Guest List Etiquette

First Thing’s First

The first thing on the list is getting a handle on how big you actually want your wedding to be. It’s all a numbers game. If you want a big wedding, and you have the budget, go ahead! Make it a 300 plus wedding. If you want to be more selective, it’s your prerogative!

Narrow down who is important to you and who you don’t want to be there. Talk about the different “tiers” in your family. Direct family, 1st cousins, 2nd cousins, and their children are all on different tiers. If you are having complications, jot down your family layout and your fiancé’s family layout. Label each tier. Then, make a cut off after a certain tier, and invite everyone before the cut off. It may sound cut throat, but it’s necessary for your sanity.

Honestly, guest lists are different for everyone. No person can sit you down and say, “Okay, this is who should be invited…and this is who isn’t.” Families in this world couldn’t be more different. Each situation is specific to the family. One bride may be close with her first and second cousins, while your fiancé has not spoken to his second cousins in a long time. Therefore, your fiancé will make his tier list shorter.

Children or No Children?

Specify if you want children, or just the ones (if any) in your wedding party. This is the exception to the tier rule. For some brides, children are not invited under 18, unless they have a relationship with the bride or groom. Some brides may think that is rude to request…but weddings are more of an adult activity. Most children are not going to remember the wedding, so leave them home. For children in the wedding party, leave the reception plan up to the parents.

Although children are cute and sweet, brides may not want someone to steal their thunder…and that’s okay. The wedding day is a day that is celebrating the bride and groom. Not a newborn baby and his or her newest development of being able to walk. It isn’t a selfish wish.

What Friends Make The List?

Make sure to invite friends that are spoken to on the regular and any friend who you want there. The rule is generally that an invitation can be sent if you have spoken to the person in the last year- six months. Make sure to take a long hard look of who has actually taken the time out to talk to you and be your friend. After the news breaks over social media, be prepared for a storm of “friends” congratulating you…hoping to get invited. Don’t fall for it, and make sure to keep your head on straight when sending out invites.

Coworkers can be chosen at the bride or groom’s discretion. A big rule: you must hang out with the coworker outside of work to invite them. People can be very different at work and out at a bar. Be sure you know how they are around alcohol, and around strangers. Make sure they will be able to mesh. If you don’t feel comfortable: don’t invite them.

Who Gets Dates?

The age old question: Is there a plus one invite? Our answer: not unless you are in a very serious relationship. Why? Do you think any bride or groom wants to see their friend throw themselves at a random date all night while celebrating a couple’s actual love? In many cases, single friends will be happy that you do not put them through the awkward process of having to ask a person to come with them.

**In other cases, guests will use their plus ones to invite a person that was initially left off of your guest list on purpose.

If you are asked why a plus one wasn’t given, explain that only people in relationships received a plus one. Tell your guest that there will be plenty of people in that age group without a date.