For my small wedding finale I am going to tackle the hardest part of having a small intimate ceremony. Excluding friends, co-workers, maybe even some family. How do you avoid hurt feelings?
Q. How do you throw a small wedding without offending your uninvited family members, coworkers, and friends?
A. You’re asking the right person, because that’s exactly the kind of wedding I had, and it can be a sticky wicket. The first thing I would suggest is being clear with everyone about the lilliputian size of your event from the get-go—thereby subtly signaling, “You might not be invited!” It’s especially important to drive home the small-wedding message to your parents and future in-laws, before they start spreading the good news to that third cousin in Canada you’ve never met.
One of my biggest challenges was dealing with my parents’ disappointment when they realized that they couldn’t invite every relative or friend they wanted to. My response? “Blame me! Tell them your crazy daughter is hosting her own wedding, and you wish you had any say over who gets to attend, but you don’t.” For those people whose parents are footing the bill, it’s harder to veto their guest requests outright, so some fancy diplomatic footwork is required. Try to reach a compromise, such as "I’m willing to invite Great-Aunt Shirley, if you’re willing not to invite the family dentist."
One last word of advice: No one says you can’t amend your small-wedding plans if the feeling moves you. If excluding your sister’s best friend and your husband’s eighth-grade basketball coach is keeping you up at night, invite them. Yes, even if you have to pony up a few more dollars. Because in the end it’s more important to have who you want at your ceremony than slavishly sticking to your original plan.