• Keeping Friends

Not Invited To The Wedding of a Good Friend’s Son

Published: February 4, 2024 | Last Updated: February 4, 2024 By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
A woman feels hurt when she isn’t invited to the wedding of her childhood friend’s son.


Hi Irene,

My best friend from childhood is having a destination wedding for her son. She says she’s not inviting me as she knows I can’t afford to go.

I told her I’d still like an invitation as I’d like to give her son a present (as I did for her daughter). She said that it doesn’t matter as he’s financially secure.

Help! Should I be hurt? We have been friends for 60 years from childhood.

Signed, Millie


Dear Millie,

Your hurt is understandable.

The costs of attending a destination wedding as a guest can be considerable, for the couple getting married, their families, and their invitees.

Deciding whom to invite to any wedding is always tricky because it entails negotiations amongst the bride, groom and their families.

If you truly can’t afford to attend, your friend may not have wanted to place you in the awkward position of declining the invitation. Yet, I agree that she should have given you that option.

On the other hand, there may be reasons entirely unrelated to you (or her) that prevented her from extending an invitation (limited number of rooms at the destination, limits on the numbers of guests that could be invited, etc.). She may have been embarrassed to tell you the truth.

Depending on how you feel, you can certainly give the couple a token gift—whether or not you were invited to the wedding and congratulate your friend. It would probably be best to give the couple the gift afterwards.

After the event, I think you should also speak to your friend to get over the hurt and explain your disappointment.

Although I can understand how hurt you might feel hurt, I would suggest that you give your friend a pass on this one and try to put it behind you. You are so fortunate to have a friendship that has survived for 60 years. If this is the only major transgression, it suggests that your friend may have had a limited say in deciding whom she could invite. Or, she simply may have made a mistake. No friendship is perfect all the time.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Tips for Handling the Hurt of Not Being Invited to the Wedding

Navigating the complex emotions that arise from not being invited to a long-time friend’s relative’s wedding can be challenging. Here are some rules and tips on what to say or do in such a situation:

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s natural to feel hurt, disappointed, or even rejected upon learning that you were not invited to a friend’s relative’s wedding. Acknowledge and validate your emotions, allowing yourself to process them in a healthy manner.
  2. Consider the Circumstances: Before jumping to conclusions or assuming the worst, consider the circumstances surrounding the wedding invitation process. Factors such as budget constraints, venue limitations, or family dynamics may have influenced the decision-making process.
  3. Avoid Jumping to Conclusions: Refrain from making assumptions about your friend’s intentions or feelings towards you based solely on the lack of an invitation. Understand that wedding guest lists are often fraught with complexities and compromises.
  4. Communicate with Your Friend: If the absence of an invitation is causing you distress, consider having an open and honest conversation with your friend about how you feel. Approach the discussion with sensitivity and without placing blame.
  5. Express Your Feelings Diplomatically: When communicating with your friend, express your feelings diplomatically and without confrontation. Use “I” statements to convey how the situation made you feel, emphasizing your desire to understand rather than to accuse.
  6. Seek Clarification, Not Confrontation: Instead of confronting your friend with accusations or assumptions, seek clarification about the reasons behind the omission. Approach the conversation with genuine curiosity and a willingness to listen.
  7. Respect Their Decision: Regardless of the explanation provided by your friend, respect their decision and the factors that influenced it. Avoid pressuring them to justify their choices or to extend an invitation out of obligation.
  8. Focus on Your Friendship: Remind yourself of the value and longevity of your friendship with this person. Refrain from allowing the absence of a wedding invitation to overshadow the history and depth of your relationship.
  9. Celebrate Separately: If attending the wedding is not an option, consider celebrating separately with your friend in a meaningful way. Plan a lunch date, send a heartfelt card, or offer your congratulations in person to demonstrate your support and well-wishes.
  10. Practice Forgiveness and Letting Go: Ultimately, practice forgiveness and let go of any lingering resentment or hurt feelings. Recognize that friendships, like any relationship, have their ups and downs, and choose to focus on the positive aspects of your bond.

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS, Legacy friendships

Comments (7)

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  1. Betty S says:

    I think if it had not been a destination wedding and you had not been invited I would have felt hurt. The fact that it is and your friend is understanding of your financial situation shows she is a sensitive and caring person. he probably thought it best this way but maybe she should have explained it to you beforehand. I would just let it pass and send an appropriate gift. You were in her thoughts and not ignored.

  2. LauraSL says:

    I’m not feeling some of the other comments, which seem a bit harsh, so I’ll jump in and say that I’m sorry you’re hurting about this. It’s always nice to be included. That said, I agree with Irene that there could be many reasons other than the one given why you were not invited, and I also agree not to end a 60 year friendship over this. Wedding guest lists are difficult and generally the bride is in control. I would send a modest gift as a congratulations and then put this behind you. You can certainly let your friend know you’d enjoy seeing the pictures after the wedding, if that’s the case.

  3. Susan M. says:

    My former, best friend, interacted with my son, fairly often, as he grew up. When she saw, in a social media post, that he was engaged, she posted a reply, that she, “wanted to see the invitations.” Knowing of my former bestie’s, card making hobby, that did not surprise me. His bride-to-be sent her one, at my request. I did not expect, that she would not (even) send a congratulatory card, to my son! Had I known that would be the case, I would never have asked, that she be sent an invitation. A few weeks later I asked my son, what “Jane Doe” had sent to them. Nothing. I could tell, by his tone, that he was disappointed. He had first met her, when he was five years old. He was 30 years old when he got married.

  4. Mary says:

    When my son got married, the bride had the guest list on lockdown.

    Your friend has no control over who gets invited. Your friend may suggest a few names, but ultimately the bride makes these decisions.

    By asking your friend this question, you’ve put her in an awkward position.

    You don’t need an invitation to give a gift. Send the gift to your friend and allow her to navigate the logistics of delivering the gift.

    If that’s not agreeable to you, I suggest you let this go and don’t bring it up again. It’s not worth straining the friendship over.

  5. CeCe says:

    First of all, it’s your friend’s son’s wedding not your friend’s. She already said she wasn’t going to invite you because you can’t afford it.

    Therefore, please save your hurt feeling and your money. It was a blessing in disguise not to have received that invitation.

    The wedding was about the bride and groom and not about the guests.

  6. Linda says:

    As the mother of a son who was married a couple of years ago, I can tell you that deciding which friends and relatives to invite can be very tricky and painful. In our case, the bride has a huge immigrant family, and we ended up with a limited number of people we could invite on our side. It was quite a feat of engineering — and public relations — to finalize our list for the invitations. We had to explain to some friends that we simply didn’t have the space to invite everyone we wanted — and that the main thing was that our son and his fiancé were able to invite the people THEY wanted to their wedding.

    Topping off the complications, a lot of guests don’t understand the important of RSVP — so you end up with last-minute cancellations, and not enough time to invite the other people you wish you could have invited.

    It’s virtually impossible to invite everyone you’d like to invite to a wedding, especially a destination wedding. But I do think it would have been kinder if your friend had explained the decision with you ahead of time. I don’t think it’s too late to let her know you’d like to send a gift — and let her know how you feel.

  7. Amy F says:

    It sounds to me like your friend is being sensitive to your situation and trying to make sure you don’t feel obligated to spend money for the wedding. I’d appreciate the thoughtfulness and give a material, not monetary gift like a special candle or photo album.

    The question “should I be hurt” is an odd one to me. Why not take your friend at her word? Don’t borrow trouble. Nobody likes being excluded, whether because of financial consideration or some other reason. I’ve never been to a destination wedding, nor could I afford it, so I can see what happened with you easily happening to me. I’d probably feel relief that I didn’t have to decline the invitation.

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