How to handle it | Inviting co-workers to your wedding

Our mailbox has been seeing some extra love lately in the form of some special save-the-dates and wedding invitations. Jim and I are excited to be RSVPing yes to celebrate with our close friends and family this Summer and Fall.

It’s funny, when I stop to think about it, the majority of the weddings we’ve been to the last few years have been for Jim’s work friends. On the other hand, I don’t know that I have  attended a colleague’s wedding, ever. The guests of our wedding took on a similar flavor. We had several of Jim’s friends from work and just one important friend I worked with attend our wedding.

A lot of it boils down to office environment and demographics. I worked for a conservative company where I was consistently the youngest person on every team I was on. Most everyone I interacted with was already married. Conversely, Jim was the only married guy in his office for a while.

It’s especially fun when your co-worker and friend has a black tie wedding. (Fancy! Best Wishes, Em!)

There were two people from work I didn’t invite to our wedding that I deeply regret now. At the time, I thought it was easier to keep my one special person, who I was friends with outside of our jobs, and explain to everyone else that I just wasn’t inviting people from the office. But in hindsight, I think I would have enjoyed sharing that experience with my other co-workers. It’s a tricky balance between maintaining your professionalism and personal life. I didn’t want one to cross too far over into the other. Our budget was also a concern.

When asked if it’s okay to invite some work friends to a wedding but not everyone, Emily Post advises“Yes, as long as you’re thoughtful and diplomatic. If you aren’t inviting by group—say, your team, floor, or department, where it would be easy for others to understand your choice and not have hurt feelings—then treat those invited as friends, not co-workers, and keep the pre-wedding office chatter to a minimum.”

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if this is a topic you’re considering. Weddings are deeply personal, so naturally, answers to these questions will bend in that same direction.

  • Are you having a traditional, formal wedding or more of a casual gathering?
  • How are your co-workers currently integrated into your personal life? Or are they at all?
  • How do you feel about some of the intimate details that come with weddings? Think kissing, dancing, crying, toasts, speeches, etc.
  • In 10 years, will these people (or this person) still be in your life?
  • How do you imagine greeting them in a receiving line? Are you happy and excited to see them?

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to handle situations like this. Sharing experiences is one way to help others find their own direction. So feel free to add your two cents in the comment section below.

How to handle it is a new series I’ll be posting where I share my answers to your questions about work encounters and corporate etiquette. Click here to submit your question. Requests for anonymity will of course be respected. Looking forward to hearing what’s on your minds!

[Featured photo by Gagewood]

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