Wedding Guest List: Who Do You Invite?

Before you’ve booked your wedding venue and said yes to the dress, there are a few important decisions that you and your partner will need to make—and perhaps the biggest one that can shape the entirety of your wedding is deciding who to invite on your wedding guest list.

It’s both a time-consuming and stressful decision that can often cause bickering between families. If you’re having trouble putting the final touches on your guest list, we can help.

Immediate Family And Relatives

bride and groom with family members

Let’s start with the easiest guests to figure out. Unless you’re having an extremely small wedding, eloping, or simply don’t get along with your family members, these should be some of the easiest invites on your wedding guest list.

Everyone from your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins will more than likely be on your list of invites.

But beware: from here on out, it starts to get trickier.

Friends

Your friends are where the wedding guest list process can start to become more difficult.

Most couples have a core group of close friends that they regularly or semi-regularly hang out with. These are the people that, right away, you know you’ll want to invite.

But what about the friends who you don’t see as often? This is where it gets trickier. As a general rule, if you haven’t seen someone for over two years (and there’s no legitimate reason why not), then you can probably remove them from your wedding guest list.

Co-workers

bride and groom with coworkers

Do co-workers get invited to the wedding? Again, this can be a difficult question to answer, and is typically decided on a case-to-case basis.

If you simply don’t want to invite any co-workers, that’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re considering inviting a few of them, here are some things you should ask yourself:

  • Do you hang out with them after work socially?
  • How often have you hung out with them?
  • Do you frequently interact with them during work hours?

Taking these questions into consideration should help you decide if you really do want to add them to your wedding guest list.

If you decide to go the route of not inviting any co-workers, be sure to keep the wedding talk to a minimum during work hours. You don’t want to have that awkward conversation with Kenny from accounting saying, “My invite must have gotten lost in the mail!”

Plus One Invites

Decisions, decisions. No one wants to show up without a date to a wedding, but does that mean that everyone should be able to bring a plus one?

No, definitely not. Unless you have an immense budget, most people will limit these invites. But who does get them?

If one of your guests recently got married, they should definitely be given a plus one invite.

Any close relatives who are in long-term relationships (anything over one year) will usually also garner a plus one invite.

New relationships are a difficult decision to make. If your cousin just met a girl three weeks ago, it’s not necessary to extend a plus one invite to that cousin. However, if they have been dating for a while and you’ve had a chance to meet and get to know her, then by all means extend the invite.

The same advice goes for co-workers. If any of them are married, it’s only right to invite their partner. Or, if they’re in a long-term relationship, they should get a plus one. But if they are a fairly new couple and you’ve never met him or her before, you can probably skip the invite.

Kids

kids at wedding

This has been a controversial topic for years. Some couples simply don’t want children at their wedding, while others have no problem with it at all.

This really is up to you as a couple and what you’re willing to deal with. Young children—while very cute—can also be very hard to keep quiet or control, and can make it difficult for their parents to enjoy their time at your wedding.

If you’ve got no problem with this, or are able to afford entertainment for them at the wedding, then by all means allow your guests to bring the kids. Just realize that this could mean a bigger cost for you.

If you don’t want children under a certain age, make sure that is made very clear to your guests. Whether it’s on the wedding invites, on your wedding website, or simply through speaking with them, make sure they’re aware of your wishes.

Don’t be shy when you have guests calling you asking to add their kids to your wedding guest list. Be firm with your decision and explain to them your specific reasons. They should understand.

Conclusion

See how making the wedding guest list can become a stressful process? It can cause arguments between family members, or even your future spouse—but hopefully this list has helped you and will guide you through your list-making process. Good luck!