Who Should We Invite?

Sure, we could go back to Emily Post and see what she says about this sticky subject.  There’re whole websites dedicated to wedding etiquette. We’d find all the traditional “Do this”,  “Do that”, “Remember if you invite Aunt June then you better be sure to invite her 5 kids and their families”.  Before you know it, your list is out of control!

Those guidelines change with each situation, so how do you handle those difficult situations that would never have been thought of in Emily’s era?

Remember that this is YOUR special day and you should be surrounded by the people who have a special place in your life.  It doesn’t matter if both sides of the aisle aren’t matched in size. In fact several of the recent weddings I officiated didn’t even have a groom’s side and bride’s side.  The more important question is, “When you’re reminiscing on your 10th anniversary, who will you remember being there?”


First brainstorm everyone you could possibly invite.  Include the “shoulds”, and ask others if you’ve missed anyone.  Thinking of one person often reminds you of others who you might not have thought of.

Ask Some Questions

  • When you are in the town where the invitee lives, do you call them or plan to see them?  If not, they probably won’t be insulted if you don’t invite them.
  • Are they friends?  Or acquaintances? Are they friends of friends who you only see when you see your friend?
  • How do you respond when you see their name on caller ID?  That response could be your answer.
  • For co-workers, ask yourself “If this company folded tomorrow, would I still connect with them?”  If not, here’s another way to whittle the list.
  • Should you invite your parents’ friends?  If they are friends you don’t know, or barely remember, but still important to your parents that they share their joy with them, then your parents could offset the cost.
  • “Plus One”s can drive the number of guests and the cost of your wedding sky-high.  If you don’t know the person’s significant other, or haven’t heard much about him or her, don’t feel obligated to extend an invitation.  Let your guest ask about bringing someone.
  • If you have folks on the fence, think about your relationship 5 years from no.  If you think you’ll look at your wedding pictures and say “who’s that?”, chances are you can omit inviting them.

Like any set of rules, there are always exceptions, so use your best judgment. Finally, you need to be prepared for that incredibly painful moment when someone says, “Congratulations! Am I invited?” Here’s a wonderful opportunity to deploy a phrase that you’ll use countless times after you have said your vows: “Let me check with my spouse/partner and get back to you.”


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