Tiny Weddings Mean Tiny Invite Lists, Relatives Included
Question: I'm having a tiny wedding and I don't want to invite most of the people in my family. There are issues with most of them and reasons why I haven't talked to them in decades. But there is the feel good factor of people knowing that I remembered them on an important occasion like this. Is there a way of making pro forma invitations but ensuring that they don't actually come?
Answer: It sounds like you want to have your wedding cake and eat it too.
While I sympathize with your wanting to make everyone feel good, the only way to ensure that your less-than-beloved relatives don't come is to not invite them. And you know what? It's OK not to. It's your wedding—even more so when it's a "tiny" one.
To me, a tiny wedding is well below 50. This doesn't leave a whole lot of wiggle room once your dearest friends and closest confidants are tallied—and certainly not enough to include relatives you either don't get along with or haven't spoken to in decades. So unless said relatives don't understand the realities of constraint, they shouldn't take it too personally (if you were having a 300-person wedding and still didn't invite them, that might be a different story).
I hope I'm correct in assuming that the relatives you'd like to omit aren't the ones who actually raised you. The people who were instrumental in keeping you alive should be given due consideration and, unless they'd truly ruin your wedding day, deserve an invitation no matter what.
You can help the relatives you don't invite feel thought of by sending them wedding announcements. If you send them out within a month of getting married and include a personalized note from you and your new spouse, then you're safe to forget them for another decade at least.