There will inevitably come a time when you and your partner will need to sit down and trim the guest list. You have to draw the line somewhere, but when it comes to co-workers, is it acceptable to invite them only and not their spouses or plus-ones? Or would that be considered impolite? Our in-house wedding etiquette expert is here to weigh your options to ensure that you handle this potentially sticky situation like a pro.
The Answer is "Yes"
It's true: Once you start factoring in spouses, fiancГ©s, and serious partners, your guest list will grow exponentially. But yes, you will need to include those significant others to avoid causing any bruised egos. You'll want to use tact and discretion when deciding which, if any, of your co-workers you want to invite.
If you can't possibly account for a potential group of 20 (those 10 co-workers and their plus-ones), then one option is to invite your immediate boss, your assistant, and/or those with whom you are closest. Sharing a cubicle with someone doesn't warrant an automatic wedding invitation, especially if you're not close friends with them in the first place. As a rule of thumb, we recommend separating your "work relationships" from your IRL friendships to help thin down the roster. (Pro tip: Be sure to mail your wedding invitations to your co-workers' home addresses, not the office. Being discreet can go a long way toward avoiding hurt feelings.)
Drawing a Line
Another perfectly acceptable alternative is to invite no one from work to your wedding. Yup, you heard right. If anyone inquires, you can say something along the lines of: "Now that we're into the realities of planning, it looks as though we're going to have a fairly small wedding." Or, if you or your partner has a large family, you could say, "We already realize that, once we invite our families, we won't be able to accommodate as many friends and coworkers as we had previously hoped." Should you go this route, we recommend keeping the wedding talk to a minimum at the office out of respect for your colleagues' feelings.
Those comments can help get the point across that the guest list will be limited. Should spots open up on your wedding guest list down the road-perhaps, a large number of attendants won't be able to make it-then you can always re-evaluate at a later date.