Between the two separate companies, we are all friendly in the office. Phoebe started here maybe two or three years ago (I’ve been working here for 4 years), and we’re close in age. She and I sometimes go to lunch together and have hung out outside of work once. She’s been really helpful with wedding planning tips, recommending local caterers and offering an ear when I want to ask for advice or vent frustrations and that kind of thing.
Monica is new – she’s been working at the office just a few months – and I’ve barely spoken to her. I couldn’t even tell you her last name. It’s nothing against her, we’ve just never had that chance to really talk. Rachel is the boss of the other two and she started around the same time as Phoebe. I know her reasonably well, sometimes all the ladies in our office will to lunch together in the summer. We haven’t had one of these lunches since Monica started, however, and probably won’t again until around the time of the wedding.
So which of these three ladies should I be inviting? I will definitely be inviting my five coworkers at my own company, there’s no question there. Despite sharing an office, our two organizations are very distinct and I have much more of a professional relationship with my own team. If I just invite my “true” coworkers but none of the other three, I doubt Monica or Rachel would feel snubbed. But Phoebe might. And besides, I want to invite Phoebe, but haven’t decided about Monica and Rachel.
If I invite Phoebe but not the other two, I think Rachel might feel snubbed. And if I invite everyone but Monica, it just seems rude to invite the whole office except one person. The simple solution would just be to invite everyone, but then I’m inviting four extra people (Monica, Rachel, and their potential dates) all for the sake of being able to invite Phoebe, who – to further complicate things – probably wouldn’t even be able to make it. Phoebe told me not long after we booked our date that some friends of hers from out of town are getting married the same day as me. While I have no idea what her relationship is with these people, I was under the impression they are at least reasonably close. I like Phoebe a lot, but she’s not a super close friend or anything, and if she had to choose between my wedding and this one, I expect she would probably pick the other (with no hurt feelings on my part). However, that is just a guess, especially since theirs is out of town and mine will be local.
This isn’t a question of finances. I am extremely fortunate in that my parents are paying for the wedding, and they’ve made it clear that they have no problems with anyone I want to include in the list. My fiancé is also supportive of whatever I decide. (For the record, he is inviting his whole office, but he’s planning on building a career there in a way I’m just not envisioning at my job – I’m not sure how much longer I’ll even be working here, or even in this industry.) I just know that Monica in particular would feel really awkward, and she would potentially feel obligated to come out of professional courtesy (particularly since she’s new to the profession and quite young). Basically, my question is this: is it worse to invite everyone and risk creating unnecessary feelings of obligations on the part of your coworkers (and maybe also appearing a little show-offy, like “oh look at me and my huge wedding,” because I don’t want people to think I’m just inviting casual acquaintances left and right for no reason) or is it worse to pick and choose certain coworkers, risking some people feeling snubbed?
And a side question – if I just bring one Save the Date to hang in the kitchen at the office, rather than handing them out individually to people to take home, does that imply I’m inviting the whole office? Or in my office’s case, would it only imply I’m inviting “my” team? — Saving the Date, Losing my Sanity
Good God, I’m glad my wedding-planning days are long behind me. To you and anyone else who is feeling anxious about which co-workers to invite to your wedding and who’s going to feel snubbed and who’s going to feel pressured to go out of obligation, this is my advice: invite the people you feel closest to and don’t worry about the rest. I promise you that some co-worker whose last name you don’t even know will NOT be upset to miss out on your wedding. You’ll be doing her a favor saving her the drama of coming up with an excuse to miss it.
Specifically, you should invite Phoebe if you want to — but only if you want to (and it sounds like you do). If you’re on the fence about Rachel and it’s partly dependent on whether Phoebe comes to your wedding, why don’t you ask Phoebe’s advice and whether she thinks she’d be able to make your wedding anyway? If she’s already been giving you wedding tips and providing a listening ear, it won’t be at all out-of-place for you to say, “Hey, I have a question. I want to invite you to my wedding but I understand you may have a different wedding to go to that same day and I don’t want you to feel pressured to come to mine. I simply want you to know I appreciate your friendship. If you can make it, great, and if you can’t, I totally understand. But I was hoping you might have some advice on whether I should invite everyone in the office. I wouldn’t want certain people feeling snubbed that I’m inviting you and maybe not including them.” Phoebe will have a sense of what your office culture is like and can confirm for you probably better than I whether people will give a flying you-know-what if they don’t score an invite to your wedding.
And, no, do not hang up a save-the-date card in your office, ESPECIALLY if you don’t plan to invite everyone.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.