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To the wedding guests still waiting for their invitations:

{Cards from Sad Shop • • @sadshopco}

What is it about weddings that brings out the worst in some people?

I have attended several weddings in my lifetime. I have also not been invited to several weddings, some of which I really cared about.

I’ve felt hurt, left out, and angry. I’ve been petty and passive-aggressive, and I have refused to talk to people.

I’ve been downright childish.

Have you felt that way, too?

If you have, then I have a question for you. It’s a question I recently asked myself, too.

How self-important are you, really???

Like, when you really take a look at who you are and what you value, do you truly believe that what you want is more important than what the couple wants?

If so, then you’ll probably feel personally attacked by this blog post. Spoiler alert: I am not writing this to attack you. I don’t even know that you are reading this right now.

Anyway, is your need to feed your ego stronger than your desire to see your friends or family members have the happiest day of their lives, whether or not you’re there?

Do couples take it personally when you R.S.V.P. “no” to their wedding? Probably not, though there are always exceptions to generalizations.

Their wedding is not about you! I had to remind myself of this recently. And that’s when I had this epiphany, the inspiration for this post.

The Guest List:

It’s tempting to feel unimportant and unappreciated when loved ones don't invite you to their weddings, especially if you had invited them to your own wedding, or if you were expecting an invitation.

When you hold specific expectations for people but those expectations are not met, you’ll find yourself disappointed.

And then there’s ego, of course--that self-importance. People who haven’t planned weddings are more likely to fall into the latter two categories.

The reality about wedding guest lists is that they do not reveal how important you are to the couple. It does not mean that they don’t love you if you’re not invited.

For example: There are two weddings I can think of where my lack of invite sparked admiration instead of disappointment. Both of them were weddings in my extended family. My extended family is HUGE, and we grew up together, so we’re pretty close.

One couple wanted a small shindig, so instead of inviting all 80 or so family members in our family, they invited the remaining matriarchs of each branch of our family tree (my grandma, her sister-in-law, etc). That way, everyone was represented by one member. GENIUS. They were able to have the wedding they wanted while still including the family.

Another couple wanted a small destination wedding in an expensive location. Weddings are expensive in general, so their guest list had to be TINY. Because they wanted to have their dream small, wintery, and destination wedding, they decided to throw a gigantic party several months later so that EVERYONE could be included, because they love everyone. I admire the couple’s courage to have the exact wedding that they wanted, despite pressure to have a large wedding like most of the other members of our family.

The Ceremony vs. Celebration:

People seem to define their importance based on whether or not they’re invited to the wedding ceremony. The party is just a party--it’s not the important part. Wait, what??? The CELEBRATION is less important than seeing two people say, “I choose to be with you forever”?

Bullsh*t. The celebration is the important part. You get to hear stories, see family, dress up, dance, dance, dance, eat great food, and be social. (Okay, so it might be some people’s worst nightmare, but I’m still posing all these things as positives.) And Being part of the couple's lives, being able to celebrate their relationship for as long as they do, is the most important part.

So, why do we feel left out when not invited to the ceremony? Or why do we feel like we’re part of a special club when we ARE invited?

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because our society places so much weight on the importance of weddings. Maybe it’s because there’s an attitude of, “if they value me, then they’ll invite me to their wedding.” Maybe it’s because not being invited when you’re expecting to be invited forces you to face your insecurities about how close you really are with that friend or family member. (More often than not, the insecurities are all in your head.)

But, people . . . just because you’re not at the ceremony doesn’t mean you aren’t loved. Just because you’re not included in the couple’s definition of “immediate family and wedding party” doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

AND IT’S OKAY that they didn’t invite you, even though your ego doesn’t want it to be okay.

You don’t need to disown the couple. You don’t need to hate them. You don’t need to try to make them feel crappy. If you do feel the need to do this, then consider trying to understand why they chose to do what they did. Try to recognize that your bruised ego is preventing you from being happy for people that you love.

You’ll be happier for it. They’ll be happier for it.

Plus, weddings are one day, one moment, in a lifetime. They do not define friendships.

For example, one friend invited me to her super tiny wedding, and I felt like I was being let in on a little secret, like I was part of a cool and exclusive club. That was nine years ago. We haven’t spoken in at least four years.

One of my friends told me that she couldn’t invite me, despite telling me (early on in the engagement) that I absolutely had to be at her wedding. I felt hurt, left out, and uninvited, and I reacted incredibly immaturely. I was very, very, very self-involved. (I’m a little bit shocked--and very grateful--that she ever forgave me for my behavior.) She is now one of my closest friends and confidants.

If I were to get married tomorrow, the first person would not be invited to the wedding and the second would likely be a bridesmaid.

Weddings do not define my friendships. If they did, then I’d still be close to the first person and not talking to the second.

The Challenge:

My challenge for you is to evaluate your feelings when you’re not invited to a wedding that you thought you’d be attending. It’s okay to feel hurt. I felt hurt about not being invited to the two family weddings I mentioned. But I didn’t accost those couples and tell them that they made me feel terrible, because despite my hurt, I could empathize with them and understand why I couldn’t be at their wedding. So I moved on and continue to have good relationships with those couples.

How much would it suck to have a dark cloud hanging over my head because I resent someone I love for not inviting me to their wedding?? If I let it, it will ruin my day (and theirs, if I decide I have to tell them how much they hurt me). And our relationship would definitely take a hit.

It’s all about attitude. They can only hurt you if you set yourself up to be hurt (unless they’re intentionally trying to do you harm, which I sincerely hope is not the case. And if it is, why are they in your life?).

Let it go! Be free. And be happy--people you love are in love with each other and are married now. You get to see them grow, learn, build their families, and add to your family.

I’m grateful.

And if you’re reading this and expecting to be invited to my future wedding, I’d like you to know that I fully intend to have a tiny ceremony in a faraway land with fewer than 50 people, and then throw a big party later in a convenient location for everyone I love.

Because the ceremony isn’t the fun part.

Because the ceremony is a short and tiny part.

The Pledge:

Weddings are funny things. And creating a guest list can be hell, with all the pressures of inviting the “right” people and succumbing to “obligated invites”. Do you really want to make it harder on the couple by trying to make them feel badly for not inviting you? Ego, I’m talking to you!

If you HAVE had a wedding and find yourself thinking or saying, “well IIIIIIIII invited everyone, so…,” that’s the situation you faced and the outcome you decided was important. Or maybe you’re someone who loves including people. Or you actually wanted a big wedding. Your choices do not make someone else’s choices wrong.

From this moment moving forward, I am going to continue to learn to be less egotistical and less hurt when I’m not invited to weddings of loved ones. I am going to accept that I might not be as important to them as I thought I was (and that’s okay; doesn’t mean I should love them any less). I’m going to let go of specific expectations for who might invite me to their future nuptials because having specific expectations sets me up for disappointment.

And, because my joy is not attached to anyone else’s (or attached to whose wedding I’m invited to), I’m going to continue to live and be happy and celebrate love!

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