I'm drafting a letter to my family to announce the date and location of my destination wedding. I'm asking my family to not tell others about the wedding for now:

We would appreciate your help in not sharing this information with others, including but not limited to extended family and family friends, so as not to _.

Originally I wanted to use the word offend but that doesn't seem right - the act of telling someone about a wedding is not offensive. Disappoint doesn't really work either for the same reason.

I'd like to use set unrealistic expectations as this truly captures the intent in me asking my family not to tell others about the wedding, but this seems very wordy. Is there a word that captures the meaning I'm trying to convey?

  • I imagine there is a word that captures the meaning you're trying to convey, but it isn't clear to me what that meaning is. If you're trying to avoid misunderstandings you think might occur, then add examples of each to the question. Eg: cousin Katya might expect her airfare to be paid, or neice Bribble will want to do the scheduling, etc. Also, it's silly to expect people not to tell others; instead of trying to prevent that, in your letter explain how the information should be framed if they tell someone else. Aug 9, 2014 at 20:09
  • We are unlikely to invite any extended family, but given our cultural backgrounds there is a large expectation that the entire extended family will be invited. We don't want to people to make that assumption if they hear about our plans second-hand.
    – Dang Khoa
    Aug 9, 2014 at 20:23
  • But what's wrong with saying, "I'm asking family not to tell others about the wedding for now so as not to set unrealistic expectations."? But I agree with jwpat7 - you should be upfront and describe the wedding as a private, immediate family only affair, and be public about that.
    – Jim
    Aug 9, 2014 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


One should be careful never to overpromise because it creates the risk that you'll underdeliver.


try "overcommit"

transitive v. To bind or obligate (oneself, for example) beyond the capacity for realization.

noting @DanBron 's comment, try "create overexpectation"


excessive expectation

I checked the N-Gram Viewer to see how often "overexpect" and "over-expect" are used vs. "overexpectation" but it seems the noun is used more than the verb.

enter image description here

  • There's a subtle problem with both my "overpromise" and your "overcommit": OP doesn't want to set unrealistic expectations, but a promise or a commitment is more than an expectation: it's an obligation. We need something that puts ideas in people's heads, with explicitly binding ourselves to any deliverables.
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 9, 2014 at 19:36
  • @DanBron based on your comment, I've added "overexpectation" as an answer :) Aug 9, 2014 at 19:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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