Wedding Guest List Drama: Who Do you HAVE to Invite and Other FAQs
Planning a wedding is almost like being a kid again. You get to pick out a pretty dress and play dress up, including getting your hair and make up done. It’s also like being a kid again when your mother says, “Oh, you have to invite ____________ (insert very distant relative/ friend from preschool/old boyfriend’s name here)!” and you reply, “Ugh, do I have to?!” like it’s some awful chore. Welcome to wedding guest list drama, but don't despair: we have answers for you! Knowing exactly who to invite is a blend of etiquette with personal choice (and sometimes your parent’s choice, too). Our last blog covered guest list drama resulting from someone paying for your wedding (i.e. parents give you a few thousand dollars and then want to invite their entire golf league to your wedding). This week we are covering WHO you have to invite and who you don’t.
Wedding Etiquette is really quite basic when it comes to guest list creation: If you haven’t seen the person in the past year, don’t feel obligated to invite them.
This means those old college roommates, distant aunts and uncles, and friends you’ve kind of sort of kept in touch with, but not really, don’t need an invitation.
Here are some other frequently asked questions our couples ask when they are creating their guest lists:
1. Do I have to invite children? My partner and I really want a kids-free wedding, but we don’t know if that is appropriate to ask.
Answer: That is totally fine! There’s nothing wrong with asking your friends and family members to leave their little darlings at home one evening. Kids do change the dynamic of an event, and if you and your partner don’t want children to attend, it’s an acceptable request and not overstepping your bounds. Many couples won't mind this because they will treat your wedding like a date night!
2. I just attended my coworker’s/distant friend’s wedding within the past six months. Should I extend an invite?
Answer: Yes, etiquette would deem you do send them an invitation. If the wedding was over six months, it’s a bit questionable if you have to or should, but if it’s been over a year, then you’re off the hook completely!
3. Do I have to give my friends a "plus one" on their invite?
Answer: If your friend has been in a serious relationship for over 6-8 months, the answer is yes. Invites normally go out about 2-3 months before the wedding, so by that point, the cut off is over for whomever gets a plus one. Not allowing friends to bring their significant others doesn’t jive well for the event — people will be anxious to leave your event to get home to their partner.
4. If I know someone can’t attend, should I send them an invitation anyways?
Answer: It depends. If the person who can’t attend is a close friend or family member, send them an invitation as a keepsake. If the person is a distant relative or someone who is a friend, but that you aren’t super close with, you don’t have to feel obligated to send out an invitation.
5. I work in a big office. How do I invite the coworkers I’m closest to without offending the other people in the office?
Answer: Avoid wedding guest list drama by approaching this problem with a logical mindset. Even though you may work in a big office, you may have a core group of people, like a task team or group you work in frequently, and you’re closest with the people in that group. If you can draw a logical line, you’re good to invite just these people without offending the other members of the office.
Keep in mind that the more guests you have, the more your bill goes up. To help solve this problem, create a list of “Must Invites” and a list of “Would Like to Invite”. When those on the “Must Invite” list decline, you can decide if you want to extend the invite to some of your “Would Like to Invite” people. Just make sure you send out your guest list far enough in advance that you’ll have time to send out the “B” list invites!
What wedding guest list questions do you have? We’d love to hear them!