Photo: Heidi Geldhauser of Our Labor of Love
1. Give both families the same number of guests to invite.
Let the moms know they each have the same restrictions to avoid having them wonder. You have to allow both moms to invite their best friends. Whatever it does to your head count, make sure that's a battle you do not fight. They need their moral support there — weddings are emotional for parents too.
2. Decide where you're going to cut off the family invitations.
If you invite one uncle, you must include all uncles and aunts. If you invite one of your first cousins, you're really supposed to invite all of your first cousins. If you have a big family, this can be the bulk of your guest list unless you have a big budget.
3. An invitation that includes children is entirely up to the bride and groom.
Many couples do not want children at their weddings, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially at destination weddings where many guests are treating it as an escape from their own little darlings. Put your foot down, and make your wishes clear from the beginning.
4. Return the invite if you've attended a recent wedding.
If you have been a member of a wedding party or a guest at a wedding in the past 18 months, you should invite those friends to your wedding. (Unless it was a work friend who invited the whole office or somebody else you don't really know but were obligated to attend.)
5. You must allow your friends who are in serious relationships to bring their significant others.
Many couples crack down on the plus one for anybody who isn't already involved with someone when the invites go out, and that's fine. You are not obligated to invite their flavor of the week. However, if you know the significant other, if they live together, or if the relationship is well-established, neglecting to invite both halves of the couple is a slap in the face to avoid.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.