Wedding Etiquette Forum

How do you decide who to invite?

Trying to plan a relatively small wedding. I'm undecided about some friends I went to high school with that I'm not particularly close with but I was invited to their weddings and was in one of their weddings. Also not sure about friends of the family and how to decide who to invite. Any thoughts? How do you decide?


Re: How do you decide who to invite?

  • mlg78mlg78 member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    In addition to what CMGr said, you'll need to factor in who is paying...  They may want to have a bigger say in the invite list...and since it's their wallet opening, you'll have to allow that.

  • In terms of friends, the advice I found helpful was limiting it to people who we have had over for dinner in the last year or two. We made a couple of exceptions but that helped a lot with some that we were unsure about.
  • For me the "have I had them over for dinner" rule didn't really work; a lot of my closest friends live across the country and I just don't get to see them.  So what I did was think "if I saw you across a crowded city street would I call out / chase after you to say hello?  or would I think 'huh, that kind of looked like susan' and keep walking?"

    bottom line is; try to take obligation out of it - cut it down to the people you really truly want there.
  • When it came to friends we did a 6 month rule. If we hadn't talked to them or heard from them 6 months prior to finalizing the guest list we decided not to invite them. That included a couple who's wedding I stood up in years ago.
  • we only invited those family and friends who were closest to us, that knew both of us and were part of our lives.  in my case that did not include my grandparents.  people we hadnt spoken to or seen in years didnt make the cut.

  • In Response to <a href=" BoardsForum:9Discussion:b8e234fa-b6c2-4352-85c4-682cf1c3a571Post:9152667f-178e-47de-905e-7119535ae9f7">How do you decide who to invite?</a>:

    Thank you all so much!
    I feel slightly pressured to compare it to weddings I have been to, for example my cousins wedding last June that cost at least 20,000. I have no intention to spend even half that much. I have no intention to top it either.
    It's just when I looked at my list, I was a little sad that there weren't a few more people. I havn't kept in close contact with some people, some on purpose. I'm worried all it will really be is family, and that it won't be all that entertaining, but I guess it is what we all make it!

    [QUOTE]Trying to plan a relatively small wedding. I'm undecided about some friends I went to high school with that I'm not particularly close with but I was invited to their weddings and was in one of their weddings. Also not sure about friends of the family and how to decide who to invite. Any thoughts? How do you decide? Thanks!
    Posted by Jdunk2008[/QUOTE]
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited March 2013
    We only invited people who are in our lives on a regular basis. And that included family, regardless of where they fall on our family trees. Our family dynamic allowed for that, though. Not everyone can get away with that. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    We made a list of everyone we would love to have attend.  From there we both went through the list (separately) determining the must haves, really want to haves and the nice to haves.  We didn't use any rules as far as how often/regularly we talked to/saw folks.

    We then came together and compared notes.  We found that we were in agreement on almost everybody and those we weren't, discussed and came to a conclusion.

    Like PPs said, some of it depends on who's paying; we paid for everything ourselves so no one else had a say.  We did ask our folks if there was anyone they wanted to invite as a courtesy, but that's it.


  • We kept it small.  Although, we wanted to stay around 50 people and we are at 75 now we had to cut back a lot.  Our deciding factor was only to invite people who we have seen or talked to in the last year to two.  It was important to us to invite people who made an effort to be part of our lives and our daughters.  I didn't want to invite an aunt that I haven't seen in over 5 years and has never called me or my daughter to say hello or wish a happy birthday or anything. 

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  • ChloeaghChloeagh member
    100 Comments Second Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2013
    We made a list of people that had to be there. It was about 30 people long and would have caused serious family drama. Plus, we really did want our whole families there. So we did circle inviting. First parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (about 100 people). Then we added the people who may as well be part of that first group (a great uncle, my mom's best friend, etc.). Then our closest friends (about 10 friends total) and our confirmation sponsors and spouses (who needed to be invited for different reasons). That brought us to 122 people. That number is a bit high, and we don't want to go higher (except for SOs, of course). It fits our venue and budget. If we tried to add more friends (who are really just acquaintances), the list would get way too long. We'll continue to look at it and tweak it over the next 8 months, but this got us to a really go rough draft of a list.
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  • There are so many great pieces of advice here, so I don't have much to add, except this:

    Does this person know me, my fiance and our relationship? Would they be genuinely happy to celebrate our marriage? If you can't answer yes for them, then they can easily be on a "B list".

    I was in a friend's wedding three years ago, but since then she rarely replied to my emails, phone calls, texts. I haven't seen her since then. She barely knows my fiance and knows nothing about our relationship. Unfortunately, she's not invited.

    Best of luck to you! Though it may be a sticky situation, you'll make it through :-)
  • We said if we hadn't talked to them in a year- they werent on the list. Family- closest friends- our Sunday School Class- and work friends were the first peopel to invite- then we let our parents invite who they wanted. Our giest list is really large- so I would say dont invite people that you really dont "care" about. No highschool friends unless you are still close. I have been in a ton of weddings and we didnt invite them to our because we arent close at this point in our life. 
  • googygoogy member
    Fifth Anniversary First Comment Combo Breaker
    our wedding came as a blessing so we invited 250 people because everyone wanted to celebrate with us so we found a venue that  our guest can fit  and got the best music dj went from there
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My fiance and I are going with the 1 year cut off. If we haven't seen or talked to someone in a year, they are not on the list. 

    I really like the advice about someone needing to know both you, your fiance and the relationship- I will use it for myself! 

    Right now, our guest list is at the top of what our budget can hold- we may invite more people if we can come under on other items, and we are creating a "B list". There are a few people that I'd like to invite, but our budget cannot cover that many people and they are people that we haven't talked to much. 
  • M&MJKM&MJK member
    10 Comments First Anniversary
    I am running into problems with the list as well.  Early in the engagement my FI and I made up a list of people we plan to invite, assumed all would come (don't invite people and plan on them not showing up theory), and found a place we could afford.  Now other family members are saying things like "Of course you'll invite my siblings, but most of them won't come." and "Are you planning on sending invites to X, Y, and Z? Why not?" While I feel pretty sure what is going to happen with my dad's side of the family, I don't know what my mom's side is going to do in terms of attending since they live across the country.  And his family is pretty big but not close.  Just family numbers (and not everyone included) take up 90% of the list.  There are friends we'd like to be present but I don't think they will fit in the room should most everyone accept.  It seems pretty tacky to me to make an A list and a B list and send out two sets of invites if it looks like a lot of people won't be able to make it. I don't know what to do.
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  • This has been on my mind too. I have a large family, so just accounting for parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and first cousins (all of which we see/are in touch with regularly - seriously!) on MY side is already 51 people. Add the few slightly-more-distant relatives who are still must-haves due to their close relationships with us and it's up to 59. His family is much smaller (he can invite his ENTIRE immediate + extended family, including second cousins, and it's still only 10 people). But... suddenly we're up to 69 people and haven't even started considering our friends or family friends yet, or the +1s some unmarried family members may bring. I don't think we can possibly afford to have over 100 people. There are some people who we are almost certain won't come, but the family dynamic will insist we still have to invite them or there'd be major family drama - and then they could surprise us... this is really tough =/
  • Hello! When making my guest list it was hard to figure out who I wanted to invite. I started with My parents and my fiances parents. Then picked their siblings, and sinlings children. Grandparents, and if they had any siblings. We are close to a couple of our parents first cousins. By then we had around 120 people! Picked a few close friends. Then called it a day! Good luck!
  • We are also having a small wedding. When we started planning on getting married, and weren't officially engaged yet, we both made a list of the people we would like to invite. I combined that list and that was that. We are both in law enforcement and he's also in the military so we had to set a strict no coworkers rule. If we had done that we'd have over 200+ people instead of the 60 we plan on. Also keep in mind who's paying for everything. We are paying for everything ourselves so we've been putting our foot down on other people that have tried to invite themselves.

    As far as friends from high school, I only invited the one that I still talk to on a regular basis. I am also the God Mother of her only child. I know she may not attend because of the date of the wedding (the day after Thanksgiving) but other people I haven't heard from in years were NOT invited.
  • I am struggling with this same thing, and today I was talking to a friend about it and she put it like this - Invite the people that you'll look back on in like 10, 20 years and wish were there. For me, that really helped some tough decisions. My family politics kind of indicate that I may get some grief for not inviting every cousin, but I have a large family and a very modest budget. My fiance and I are paying for the whoel thing ourselves, and I feel like if people don't understand that, they are being unrealistic. We have a very specific head count we can afford, and that is the limit we set for ourselves, so how the make up of who constitutes that head count may change between now and when the invites go out, but at that time, try and think about who, in the future, you would miss if they weren't there. It's helping me at least. :)
  • In Response to <a href="">How do you decide who to invite?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Trying to plan a relatively small wedding. I'm undecided about some friends I went to high school with that I'm not particularly close with but I was invited to their weddings and was in one of their weddings. Also not sure about friends of the family and how to decide who to invite. Any thoughts? How do you decide? Thanks!
    Posted by Jdunk2008[/QUOTE]

    <div>We made a rule. Since it was our wedding (meaning his and mine) we didn't invite guests that were just his or mine. We invited guest that were ours. That meant that we both had to have sat down and shared a meal with who we were inviting as a couple. This rule worked for the most part, but it became sticky when we had friends that we were close to that lived out of state/country and we didn't get the opportunity to have dinner with them. So, we each got a certain number of exceptions. To allow us to celebrate with those who weren't invited to the ceremony or reception, we are meeting somewhere after the reception for an after party in which those people got invitations to. Instead of doing it right after the reception you could do it the weekend after or even host a Sunday brunch. </div><div>
    </div><div>Beware, only invite those people who are going to the wedding to your bridal showers and bachelorette party. I didn't follow this rule and ended up having to expand my guest list after invites went out. Now i'm hoping some people can't come. </div>
  • OK, I have been at my job 13 years and I'd like to invite some people here, not all and mostly not the ones who give me's a small department and people's feeling will get hurt. Any suggestions on dealing with the work invite list?????
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