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Work Etiquette – Do I Have To Invite Co-workers to My Wedding?

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You’ve got your pen and paper – or your spreadsheet open. You’ve got your Other Half by your side. Two cups of tea – or maybe something stronger. You’re ready to tackle that guest list. Parents, check. Bridal party, check. Best friends, check. Assorted cousins, aunties and uncles, check. So far so good! Until you come to the question of your work colleagues and boss. Invite or not?

The Work Dilemma

Work is a funny thing. Most of us spend the largest part of our day sharing a somewhat confined space with a bunch of people we wouldn’t ordinarily spend time with. It’s rare to find a workplace so fabulous where everyone is so cool you gladly hang out with them after work, and the boss is one of the gang and gives you raises without being asked. If that’s your workplace – you’re a lucky, lucky guy or gal! For the rest of us, it’s simply a space we occupy with other professionals.

Until, of course, we announce our engagement. Just like in your private life, this will be met with reactions ranging from squeals of delight (fake or genuine), indifference, or jealousy – and every other feeling in between. Your boss will probably now start wondering if that intense look of concentration has anything to do with whatever project you’re supposed to deliver, and not bridesmaids’ dresses.

Before you know it, several girls will be taking great interest in your wedding – far more than you expected. They’ll want to know all the details, volunteer DIY services and their mum’s cake baking skills, declare themselves ready to accompany you to cake tastings and bridal fairs, come along to dress shopping, and maybe even give unsolicited planning advice, using either their own past wedding, or their own imaginary future wedding as some kind of inspiration. Soon, they’ll make it known that they’d love to be invited to your wedding. Dilemma!

Your boss may or may not act the same way – but chances are he or she will be understanding and generous about your sudden need to book days off at short notice and general inability to concentrate (on some days at least). Some bosses go as far as making gifts or allowances towards your wedding – for example, giving you extra days off, or a monetary contribution towards your honeymoon, or similar. Dilemma!

How to Handle?

What to do? Here’s good news – this is actually pretty easy to handle, as the rules of work etiquette aren’t nearly as sensitive as family or close friends. You are not in any way obligated to invite anyone, with one single exception – we’ll get to that in a moment. All you need is some common sense.

First, discuss this with your Other Half. Have they asked anyone from work to come to the wedding? What is their view on inviting co-workers? Do they feel under any obligation to invite the boss? Has their boss been generous and understanding? This is something you’ll need to decide together. If it’s a firm ‘no’ from the both of you, then it’s clear – no co-workers, no bosses. If, however, you have room on the guest list and are actually close friends with office guys or gals, read on.

Second, if some girls at work have really and truly become your pals only since you got engaged, they don’t merit an invitation. By all means, chat away, but don’t accept any offers of help or company for the shops. Tell them that you’ve got all the planning sorted and your chief bridesmaid, sister, mum or best friend are already coming with you to every single place you need to go. Ditto for hen do – sorry, everyone’s already been invited, and you don’t know anything about it because the chief bridesmaid is organising it in secret. Be friendly, but firm and really, really regretful. You really wish you could, but it’s just not possible!

Third, if you’re having a buffet reception with plenty of room to spare and double the food you need, you can go ahead and invite your colleagues – but it has to be everyone, or no-one. A general invitation is not a popularity contest. If you have room only for 10 people, but there are 20 in your office, don’t invite anyone. There will be hurt feelings and mean comments, and you really don’t need that to spoil your special day. Consider how many colleagues you have too – 8 people may not be so bad, but 120 is probably pushing it.

Fourth, if one of your co-workers is truly one of your best friends – you hang out after work, she was your shoulder to cry on when you had guy problems, she’s actually met your fiancé and is truly and genuinely delighted for you – then yes, invite her. If you’re really close you may even ask her to do something for you, like accompany you to the hair and make-up trial for a truly honest opinion, or even a reading at the wedding. Good friends are precious.

Fifth, what to do with the boss then? Invite or not? Our advice is – not. It’s a question of whether the boss should really witness such a personal event in your life, when technically they’re not involved in it. Consider this carefully and apply common sense. This isn’t a chance to score brownie points with the management.

The one single exception – is a boss who goes far beyond a reasonable gesture to make a major contribution. We’re not talking an extra few days of paid holiday. We’re talking – major monetary gifts, letting you use his holiday home in Spain free of charge for a romantic getaway or even part of your honeymoon, major help with securing your wedding  venue, getting you a free photographer – any gesture that’s far grander and more generous than you may have expected. If you turn it down, you don’t have to invite the boss. But if you accept – the boss comes. With his partner. To the reception – his presence at the ceremony is not essential.

That’s it. As you can see, this part of wedding planning requires nothing more than your common sense. But ultimately you know best!

And, if you have a wedding vs office dilemma we haven’t mentioned, ask right here!

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Rachel Green

Rachel Green

If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.
Rachel Green

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