Wedding Etiquette – Who to invite?

In 2011, the average wedding will include about 150 guests. Although that seems like a lot of people, most people find limiting it to 150 becomes a task. Your co-workers, close friends, family, your fiance’s co-corkers, close friends, family all add up very quickly and it is hard to establish a cut-off point. This is one of those subjects that can easily escalate into an argument and cause tons of stress. I’ve put together some pointers to help you to understand when enough is enough. 

1) Get a pen and paper. Make a list that includes absolutely everyone you would like to invite to your wedding. Now comes the hard part. If the number of people on your list exceeds the number of guests you have budgeted for, you have some tough decisions to make. Take a deep breath before you move on because this is where you must be willing to compromise a little.

2) The one year rule. If you have not had a meaningful conversation with a friend in over a year, they do not need to be invited. This applies to friends only, not family. Mark them off of the list and move on.

3) Extended Family –  You don’t need to invite cousins, second cousins and long – lost relatives from all parts of the country if you have no real relationship with them. Invite only the people you are closest to.

4) Payback -You do not have to invite everyone who has ever invited you to their wedding. Relationships change and some couples have weddings with 500 guests.

5) No Children.  Inviting a family of six can easily be reduced to a table for two with two simple words on the invitation: no children.

6) Include names. If your invitation is for 2 people only, make it clear.  The Anderson family could be 4 or more people. Mr & Mrs. Anderson is simple and direct.

7) Co-workers – Only invite co-workers if you socialize with them outside of work and have a personal relationship with them. You do not have to invite everyone you work with. If you are obliged to invite your boss, make sure you handle this discreetly and invite those who may make a difference in your next promotion.

8) Do not send a save-the-date card to anyone you are not going to invite to the wedding, it is in very bad taste. There is one exception: if there has been a serious falling out since the save the date was sent, you are not obligated to send an invitation. However, this might be a good time to bury the hatchet and settle your differences unless you want this feud to continue and fester for a long time.

9) Ex-lovers or spouses. Realistically not all brides and grooms are marrying the first person they dated and they first person with whom they were intimate. There are  conditions; only if you are on good terms, you both agree,  they can be invited without causing a stir, and your guest limit allows.

10) 25% rule. One -fourth of your invited guests will not come for whatever reason….that’s a good thing.

Once you have your list together, make a legible copy to keep in your planner so when the replies start to come in you can keep track of them easily.

If all esle fails and you really can’t whittle down your list, have a candid conversation with both sets of parents and ask them to help you!

Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago