Etiquette on Handing Out Invitations When You Don't Invite Everyone

by Judy Greenlees

Invitations have become increasingly difficult to coordinate in certain circumstances. With many blended families, divorced couples and distant relatives, the prospect of including everyone properly at special events may seem impossible. With an eye toward standard etiquette, and some sensitive use of newer traditions, it is still possible to celebrate life's important moments without anyone feeling totally excluded or badly hurt.

Bridal Showers and Weddings

Though some wedding experts believe that it is OK to hand-deliver wedding or bridal shower invitations to special friends, others disagree. Pros include being able to discuss the invitation personally and welcome each guest. Cons include the possibility of hurting the feelings of those who see that they are uninvited. Etiquette tradition insists that invitations be mailed via regular mail about six weeks in advance of each event.

Baby Showers, Baptisms and Christenings

Invitations for these precious occasions should be mailed to close family and friends. Though inviting by way of phone calls is not discouraged, it is better to remember the significance of each event by sending distinctive invitations. Making a guest list will help hosts remember everyone that should be included. Planning friendly visits for others not invited is a good way to include everyone in the baby's new life.

Children's Birthday Parties

Planning a birthday party for a child may be simplified by remembering an old school rule: invite only the same number of children to the party as your child's birthday age. Other plans might include inviting all the girls or all the boys in your child's classroom. The invitations may be sent by email, in person or via snail mail.

Barbecues and Other Casual Events

Invitations to a home for barbecues or other casual affairs may be delivered by hand or even email. But, to keep it personal, a pleasant phone call is really best. In this way, those uninvited will not be offended. For families experiencing financial downturns, it is simple to keep the guest list short. Invited guests have the obligation to not bring extra guests, which may break the host's budget.

Strategies for Avoiding Hurt Feelings

When someone knows they are not included, the feelings can run the gamut from simple frustration to great hurt. Taking care when giving out invitations, regardless of how they are delivered, is important. Because news about events tends to eventually come out, being truthful about financial limitations or personal circumstances may be the best way to deal with invitations of all kinds. Good etiquette is ultimately about social responsibility.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Judy Greenlees has been writing since 2009. Some of her experience includes writing for "The Piano Encyclopedia" and "Artistic Journeys." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in music from California State University, Fullerton and a Master of Business Administration with distinction from New York Institute of Technology.

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