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Workmates at Weddings: Do You Invite the Office to Your Big Day?

Writing up an invitation list for your wedding can often cause a few bumps in the planning road.  The world and his wife will probably expect to be invited to share your big day, meaning a cutthroat option is often the best way to ensure only your nearest and dearest are there.  Of course, the issue of work colleagues is one that many couples are confused by – do you invite co-workers or not?  We discuss the pros and cons in this week’s blog.

Your Wedding, Your Rules

It is easy to get swept away in the majesty of a wedding and forget the initial type of ceremony and reception you originally wanted.  Some couples want a small and intimate ceremony with just a handful of close friends and family present, whereas other couples may want an extravaganza with everyone they know in attendance to share in the festivities of the big day.  However many people you want at your wedding, it is important to invite those you truly want there and not choose guests based on obligation.

There is usually a great deal of pressure on couples to include not just the people they want, but the people their family and friends want too.  You may not know Great Aunt Sue and couldn’t care less if she was at your wedding, but your mother may not be able to imagine a wedding without her.  That means keeping your mum happy by inviting Great Aunt Sue and incurring the costs of an extra guest you don’t really want there.  This is where being cutthroat comes in handy.  If you set out your guest goals from the start and stick to your guns, it will be easier to say no to the random additions family and friends request.

What About Workmates?

Inviting work colleagues to your wedding could be fraught with potential problems, depending on the nature of your job and how close you are to your co-workers.  For example, if you work in a very serious and overtly-professional industry, it may be somewhat embarrassing to have your boss there watching you get tipsy on champagne and dance like a loon at the reception.  Whereas if you work in a laid back environment, this problem is not such an issue as your colleagues are likely to be more laid back as well.

The pros of inviting work colleagues are:

- The ability to share your wedding memories with even more people and be able to reminisce at work.

- The opportunity to get to know your co-workers outside the office and find out more about their personalities, which can break the ice.

- Including workmates in the big day could encourage them to do the same, helping create a closer bond between yourself and those you work with.

- It gives your boss/colleagues an opportunity to see a different side to you and, by extension, notice skills and aspects that could be helpful in the workplace.

In spite of these pros, there are a few downsides to inviting colleagues to your wedding, including:

- Stern managers and those above you in the hierarchy may be unable to separate ‘work you’ from ‘personal you’ and therefore judge you on any negative behaviour.

- Many people are often not relaxed at work, so having work colleagues there could inspire that sense of tension making the day less enjoyable.

- If you, or your colleague, gets very drunk and very embarrassing it will be the talk of the water cooler for weeks to come, which could create a bad atmosphere between you and your team.

- You may like some of your colleagues but not others thereby inviting only a choice few, which can have repercussions if people are offended that they weren’t asked to come. 

How to Decide Who to Invite

If you have decided not to invite work colleagues to your wedding, you must make sure that this extends to everyone involved.  If the bride is saying no to workmates then the groom must also do the same; Facebook pictures of the groom enjoying a glass of bubbly with his manager may be seen by the bride’s equivalent, which could perhaps come across as slightly offensive.  Equally, the father of the bride may want to invite his work buddies but drawing a stern line under the ‘no workmates’ rule should help family members understand the intimacy the couple wants from their day.

If you have decided to invite some work friends, it may have to be an all or nothing deal.  For instance, you’ve invited Jan in accounts who is a dear friend, but Steve from marketing considers himself just as close to you, so you may have to invite him too if you want to avoid a death stare over the computers come Monday morning.  Having said that, a wedding is a day purely for the couple to celebrate their love in whatever way they want.  If you want to just invite Jan from accounts then do it, and Steve from marketing will just have to deal with it!

The chances are that someone will feel left out and unfortunately it could be unavoidable.  One of the best techniques is to try and include everyone in some way; if you don’t want colleagues at your wedding, why not invite them all to an engagement dinner beforehand, explaining that the wedding is just friends and family but that you still want them to be part of the celebrations.  There are ways to help everyone feel part of the big day, without having to compromise on your ideal guestlist.