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COVID ERA WEDDING? SHRINKING THE GUEST LIST

How do I 'un-invite' some of my guest list?

Let's change the paradigm. The first thing to realize is that you aren't 'un-inviting' anyone. There is a global pandemic. You simply can only accommodate a limited number of people that you have no control over per new, ever-changing regulations. This is not cause for hurt feelings on anyone's part. It is certainly not one of the many changing aspects of your wedding that you should lose sleep over. Although we know you will.

I'll share a little personal information here. I had to plan the funeral of a very close, widely loved friend during this pandemic. Choosing who could be in the audience was a full training camp in emotional crisis management. I had to think of not only my own feelings, but the impact of my decisions on every person I could include or had to exclude. Painstaking is a massive understatement. Planning the audience of something as significant as your wedding feels no less, I know.

As for your wedding, the best thing to remember is this—you are not alone. You bear the burden of choosing a smaller audience. I am so sorry. It's something that is hard to determine and there may, no doubt, be turmoil in the trenches as all involved parties come to a conclusion on the list. I hope you invest in good wine.

Once that is finished, you have two tasks ahead. First, who gets a revised invitation, and in what form? Second, who gets something different—the 'change of plans' communication, and form. This is the 2020 dilemma.

Here's the silver lining. Wording can be flexible and fun, whether you started of formally or informal. The key is to fit the formality and look of the original save-the-date or invitation sent. 

Still Invited to Attend — Nothing Has Changed

If nothing has changed, you don't need to send anything out; however, a gracious host knows that guests in this environment have a ton of questions and probable concerns. These are best addressed on your wedding website. Think of a little Q & A you might have with each guest and try to answer the most pressing questions in writing for everyone. It is wise to mention the current government restrictions and suggestions in your area, and of course keep them up to date. Remember that guests are coming in from other places that will have different local regulations.

Word of mouth is your friend. Tell your inner circle to spread the word that the show is going on. Have compassion and empathy for those who aren't willing or able to attend and expect to have a lower guest count in attendance than you would have previously. 

Were Invited, but Plans Have Changed

Most have some detail changed by now. If you plan to send email to save on expenses, here are the pitfalls to consider. It may go to junk mail, and you will not know unless you follow up with each guest. You need new responses that may be difficult to collect and organize if they aren't mailed in. You have a full address list from your save the date or invitation mailing and collecting current email addresses from everyone can be a tricky, time-consuming endeavor. For this and aesthetic reasons, the experts are recommending paper. 

You don't need to do anything more than a digitally printed card. Use the same general aesthetic as the first mailing you sent so that guests make a quick visual connection. Use wording formality that is consistent with what you already sent. Remember—formal doesn't mean stuffy. Be as clever, witty, and wonderfully silly as you like. It's most welcome in these times.

FORMAL

Traditional Wording

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gregory Boles
have changed the date and location
of the wedding of their daughter
Jacqueline Ellen
and
Mr. Joshua Louis Stiller
to
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland

Witty & Clever Wording
The wedding is on
We'll dance until dawn
If not on our feet
We'll boogie in our seat

Jacqueline Ellen
and
Mr. Joshua Louis Stiller
are now tying the knot on
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland

With Love and Just a Little Heartburn,

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gregory Boles 

Witty & Clever Wording

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gregory Boles
are still giving her away

the new details are
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland
 

 

Modern Wording

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gregory Boles
have changed the date and location
of the wedding of their daughter
Jacqueline Ellen
and
Mr. Joshua Louis Stiller
to
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland

Witty & Clever Wording

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gregory Boles
have changed—well everything
regarding the wedding of
Jacqueline and Joshua

the new details are
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland
 

Witty & Clever Wording

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Gregory Boles
are still giving her away

the new details are
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland
 

 

 

INFORMAL

Standard Wording
POSTPONED

Jacqueline and Joshua
will marry
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
Ellicott City, Maryland

Witty & Clever Wording

Lauren and Andrew Boles
have had a change of plans—not heart
Jacqueline and Josh
will now marry
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland
 

Witty & Clever Wording

Strike That. New Plans.

Jacqueline and Josh
will marry
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland

and afterwards we'll boogie
from our seats with extraordinary eats

Main Street Ballroom

 

 

 

Standard Wording
CHANGE THE DATE

The wedding of
Jacqueline and Joshua
has been postponed until
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
Ellicott City, Maryland
 

Witty & Clever Wording

Lauren and Andrew Boles
invite you to resume with us
for the wedding of
Jacqueline and Josh
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland

and afterwards for extra shots at the bar

at our home
1279 Bartholomew Creek

Witty & Clever Wording

Well This Changes Everything

Lauren and Andrew Boles
invite you again to the wedding of
Jacqueline and Josh

this time
Saturday, the sixth of March
two thousand and twenty-one
and half after seven o'clock
Saint Mary's Chapel
Ellicott City, Maryland

For Those You Can No Longer Accommodate

This is tricky and tough, but in these times, it is completely understandable—regardless of how a guest may make you feel. This is where I tell you to be prepared for some disappointed people and give them some grace, they should have given you. You will be better for it.

The best advice is that you are not 'uninviting' anyone. The changes you were forced to make now leave you in a difficult place of inability to accommodate the same number of guests as before. One piece of practical advice, when you are cutting only a few, this will be very difficult. No one wants to be the acknowledged bottom-of-the-list. Especially in this case, do not talk about the number of people who are now no longer on the new guest list.

Use the wording below to let guests on this list know you are deeply saddened that you will not be together on this most important day. It's important that each guest feels individually appreciated. If the number on this list is manageable, handwriting this message on personal stationery is absolutely the best way to go. If it's simply too many, a printed card is appropriate. Be sure to reach out post-wedding to all these people and let them have the time they didn't get with you, even if it's just screen-time. You don't want anyone feeling like they were used for a gift.

Hand-written 

Dear (Guest Name),

Lauren and I regret that our daughter's wedding plans have drastically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolving regulations set in place by local governments.

At this time, we are unable to extend an invitation to celebrate together, but we hope and look forward to sharing our joy with you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your love and grace while we navigate this difficult situation.

Andrew Boles

 

Printed 

We regret that our daughter's wedding plans have drastically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolving regulations set in place by local governments.

At this time, we are unable to extend an invitation to celebrate together, but we hope and look forward to sharing our joy with you as soon as possible.

Thank you for your love and grace while we navigate this difficult situation.

Lauren and Andrew Boles

(or, formally: Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Boles)