Here's What You Need to Know About Extending a Last-Minute Wedding Invitation to a New Friend

Made a new friend before the big day? As it turns out, you can send an invite to someone who wasn't on your original guest list.

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Photo: Ben Christensen Photography

We've all met someone new and felt an instant connection, so what should you do if you make a new friend after you've already sent out your wedding save-the-dates? According to Debi Lilly, owner of A Perfect Event, you can extend a wedding invite at the last minute, but it's important to do so tactfully. Follow these five tips to ensure your new pal feels like a valued wedding guest instead a of a B-list attendee.

Think About Logistics

If you're thinking about inviting a new friend to your wedding, Lilly says you must first consider the logistics. "In some cases, it's easy to add new guests to your wedding list, and in other cases, it's not," she says, adding that venue size, seating space, and budget can all affect your ability to include your new pal. "Add new friends to your guest list when it's easy to do so. Otherwise, explain that you wish you could invite them to the wedding, but due to tight space at the reception, it simply isn't possible."

Explain Your Decision

Worried that a last-minute invite will make your new friend feel like a B-list substitute? Lilly recommends saying something like, "I'd love for you to join us at our wedding. I would've included you on the original guest list, but we didn't become close until very recently." Chances are, your friend will completely understand and will be honored to receive the invitation.

Always Send a Formal Invitation

Lilly reminds the bride and groom to send a formal wedding invitation, even if it's close to the wedding date. This will make them feel like a valued part of the wedding. If you're running short on time, though, you may want to ask them in person or over the phone, too.

Don't Wait Too Long

People are busy, so if you're on the fence about extending a last-minute wedding invitation, do so as early as possible. "One month prior is a great cut off-for etiquette's sake, so guests have advanced notice to plan for the wedding," says Lilly. Another reason to not wait too long before sending invites: Vendors need to accommodate the extra headcount. According to Debbie Geller, owner of Geller Events, "The caterer needs to know about any additional guests. Don't forget rentals, since you'll need to include an extra chair, chargers, dishes, and so forth. You should also plan for the little things like menus and favors."

Let Them Know There's No Pressure to Attend

No matter what, don't pressure your new friend to attend the celebration. Weddings are a big time and money commitment, and this person didn't have time to account for scheduling conflicts or budget constraints. Additionally, you should explicitly say that you don't expect a wedding gift; you certainly don't want people digging into their savings account to buy an expensive present on short notice.

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