If you’re planning a wedding, then you know that there are countless things that need to be organized and decided upon – the venue, the clothes, the menu, the music, and so much more.
One of those things is the guest list – who should you invite? To some extent, the answer to that question will depend on you and your own tastes, but this article will provide you with some guidance on some things you might find it helpful to consider.
The Size Of The Wedding
The first thing you’ll want to consider is the size of your wedding.
There’s no right or wrong here, and different people have very different ideas about what they can afford, but if you decide that you’d like a smaller wedding, then of course your guest list is going to be shorter.
On the other hand, larger weddings give you a lot more slots to work with if you really want to have a large party. Some cultures have a particular tradition of having large weddings, so you might also want to take this into account as well.
In either case, when you’ve decided roughly how many guests you want (or can afford) to have, then comes the task of deciding who those guests will be.
Who To Invite?
This can be tough. You don’t want to upset anyone by leaving them out, or feel like your big day is incomplete in any way. We’ll start by considering family, since they’re often considered more important, and then move on to friends.
To start with the most obvious, the parents of the bride and groom should be at the top of the list, unless there’s some compelling reason not to invite them. Close after them will usually come brothers and sisters.
This is all typically quite uncontroversial, but after that things can get slightly hazier. Extended families can vary quite a lot in size, and you’ll probably need to set a limit on the number of family here and stick to it.
For instance, if you’re inviting one aunt, then it typically (though not always) means that you’ll need to invite the others too. If you have a lot of aunts, this can eat up a lot of your guest list fast.
This goes for cousins too, and remember that this applies to the families of both the bride and groom.
You’ll also need to make a call about whether to allow children at the wedding or not. Inviting them will add extra work – will they need their own table? Will they cause trouble? Will guests need to leave early to take them home?
Will they be taking up valuable places that other people could be using? Then again, not inviting them can cause problems of its own. Guests will need to arrange childcare, and might be displeased at not being able to bring them.
Ultimately, it’s up to you, and you should make sure that decision is final – don’t allow anyone to try to persuade you to change your mind due to their circumstances.
Do keep in mind that “children” refers to people under a certain age, (often 12 in a catering context), so you can feel free to invite teenagers while still having toddlers stay at home.
Friends come after family, but it’s still important to invite some. The only question is how many – the exact ratio of friends to family is something that you’ll have to decide for yourself based on your own circumstances.
However, even then, it can be tricky to know which friends you should invite. However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help make the decision a little easier, which we’ll come onto in a minute.
Once the family spots have been decided, take stock of how many places you have left. It’s usually a good idea to divide these spots equally between the bridge and the groom so that each has an equal number of extra guests attending.
So, about those questions:
1. Have I Met This Person?
This might sound like a ridiculous question, but it does sometimes happen that a person’s friends or relatives can pressure them to invite someone who they don’t know.
Of course, the benefit to you in doing this is likely to be low so, unless you have a very good reason to invite that person, you probably shouldn’t. Remember that someone you know and care about could be using that spot.
2. When Did I Last See This Person?
A similar question to the first one. If there’s someone that you haven’t spoken to in years, think carefully about inviting them to your wedding, since there are probably people who are more involved in your life who you might want to invite instead.
3. Did They Invite Me To Their Wedding?
Of course, if they didn’t, then you don’t have a very strong reason to invite them to yours.
If they did, then you might want to return the favor, but if that wedding was a long time ago, and you’ve lost touch since, don’t worry about it too much – refer to the answer to the second question.
4. Do I Spend Holidays With This Person?
If you spend a lot of time with someone at Christmas, Thanksgiving etc., then it makes sense to invite them to your wedding. If you share those times with them, then why not this one?
Of course, if this is a person who you only see once or twice a year and otherwise have no contact with, then this might not apply.
5. Am I Comfortable Around This Person?
If you’re in doubt, this can trump a lot of other considerations. Sure, maybe you feel like you have an obligation to invite that uncle, but if you have a bad relationship and don’t like being around him, then it might not be worth it.
This is your special day, after all, and it’s not worth marring it because of a misplaced sense of obligation.
There you have it, a guide on how to decide who to invite to your wedding.
Every wedding (like every person) is different, and there’s no one size fits all answer, but these are good rules of thumb that should help you to come to the right decision for you and your partner.
Naturally, discussing this with your partner and making sure you’re all on the same page is a must, so make sure you do that as well.