Unless you’ve decided to elope or are living away from family and friends in a foreign country, the issue for any bride or groom about who to invite to your wedding can be a potential minefield of hurt feeling or offended great aunts!
There is probably no aspect of wedding planning that causes more interpersonal stress and disagreements than the guest list. Whether you are negotiating with immediate family or your fiancé, treading carefully but having a firm plan about who will make the cut, will stand you in good stead and ensure you will have the special people present at your wedding who support you and your fiancé as you move forward into this next phase of your life together.
So we’ve decided to help you in the decision-making process and flip things around and look at who NOT to invite to your wedding.
You feel obligated to invite them – this is a biggie! If you feel like you have to invite the person in question, but you’d rather not, then your answer should probably be no. Inviting someone out of a sense of obligation (for whatever reason) is never great reasoning behind involving someone in your big life events. Especially if there is a financial outlay to having the person there. Just because you used to be neighbours when you were 4, doesn’t automatically entitle someone to come to your wedding.
This is the area where you will get a lot of input from parents and siblings about who they think should come to the wedding. It can be hard to negotiate on this, particularly if your parents are contributing financially to the wedding costs. But if you can clearly explain your reasoning and criteria it can sometimes help smooth things out a little. It’s best to give this some thought before you start the list planning. Having everyone on the same page right from the start will save arguments later on. Especially reminding family members that your wedding is about you and your fiancé, not about them and how they are perceived by their friends.
It can also be hard if you come from a big extended family. Discussing this with your fiancé and setting numbers for family members can help you whittle down the guest list.
Do you think this person will still be involved in your life in 20 years?
Some friends you don’t speak to often, but when you do it’s like no time has passed. These are probably people you will still feel equally connected to in 20 years time and you’d want to come to your wedding. However there is a difference between this type of friend and a casual acquaintance you haven’t spoken to in 5 years.
Planning your guest list can turn into an exercise of examining your relationships and figuring out who you are most connected to and who you want share this next chapter with – it can get real deep, real fast! Under this category you’d find work colleagues, sports team mates, people from church etc. That a not to say these people shouldn’t be invited, but it’s wise to give some thought to how important they are in your life.
Once you overcome the hurdle of who to invite then you have the question of children or no children invited, plus ones etc etc. The decision making is endless!
Our main advice is, at the outset, make some decisions with your fiancé about what your criteria are for inviting people, guest numbers and budget. From there you can firmly, but gently, let the other people in your life know how things are going to be – the art is doing this without coming across as a bridezilla or it causing a great family rift!
Negotiation and compromise is all part in parcel of wedding planning, but having the people around you who will love and support you both in your new life together is something you can look back on with joy – rather than looking at photos and wondering “who was that guy in the red tie?”