Southwest invitation suite with watercolor painting
Photo: Charla Storey

The other day I overheard a conversation that just made me sad. Celebrating one's recent engagement, a group of women were talking about their own experiences dealing with guest list woes. And what often made it worse? Their friends. The friends that hear about an engagement and immediately let it be known that they should be invited. Blech. Talk about making a bad situation worse.

Here's the thing, friends: weddings aren't just parties. It's not like your friend is hosting a barbeque during the game. This is a life event. And lots of people will feel like they deserve to witness it. A wedding is one of those rare occasions when you invite a college friend that you only speak to once a year over your favorite neighbor that you hang out with once a week.  And while budgets are definitely a common concern, plenty of couples don't want their wedding to be as huge as their combined contact lists.

So, when your friend tells you she's engaged:

Congratulate! Tell her how happy you are for her.

Do not invitation-grub. Whether or not you get invited is not just her call. The guest list process is roughly equivalent to warring nations at a peace conference. Give her a break and don't place additional pressure on her.

If no invitation comes, be cool.  Don't confront her. If you decide that this is a non-negotiable, that's your call, and doesn't involve her. But remember that guest lists are often pretty much filled once all the cousins and grandma has been invited, so try not to take it personally.

A gift is up to you.  If you aren't invited, you do not need to purchase a gift for the couple. But if you want to, by all means.

Photo Credit: Charla Storey