We’ve made it to the end of Wediquette Week and our final question packs a punch. This week we’ve talked about the cost of wedding gifts, plus ones and fashion. Read all four installments here. But today’s question is a two-parter that involves firing someone, essentially.

Question: A) Can I disinvite someone from a guest list? B) Also, related, can I fire a bridal party member?

Answer A: As a rule, disinviting a guest is one of the biggest ‘don’ts’ when it comes to weddings. This is why it’s so important to think long and hard about your guest list in the first place. If budget is a concern, create an A and a B list. Work from the A list first, then if spaces come available, begin adding from the B list. Meanwhile, life happens and people have fall outs. If that’s the case, it’s better to power through than to disinvite. There a few reasons for this: 1) No matter how upset the other party made you, disinviting them could create an unmendable rift. 2) Disinviting them could cause even more drama. 3) They might decide not to come without you disinviting them, so let the chips fall where they may, and it might work itself out. It could be beneficial to simply have a mature conversation (preferably in person or on the phone, but not via text or email unless it’s unavoidable, because you want the benefit of facial cues and body language) with the other party about what’s going on between the two of you. This could lead to mending the problem, a truce for the day of the wedding or, again, them deciding to sit this one out. If there are concerns over a person’s potential behavior at the wedding, this is also a good time to (maturely) address the situation.

  • Answer B: Any way you slice it, it can be tricky to fire an attendant. Also, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to and, since we don’t know the situation, here’s a general answer. It’s best to be direct and have a heart-to-heart. Again, this should happen in person or on the phone, but not via text or email unless it’s unavoidable, because you want the benefit of facial cues and body language. Approach he conversation with as much kindness and gentle grace as possible. A sample script is:

Get permission (this goes a long way): ‘Can we talk about the wedding?’

Indicate why you wanted them in your wedding in the first place: ‘I love you and you are one of my best friends, so naturally I want you to be a part of this wedding.’

Broach the problem: ‘But, it seems as though [insert problem here using feeling statements].’ (This could be anything from ‘it seems as though life is really hectic and it’s hard to participate in a lot of the wedding activities,’ to ‘I’ve noticed tension between you and my sister’ or whatever)

Say how this makes you feel: ‘I feel disappointed when I get an R.S.V.P. of yes and you’re absent, because I want to celebrate this time with you,’ or ‘it’s upsetting to me when I see you and my sister arguing.’ Again, stick with whatever it is you feel when the problem occurs. 

Give them an escape hatch: If you are having a hard time with [insert some aspect of the duties and commitments or clashing with the other attendants] I’m thinking it might ease the situation if you were to bow out of attendant duties.

Invite them to speak: ‘What do you think?’

Listen with an open heart and mind to what they have to say and be gentle, but direct with your responses. Be clear about your expectations. Give them an opportunity to respond. They may feel attacked, so let them vent and try not to get worked up in response. Most of all, be considerate and maybe also bring an offering of chocolate. Everything is better with chocolate.