When it comes to your wedding, the invitation list can cause the most drama. Who do we invite? Can we leave off Aunt Sally but invite the cousins? Why does my fiance get a list twice as long as mine? How do we nicely tell his parents to cut back or cough up? All are great questions! So, let’s help you answer them….
1. How many: Typically you can break up the list in three parts: yours, mine and ours. The family lists should be fairly equal in size, and then your personal friends can make up the rest. Keep in mind your budget and the venue capacity, of course! However, there are ways to work around this. Maybe your family is only a small handfull and your fiance’s is huge, hopefully the two combined would be about 2/3 the capacity of the venue. If not, maybe you can cut down your joint friends list to give the families a little more space. If all else fails, you can always ask the groom’s family to help out with expenses. We all know that that may not be an option. So, if you run into that situation, then asking them nicely to cut down there list is the next best thing. Give them a number so they have something to work towards.
2. Who??: Family is a touchy subject and not all get along. But, unless it is obvious and agreed by all parties (maybe there’s a sibling that the entire family no longer speaks to), if you invite one, you must invite them all. So, if you inivite one aunt, you need to invite all aunts and uncles. But, not necesarily all the cousins. If in doubt, keep it consistent.
3. The ceremony: This is the most intimate part of the day and not always do we want to have 200 witnesses watching us say our “I do’s”. And that’s ok! You do not have to invite everyone to the ceremony. If you decide to keep that small, intimate and immediate family and your nearest and dearest friends only, that’s just perfect. Instead, invite them all to the reception! That way, they all have a chance to congratulate the happy couple. Most people will be just fine with that. Just make sure to let your ceremony guests know that not everyone is invited to the nuptials and to please refrain from bursting out all the details in front of the reception guests.
4. No children please: Honestly, it’s just not proper etiquette but people do it all the time. Especially if they need to make sure children don’t show up. And, since I was in this same situation at my wedding, I’m not the one that will call you out on this! However, the best (and most proper) way to do it is to just not put their names on the invitation. Hopefully your guests will call and ask if they are unsure. Another option is on the reply card. Instead of just asking for a yes or no, put down “number of adults attending”. It’s subtle but very clear! The last option, which may be uncomfortable for some, is to call all the parents on your list and give them advance notice that it will be a no children event. Hopefully most will take it as a wonderful date night opportunity!
5. The Plus One: This one does not have a true fine line. However, it should be pretty obvious. If they are engaged, married or living together, you invite their significant other. But, there are some other situations that should be quite obvious. Let’s say your friend has been dating the same person for a few years. Chances are they’re serious and you should invite them. But, if it’s a new relationship and you haven’t even met, there is nothing saying you need to say “and guest”.
*photo credit to marthastewartwedding.com