Deciding who gets an invite to your wedding is much easier said than done. It’s impossible to please everyone, especially when your budget is at stake. There are, however, a few guidelines to make your life easier when scrutinizing over what seems like an impossible task in order to keep your wedding guest list at bay.
1. Balancing family invites
Traditionally the rule of thumb is that one-third of the guests should make up the groom’s family, one-third should be the bride’s family and the last third are friends of the bride and groom. This rule however doesn’t always hold up when one side of the family is much larger in size and is contributing more than the other. If you want to ensure both sides of the family are happy and one side wants to invite more than the other, you can always invite fewer friends to give them a bit more of a invite buffer.
2. Reciprocal wedding invites
If your friends’ wedding was held recently and your wedding is on a similar scale as theirs or larger, it’s pretty tough to argue that they shouldn’t be on your guest list. If several years have passed since their wedding and you’re just not that close anymore then you may have a case to omit them from the guest list.
3. Not allowing children to attend
It’s never okay to write “no children allowed” on your wedding invite but you can however subtly let parents know they can’t bring their kids by not including their names on the addressed invite. You can even go as far as including an RSVP card with the number of guests invited written right on it so that there’s no confusion. If you have a wedding website or are distributing hotel and parking info, you can also include a line about letting you know if they need help finding a sitter since children won’t be attending the wedding ceremony or reception. The more ways you can communicate this the better.
4. Deciding who gets to bring a date
If people have declared their relationship status (no we don’t mean on Facebook) by either getting engaged, marrying or moving in with their partner, this means that they are a unit and should be invited to the wedding as one. Trust us, inviting one half of the unit never ends well! It gets even more challenging when you know longtime couples who don’t live together, especially when you’re really only friends with one of two. In this case, it’s perfectly fair to consider omitting partners if the couple has been dating for less than a year or if you haven’t even met the significant other. Provided that these guests know other people at the wedding who they can socialize with, they shouldn’t be missing their other half too much.
As for your single friends, if you’re not cool with them taking it upon themselves to bring a plus-one, be sure to address their invite to them only and be sure to mention liberally that numbers are tight.
5. Picking and choosing which aunts, uncles and cousins to invite
It’s tricky when it comes to family invites. Technically the most proper way to handle it is to treat each side of your family the same. Therefore, if you’re inviting that aunt and first cousins on your mother’s side you should be doing the same on your father’s side. Yes, this does add cost but it’s money well spent if you’re avoiding any tension and perceived unfairness.
That said, this doesn’t mean that you must treat both sides of the aisle the same. If your fiance is much closer to his/her second cousins than you are to yours, go ahead and invite them. Your family likely isn’t as familiar with their family tree, and probably won’t even notice.