Hi Miss E,
This is a very common wedding etiquette question. I’m glad to settle it once and for all, though I’m afraid you won’t like the answer.
I’m sorry to say your boyfriend is not invited to this wedding. By addressing the invitation to “The Eichelbergers,” the hosts made it clear that you and your family are the only intended guests. (If your boyfriend had been invited, his name would have appeared on the invitation or appeared next to yours with the words “and guest”).
Unfortunately, there’s no way to appeal such a decision without putting the bride or your aunt and uncle in an uncomfortable position. My advice is to attend the wedding with your parents. Once your friends start getting married, you and your boyfriend will have countless opportunities to go to weddings together. (In fact, you’ll soon start to wonder how you’ll ever afford so many bridesmaid dresses, wedding presents, shower gifts, hotel rooms and bachelorette parties.)
You probably think this means your family doesn’t take your relationship seriously, or that they consider you immature. I’m sure that’s not the case. When drawing up a guest list, sometimes there are tough decisions to be made. Not everybody makes the cut, especially in large families where many guests are already married or in committed relationships.
Try to enjoy this wedding as a family-only function. Obviously you have good manners – your instincts told you to seek etiquette advice first before asking your cousin or (worst of all) showing up with a wedding-crasher on your arm!