Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m getting married in the fall and want to invite some of the people in
my small department, but I don’t want to include them all. How can I
do this without offending those who don’t make the list? Do I have to
invite my boss?
The only ones who would not be offended by being passed over are
the ones who already dislike you, and no matter what you do they’ll
whine and complain. The key word in your email is small. And one
question is whether it applies to the wedding as well as to the
department If the wedding were to be” family only” or primarily family,
you have a free pass to invite no one, where no one means just that:
zero, no one, no exceptions. That’s an ironclad defense, and allows
you to convey sincere (or seemingly sincere) regrets all around.
But if you truly want to invite some but not all, you may have hit on a
problem where no amount of diplomacy likely satisfy everyone.
The clear invitee in all of this might be a single best friend, the one
person who is the obvious best pal you coffee klatch with, confide in,
go down the hall and pee together, and that no one would question if
she got an invite. Or (back to Plan A), are you willing to alienate a best
friend to save relations at work? The only solution that’s not possible is
inviting everyone except your boss. So now you’re facing only all the
middle choices, the some but not all scenario, which honestly seems
doomed to fail, because you are going to alienate everyone in their
own unique way. My guess is that even Solomon would have trouble
successfully cutting an office in half.
My best solution, admittedly imperfect: Quietly invite the one or two
people you absolutely cannot imagine your wedding without. Explain to
each of them the intricate dance of office politics you’re facing. Ask if
they can keep their participation discreet. (Yes this involves trust).
Then ask them to organize a small wedding shower for you at work the
week before the event. No gifts—absolutely no gifts—and no big fuss.
Just a silly lunch of good wishes and bad jokes. Get people excited for
you. Then go off and have a good wedding and honeymoon, don’t talk it about it much, and when you get back or show any pictures that
include with the quietly attending colleagues. Or else, invite everyone
including your boss, be gracious, accept their gifts, and have a great
time anyway. Mazel tov!