You’re engaged. Yay! Now you need to decide who’s coming to the wedding. You’ve been lying awake at night with the dreaded question looming over your head, “Who do I invite to my wedding?” All over the internet you’ll find charts that spider web into categories that will help you narrow down who you should and should not invite to your wedding. The guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning, and that overall guest count can play a pretty large factor in your overall wedding cost. Oh My Occasions’ newest “Ask Amber” segment touches on some “Do”s and “Don’t”s, along with questions to ask yourself about the guest(s) in limbo. Weddings can get expensive, so unless you have an unlimited budget, be sure you’re willing to spend a particular amount of money if everyone you invite ends up attending. Now, I’m not saying to attach a price tag to each guest, but I’m also not not saying that. (You get me?) If you’re struggling to fine tune your wedding guest list and don’t know who to invite to your wedding, follow these tips below.
Maybe this person is a second cousin, a mutual friend, or an “at the moment boyfriend” of a bridesmaid. Unless you see this person being in your life for years to come, you may want to second guess inviting them. If you’ve never met the husband or wife of a guest, that’s where you can break this rule.
In the day and age of social media profiles showing nicknames or middle names, this may be a tough factor to make your call on. Even so, your close friends and family (should) know your last name.
When was the last time I saw this person? Do you regularly get together every month or has it been a few years since you last touched base? Sure, your jr. high best friend may have been your sole secret-keeper in 6th grade, but have you even talked since you graduated college? There’s a couple exceptions here, since more and more often people are moving out of state or attending school or jobs far from where they grew up. If you talk to this person often (i.e. Skype calls every Bachelor episode, group texts that fill your phone every single day, phone calls before you go to bed), then this question gets a pass.
It’s important to select guests that you foresee being in your life for years to come. After all, they’re helping you celebrate the beginning of your relationship as a married couple. You should be inviting people you would eagerly call friends, and not just acquaintances of the moment. Just because all your coworkers in the offices know about your engagement doesn’t mean you need to extend an invite to all of them.
This is a super important question to address early on when making your guest list. As a standard, once you invite “some” children, you’re expected to invite the others, so… you can’t choose to invite your friend’s well-behaved 10 year old but not your best man’s wild 2 year old who tends to scream bad words in public. IYou’re either having a child-free wedding or not. If you choose not to invite children, and that family lives out of state, it may be less likely that they’ll attend, as that will mean childcare spanning a coupe days versus an evening. If you are leaning toward inviting kids, and with that, babies, ask yourself…
Some new parents are desperate for a night out, and have the babysitter booked before they’ve even bought you a wedding gift. Others will need to head out after dinner so they avoid their toddler’s cranky stage of the night. The times of your event may help you determine whether to invite kids too: if you’re dinner isn’t starting until 8pm, assess whether most kids would be in bed by that time anyway.
You wouldn’t want a guest showing up to your wedding and accidentally saying “congratulations” to the wrong groom, right? It’s pretty fair to ask that the guests you invite know the person you’re about to marry. Now, the exception here ties back to Question 3. Maybe your fiancé couldn’t attend that one Christmas out of state where all your relatives were present. Or maybe the only time you’ve seen your college roommate was during a girl’s trip so, obviously your hubby wasn’t present. Assess this question on a case by case basis, with the overall understanding that you should be inviting people who know, have met, or hung out with you both as a couple.
We’ve all been to a wedding where someone who wasn’t invited shows up. And if you’re thinking, “actually, I haven’t” then chances are it might have been you. The dreaded “hey-nice-to-meet-you-who-are-you-oh-ok-you-weren’t-even-invited-what-the-hell-okay-well-that’s-nice-enjoy-your-$150-entree-person-I’ll-never-see-again”. Not every single guests needs, or deserves, a plus 1. Look at each guest scenario. Has your sister, Kristy, been dating her boyfriend for 4 years, and they already have a house and 2 dogs? I think it’s safe to assme that’s a “solid” plus 1. Has the best man had a new girlfriend every day for the past 2 weeks? You may want to rethink his plus 1. Simply, if there’s been a major commitment between your guest and their potential plus 1 (i.e. moving in together, having a child, getting engaged) then they should receive a plus 1.
This does not need clarifying.
Seriously. Don’t chance it.
Obviously this one seems like a no-brainer, but I want to reiterate that this is your wedding and you should only be inviting people who are eager to celebrate that new beginning, and have remained supportive of you and your fiancé as individuals and as a couple.
With all that being said, there are of course some deviations to these rules. I personally invited someone less than 3 weeks before my wedding, after only knowing her for a couple months. We met during the tail end of my wedding planning, and after our first hangout at a haunted house, I knew we’d be longtime besties. She and her husband showed up to our wedding, not knowing a single other soul, and since that day, we’ve become amazing friends. Other honorable mentions that we invited: our landlord, my 1st grade teacher, my childhood babysitter, and our next door neighbors. So, while these questions can help guide you in creating your guest list, know that everything is circumstantial. Use your best judgement to determine who will be an asset at your wedding day.
Grab your fiancé and review the possible guests below. “Who do I invite to my wedding?” Well, have some fun and test your skills to see which guests deserve an invite and which don’t.
1. Your best friend
2. The mailman
3. Your college professor
4. Your sister
5. The lady from Chipotle who gave you Guac for free
6. Clint Eastwood
7. Your boss
8. Your cousin’s daughter’s ex-hair dresser
9. Your grandmother
10. The lawn guy who always waves to you
11. Your ex-boyfriend who has been creating fake Facebook profiles to “friend” you from
12. The kid from 2nd grade who stole your lunch money
13. Your brother’s wife
14. The UPS guy
15. Your Uber driver
16.The bagger at Publix
17. Your fiancé’s fraternity brother
18. The person at the dog park who is the owner of the only other dog yours will play with
19. The cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey
20. The barista at Starbucks who finally spelled your name right
Have fun narrowing down your guest list and happy planning!