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Response to "Revoking an invitation"

Posted by Robin Abrahams  May 25, 2012 04:10 PM

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If you've given someone an STD, you have to have them at your wedding. 

This was the consensus in response to Monday's question, from an LW who was wondering if she still had to invite a classmate who had dropped out of their graduate program due to mental-health issues. I agree that she needs to extend the formal invitation, though I felt more sympathy than some commenters did. whatever summed the situation up well: 

LW, I can't decide whether your classmate has become a psychopath or if you're just exaggerating and/or stereotyping here. Plenty of people have significant mental health issues that do not render them dangerous and/or disruptive to people around them. Are you making unfair assumptions about how someone with your classmate's mental health problem will behave? Or do you know for a fact this particular person has a history of bad behavior? The answers to those questions should guide you in your decision. 

And here's another thought: The invitee is on a leave of absence, but s/he hasn't actually left the program and may yet re-appear. If you think the situation you're in now is awkward, think how painful it will be for your classmate to learn that everyone in the class but him/her was invited to your wedding. 

... and as katemc pointed out: 

Finally, your idea of not sending a formal invitation after having sent a save-the-date would create a mess! "Am I invited or not?, did it get lost in the mail? how many mutual friends should I ask to find out if I'm invited or not? should I just put the bride on the spot and ask her myself?" etc etc. 

 Miss Conduct's #1 rule for a lovely wedding is to elope, but if you're bound and determined to have a proper wedding, please, have a short engagement. You and your beloved may still be madly in love after 18 months of wedding planning, but your relationships with your attendants, coworkers, friends, and family may well shift during that time. If the LW had omitted save-the-dates, this problem never would have arisen. 

Dandibear has good advice for any event at which some guests may need extra attention: 

If this will jeopardize your peace of mind on your wedding day, and if this classmate accepts, ask a diplomatic, physically strong friend or family member if they'd be willing to keep an eye out and quietly intervene in case of problems. Since the classmate in question will probably sit with the other classmates, explain the situation to one you're close to, and who will not behave differently as a result, and ask them to alert the designated bouncer if there are signs of a disruption. 

And ashmama gets the last word for this beautiful bit of wisdom: 

I can't tell you if it's okay to uninvite someone because she might act a little strange on your special day, but what I can tell you is that your day won't be perfect no matter who is or isn't there. Someone might drink too much or accidentally insult your best friend; your MIL may say something negative about the bridesmaids' dresses; the flowers might not be exactly as you ordered; the cake could be dry--anything could go wrong because life just isn't perfect. The happiest people I know are those who don't mind a little imperfect, crazy, or abnormal creeping into their lives, and the unhappiest are control freaks who worry about every little detail. 

 Amen to that. And have a lovely weekend, all!
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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