Consider your Great Uncle Emmitt who lives thousands of miles away and your entire family knows he won’t be able to travel for your wedding. Even so, your mom really wants you to invite him so that he feels connected and knows that you’re thinking of him. This is a classic example of sending a courtesy invitation. Simply put, courtesy wedding invitations are invites that you extend despite knowing that guest can’t—or very likely won’t be able to—attend your ceremony and reception. So, what’s the deal with these invitations–are they a good idea? To get a conclusive answer, below is what the etiquette experts have to say on the matter.

Sending a courtesy invitation

Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, says, “If you are close to someone, there is no reason why you should not send out an invitation, even though you know there are circumstances that will prohibit them from attending your wedding. For example, if you extend a wedding invitation to a family member you know cannot attend due to distance or illness, the intention is to make them feel included and respected.” Gottsman says as long as your invitation is genuine and not a ploy to receive a gift, it’s a good idea to go ahead and send it to this important person in your life.

USe an announcement instead

If you’re getting married at a very small venue or having an intimate destination wedding, sending out courtesy invites to those you know can’t travel isn’t appropriate. Instead, send an announcement to friends and family who weren’t invited to the small event. Gottsman says, “A marriage announcement is sent out when you have a limited guest list but you want to alert friends or family of your marriage.” In this case, the announcement is typically prepared and sent just prior to the wedding and recipients have no obligation to send gifts. The reason to send the announcement is to spread the good news with folks that won’t be resentful or upset about not being included in the actual wedding.

Have you considered sending courtesy invitations to your family members?

Whenever you’re ready to design the perfect invitation, Alex + Elin Creative is here to help! Feel free to email us directly inspire@alexelincreative.com or jump right in by filling out our Wedding Questionnaire!