How to Figure Out Your Guest List, Invitations & Plus Ones!


Deciding on a guest list is a huge deal! It all comes down to your wedding budget, who's paying for what, and what style of event you want to have. That's why so many brides and grooms ponder over major guest-related etiquette questions. We found answers to some of the most important ones you might have right before you send out your invitations.

Should I allow all of my single friends to bring a plus-one?
You aren't obligated to do so at all. However, if you decide you want to, find out beforehand whom they intend to bring and ask for their name and address; you should send a separate invitation to that person. Don't write "And Guest" on the inner and outer envelope of your friend's invitation. If the couple lives together, you may send one invitation to them both, just as you would to a married couple (list their names alphabetically on the envelope).

Do I need to send an invitation to people like the officiant or my parents, who know they're invited?
Definitely! Your parents, the clergymember (or officiant) and his or her spouse, your fiancé's immediate family, and the members of your wedding party should all receive invitations, even though they've been invited informally. Mail an invitation to yourself, too, which lets you know which day your guests receive the invitation in the mail.

How can I divvy up the guest list?
If parents are paying for the wedding, they traditionally have dibs on a little more that half the wedding invitation-slots. It's also common for the guest list to be divided in thirds — one for the bride's parents, one for the groom's, and one for you and your guy. All relatives — even your favorite aunt — go on your parents' list. If you and your soon-to-be-husband are paying for the wedding, the two of you get most of the invites. The groom's family sometimes chips in so that they can invite people who might not otherwise fit on the list. You and your groom are the ones to decide whether or not to invite children or Sally Smith and "Guest," meaning Sally and her date. When in doubt, don't leave anybody out. If you are asking yourself whether to include someone, send the invitation. A common regret later on is that someone was excluded. As for stepparents, ex's and any other guest who might feel uncomfortable in another's presence, arrange seating so that they can keep their distance, and, if asked, say you are doing so. It is up to your invitees to decide whether or not they will attend.

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