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My Fiancee and I are getting married next year, and we're currently in the process of sending out the save the dates. I was chatting to my parents about this, who then asked if I would be inviting their best friends from college days, who are also my godparents. The problem is, they emigrated a long time ago and I've only met them about 3 times in my adult life.

I said I probably wouldn't be inviting them, and that also it'd likely be too far for them to come just for one weekend (it's about an 8 hour flight!). My parents did say that they would likely make the effort and come if invited, and are being pushy about it ("I'd be hurt if their son didn't invite us", etc.)

My question is - how can I politely say "No, I really don't know them very well and don't want to invite them" without coming across as blunt or a bit of an ass? I have no qualms about telling it to them straight but I feel like there's probably a better way of handling it, and I'd rather check before I just tell them the hard "no".

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    Please don't use comments as a way to offer partial answers or thoughts about the question. If you have an answer, please post it in the answer box. As an experienced user of several stacks, you know for sure that comments exist to ask for clarification.
    – OldPadawan
    Oct 10 at 17:14
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    Will you be inviting other people that could fall into the same category or is this a hard no on anyone but close family and friends?
    – AsheraH
    Oct 11 at 16:13
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I was the first to get married among all my cousins, so I personally got a lot of this sort of thing. My suggestion is to simply tell them straight that you are only inviting people you personally know well. People will complain, especially to third parties like your parents, but it's unavoidable. There's no completely inoffensive way to tell someone they aren't close enough to you to come to your wedding. The good part is that since you aren't close to them anyway, you likely won't have to deal with much fallout from it.

Be prepared for random acquaintances and co-workers to fish for invitations, too. Get used to saying, "sorry, the guest list is full." I never heard about it again from anyone after the wedding, so don't worry about people holding grudges.

There were a few people I caved on and invited against my wishes because they made such a fuss, but none of them came, so I think your guess that they wouldn't bother is probably correct. If someone really cared about being in your life that much, you would hear from them more often. Don't overthink it.

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I had this issue with my wedding, with parents insisting that work colleagues be invited, and also that far away relatives I had never met be invited (but don't worry, they won't actually come, it's just rude not to invite them) and also that certain people not be invited because they didn't like them. I saw my friends deal with it too, and it caused a lot of crying.

The problem with sending a "save the date" is that it's so early you don't yet have a venue and don't know your numbers. What I would suggest you say to your parents is this:

We are sending "save the date" to our core attendees. Some people can't make it to a wedding because they have conflicts. These cards are just going to the people we really must have there, our own close friends and close family. Once the venue is selected and we know the guest limit, we'll make a detailed list, and we'll send invitations to some people who didn't get save the date cards. We can talk then about whether there will be room for people we're less close to, like your friends or some far away family.

In some sense this is just kicking the argument down the road; you'll have to have it again later. But later, you will have more specific points to argue than "hurt feelings" and "make the effort". You can say look, the venue holds 120. We have 124 on this list. We have to drop 4 people. I think it should be [godparents] and [some other couple.] I know you would like to have them there but there just isn't room.

Alternatively, if your parents are paying, you can say:

If you want to include people we barely know, we will just not fit in that 120 person venue we were considering. Can you cover a 200 person venue? That will give lots of room to include everyone.

You may feel that this makes your wedding less intimate, more of a chance for parents to show off and less of a chance for you to celebrate with your friends and close family. If so, try:

If you want to include people we barely know, we will just not fit in that 120 person venue we were considering. But moving to another venue will change the "feel" of the wedding from the small intimate gathering we wanted. Can we keep it small and exclusive, and explain to [godparents] that our preferred venue just doesn't enable us to invite everyone?

Having now been part of a wedding in Covid times, that had about one-tenth the guest list that had originally been envisioned, I can assure you and your parents that you will be just as married no matter who is able to attend, and that there are other ways to celebrate and support a marriage than attending the actual ceremony.

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