Wedding Guestlist Ettiquette
Ask any couple, and they’ll tell you that making their wedding guest list is a chore they despise. The procedure can be incredibly difficult, especially when opposing viewpoints are involved. This occurs frequently, particularly during the first round of revisions. You’ll be astonished by how many people contribute to your first draft—from family, coworkers, and friends to your parents’ social circles—but you’ll need to make cuts. It helps to have etiquette standards you can refer to when you narrow down your roster to avoid any issues. If you and your fiancé are having trouble making these difficult choices, remember that we’re here to assist you (and prevent you from second-guessing your final choices). The recommendations below will help you streamline your process and save time during this hectic wedding-planning season by answering all of your most critical guest list questions.
What about one of the most urgent issues with the guest list? Many couples debate whether their childhood friends should be invited or not. It’s worth noting that you’re not required to add them. When determining who should be on your wedding guest list, ask yourself this question: Can you envision having dinner with them in the next year? If this is the case, add them to your A-list. Keep their name on the B-list if you were previously close but haven’t spoken in a long time. This way, if someone cancels, you’ll be able to fill the seat with someone with whom you have a history.
If you liked our advise, the tips section will undoubtedly improve your wedding guest list experience. Follow these simple tips to get answers to all of your inquiries and learn the process.
1. What criteria do you use to decide which relatives to invite?
A wedding guest list must include your immediate relatives, as well as aunts, uncles, first cousins, and grandparents. For more distant relatives, though, a reasonable rule of thumb is to gather like-minded people and either invite the entire family or none at all. You wouldn’t invite your favorite second cousin and her siblings, for example, unless you want to have the most awkward Thanksgiving dinner of your life the following year.
Something else to consider? Though most etiquette experts will advise you to invite all of your first cousins, this rule does not imply that you must treat both sides of the aisle equally. It’s best to address each household individually based on their proximity. Your relatives won’t be as aware of his side’s family tree, but if they find out that his first cousins were included but not yours, you may simply say, “His family is much closer than ours.”
2. Should you include your coworkers?
Here, too, the same wedding guest list grouping guideline applies: Whether you include everyone in your department or none at all is up to you. Any employee you encounter socially outside of the workplace is an exception; in such situation, the coworker is actually a buddy, not just someone you enjoy grabbing lunch with on occasion.
3. Is it necessary to invite your boss?
It can be difficult to decide whether or not your boss should be on your wedding guest list. If you work closely with her or the working setting makes it unprofessional not to invite her, accept the invitation. Naturally, the type of your event should be considered as well. If you’re organizing a small destination event, your employer is unlikely to be offended if he or she isn’t invited. However, if you’re throwing a big party and work for a tiny company, inviting the CEO is polite—not to mention good office politics.
Finally, don’t be concerned that it will be perceived as a ruse to get a gift; most managers, regardless of whether they have been invited, give wedding gifts to their employees.
4. What is the best approach to deal with extra guests?
A wedding guest list difficulty that nearly all couples confront is deciding whether or not to allow guests to bring dates. On the one hand, you don’t want anyone who is unfamiliar with your crew to feel excluded. Writing “and guest” on envelopes, on the other hand, suggests that a large number of strangers will be celebrating your big day (not to mention that you’ll be treating these strangers to a fairly extravagant meal and dance).
A fiancé must be invited if a family or acquaintance is engaged to be married. Many people draw the line at truly significant others, which they define as long-term or live-in relationships. If you set a rule like that, make sure you follow it consistently. Something to keep in mind: Not being able to bring a date is quite upsetting for many unmarried people. Prepare them for the concept and pay attention to where the singles sit at dinner. Allowing your bridal party to bring an escort would be a thoughtful gesture, but it is not needed.
5. Is it possible to invite only certain children?
To begin with, it’s quite okay (and usual!) to keep children off your wedding guest list entirely, particularly if you’re having a formal or local supper. (However, excluding them from casual or afternoon parties or destination weddings may be more challenging.)
When it comes to inviting some children and not others, opinions differ, so make a clear rule and follow it. Set an age limit (older kids are more likely to behave) or limit it to immediate family (the majority of children with wedding responsibilities are close relatives, such as a niece or stepchild—though they don’t have to stay for the reception).
Not sure how to notify your guests that your wedding will be childless? According to Anna Post, author of Emily Post’s Wedding Parties, “let your invitation do the talking.” Assume you’ve decided not to invite children under the age of five, and your friends have an 11-year-old and a four-year-old. On the inner envelope, you’d write the names of the friends and the elder child, indicating that the youngest isn’t invited. If you’re concerned that your guests will miss the message, phone ahead. According to Post, “‘We just sent out the invitations, and we’re thrilled to have you join us, but we’ve decided not to invite little children,’ you can remark. I wanted to give you plenty of notice so you could get a babysitter. I hope you’ll be able to make it!'” Make no exceptions; doing so would be impolite to guests who have followed your instructions.
6. Do teen invitations follow the same rules as children’s invitations?
For inviting minors to your wedding, there is no specific etiquette standard. The “aged enough to receive their own invitation” rule could be used (which is typically 18). However, if you set the age at 18, you risk hurting the sentiments of any younger teens. Teenagers despise being treated like children, so they may be even more resentful.
7. Is it necessary to invite someone who invited you to their wedding?
The reciprocal entertaining guideline of wedding guest list etiquette is quite strong: If your friends’ wedding occurred recently and you’re still close, and your big day is similar to or larger than theirs, they should be on your guest list already. However, if your friendship has deteriorated since their wedding, or if your wedding is modest, it is quite OK to leave them off. If you have mutual friends who are invited, be cautious; inform them of the restriction in your guest list so that they don’t brag about your wedding in front of others who aren’t, causing an embarrassing situation for everyone.