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The Invite List ~ How to Decide Who To Invite and Who To Drop

Deciding who you should/shouldn’t and will/won’t invite to your wedding can be a difficult thing.  If facebook has taught us anything it is that we know more people than we think we do.  In fact studies have shown that the average person knows over 2000 people.  While it is great to have so many friends it can become an arduous task on whom you should and shouldn’t invite to your wedding.

No one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings and if you could you probably would invite more people, but time, space and money are all a factor in whom you invite.

Sharon Naylor, author of The Essential Guide to Wedding Etiquette (Sourcebooks Casablanca, October 2005), suggests that you then create four lists and label them “A” through “D.” Your “A” list should include those people, beyond close family members, whom you can’t imagine getting married without, such as your college roommate and the friends you hang out with every weekend.

Aunts, uncles, cousins and high school friends you’ve stayed in touch with should make up your “B” list, while your “C” list should include coworkers, your parents’ friends and neighbors you’ve known forever. Finally, your “D” list can tally up distant cousins, friends you’ve lost contact with and your parents’ bridge partners. As your list grows and you need to eliminate people, start with your “D” list and work your way backward. “It sounds awful, because you don’t really want to rank the people in your life, but it does work well,” Naylor says.

Photo Courtesy of Tiny Comet Photography

For Friends a rule to consider is the One Year Rule – If you haven’t had a meaningful conversation with this person within the last year, don’t invite him or her.  Obviously this is a rule of thumb as every relationship is different.

Avoid the “If I invite this cousin, I must invite all cousins” trap. And don’t feel obligated to invite people who invited you to their wedding. Relationships change.  Etiquette’s rule of reciprocal entertaining is pretty strong. If your friends’ wedding was recent, and you are still close — and if your wedding is on a similar scale as theirs, or is larger — they should already be on your guest list. But if your friendship has faded some since their nuptials, or if your wedding is of a smaller size, it is completely appropriate to leave them off your guest list.

Exercise some caution if you have mutual friends who are invited; alert those people to the restriction in your guest list, so that they won’t gush on and on about your wedding in front of those not invited, and create an awkward moment for everyone.

Photo Courtesy of Soup Films Photography

What about Co Workers? Do not feel obligated to invite co workers.  They will understand.  A simple test for co-workers would be, would you have them over for dinner just because you want to.  If so, then you have a relationship beyond work and it might be smart to invite them.  Here’s one more tip: if you aren’t inviting everyone you work with, just don’t talk about the wedding around them. Hopefully they won’t think about it and even if they do, they won’t think you are rubbing their faces in it, as you talk about the ten foot ice sculpture and chocolate fountain you have planned.  And by all means, if you have that co-worker you can’t stand do not invite them.  The last thing you want is them saying or doing something that will ruin your evening.

How about single friends with a date? If they are married, engaged, living together, or have dated for more than six months, they get invited. Anything aside from that, it’s a no. However,  if there is extra room at the end, after everyone else has handed in their reply cards, you can then go back and invite someone’s date–but only if you feel it necessary.

Children at your wedding. Kids are the best, but weddings can be long and boring to them.  If you do not want to have children present at the wedding simply state it on the invitation.  The parents won’t be offended and quite frankly it would make a nice date night for them anyway.  If you do invite children please see our blog on how to entertain children at your wedding.

List still too long?

Consider having a cocktail reception or a much less formal evening like an open house event where it will be a very casual atmosphere.  In Utah this is a pretty common thing where people feel like they need to invite the entire Ward or neighborhood.  However, keep in mind that you could end up chatting with a whole bunch of people that you personally don’t know.

Another rule of thumb is to keep it as evenly split between the brides family and the grooms family as possible.  This will help avoid any hard feelings on either side.

The bottom line is, it is your wedding you should invite who you want to see and who has the most meaning to you and your fiancé.  People will get over not being invited and if they do hold a grudge you probably wouldn’t want to share your evening with that type of a person anyway.

Photo Courtesy of Swensen Photography

Contributing sources – Martha Stewart Weddings.com, BridalGuide.com, manners.quickanddirtytips.com, ehow.com, wedding-planner.firmark.net

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