A while back ago, my friend married. I was sent an invitation when no one was at home, so it got recalled and sent back to the sender (my friend, at a nearby town).

A little background on this friend: we are classmates back in junior high school, in a small 20 person class (other class got 40s), so all of us are pretty close.

I was unable to contact her regarding the invitation, but at least I know definitely I was invited, although I never got the written invitation. The problem is, in most wedding in Java, we are required to show an invitation, or write on the guest book - which I don't which method she will be using. If it was the latter, I can walk through without problem.

I decided not to attend, and congratulated her the day after, which she confirmed everyone was there and asked why I didn't come.

Now my question is what one should do in a situation like this? The answer does not necessarily specific to the Indonesian culture, but should consider these:

  1. I was definitely invited, but didn't get the written invitation.
  2. To attend the wedding, one should bring the invitation. However, there is a 50-50 chance it won't be needed.

Related, but not duplicate: How can I politely ask if my invitation to an event was simply forgotten?

  • 3
    Yeah, in the US, we spend a lot of time counting noses before a wedding... we send invitations, include RSVPs and if we don't get them, we call/send emails to find out if someone will be coming. Also, they don't send back mail that no one is home to receive... surely if the card was sent back, the bride would have known that you didn't get it.
    – Catija
    Aug 2, 2017 at 2:58
  • The invitations are handled by a wedding organizer, so I imagine it's handled by the organizer when it was returned. When I contacted her, she confirmed she knew the invitation was not sent, but she could not contact me (I changed my phone number several times), so she couldn't do anything.
    – Vylix
    Aug 2, 2017 at 3:09
  • At Indonesia, it is common to invite more people and expect them not coming. The invitation matters, as it indicates whether we are considered close enough with their family/bride or not. In Christianized, Chinese family, close friends and relatives usually are invited to join in the church ceremony, while friends and acquaintances are expected only to show on the banquet. I'm not too familiar with the traditional Javanese marriage, however, but several I've attended suggest similar manners.
    – Vylix
    Aug 2, 2017 at 3:14
  • 1
    Unfortunately, this question appears to be asking “What should I do?”, which the community has determined to not be a good fit for Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange. We can’t decide for you what to do; after you determine what you want to do, we can help you with your goal, but we can’t make these decisions for you. Sorry.
    – Mithical
    Apr 11, 2018 at 6:41

2 Answers 2


I'm not familiar with Indonesian weddings, but since you're asking in general, I'm giving you my Indian perspective, which is sort of relevant to Indonesian as well.

It's unfortunate that you missed the invitation letter. It's more unfortunate that you decided to not show up just by that reason.

There were some things you could have tried instead:

  • You could've asked someone that you know would attend the same event, about the entry requirements.
  • You could've attended the wedding anyway, and then clarified the matter at the entry.
  • If the friend was reachable, then asking them directly would be fine as well.

Now when your friend asks you why you didn't attend, you have two options:

  • Tell the truth that it's because of not having the letter. But that would not be a satisfying reason for your friend. They would probably get upset.
  • Lie about it and say that you were caught up in something and were unable to attend even though you really wanted to. This would also upset your friend if it doesn't convince them.

Choice is yours.

In most weddings in my place in India, wedding cards are just a formality, a modern thing. Most invitations are just made in person, or by phone, and any cards or emails are just sent as a formality to let the visitors have a reminder of date, time and location. It wasn't a common thing to have invitation letters until recently.

The guests would simply show up at the wedding event, and would be greeted and welcomed by either the would-be couple personally, or by friends and relatives who volunteer to act as hosts while the would-be couple are busy.

Another thing is, in Indian weddings we expect a certain percentage of people showing up from those that are invited, and a certain percentage is considered will attend even though not directly invited. We prepare food in a way that there's always room for more. And I have a fairly good assumption that this would be the case in Indonesia as well, because these are Asian traditions.

  • 1
    The culture seems to match well. I suspect she already reserved a whole table for her classmates (specifically to this junior high school classmates), so I think there will be no problem about the seat. Contacting another friend is definitely what I missed. Maybe even asking to go together as a group would work pass the receptionist. Thank you!
    – Vylix
    Aug 2, 2017 at 3:31

If you are quite sure that you are invited, you should show up and take your chances.

First, was 50-50 that you would only be required to sign a guest book.

Second, you should have brought something to prove your "bona fides" to the gatekeepers, such as an old school (yearbook) picture of you and your friend together. Given this, they will either let you in or at least consult the bride.

A third possibility, mentioned by other posters, is to get there with another invitee, or arrive early, so that you will "run into" someone else from your class who could vouch for you. If there were a real question, the bride could be contacted at the wedding for guidance.

Now that it's "done," how should you handle it? You should tell the truth, that invitation was lost in the mail and you weren't sure what to do, and couldn't contact your classmate. That wouldn't go over too well, but still better than if you had intentionally "boycotted" the wedding. "Damage control" is the key here, as it was earlier.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.