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Do I have to invite my colleagues to my wedding?

After the recent royal wedding snubs, HRM digs deep into bridal blogs to decipher the etiquette around colleagues and the big day.

The royal wedding invitations were sent out last week, and there were some interesting omissions. Breaking with tradition, the happy couple opted to exclude both UK and foreign dignitaries to their May 19 nuptials, including Theresa May, Donald Trump and Barack Obama.

The move is reported to reflect their wish to include only those with whom they have some semblance of a relationship. But there are still expected to be a sizeable 600 in attendance.

If the royal couple are being picky about their attendees, where does that leave the rest of us? Are we expected to invite our co-workers who we’re on friendly terms with? Can we invite some and not others? What about the boss?

The easiest solution would be not to invite any of them, advises US-based wedding advisory site The Knot. There is no obligation to do so, they assure, and that way, nobody feels hard done by.

But if there are a certain few that you have a relationship with outside of work, which your co-workers are well aware of, then there is certain etiquette that applies:

  • Don’t hand out the invites at the office
  • Don’t natter about the big day in front of your colleagues who haven’t scored an invite
  • Make sure the number of people you invite is smaller than the number of people you don’t.

Another site Brides, says it depends on the organisational size, culture and industry you work in. If you are part of a small team or company, it will be more obvious and awkward when some people are left out.

Brides says it may be expected in organisations with a more formal culture, such as large investment banks or legal firms, to invite not only your colleagues, but the boss and even the CEO. But looking to your other married co-workers about their guest list certainly doesn’t harm.

Do I really have to invite my boss?

According to one bride’s article in The Bustle, no. 

“Some bosses are scary. If your boss is intimidating, there’s no reason you should invite them to a day of bliss and happiness,” says Karen Belz. She also recommends assessing your relationship with your boss beforehand: “Some bosses are actually interested in your life, while others are interested solely in how fast you can get that paperwork done. The best bosses like you as a person, and take interest since they know you’re a hard worker with a lot of spirit.”

If you do get invited

There are certain guidelines around this too, say business etiquette experts Jacqueline Whitmore and Emily Post.

Firstly, choose your plus one wisely. “No one wants to be associated with an obnoxious braggart or the gal who scooped all the dinner rolls into a take-home container,” says Whitmore. Extra caution is also advised if you are dating a co-worker – depending on the company’s attitude towards inter-office relationships. Post adds, “keep the PDA to a minimum”.

Secondly, watch your own behaviour. “You don’t want to be the talk of the water cooler circle come Monday morning. Remember, everything in moderation,” says Whitmore. Whether other co-workers are there or not, poor behaviour could affect your professional reputation.  

And, lastly, don’t talk about work at the wedding!

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