Wedding Guest List

Etiquette Answers For The Engaged Couple

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Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life and one you'll never forget. But there are so many things you have to think about you might get overwhelmed. Don't let the guest list contribute to your wedding day stress.

Start planning your guest list early to make sure you are able to share the day with the people you care about the most. You don't want to accidentally leave someone out, or you may cause hard feelings that will be difficult to mend.

Here are some of the things you need to ask yourselves when making the guest list for your wedding:

Invitation Allotment

Should the allotment of invitations be divvied out according to percent paid for the wedding?In other words, if the bride's family paid the majority of the expenses, should her family have more slots on the guest list?

This decision should be made by the couple, but it's normally not a good idea to have the amount paid be the determining factor in the number of invitations. That will create hard feelings that could last for years. It's generally good form to give each side of the family the same number of invitations. If one side has extras, they can be transferred to the other.


If someone in the family disapproves of the wedding, should she receive an invitation?

If the person is a close family member, yes, the person should be invited, even if she doesn't approve. However, that person should never create drama during the ceremony or reception.

If that person is merely an acquaintance, don't feel obligated to send him or her an invitation.

Plus One

Do I have to allow my single friends to bring a guest?

If your friend is in a long-term relationship, the courteous thing to do would be to extend the invitation to the other person. However, if you are on a tight budget, you don't have to extend a "plus one" to anyone.

If you suspect your friend might not understand, spend some time with him or her and explain. Most people are reasonable about this.

Meddling Parents

How can we stop our parents from adding people to the guest list?

If your parents are paying for the wedding, they should be allowed to invite their friends. After all, they are proud of you and want to show you off during this special time.

However, if it gets out of hand, and they aren't chipping in, have a loving talk with them during the planning stages. Let them know that you consider it more special to share the day with those you know and care about.


Do I have to invite my fiance's ex?

Never invite someone who is likely to create drama. However, if your fiance has a decent relationship with his ex, and they have a child together, have them discuss what is best.

When they can communicate on an adult level, the outcome might be better than you'd expect. If they can't talk without arguing, perhaps a grandparent or other close relative can take responsibility for the child.

Unable to Attend

If I know someone will be unable to attend, should I send an invitation anyway?

If you have enough invitations, yes, you should send one to close friends and family members, even if they say they are unable to attend. Circumstances may change, and they might be able to make it.

Wedding Party's Family

Do I have to invite my bridesmaid's parents?

The short answer is no, it's not necessary to invite the families of your wedding party. However, if they are close friends of you or your family, you should send them an invitation if you are able to.


Do I have to include children in the invitation?

It is your prerogative to have an "adults only" wedding, even if you have a child in the wedding party who will be there. However, if you invite some children and not others, your guests may be offended that their children weren't included in the celebration. It's best to have a policy that applies to all guests.

Distant or Estranged Relatives

Do I need to invite a relative I haven't spoken to in years?

If you have enough invitations, it's a good idea to include all of your close relatives, unless they have a history of causing family drama.


Edited by Debby Mayne

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