We’ve all been there. We open the pretty white invitation to our dear friend’s wedding only to see the reception is a child-free zone. There begins the stress of not only deciding what to wear and what gift to buy for the happy couple, but also who will mind the children. One thing we could always count on though was having our partner or husband by our side.
But what if they weren’t invited either? Is it a tall order to expect a guest to attend a wedding, alone?
I’ll confess here. At my own wedding I was really pressed for numbers. I could only host 80 people for a wedding lunch, so I invited several friends without giving them the option of bringing a boyfriend or girlfriend. I very much kept with the rule Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa, is applying to her upcoming nuptials: “No ring, no bring.”
My reasoning was simple: it costs a lot of money to host a guest at a wedding. Why invite someone’s new girlfriend or boyfriend who you don’t know very well? This person isn’t necessarily going to be part of your married social life, so why pay for a new plus-one who might not even be around in a few more months? It’s a different story, of course, if the couple has been in a long-term relationship. Obviously, this isn’t about your guests being married, but rather the knowledge that they have been and will continue to be important in your life.
Daily Mail reported a woman recently wrote on Mumsnet of her objection to the fact her husband had been invited to a wedding without her. She asked users if she was being unreasonable in asking her husband to decline the invite. Perhaps not surprisingly, the question divided users. Many thought it was rude of the hosts not to invite her, while others maintained that being married does not make you “joined at the hip,” and therefore, her husband should be encouraged to go on his own.
One user believed that if the woman allowed her husband to attend the wedding alone, it would set a precedent that all invitations to follow should only include him. She suggested the wife made her position clear – they were a team and should be treated as such.
But is it really so wrong to let your partner go to a wedding without you? Are you not allowed within a marriage to have your own separate friends?
I, for one, have many friendships (both male and female) that are separate from the friendships my husband and I share as a couple. My husband doesn’t know a lot of the moms I’m friendly with from school or my working life very well, so if any one of them were to get married, I wouldn’t expect them to invite him to the wedding just because he is my husband.
When I was married, several friends who I invited to my wedding on their own, invited only me to their weddings in return. I had no issue with this at all. It was an excuse to head off with the girls and have some fun!
Three weeks ago, a school mom invited me and my husband to her wedding. Having only been briefly introduced to her, my husband declined to go at first. After all, he doesn’t know her. But I insisted he attend because the truth is, I need his support!
Weddings can be wildly intimidating. It’s fine if it is a close member of your family or one of your college buddies, but what if you only know the bride or groom? Attending a wedding alone and forcing yourself to make conversation with people you don’t know is anxiety-inducing.
Weddings usually begin around midday and can go until the small hours of the morning. That’s potentially 12 hours of trying to meet people, knowing where to sit inside the church, coping with the lull before the meal, and sitting at a table when then dancing begins. Something like that requires a buddy!
The problem with inviting half of a couple is that you can unintentionally offend them. Another Mumsnet user asked how she could invite her oldest schoolmates without their partners to a wedding ceremony. Every reply pointed out that she would quickly alienate and lose her old friends by excluding – and therefore, negating – their relationships. Since people often feel uncomfortable attending events without their partners, many would automatically decline.
Every situation is different, so while it might be understandable for your old school chum to only invite you to her intimate nuptials of only 20 guests, it would be rude for your neighbor to invite only you to her 250 person blow out wedding.
When faced with this situation, I’d ask myself this: has the host considered my feelings when inviting me on my own? Does she know that I know other guests attending?
In the end, understanding why your host has chosen to invite only you may help your decision to attend alone easier.