Co-worker wedding etiquette can get pretty dicey. Who do you invite, and more critically, who do you NOT invite?
Wedding trends ramp up your challenges, as a survey of 13,000 brides by The Knot shows the size of guests guest lists is dropping. In 2009, the average size of a guest list was 149, but that has dropped to 136 as of 2017. If you are agonizing over the size of your guest list, co-worker wedding etiquette becomes especially critical.
The challenge of co-worker wedding etiquette
What compounds your challenge is that you may not even be working the same job five years from now, maybe even a year from now. Do you want to waste a precious invite on someone with whom you may no relationship in a few short years?
On the other hand, office politics factor into your decision. You may very well be working with the same people for years to come. If you snub them today, your working relationship with them may be compromised tomorrow.
Are there easy answers?
So, are there easy answers to co-worker wedding etiquette? No. However, some situations are easier than others. If you work for a large company, you are liberated to reduce invitees to only those co-workers you really like and would like to have at your wedding celebration.
By contrast, if you work for a small company or with a small team in a larger organization, it is really hard to skip over some workers, while inviting others. Here are some ideas that may help.
Co-worker wedding strategy #1
Don’t talk about your wedding at work. Don’t plan your wedding during work hours. Be discreet. If the subject comes up with co-workers, emphasize that your wedding is going to be a family affair.
Co-worker wedding strategy #2
Minimize social media postings on your wedding plans. Although this is a difficult strategy for excited brides-to-be to implement, it makes good sense. Social media is so in-your-face. Everyone reading your posts, whether a co-worker or not, may feel rejected when an invitation doesn’t arrive.
Co-worker wedding strategy #3
Go ahead and invite your boss and co-workers if you believe it is a good career move, or if you genuinely like these people, especially if you socialize with them after hours. But limit invitations to just them, not everyone with whom you work but don’t socialize. You do NOT have to invite everyone. But be prepared for the fall out.
Co-worker wedding strategy #4
When you don’t invite every co-worker, be prepared for some sour grapes from someone who didn’t make the cut. You know how it can go:
“I can’t believe you invited Mary Sue and not me to your wedding!”
Have your response prepared and rehearsed. Here are a few approaches you can consider:
“I am so delighted that you would have liked to have come! That really means a lot to me. Sadly, our venue only accommodated a very limited guest list, and I had to leave off several dozen others whom I would have loved to have invited, like you. If you’ve ever been involved planning a wedding, you’ll know what I mean!”
“I am so touched that you would have liked to have attended my wedding! But since my folks were paying for the wedding, they pretty much dictated the size of my guest list. They really laid down the law on all the family members I had to invite, and it was a lot. I was forced to cut back on a whole bunch of my friends and co-workers I really wanted to invite. Like you. It killed me that they wouldn’t let me invite all my friends, but I’m sure you understand the complexity of family dynamics … and budgets!”
Co-worker wedding strategy #5
Simply be up front with your co-workers about your wedding plans. Let them know that your budget or family necessitates a limited guest list, and that you’ll only be able to invite a very limited number of co-workers. This way, you don’t have to hide anything. By the same token, don’t flaunt your wedding plans, but move forward using common sense and sensitivity towards those with whom you work. In the overwhelming majority of circumstances, people understand and move on.
Once you get your guest list set, it’s time to think about the entertainment. DJ Brian Anderson knows how to pack a dance floor and show your guests a good time! You’ll have a hard time getting your co-workers NOT to talk about your celebration back at the office. They’ll have that great a time!