Once you’re engaged, making the guest list should be a priority. You definitely want an idea of the number of people you can afford, versus the number you would like to invite (hopefully the two estimates are close). Whether you have tons of friends or family, or just a few close relationships, you’ll probably be faced with some concerns…who makes the cut? We have some general tips for making the list a little easier to make.
Have two lists, A & B:
Create two different lists first. A will be the people you know (right away) HAVE to be there; immediate family (that you’re close to), and very close friends. Think of all the people you have current relationships with. If your first reaction is that you couldn’t imagine your day without them, put them on list A, your “YES” list. If you’re kind of unsure, or just not so enthusiastic, put them on list B, your “maybe” list. If your first thought is, absolutely not, don’t put them on a list at all.
The people on your “Yes” list should be people you speak with regularly, people with whom you have a positive relationship and regular interactions. If you aren’t sure about a certain person, consider whether or not you will talk to them after the wedding. Would you go out to dinner with them now? Would you go out with them sometime after the wedding? Remember you’re paying for this person’s meal, so if you wouldn’t even consider buying them dinner now, you shouldn’t worry about inviting them to your wedding.
If your parents are paying, you definitely have to consider who they would like you to invite. If you haven’t talked to Uncle Freddie in years (and you would rather keep it that way) but your parents insist he be invited, check to see what their reasoning is. If they also haven’t spoken with him in years, maybe casually suggest it isn’t the most appropriate time to catch up. If they feel very strongly about it; it’s their money, so you should absolutely respect their requests.
People you don’t need to worry about (especially if you can’t afford a big wedding, or you’re looking to make some cuts)
Any family or friends that you’ve completely lost touch with. We’re talking, years and years since you’ve last spoken, or maybe you even had a major drama that caused you to split not long ago. Whatever the case, anyone that’s been MIA for a while, you shouldn’t feel guilty about not inviting.
Work friends you aren’t close with outside of work. We all have those certain people we chat with or eat lunch with while at the office, but unless you’re really close outside of the office, you shouldn’t feel bad about not inviting them, especially if it comes down to being too expensive. That being said, if you’re not inviting any office pals, try to avoid talking about the wedding too much around them. If they ask, you could say you’re keeping the whole thing more intimate, or just with close friends and family.
People who invited you to their wedding…years ago. If your friend from college invited you to her wedding 8 years ago but since then you’ve fallen out of touch, don’t worry about returning the favor. Maybe you were invited to a wedding and you didn’t even know why you were, you don’t have to invite those people.
Neighbors. Unless your neighbors are your best friends, or maybe your parent’s neighbors practically helped raise you, then totally invite them! But if you speak with your neighbors sparingly and aren’t otherwise very close, you don’t need to feel obligated to invite them.
Friends with a less-than-acceptable track record. Now, we don’t mean to judge, but if you know for a fact that one of your friends from college tends to get a little…out of hand…at an open bar, and you’re confident it’ll happen if they get an invite, you don’t have to invite them. If it happens to be your absolute BFF, then we suggest having a chat. But if it’s a friend that has a rough record when it comes to appropriate wedding behavior and you’d rather not risk it, don’t make it a big drama, but you don’t have to invite them.
Overall, remember that your wedding is your day! You should be comfortable with everyone that you invite, and you shouldn’t have to stress too much when it comes to the guest list! We just recommend being kind about it, should anyone question their invite status. The less drama for bride-to-be, the better!