seated and eating, and then sitting with complete strangers…I did some quick “rearranging” and told the strangers to hightail it to another table (in a kind way, of course) so the grandparents could sit at a table with the extended family. I also cut in line to get food for them, since they were going to have to wait in a line of 50+ people to get any dinner…the shameful thing is this has happened more than once at a wedding within our family, and I think it’s incredibly tacky and dishonoring.

  3. BCW*

    I don’t really get a lot of stuff about weddings, mainly the pressure to invite people you don’t want there. Example: “Who is that”, “Oh, thats my Mom’s neighbor from her childhood who I”ve only invited once”.

    But I would just casually mention it the next time she says something implying she’ll be invited, just nicely correct her using one of the reason’s given. Its a wedding with a specific number of people allowed in the hall, not like a picnic that you can have as many people as you want. Most people get that.

    1. Jen in RO*

      A coworker is planning her wedding and it made me realize that I *really* don’t want a traditional wedding (if any). It was supposed to be friend and family and every day I hear about a new guest – the ex-boss who gets drunk, the distant cousins who always whine, dad’s business partner’s son… no thanks!

      1. Jamie*

        My dream wedding would have been a quick elopement at Andy’s with Aunt Bee playing the wedding march on the piano (the only JP I know of)…jeans, sneakers, gorgeous bouquet of pink roses and baby’s breath …just us and the kids (second wedding, life changing for them, too) and then the 5 of us heading over to SuperDawg to celebrate.

        Done and done. I pushed hard for that one (with the exception of the courthouse and not Andy Taylor – I know he’s fictional). I lost – still think that would have been an awesome wedding though. And I could have tossed my bouquet into any open car window at SuperDawg!

        1. anon*

          +1 to the SuperDawg reception idea! Think they have little Maurie and Florie figures to use as a cake topper? :)

      2. Felicia*

        I don’t want to have to go around asking “who are you?” to people at my own wedding. If I’ve never met them or haven’t seen them in like 10 years even though they don’t live far, I don’t want them to be invited. I just got invited to my dad’s cousin’s wedding, and although it’s family I haven’t seen her in 10 years and I don’t talk to her, so it’d be weird. I really don’t know her.

    2. Melissa*

      Until recently, weddings were society engagements and social events. Most people got married in their early 20s and so you only had a small group of friends to invite anyway; most of the other attendees were family members and your parents’ friends. Your parents were invited to your friends’ weddings, too, just because you all lived in the same place and inhabited the same social sphere. And since typically the bride’s parents paid for the wedding, they were generally entitled to invite who they wanted.

      Well, I think nowadays modern couples are more likely to pay at least in part for their own weddings; they also tend to be older and have amassed more professional and personal contacts. Weddings are also now seen as “highly personal” and everyone’s trying to do something that will make their wedding memorable and unique (as opposed to earlier weddings, which were all pretty similar). I think that’s driven towards the trend towards smaller affairs and only inviting people that the bride and groom know well and personally, rather than Mom’s childhood neighbor.

      But mom and dad and all your aunts are still in the 80s mindset, so it’s only natural to them that you’d want to invite mom’s neighbor who she’s known for 50+ years and they still chat on the phone about you twice a year or whatever. After my wedding me and my husband went with my mom and surprised her coworkers at the hospital with some leftover wedding cake – still in my dress. They’ve known me growing up, and it brought them happiness to see me in my dress. We’re not close…but it meant a lot to my mom.

  4. Jamie*

    go around making people cry while you’re on the dance floor or interrupt toasts to criticize that work you turned in last week.

    HA! I am going to my first co-worker/friend wedding this fall and introverted me had NO idea what to talk to people about. Thank you for the list of topics – now I’m all set!

    1. SB*

      When I got married my boss (at the time) came to my wedding with a date. He got really drunk and insulted my friend. Of course, that friend was also really drunk. My understanding is they were trading insults over the punch bowl. Honestly, I didn’t even know until one of my bridesmaids came to me cracking up about it later. I was too busy watching my aunt boogie on the dance floor with one of the groomsmen.
      I don’t know why people stress so much about weddings. The day isn’t going to be perfect. It’s a lot more fun if you just roll with the punches.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I’m for rolling with the punches, that’s a good life strategy in general, but I’m also for minimizing the punches where possible. Weddings can bring out a lot of dysfunction and it’s worth considering that and minimizing it when you can.

  5. HR Manager*

    For what it’s worth having having been the bride at two reasonably big wedding celebrations (once in Scotland and once in Vancouver) you may find yourself so caught up in the day that you really won’t care about the nasty manager. I found that I hardly ended up talking to some people and I was so damn happy that I didn’t have room for worry.

    That said your under no obligation to invite anyone from your current employer.

    1. Natalie*

      Indeed. I have never been married but I was my cousin’s MOH a few months ago and it was insane how little we her and the groom between the ceremony and the dancing at the end of the night. And they didn’t have that big of a guest list, all things considered.

    2. WIncredible*

      That’s what I was going to add. My wedding wasn’t even very large and still I didn’t talk with everyone at the reception. It was just too busy. Even if OP “has” to invite the new director, I wouldn’t worry about it.

      1. Rana*

        Agreed. For ours, which had about 80 people, I was grateful that so many people were able to come to the previous day’s cocktail meet-and-greet and some even stay the day after, because during the wedding itself? We were busy! Everyone else got to socialize, but we had all these responsibilities, and had to keep mingling as well. It was not a good venue for catching up with anyone.

      1. Rana*

        Heh. After my in-laws’ wedding – which had nearly 200 guests – that seems small to me. ;)

  6. Anonymous*

    OP is well within her rights not to invite the director. But I agree with AAM…if you let anyone (not just a coworker) walk around thinking that they’re getting an invite when they’re not, in the long run it’s easier to invite them if you can.

    Otherwise it’s very awkward, and you can’t avoid your boss like you can a friend or acquaintance.

  7. Joey*

    So this comes down to which consequence is worse-your boss being offended or your friends perturbed? Personally I’d go with inviting your boss. Your friends will look childish and petty if they don’t go because of it. Dont invite her and you miss an opportunity to tighten your relationship with her and unfair or not your boss will likely be offended.

    What I don’t get is how your boss could make you uncomfortable at your own wedding. Unless you absolutely hate and despise her and just cant stand the thought of her being there you probably will barely notice that she’s there. Just do your friends a favor and “reserve” a table for them.

      1. Anonymous*

        That’s not necessarily true. These people are also her friends. Most people have some friends at their wedding, regardless of size.

        1. Calla*

          I agree. My future wedding invite list will be smallish (under 50) but a couple former and current coworkers will probably get invites. And I’m appalled at the idea of inviting someone I don’t want there just because I didn’t dash their notions right away.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s not about having to dash their notions right away. It’s about whether she encouraged her to think she’d be invited or not. There’s a key difference. If she encouraged her, it’s rude not to follow through. But that doesn’t mean that you have to tell people they’re not invited just because they express interest in your plans. Your obligation is just not to lead them on.

            1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

              I think that’s my biggest takeaway from this whole thread….”do my best not to lead her on.”

              I’ll answer her questions politely and continue to not bring it up myself (I’m 35 years old and think I’m a bit too old to get silly about a wedding anyway!). I’ll also ask my invited work friends (all from the other library) to not talk about going if they can help it. And finally, if she does ask directly, I’ll express how much I would have liked to invite her but that we had to keep the guest list as lean as possible so I only invited family and long-time friends.

              *big breath* Wish me luck!

              1. AdAgencyChick*

                Yes. This is what finally worked for me with my persistent coworker — “Dude, Wakeen, we’re not even inviting our aunts and uncles. If my parents see I have COWORKERS there, they’ll never speak to me again.”

                Of course, in your case this kind of thing will work only if your coworkers who ARE invited agree to keep a conspiracy of silence :(

            2. Elizabeth West*

              Your obligation is just not to lead them on.


              This. This prevents so many misunderstandings. In every situation.

              Life is not an episode of Three’s Company. Be clear or don’t talk about it at all!

            3. Startups_RULE*

              I’m not reading anything in the original letter that indicates the LW encouraged anything…what makes you think that’s the case Alison?

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                I don’t — I don’t know either way. That’s why I asked in the original post and presented two different paths, depending on which the answer is.

    1. BCW*

      I’d guess part of the problem would be seating. Usually there is a “co-workers” table. So I could see if your friends really don’t like this director, them being upset about having to sit with her for 3 hours outside of work.

      1. Joey*

        Nope. You just put a little sign on the table that says “reserved” and fill it up with friends with no room for the boss.

    2. Anna*

      I agree with Joey. I had a small wedding and there wasn’t one person that took up a whole lot of my time at my wedding.

      Basically, you’ll see this person, thank her for coming, and continue on with a merry ceremony. Unless this boss is going to be an unruly person at your wedding, I don’t see how this would be so terrible.

  8. Katie the Fed*

    As a supervisor, it’s definitely hard to know where to draw the line. A few weeks ago two of my direct reports invited me to play Cards Against Humanity with them. I happen to love that game, and it would have been fun. But then I started thinking about how some of those card pairings might sound in a deposition, and begged off.

    I can’t imagine it being fun for anyone (boss included) for the boss to go to a wedding. I’d rather enjoy the beverages and relax without worrying about any damage to my reputation. Weird.

    1. Joey*

      Some people love to go to weddings even when they don’t know the person that well. I bet if the boss did go she’s one of those that will mingle with random people and be relatively quiet the whole time. Although I see it as a professional opportunity. And who knows maybe the boss gets wasted and becomes entertainment.

      1. Rana*

        I have to say, I’ve never really understood that mentality; unless the wedding is being held in a circus or something, weddings are pretty boring if you don’t know the people involved.

        1. Courtney*

          In my experience, most weddings are boring if you are not immediate family, and I am a professional event planner.

          1. Forrest*

            Haha, I plan events too and I laugh at all the college students I know who want to be an event planner so bad. It truly is a boring job more often than people think.

    2. Chinook*

      “I started thinking about how some of those card pairings might sound in a deposition, and begged off.”

      I think that, at work (if not in life in general), that is the best way to make any decision – by asking yourself how it would sound if you had to explain it to a job (and would you do it anyway even if you knew you would get convicted for it).

    3. SB*

      This +1000
      Cards Against Humanity is both awesome and terrible. It’s a game to be played only with those who will both appreciate and not judge you for your terrible, twisted sense of humor.

    4. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

      It’s funny that you bring this up, because four or five of my co-workers from my old library and I JUST played Cards Against Humanity over drinks last weekend. They are THOSE kinds of friends. :)

    5. KellyK*

      I’m pretty sure if you have card pairings that *would* sound okay at a deposition, you’re playing wrong. (This would be why I didn’t score a single point the last time I played. I was terribly proud of “Science!” as an answer to “War! What’s it good for?”, but clearly my sense of humor is insufficiently warped. )

      It’s a hilarious game, but I would never play it with coworkers.

      1. College Career Counselor*

        Just played for the first time this weekend. Love the game, but like you, I found out that there’s little value in being “right” or clever. Instead, you gotta go for “OMG, that’s just sick–but really funny.”

        1. Pussyfooter*

          …I’m behind the times. I’ve only played Apples to Apples with a warped sense of humor ;’)

          1. Rana*

            Oh, playing Apples to Apples with a group of people with similarly weird senses of humor is great fun. :)

        2. KellyK*

          Yep, subtle doesn’t work. Sick and wrong does. (Though a lot of people got points for sick *and* clever.)

  9. Rosalita*

    I don’t think the OP needs to invite her boss, especially if she isn’t inviting any coworkers from the current library.
    When I got married, I was working at a small company where everyone had been to each other’s weddings. One of my coworkers was getting married a few months before me, so everyone wanted to hear about our respective wedding plans. I just politely deferred and said I was having a small wedding and made comments about having to cut the guest list. Everyone at the company was invited to and attended the coworker’s wedding (he had been there a lot longer than I had) but no one was invited to mine. I had worried about it a little, but it was all fine.
    When I got to my next company, one of my teammates was planning her wedding. I started early in the year, and her wedding was in the summer, and I never had any assumptions that I would be invited. I knew others we worked with, who had known her for longer, were invited. She said to me, a few months before the wedding, that she wished she had known me better before because she would have invited me. She did this in a very nice, tactful way, and there were no hard feelings. We’ve since become even better friends and it doesn’t bother me at all that I wasn’t invited to her wedding.

  10. LouG*

    If you don’t end up inviting your new boss, and she asks about it (who would do that?? But still…) could you say that you had so many people that you would have loved to invite, but had to cut the guest list down to family and friends you had known for xxx number of years? Maybe you don’t need to be super specific with the number, but you get the idea. That would include your old co-workers.

    Sometimes having a “rule” like this is easier for people to understand. I’m planning my own wedding now, and we are going through the same thing. Children of family, but not children of friends. It seems less personal if you have a rule you stick to (or at least tell others your sticking to!)

    1. Jubilance*

      A coworker of mine recently got married, and to cut down on hurt feelings and other issues, the bride and groom had a “no coworkers are invited” rule. It seemed to make their lives at least easier, not having that complication of who to invite from work without hurting feelings.

    2. Rana*

      Yeah, we had similar “rules” for our wedding. As in, if we wanted a particular second cousin to attend, we had to invite all second cousins; my husband’s family is both large and gossipy, so there would have been no way to finesse it otherwise. (Seriously, these are the sort of people who, when they get invitations, call each other up to see if they got theirs too – so you have to mail everything out simultaneously. I like them, but they can be a bit overwhelming at times.)

      1. Jamie*

        I think that’s “the” rule though, isn’t it? Per Miss Manners, Emily Post, and the rest? You can cut off family by distance of relation or age (no kids) but you can’t invite some first cousins and not others?

        That was the argument for us, because my husband thought he could just invite the cousins he likes and hangs out with and not the rest, and I just couldn’t break the rule so I wanted just immediate family (since eloping was taken off the table).

        I have bajillions of cousins, none of whom I’d recognize if I tripped over them on the street, so while I do think it’s a hard and fast rule, and one I wouldn’t violate personally…in reality there is “family” and there are people who share some DNA with you. Not everyone in the latter subset makes the cut to the former.

        1. Jessica (the celt)*

          I think you’re correct. This is the reason we kept our wedding small. We had 18 people — one of whom was my best friend and also the officiant, and another of whom was a good friend and also the photographer (and her husband). This is a good way to get around this particular “rule”: give them a job (if they can do one). When asked why this particular friend was going and not another, I said, “She’s taking the photographs, so she’s actually working the wedding and not just attending.” There were no questions about the officiant, though, because she’s been my close friend since 8th grade. (Now I can say that both of my best friends married me! Just, you know, in different ways…)

          I did have an aunt and uncle on my mom’s side of the family threaten to crash the wedding. Although I really wanted to invite them (in addition to the ones on my dad’s side of the family), I was absolutely not inviting the others on my mom’s side.

  11. Anon*

    I know that rock and a hard place that you are in. My wedding, 8 years ago, had almost 400 at the ceremony and almost 300 at the reception but not because we have that many friends or family.

    1. My father was a pastor at the church where we were married. You pretty much have to invite everyone. (Made out like bandits in presents though.)
    2. My mom and I worked at the same institution where I had also been a student. So I had 5 years of history with people there and she had close to 15.
    3. My hubbster’s family was very large.

    So, we did make some very hard decisions about who to invite from work, from out of town, from church to the reception.

    I agree with AAM’s advice though. Spot on. And I would add, stop talking about the wedding. She can’t talk about what you don’t bring up.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Actually she can talk about it even if the OP doesn’t bring it up. It’s very easy to do. “So, OP how are the wedding plans coming along? Have you chosen the flowers/songs/etc.?” Super easy conversation starter when you know someone is getting married.

  12. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

    Hello! OP here. :)

    I really appreciate AAM’s advice and the comments of everyone here. When I say this director is abrasive, I am probably being too nice (clearly that’s part of the problem!). Several long-term (in one case 15+ years) employees have quit over her in the last year since she was hired. We haven’t personally had any problems, but that’s due to a lot of effort on my part and biting my tongue when sometimes I’d like to give her a piece of my mind. When I did my on-site faculty interview, for example, she spent the entire hour of our one-on-one meeting bad mouthing my former library and its employees. Now that I have the job though (which I love despite the director), my desk is down the hall from her and it’s in my best interest to keep things rosy between us. I’m only giving this background so you know that my coworker would be justified in not wanting to have anything to do with her! Heck, I don’t want to have anything to do with her half the time.

    As for tacitly inviting her. Honestly, I never brought it up between us. She did at the first faculty meeting I attended. She, I’m assuming, heard it from my immediate manager who knew because I had to ensure I had the week off for my honeymoon. She was bubbly about it right from the start, but I trust her good moods like I would a poisonous viper — I might be glad it’s in a good mood and not harassing me but I wouldn’t cuddle up next to it to watch TV.

    I fear that, even though I didn’t actually told her she’s invited, I might have to invite her or risk my office life being miserable after. I DID already verbally invite the other library months before this job opened up and I knew I’d be moving so I can’t uninvited them. There is just not good way out of this one, though I will look for openings to drop comments about how expensive this is getting (my fiance and I are paying for it entirely ourselves) and wait to formally invite her until the last possible second in the hopes that I can gracefully get out of this without committee professional suicide.

    Thank you all. Feel free to suggest anything else you might come up with. I need all the help I can get!

    1. Maire*

      She sounds seriously crazy! So she assumed she would be attending your wedding before you even started working with her?

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      What specifically has she said, though, that makes you think she assumes she’s coming (as opposed to just expressing interest in your plans)? It’s possible that she doesn’t, and you’re worrying for nothing.

      1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

        I hope that that is the case, but my concerns are in part because the whole other library is invited. There were only one or two people over there that I wasn’t close to and I didn’t see a point in excluding them.

        Our structure goes like this: Boss-lady-director is over two libraries. She directly manages the one I’m working at now. The other library is directly managed by someone else (well the position is vacant right now but they are hiring…guess why the old director quit?) but that library (my old library) is under her jurisdiction also.

        She’s hinted that she’s exited about the event and I’ve openly invited the entire other library. Unless I’m very careful in how I handle it, it’s noticeable if she’s not on the guest list. My gut says she expects an invite, but, no, I haven’t directly asked.

        I admit that I would be so relieved if I’m paranoid and she doesn’t expect an invite.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          If she’s not saying anything to indicate she expects an invitation, I would stop worrying about this entirely. People often express interest in and excitement about weddings, without assuming they’re going.

          1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

            I hope you are right! Thanks to you and your readers for all the great advice!

            1. the gold digger*

              When I met my husband’s stepdaughter from his first marriage, it was before my husband and I were married and a few months before SD’s wedding. I kept asking her questions about it and she seemed reluctant to talk.

              Then it hit me – she wasn’t planning to invite me. Which was fine with me – I had just met her. (I am not the reason my husband’s marriage with her mom broke up, though. I met him well after they filed for divorce.)

              I finally said, “I don’t expect an invitation to your wedding. We’ve just met and you don’t need any more stress in your life with worrying about your mom.” (Her mom had cancer.) “I just love to hear about wedding planning and I’d love to hear about yours.”

              She opened up after that and it was fine.

              Unfortunately, because of her mom’s spitefullness, my husband, whom SD had asked the year before if he would walk her down the aisle, wasn’t invited either. Every time my husband feels guilty about his ex, I remind him that ex told SD not to invite him to the wedding.

            2. HV*

              From what you’ve told it sounds like you’re overreacting… Several of my colleagues have been engaged and married recently, and I loved hearing about their wedding plans, and never expected an invitation. Nor did one come, which is cool. It’s a personal experience, and I think it seems really hard to choose a guest list. It’s just an easy topic to talk about at work, particularly if you don’t know someone very well…

  13. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

    *Committing* professional suicide….

    That’s definitely a Freudian slip that reflects my new job to a T lol.

  14. Jen*

    “I don’t know, I’m of the school of thought that says life is messy and weddings with more than two guests are messy and any attempts to make them otherwise are fated to result in failure, and we might as well embrace the messiness and cede some control and we’ll be happier for it.”

    …as someone planning a wedding right now, where the chosen dressmaker just backed out…truer words have never been spoken

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      As someone also planning a wedding right now, this is the only way I’ve found to stay calm.

      (Well, that and intentionally having as few moving pieces to juggle as possible. The theme of my wedding is “Alison does as little work as possible but we still eat delicious food.”)

      1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

        The theme of my wedding is “Alison does as little work as possible but we still eat delicious food.”)

        Ditto here! That’s why this is so frustrating. :)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Then, honestly? Let it go today — either decide you’re going to invite her if indeed you’ve done anything to encourage her to think you would or decide that you’re not, but stop stressing over it. The outcome is going to be the same whether you stress or not; the part you get to choose is how much it bugs you meanwhile.

      2. Ruffingit*

        As someone who is eloping soon, but has been through the whole wedding planning thing once before, I wholeheartedly endorse the “do as little work as possible, but still eat delicious food” theory.

      3. EA*

        The “delicious food” part may actually end up being more difficult than you imagine. When I got married, our guests ate delicious food. I, as the groom, was able to take a few bites of salad, and a few bites of pasta, and a little piece of cake. Apparently, guests don’t appreciate being greeted and thanked while you’ve got a mouthful of food. Who knew?

        (We ended up ordering pizza once we got back to our hotel room after the wedding)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          We’ve only got 22 people (including us) and we’re all at one long table, so I’m eating. They can talk amongst themselves, but I’m eating.

          1. Andie*

            You mean it is not going to be online so we all can attend?? I was getting my skype look ready! :-)

          2. hamster*

            Course you will. I had 175 guests and still ate about half of food that was in my plate :) Good luck!

          3. NatalieR*

            We had 20. That size party is so great. And you get to eat.

            I also asked the officiant to say “only enough words to make us married.” Technically our wedding was over before it was scheduled to start because 1) everyone was early and 2) the ceremony was 7 minutes tops.

          4. Tina*

            My now MIL was giving my fella and I tips – you eat a little, go mingle on one side, eat a little more, go mingle on the other side. He looked at her and said “I’m eating whatever I want, whenever I want, and mingle when I’m done. As far as I’m concerned, this is a party that just happens to have a wedding at the beginning.” I cracked up, and was relieved that he was the one to say it. Though to be honest, I don’t remember actually eating much. The guests loved it though.

          5. AdAgencyChick*

            I swore to myself I was going to eat, too. I didn’t forget, and I wasn’t too distracted by people wanting to talk to me. I just forgot about how when I’m overcome with emotion (good or bad), my appetite goes away. This had only ever happened to me in bad situations before (like not eating after a breakup), so I really didn’t expect to fill my plate with food and be completely unable to do anything more than pick at it! Good thing we had a lunchtime wedding — my appetite came back with a vengeance when dinner rolled around.

            Just a warning that despite your best intentions, you may end up skipping the food!

          6. Jessica (the celt)*

            Make sure you get a piece of the cake! I’ve been at a few weddings where the bride and/or groom never even got to taste the cake, because s/he was mingling so much. My best friend’s wedding was huge (she was my officiant and I was her matron of honor), so I made sure that both the bride and groom had a piece of their favorite kind of cake at their places at the table. When they stopped to catch their breath, they were immensely grateful for being able to eat a piece of their cake. (One of the people I was talking about above was her brother’s wedding, and neither the bride or the groom ever tasted their cake. And someone absconded with the small topper cake they were supposed to take home, so…)

        2. CathVWXYNot?*

          HA! Yes, at my wedding I barely had time to eat anything. All that time spent trying to choose the right caterer and then the right menu, and I had maybe five bites of what I put on my plate.

          I was more upset about my cheese plate, though – I’m not much of a desserts fan but I LOVE cheese and made myself a nice plate of my favourites, plus crackers, olives, and grapes, to make up for not getting much of the salmon. But then a whole bunch of people came up to talk to us, and when I turned back the plate had gone. I assumed the catering staff had cleared it away, but I just found out a couple of months ago (almost six years after the wedding) that my sister ate it! Some bridesmaid she turned out to be! :D

          The best man and his wife paid for a swanky hotel suite that night as their wedding gift to us. When we arrived, hungry and tired after the long and exciting day, we found that they’d had some chips, cookies, and popcorn left in our room for us (oh, and some champagne, but that was a secondary concern by that point). A lovely gesture, but it still doesn’t make up for my sneaky cheese-stealing sister! (who I love dearly but c’mon. You don’t steal another woman’s cheese. Especially not on her wedding day).

          1. AdAgencyChick*

            I hope you got her back eventually — say, by stealing her pickles and peanut butter when she was pregnant ;)

        3. Rana*

          Hah, yes. I actually arranged to have a particularly forceful friend take on the responsibility of chasing me down with a plate of food if it looked like I was forgetting to eat.

    2. J.B.*

      Hey, all your guests really care about is the food (and booze if they drink) anyway. Dances and stuff? Nah!

  15. B*

    I agree with AAM. If she assumes she is being invited because you led her to believe she would be, then yes you should go forth with an invitation. If not, then you can do the unfortunately we had to cut the guest list, I hope you understand, blah blah blah.

    Just like with facebook and other items. It is best to always draw a line with work items otherwise you risk hurting feelings and creating drama.

  16. ArtsNerd*

    The director, however, is quite excited about the wedding and clearly expects an invitation.

    Again, depending on what’s been said, I would also consider the possibility that she’s excited about the wedding without actually *expecting* an invitation.

    I’ve talked to friends and coworkers (though not supervisors) about wedding plans, baby showers, etc. and have always been interested and enthusiastic – but not always invited, and that’s just fine. Some people DO feel entitled to invites (when they shouldn’t be), but not everyone.

    I actually had one friend preface her wedding planning update (I asked for it) with a long apology for why I wasn’t invited, and it was only then that I realized she felt ANY pressure to include me on her list!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes! People love talking about weddings, even when they know they’re not invited or aren’t assuming they are. (I have no idea if that’s the case here or not, of course.)

    2. ArtsNerd*

      Ok, reading OP’s update it sounds like the director in question might not be reasonable. But I’d still think about her wording carefully to see if you’re interpreting an assumed invite vs. actually hearing it.

  17. BeeBee*

    I had a similar situation when I got married in June. I had a former boss (who I’m on a separate committee with) actually come up to me and point blank *ask* to be invited. We have a rocky history, and she was a major contributor to the stress that lead to me leaving that job, but still thought I’d invite her to my wedding. When I made the usual excuses (oh, well, it’s just going to be close friends and family; we’re keeping it small, etc) she *insisted* on coming, saying she “really wanted to honor me in that way”! Wat.

    I think I said something like “well, I’ll double check” and then didn’t invite her. I haven’t seen her since, but I don’t think it will be a big deal.

    My final advice on the topic is: It’s your wedding. Don’t invite someone who will make you feel awkward. If you don’t invite your boss, and she says something about it after the fact, please take a little comfort knowing that she is the one being incredibly rude, not you.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Making the WTF face on the old boss who invited herself. WOW. Some people have a lot of nerve and no tact at all. Glad you didn’t cave to that nonsense.

    2. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

      Good for you. She was completely out of line to insist on coming to your wedding. Your story definitely puts my concerns in perspective!

  18. Anonymous*

    Aaaand this is exactly why I didn’t invite anyone except immediate family to my wedding. :)

  19. Helen*

    I was once invited to a barbecue the day after a coworker’s wedding. He mentioned he had put the guest list for the wedding together before we knew each other well to explain why I wasn’t invited. I had no expectation of getting a wedding invite anyway, so I was predisposed not to be offended, but it was a nice explanation and I enjoyed getting to go to the afterparty with other coworkers.

    I’m not saying have a barbecue and invite your boss just to take off the sting of not getting an invite to the wedding. But maybe there is a group setting with other coworkers where you could mention to everyone how your guest list was set before you changed jobs? I’d look for an opportunity to throw that info out there in an indirect and kind way.

    1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

      This idea definitely has merit. I’ll ponder it and see if I can do something to include her (and as an added bonus my current library folks who are really a decent bunch) without actually inviting them to the wedding.

      1. Jamie*

        Unless you were going to do this anyway I wouldn’t assume that your new co-workers need or want this (not that you’d be obligated even if they did.)

        Not everyone wants to socialize with co-workers outside of work and it’s especially delicate where it’s an event celebrating something in your personal life. Not to be cynical, but some people will see this as a grab for more gifts from people you don’t know well and didn’t make the cut for your wedding.

        It can be done well if the intentions are good and clearly communicated, but this has the potential to look really crass.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, I was going to say — this is very much down to personal preference and personal style, but a lot of people will see this as putting them on the B-list but still wanting gifts.

          (Also, I cannot imagine wanting to BBQ with coworkers the day after my wedding, but I’m a curmudgeon.)

          1. Jamie*

            I was trying to be delicate – but I had far more interesting things to focus on the day after my wedding(s). I can’t even imagine my husband(s) taking a backseat to co-workers day 1 of our marriage(s).

            1. Helen*

              Yes I see what you mean. Most of the people at this party had also been at the wedding, so it was clearly not a gift giving type event, just a continuation of the “wedding weekend”.

              But this just proves how hard it is to go about setting a guest list for your wedding list without offending someone. All you can do is try to be gracious when talking about it in front of people who won’t be invited.

            2. Tina*

              My coworker’s mom expected her to drive home with her! She had to have quite the awkward conversation, insisting she was going home with her new husband!

              1. Jessica (the celt)*

                Wait…I want to hear more about this one! How did that conversation even start from the mom’s perspective?

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Ugh, B-lists.

            A family member got married and had maybe 20 people at her wedding, and the reception was FOUR HOURS LATER. With 100 people. And it was a potluck–“Bring enough for 100 people!” Tacky, tacky, IMO.

            I went to the wedding but not the reception.

        2. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

          This is a good point. Anyone who knows me knows that our registry includes more charities than anything else (we are hoping for a couple of cows through Heifer International!), but my coworkers might see my attempt at being inclusive as a gift grab.

        3. Rana*

          Yeah, it really only works if there’s a very obvious line between the two groups. We had friends who had the actual ceremony with only immediate family present (parents, siblings) and a reception afterward for their friends, and that worked well. “Not part of the immediate family” is easy to understand and justify; “not part of the favorite friends group” is not.

      2. Al Lo*

        We had a BBQ the day after our wedding, and it was such a great idea.

        Our reception venue was a fair bit smaller than the ceremony venue, so it was a little bit of a B-list situation, but I don’t think anyone was offended by it. Everyone who was invited to the ceremony was also invited to either the reception and/or the BBQ. The day of the BBQ, we had more time to visit with family who had come from out of town and friends that we hadn’t had more than a chance to say hi to at the wedding itself, and at the reception, that meant that we could focus more of our attention on people who weren’t going to be at the BBQ the next day.

        Both my husband and I have fairly big families (with very little family-related drama), so it was also a great chance for them to visit with other relatives for longer than just the wedding day would have allowed.

        The wedding party certainly wasn’t expected to be at the BBQ — some came, some didn’t — and we provided all of the food, so there wasn’t an expectation for people to bring anything. Some people who were invited to the BBQ but not the reception brought gifts, and some didn’t, and honestly, it didn’t matter either way. It just gave us more time to visit with the 250-ish people who were a part of our wedding weekend, and to have a chance to engage with all of them.

  20. Chris80*

    Does your boss not have much of a social life outside of work? Maybe it’s just my introversion, but I’ve never looked forward to going to ANYONE’S wedding, even close friends and family. I can’t imagine wanting to give up my time to go to the wedding of a recently hired employee.

  21. AnonHR*

    The Knot website should just be replaced with a single page stating:

    “Life is messy and weddings with more than two guests are messy and any attempts to make them otherwise are fated to result in failure, and we might as well embrace the messiness and cede some control and we’ll be happier for it.” -AAM

      1. Rana*

        Oh, but it’s so much fun reading about people freaking out because their MIL-to-be wants to wear a peach dress, but it will clash with their theme of pink and grey! :D

        (Seriously. Knotties can be hilarious sometimes.)

        1. Natalie*

          That I definitely true. My hatred stems from their high search ranking. When I was looking for advice on giving a toast and such their useless articles kept popping up. Including one that suggested the ideal length for an MOH toast was 10 minutes!

  22. Rayner*

    At this point, either you have to suck it up, and invite her or be honest and not.

    Although it’s really easy to hum and haw over it, it’s not fair on you, your co-workers, or the director if you keep giving non-answers, and then don’t make a decision. Coworkers won’t know if they want to come or not, director may be expecting an invitation that never comes, and you feel like piggy in the middle.

    And nothing ever gets done still.

    It’s /your/ wedding. Yours. You have to have control of it – guests shouldn’t invite themselves – you invite them because you want them there.

    Three options:

    1. Invite the director, accept that other co-workers aren’t going to love her, and use seating arrangements or other devious wedding specific tricks :P to avoid as much awkwardness as possible. Advantage: more people happy, and if co-workers really are friends, they’ll suck it up anyway. Disadvantage: Big Boss there, in your wedding, and if she kicks off – as some people do – it’s right there on your day. IDK how she is or if she’ll do it. Coworkers may be unimpressed, and not come/leave early.

    2. Hum and haw over it, hoping the director will get the message but never actually give a decision. Advantage: you never have to say no. Disadvantage: some people never get the hint, you will have to work with her and she might be pissed that you never gave an answer – no is no, but maybe is infuriating. Also, she’s now thinking she’s coming. Hard to break her of it the day before your big day, you know? Also, now your coworkers don’t know what’s up, you feel pressured ALL THE TIME, and in the end, nobody ends up especially happy.

    3. Tell her you’re very sorry, but you can only have a small guest list and you’re already full up. Thank her for her support, and tell her how much you appreciate her interest in your wedding, but that you’re unable to invite any more guests because of strict budget/seat arrangments. Frame it as a moment of humour (but not too much), or just be polite the next time she raises it.

    Stand firm, accept she’s going to get crabby about it, and understand that you’re laying down rules about how far into your personal life she can come. What happens if she invites herself to a barbeque between friends, or something further down the line? May never happen, but you want to outline that space now anyway.

    At the end of the day, it’s your wedding, and you’re the one who’s going to have to live with your boss.

    1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

      You summed up my options pretty succinctly there, Rayner. I definitely function best when I have a plan and follow through one one and this is pretty much what I have in mind after reading everyone’s advice. Thanks!

      1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

        ” one one”…What does that even mean??

        Okay, the typo-monster is clearly on my back now and telling me to get offline because I still have a meeting to prep for today. Thanks again everyone. I feel a lot better.

  23. Mena*

    When I got married, I only invited people that I had a personal relationship with; and I defined this by whether or not I socialized with them outside of the office and outside of office hours. This made the potential list a Yes/No decision.

    That said, you need to re-set her expectations. NOW, TODAY, IMMEDIATELY. Start with ‘Wow, the wedding details are coming together and it is really obvious that I need to trim my guest list. Crap, I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this.’ Wait a day or so and say ‘The wedding is changing shape. This is going to be smaller than I thought.’ Make these comments like everyday banter about current events.

    Next, I’d ask the people that ARE invited to not talk about it, explaining that you couldn’t invite everyone and some people may feel left out.

    And lastly, put it out of your head. I am assuming that you didn’t do anything to give her any idea that she would be invited – this is her incorrect assumption. If she actually asks you when she’ll be receiving her invitation, I would look stricken and saddened and say, ‘I was so disappointed that I had to downsize the event. This came as a surprise at the last minute.’ Please don’t explain further or get defensive.

      1. Jamie*

        Beat me to it. Don’t expect anyone to sit through the service if you don’t plan on feeding them.

        At least cake. I put on heels and a fancy dress and coax my husband into a suit and I want cake for my efforts.

        1. The Biblo-Bride-to-Be*

          There should ALWAYS be cake when you are forced to wear heels. I need to make that a rule in my life.

        2. HAnon*

          Alright, since AAM brought up Emily Post…

          I was a bridesmaid in a wedding about a year ago and the bride did not give me a plus one with my invitation, citing the fact that I did not have a significant other at the time and they were trying to cut down on expenses. However, other members of the bridal party (married or in “committed relationships”) were given plus ones to include their SO. Is it just me, or is this incredibly rude and not an appropriate way to “cut costs”? I’m not planning a wedding *yet* but want to make sure I avoid an obvious faux pas when I do!

          1. Jamie*

            Actually Miss Manners is opposed to +1s – as it allows people to bring their own guests. She is of the mind that if you invite someone to your wedding you take the trouble to learn their name and put it on the invitation.

            But you always invite married/engaged couples as pairs, even if you only know one, and she has spoken in favor of extending that to significant others even if unmarried/not engaged.

            So her only faux pas would be putting +1 on their invites instead of the names of their SOs – if she did that. She was perfectly correct in not allowing people not seriously attached to just +1 and bring their own dates.

            She was completely within the bounds of etiquette.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yes — and part of the idea is that it’s not an event like a play or a random party to which you might want to bring a date, but rather something much more meaningful and personal, to which you’re expected not to “need” a date.

              1. Jamie*

                And etiquette aside, I seem to remember weddings as really great places to meet guys. Just me?

          2. Rana*

            That’s not rude. Strictly speaking, she doesn’t need to issue a “plus one” to anyone. Doing so for her guests with established relationships is simply honoring the importance of the “plus one” in their lives. You don’t have such a partner or a relationship; therefore you do not need a plus one. (Who would you issue it to, in any case?)

            1. Anon for this*

              According to, +1s are not “required” even for married/committed relationships, though I still didn’t feel right about that so I did it anyway. A coworker who got married at the same time said lately, she has been invited to weddings without a+1, even though they’ve been together for years and are now married.

              1. Jamie*

                I assume by +1s you mean inviting the other part of a couple, and not just issuing an invitation to the person you know and +1 assuming they’ll bring their spouse. Because that’s incorrect – you invite them by name.

                But I don’t know to what they are referring, but married couples have always been treated as a singular social unit for weddings and formal social events. You can invite me to a baby shower or over for a wild evening of Van Halen vids without my husband, and invite him to a pool hall or tire shopping or whatever men do without me…but weddings, coronations, and dinners at the white house we are invited together or not at all. At least according to the rules of etiquette.

                Of course in reality people do whatever they want all the time.

                1. HAnon*

                  It may be a generational thing…for someone in their 20’s it’s one thing to be a spouse attending an event alone, but it can be incredibly awkward as a single person to potentially travel, spend the night, and spend hours at an event by yourself where you don’t have an SO or a date to pass the time with. For example, a friend of mine (in her 20’s) recently got engaged and knew that I had started dating someone. She asked me to come to the wedding, which was a destination wedding so there was some significant travel involved. She invited my SO and it made the day so much better to have someone by my side at the wedding and reception instead of showing up there by myself, seeing the bride for 30 seconds, and then eating cake awkwardly at a table full of strangers and fielding “so when is it going to be your turn?” kinds of questions. Plus, she got to meet my SO and it’s unlikely that she would have been able to under other circumstances (the bride and groom live in another state). I wrote her a note afterwards thanking her for including us and telling her how much I appreciated being part of her day. It may not be an etiquette thing, but it is something to consider.

                2. fposte*

                  If you don’t want to go alone, you can always decline the invitation. But honestly, you can have an awful lot of fun without bringing an SO.

                3. Rana*

                  I think where it gets tricky is when you have a guest who is in a relationship that is serious enough that ignoring it would be unkind, yet it’s not a full-on marriage or long-term domestic partnership.

                  But, I agree, it’s better to just address the invitation to both people (especially since it’s not unusual that even long-term spouses don’t share the same name – I mean, heck, if we want people to respect that I’ve kept my own name, we should treat them that way in return) unless they usually prefer a joint address.

                  (And if you don’t know them well enough to know they would like to be addressed, why are you inviting them?)

            2. Forrest*

              I had a friend who issues +1s to people with significant others but not to everyone. The problem is there was no clear standard of what they thought a significant other was. I had a boyfriend of one year – but didn’t get a plus one. Another sorority sister got to bring her on-and-off boyfriend. Really, it just seemed to boil down to who was on the A-List and who was on the B-List. A-Listers got plus ones, B-Listers were just lucky enough to go.

              Frankly, I think either everyone gets a plus one or you only invite people you actually know – regardless if they’re married or not.

              1. Felicia*

                I don’t like the idea of a generic plus one myself. You really don’t need a date for a wedding, and Id personally want to only invite people that I actually know by name and have met before. So if you’ve been exclusively dating someone for long enough for me to have met them, of course I’d invite them. i’d invited my friends boyfriends/girlfriends to a hypothetical wedding if I know them by name and have met them. And my non single friends have been dating their SOs for anywhere from 6 months to 6 years. If someone was single when they were invited, or only dating someone for less than 6 months, they shouldnt expect a +1

                I’d think it’d be more awkward for one spouse to attend but not the other. It’d be less awkward to not invite the short term SO that you don’t even know. I personally wouldn’t go to a destination wedding unless it was someone I was very close to…but presumably you’d know other people going to the wedding beyond your SO? I just don’t see any reason generic +1s for people you’ve never met are needed

                1. Forrest*

                  But if you don’t know a person’s spouse, then it is a generic plus one. And frankly, if you’re writing +1 in place of the spouse’s name, then yea, you probably don’t know or care about them very much. Its just as generic as a b/gf of six months.

                  I personally don’t like defining who’s relationships are worth elevating above other relationships. That guy that’s been dating your friend for years? Could break up with her tomorrow and you’ll never see him again. That guy your friend been dating for 6 months? Could be the one she marries.

                  I’m not arguing for generic plus ones – I don’t need a plus one. I’m arguing for a level playing field. Why is one generic +1 more important than another? In my case, the friend broke it off with her on-again-off-again boyfriend from good and know one ever saw him again. My boyfriend and I dated for another year – longer than the on-again-off-again couple.

                2. Felicia*

                  I personally wouldn’t invite anyone to a wedding I havent met before – which would eliminate generic +1, and I think I’d theoretically go by if I know who this person’s dating when I send out the invitations and they’ve told me /given me the impression that it’s serious, and i’ve met them, then they’re invited. I did actually have a friend who recently broke up with her boyfriend of 5 years that she was living with so stuff happens and you never know. So I guess it makes sense to go by what you know at the time you send the invitations, because lots of things can happen that you can never predict.

                3. CaffeineQueen*

                  To me, it’s like a job search. People can invite whomever they damn well please to their weddings and make up whatever silly rules they want regarding that-you have to decide if you can follow those conditions. It’s your choice to not attend if you strongly disagree. However, when people start complaining, I automatically find it entitled. A wedding is about a couple celebrating their love in front of the people they choose as part of their community. It’s not your day to take your date out for free booze and food.

                  A couple years ago, I was invited to a friends’ wedding. My partner was not and neither of us were offended. We did get engaged and she called me up, asking for his name because he was now invited. We both found that to be exceedingly gracious and were struck by that measure of generosity. However, she did not have to do that, nor should she have been expected to. We both acknowledge it was above and beyond the call of duty. We certainly do not think less of those who cannot or do not do likewise.

                4. Forrest*

                  I’m not entitled to anything and you should note that I was commenting on the standard Mrs. Manners of inviting spouses even if you don’t know them simply because they’re married to someone you do know.

                  Again, the standard etiquette rule is what I have a problem with – and I don’t think its entitled to expect people of the same relationship length with a spouse on the same level of familiarity to be treated the same.

          3. EM*

            Yes, it is perfectly within etiquette bounds to do.

            When my husband & I were married, we invited couples as such:

            Committed boyfriend/girlfriend/SO

            People that were casually dating or were not dating at all were invited singly. I did not want people scrounging to find someone (either an acquaintance or a near-stranger) to bring to my wedding.

            Nor do I think it is appropriate to do something like bring a sibling, parent, or platonic friend as a +1 to a wedding. I did not want to encourage anyone to do so.

            1. Zed*

              Going to a wedding by yourself can be a lonely, lonely endeavor. Not in a “forever alone” kind of way, either, but just because it is awkward to not have a built-in conversation partner, someone to stand next to in the buffet line, etc. I went to the weddings of two old friends a couple of years ago (we have kept in touch but are not immensely close). I went by myself both times. One seated me with other people from school, mostly couples but a couple of singles as well. That was nice. The second one seated me at a sort of miscellaneous table with people I’d never met (most of the people I knew were either in the wedding party or family of the bride). I was glad to celebrate my friend’s happiness, don’t get me wrong, but for most of the evening I was uncomfortable – it was like going to someone else’s party.

              I’m not saying I should have been given a +1, or even that I’d have used it if I had one… But it just seems to me that it is a little unkind to assume that someone should be expected to attend, travel, sit by themselves just because they are single. Someone else in my position might have been a lot happier if they were able to bring a guest.

            2. CaffeineQueen*

              We didn’t include plus ones for people (for those in committed relationships, we included the other person on the invitation). We still had people trying to bring parents, siblings, or friends. What really made no sense was that these people already would have had platonic friends present at the wedding………

              Obviously, we said no. Our venue was too small anyway and we literally could not afford extra people. Didn’t stop some people for pushing for it but they can decide when they’re paying for dinner and drinks for 100 people.

              Oy…….weddings do bring out craziness……

  24. Yup*

    I sympathize. I invited my boss at the time – who was truly one of the very worst bosses I’ve ever had — to my wedding, for various political reasons. She came, and despite being a generally difficult person, was a polite guest and I saw her for less than 10 minutes. However, she also refused to approve time off related to my wedding, meaning that I went into work the Monday after I got married for no reason other than that she wanted me at the office that day. (And I took my honeymoon over a public holiday weekend because that was the only time I could get a block of days off.)

    So in the end, it’s your call. If you decide yes, alert your coworkers and expect that everyone will behave like grownups to each other. If you decide no, bring it up privately when she mentions the wedding. “Susan, I’m so sorry that I won’t be able to extend an invitation to you. Unfortunately Fiance and I can’t invite many people that we wish to because of family obligations. I’m sure you understand.” People get their feelings hurt about all kinds of things related to weddings; it’s not your job to manage their feelings, other than to be polite always and considerate where possible.

    1. Elizabeth West*


      She had cake and made you wait for a honeymoon? Grrr. *gets in the TARDIS, travels back in time, and spikes boss’s coffee with Ex-Lax*

  25. PPK*

    Is the OP sure that the manager expects to go to the wedding? Could the manager just be interested in the wedding in general (maybe this is the only personal topic she knows about the OP to discuss) — or is she clearing her calendar for the wedding date and talking about a new dress for the occasion?

  26. Greg*

    First of all, I would never presume to be invited to a wedding for anyone but the closest of family and friends, and don’t really understand those who would. Also, my wedding had a hard limit on guests — the venue informed us that the 151st person literally would not have a chair to sit down at — so I totally get that you can’t always say, “What’s one more person?” (Not to mention the added cost of an additional plate).

    But leaving aside space and cost issues for the moment, what I would say to the OP is that the presence of one person at your wedding, no matter how much you may dislike her, will likely be the furthest thing from your mind that day. Hell, there will probably be lots of really good friends who you barely see, much less random coworkers. All of which is to say that while, in principle, there is no need for you to invite your boss, in practice, it probably won’t be such a big deal if you do.

  27. Anon for this*

    I got married a few months ago, and I confess that I did NOT invite a coworker I would have dearly loved to invite because I was afraid my boss would have a cow. While I once had a close, even personal relationship with my boss, many things have changed in the last couple of years, to the point where I cringe and my stomach knots up every time I see her. I’ve even cried a few times over things she’s said to me. I absolutely could not bear the thought of seeing her face at my wedding. And because she’s insecure and knows everyone likes this other coworker better, she gets jealous and petty. I was upset at the idea of not inviting my coworker, whom I’ve worked with for years, but I was terrified of my boss finding out and (passive) aggressively retaliating against me. I do regret not inviting my coworker, though I did explain why to her.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Wow that is really sad and I am sorry things have gotten so bad for you. What happened with your boss to sour the relationship? I can guess given that you say she’s jealous and petty, but I’m just curious.

      1. Anon for this*

        The short version is she’s experienced some significant personal stress that she’s proceeded to take out on everyone around her. It’s been quite a dramatic personality change.

  28. Steve G*

    invite her to the wedding and put her at the coworker table. I think people are being dramatic if they don’t want to come because of one person.

  29. CobaltCalcium*

    I think AAM’s advice is spot on.
    I don’t have specific advice, but in case it’s of any help to anyone else, Offbeat Bride has a ton of advice on how to deal with people like this, unwanted +1’s and so on.
    It certainly saved me a lot of head- and heart ache when dealing with my guest list and enjoy my wedding day without worrying about certain guests :)

  30. Katrina Bass*

    Ugh… My boss and his kids at my wedding?! Absolutely not – if they disrupt the office with their unpunished shrieks, full throttle terrors, and general unbridled bad behavior, I can only imagine what they would do to my wedding. He would probably also assume himself invited, and without a doubt I would put an end to that.

    Luckily, I eloped two weeks ago :)

    Enjoy your day, find a graceful way out of this, and don’t be pressured to appease anyone. Even if you’ve hinted one way or the other, you’re obligated to nothing. Choices and consequences – weigh ’em out. And good luck!!

    1. Ruffingit*

      Congratulations on your marriage! :) And I’m with you on the out of control children at a wedding. UGH, whole other topic there, but it always sucks when people let their kids run wild.

  31. Cruella Da Boss*

    Was this person invited to any other pre-wedding event, like a bridal shower? My proper, Southern grandmother always said that it was poor manners to invite someone to a bridal shower and not invite them to the wedding. Almost like you are telling them they are good enough to send you a gift, but not good enough to share in the celebration.

    Just a thought

    1. Ruffingit*

      I agree with your grandmother on that one. I think it’s the height of tacky to invite people to your bridal shower so they can give you a gift, but then not invite them to the wedding/reception. Something about that has always made me think “Gift grabbing jerks.”

  32. Ruffingit*

    Sort of off-topic and a bit braggy, but I’m going to share anyway. My fiance and I are eloping tomorrow! Bought an off-the-rack cute summer dress this afternoon for the occasion. I am SO excited :)

      1. Ruffingit*

        Thanks! I did the bigger wedding, thousands of dollars, white dress thing before and while I have nothing against that if someone wants it, I am more excited about eloping at the courthouse than I was when I walked down the aisle. Finally found the right guy and can’t wait to start our new life together :)

        1. Rana*

          So far, so good (fingers crossed). Mostly these days I just feel… round. Tired too, but largely round. ;)

      1. Ruffingit*

        LOL! Thankfully, my job doesn’t start until next week. I’m teaching at a community college this semester so I’m free this week :)

    1. Katrina Bass*

      Congrats!!! Enjoy!!! Here’s to good sleep tonight, if you can quell the excitement long enough :)

      1. Ruffingit*

        Thanks so much! Only a few hours to go, I’m spending my waiting time here on AAM. LOL! :)

  33. Anony1234*

    I’m just curious – in general, how popular is it to invite your boss to your wedding?

    My current manager tells me how he had been invited to his employees’ weddings years ago. While I’m not in a position to get married right now, I still sit and wonder if he’d be on my invite list at all. Is this the norm or an exception to the rule?

    1. Ruffingit*

      Good question. Thinking back over the years to the jobs I’ve had, I have never had a boss I’d invite to my wedding. Just seems to blur the lines between work/personal too much in my opinion. It’s a personal occasion and not something I’d want to mix with my boss. Co-workers on the other hand are a different story.

  34. Loose Seal*

    OP, you’re one better off than I was. My boss thought she was going to throw my wedding — as in, be the hostess.

    I had decided to wear my ring to work for the first time on a Friday. There was a flock of co-workers gathered around looking at the ring and asking all the how-did-he-propose questions. I heard my boss say she’d throw a wedding shower. Unfortunately, what she actually said was that she would throw the wedding. And because I misheard, I said something like, “That would be lovely. Thank you.”

    So on Monday, she came in with all sorts of research she had printed out with menus and flowers and things for me to see. It took a bit of talking before I realized she thought this shin-dig was going to be at her house. We got it straightened out but I’m sure her feelings were hurt. I invited her to the wedding (which I would have anyway) and I’m sure she thought our small affair was not as upscale as she would have done but darn it — I wasn’t going to be held hostage by a misunderstanding!

    1. Ruffingit*

      Wow. Just…wow. I can’t imagine a boss thinking it would be appropriate to be your wedding planner and host your wedding at her home. That is just so weird. What did you say to her to get that straightened out? Had to be a hard conversation!

      1. Loose Seal*

        Well, I had some experience quelling this sort of thing for her when I worked there. She was the best boss I’ve ever had but she had a tendency to “mother” her employees. So I boundary-set with her from the get-go.

        For this fiasco, I said something about it being very kind to offer but I had always dreamed of having a small wedding in a gazebo in a local park. We had already picked the spot; however, the dream part was untrue — I didn’t really care where I was married as long as I was hitched by the end of the day. She then offered to have the reception at her house but I said it was just going to be family and very close friends so we would just go to a restaurant for brunch (it was a morning wedding). Then I said that of course I considered her a close friend and would she do me the honor of attending.

        It worked out well and she even stripped some of the roses in her yard so I would have a carpet of rose petals to walk on at the wedding.

        1. Ruffingit*

          You handled that really well! I’m not sure I could have done such a good job in the moment. Kudos!

  35. workinmom*

    Crap. I mean it’s your wedding…..I know how about naming the first child after them. Really at what point do we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. She may make you pay for not inviting her; that is a very real possibility- in fact I’d bet she would. That said- reading AAM has made me feel as if most of us, without other sources of income, are freaking indentured servants except we can never but our way out.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Yes, basically that is correct. I had a friend tell me once that employment is essentially legalized slavery quite often. And I have found that to be true quite often.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        No, come on. You can walk away from a job at any time. There’s actually real slavery in the world still, and it’s nothing like having a job.

        1. Ruffingit*

          It’s not a serious one to one comparison that I’m trying to make. I’d never say employment was LITERALLY slavery. But I do understand why people feel like it is and it’s those feelings I’m agreeing with. I’ve been in the position of not being able to walk away from jobs because I had no choice, I had to pay the bills and keep a roof over my head. I’ve had to put up with a lot of abuse in the workplace because of that and I know others who have as well. It can be hard to realize that it can take you a year or more to find a new job and in the meantime, you’ve got to keep coming into a place where you are treated badly, but you have to put up with it because quitting is not an option.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Agreed — but I think it’s so helpful for people to realize that they’re still making a choice. They’re deciding that having the paycheck is worth enough to them that they’ll stay. So often people feel helpless, and it can be useful to realize that it is indeed a choice (even if the other option — no paycheck — is really unappealing).

            1. Ruffingit*

              I agree that there are always choices. I’m a big proponent of life being a series of choices. Still, I understand how it feels to be in a really bad work situation and the need to talk about that and how difficult it can be on the psyche, so it doesn’t bother me when someone says “This is like slavery!!” I don’t focus on the word usage, but rather the feelings reflected by the words. It can be rough out there. I have had some seriously abusive managers so I know where these people are coming from and the hopelessness it can engender.

  36. AB*

    There’s one flaw in the suggestions to apologize to the director and say it’s a small wedding / we are only invited friends we have known for X amount of years / etc.:

    Like AAM and others said, nobody knows for sure if the director *thinks* she is getting an invitation. I’d be very annoyed if someone came to me and started apologizing for not inviting me to their wedding (as it would look like the person assumed I was interested in getting an invitation, which would never be the case).

    I’d wait for an opportunity when one of the new coworkers who aren’t invited either mentioned or asked about the wedding when the boss is around. Then I’d make a point to say something like “oh, it’s been so stressful to figure out how to fit all the extended family that wants to come! I just want it to be over. I’m so disappointed I had to limit the invitations at work to only some old friends from my previous library — it would have been so much fun if we could have accommodated all of you!”.

    (Message delivered without apologizing for something that requires no apology, and which might offend some people who never expected to get an invitation anyway.)

  37. Anonymous*

    “life is messy and weddings with more than two guests are messy and any attempts to make them otherwise are fated to result in failure” — obviously written by an engaged blogger in the stressful throes of wedding planning? :)

  38. Anonymous*

    Wow, beyond late to this party, but my suggestion would be to have the wedding as planned, and have a less formal reception that everybody and their neighbor’s dog is invited to.

    Or elope. Las Vegas baby.

  39. TheSnarkyB*

    I’m late to this but for the OP, I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people saying Do whatever you want! Weddings are so personal and so important- I wouldn’t invite the her. Even if you’ve vaguely given the impression that you would, you’re all adults and you can sit we down and gently explain that you miscalculated, whatever- or if you’ve explicitly told her she’ll get an invite then have the same conversation and be genuinely apologetic and remorseful. (And try to be less passive next time). I get the sense that you’re a people pleaser or maybe just anti-confrontation- I’d hate to see that trait rob you of a wedding full of (only) people you love and want to be there.

  40. Bobby Digital*

    (Sort of related…)
    I was at a wedding over the weekend and the invites were done correctly (according to the above comments), as in +1s were named:
    “Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Coles,” etc.

    It got me wondering…what if both people are doctors? Is it “Drs. Dennis Coles” or “Dr. and Dr. Dennis Coles” or what?

    1. Loose Seal*

      I would have thought we were at a point in history where the woman could have her own name on the invite, even if she happened to be married.

      Dennis and Jane Cole
      Mr. Dennis Cole and Mrs./Ms. Jane Cole
      Dr. Jane Cole and Dr. Dennis Cole
      The Honorable Jane Cole and Mr. Dennis Cole

    2. Ruffingit*

      According to that bastion of wedding planning site The Knot:

      If a wife and husband are both doctors, the outer and inner envelopes should be addressed to: “The Doctors Rosenthal.” It’s that simple! If they’re married but have different last names, list both names in alphabetical order on separate lines: “Dr. Rosenthal” followed by “Dr. Schwartz”.

      If only one spouse is a doctor, list the person with the professional name first: “Dr. Kate Randolph Mr. Brian Randolph” or “Dr. Kate Randolph and Mr. Brian Randolph” (if it fits on one line).

    3. CathVWXYNot?*

      ACK – we had a “situation” at our UK wedding reception (we got married and had a reception in Canada, went on honeymoon, then had a second reception at a hotel in my hometown in the UK for all the friends and relatives who couldn’t come to Canada). My parents were planning the whole thing, and my Dad called me at work to ask what we wanted on the sign to show people where to go (the hotel was hosting several receptions on the same night).

      Dad: “they usually put Mr And Mrs Lastname”

      Me: “tell them to put Mr and Dr Lastname”

      Dad: “OK”

      (an hour later):

      Dad: “they say Mr and Dr Lastname is wrong, and did you mean Dr and Mrs Lastname”?”

      Me: “No, because I’m the one with the PhD. It’s Mr and Dr”

      Dad: “OK”

      (the next day)

      Dad: “They won’t put Mr and Dr, they say it’s wrong”

      Me: “[sigh]. Just put Hisfirstname and Cath Lastname”.

      I’m still annoyed about this and it’s been almost six years.

      1. CathVWXYNot?*

        (oh, and then I had to argue with my Dad about how even though my full name is Catherine, no-one (except my parents) has called me anything but Cath since I was 14. Fun times!)

      2. Ruffingit*

        I would totally be bitter about that! You earned that Dr. title through a lot of blood, sweat, and tears and they won’t put it on the sign because you’re female? SO SO WRONG.

  41. Melissa*

    “I don’t know, I’m of the school of thought that says life is messy and weddings with more than two guests are messy and any attempts to make them otherwise are fated to result in failure, and we might as well embrace the messiness and cede some control and we’ll be happier for it.”

    I have to wholeheartedly agree with this. Weddings bring out the best and worst in people, sometimes simultaneously. But I also have a big crazy family, and my spouse has a small crazy family, so I’m used to life messiness and didn’t expect my wedding to be different. Sometimes it’s more fun that way.

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