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Who to Invite to a Wedding: Etiquette and Questions to Ask Yourself

Narrowing down the guest list can easily be considered one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding. Ask any bride to be about her guest list and watch her start to sweat. Creating your guest list is more complicated than making a list of everyone you'd like to celebrate with. There are people you'll have to invite, others you really want to skip, and those who may or may not make the cut, depending on your venue's capacity (and your budget).


To help you in deciding who to invite to your wedding, we are sharing wedding guest list etiquette, plus questions you should ask yourself to decide who to invite to your wedding straight from the experts.




Wedding Guest List Etiquette

  • Make A Preliminary List With Just Your Partner

Before getting your families involved, sit down with your partner to start your guest list.

Begin with your immediate families and then add those close family members you really want

to have there. Next, move on to your closest friends- the ones you simply can't imagine

getting married without.

This will more than likely not be your entire guest list, but it's a great start and should cover

most of those must-haves guests. Don't involve your families just yet though- you will want

to get this starting point settled so you can ensure that everyone is equally represented.

  • Decide Where You'll Cut Off Family Invitations - and Stick To It

Extended family invites are tricky. The general rule of thumb is if one uncle gets an invitation,

all of your aunts and uncles need to get an invitation- the same goes for cousins or second

cousins too. This isn't much of an issue for small families, but with a large extended family,

this can take up a good bit of your guest list.

  • Give Both Families the Same Number of Extra Guests

After your families have been invited, determine how many extra spots you have left and

divide it evenly between both of your families. Let your parents use these seats however

they would like-and make it clear that there are no more seats available. This way your mom

can invite her best friend and your father-in-law can invite his business partners.

  • Make the Call About Children

It's entirely up to the couple whether or not to invite children to the wedding. Decide

whether you want little ones there or would prefer an adults-only celebration, and then put

your foot down. That means no exceptions.

  • Invite Couples Whose Wedding You Recently Attended

This one's tricky. If a friend invited you to her wedding five years ago, you're not obligated to

invite her to yours- even if you were a bridesmaid. However, if you attended a wedding the

past 18 months (and especially if you or your partner were in the wedding party), that couple

should be on your guest list as well.

  • Follow Modern Plus-One Protocol

You're not obligated to offer every one of your guests a plus-one to your wedding, but if

they're in a serious relationship of any sort (dating, living together, engaged, etc.) their

partner should be included. Say goodbye to the antiquated notion of "no ring, no bring."

Questions To Ask Yourself

As you try to narrow in on the final guest list, here are a few questions for you and your partner to ask yourselves.

  1. Have I Met This Person?

Many times brides and grooms are introduced to people for the first time at their own weddings. Typically this situation occurs with distant relatives and business associates of parents. Mom and Dad want to invite the coworker who they have shared lots of stories about you with. But you should not feel obligated to invite someone you have never met.


2. When Was The Last Time I Saw This Person?

If you have not seen that person in 12 to 18 months- or at least had a nice, long chat over the phone if they live far away- then you probably should not invite them.


3. Am I Aware Of This Person's Day-To-Day Life?

On one of the most important days of your life you should be surrounded by people who have a vested interest in your life and your relationship, and vice versa. This goes for who you are today and who you will be 10 years from now, not who you were 10 years ago.

4. Did I Attend This Person's Wedding?

If you attended their wedding years ago but have lost contact since, you may not need to invite them. There is really no need to reciprocate if you are no loner close. Only invite them if you really want the person back in your life.

5. Do I Spend Holidays and Birthdays With This Person?

Seeing someone for big life events means they should be included in your special day.

6. How Close Are You To Your Coworkers?

It can be difficult to distinguish the present from the future. People who you spend at least eight hours with everyday may or may not be in your life long term. Don't feel obligated to invite coworkers just because you work side by side.

7. Are We Inviting The Rest of Their Family?

If you have three cousins but you're only close with two, you should keep the peace and invite all of them.


8. Is This Person A Positive Influence In My Life?

Nobody wants a Negative Nancy at their wedding. But think it over before you cross off every Debbie Downer.

9. If We Moved Away, Would We Keep In Touch?

This is a pretty good question to ask to determine whether or not the friendship is deep enough to merit a wedding invite.


10. Would You Change the Date of Your Wedding If This Person Couldn't Come?

If the answer is "yes," then that speaks for itself.

We sure do hope that the tips help you build the ideal guest list for your special day and you are surrounded by all of those that are most important to you. Here is a quick guide to help you along your way.



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