Narrowing down the guest list is one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding. But when a couple is asking themselves whom to invite to their wedding, they shouldn't feel obligated to add someone they've never met to their list. We asked four wedding planners to share questions you should ask yourself to decide who to invite to your wedding.
1. Have I Met This Person Before?
Believe it or not, brides and grooms are frequently introduced to people for the first time at their own wedding. This is usually the case with distant relatives and business associates of parents. Stephanie Sica, founder of Orchard and Broome, knows that curbing family guest lists can be tricky. "Sure, Mom may want her co-worker who hears so many stories about you to see you tie the knot, but if you don't know that woman, is it realistic [to invite her]?" Sica asks.
2. When Was the Last Time I Saw This Person?
Lindsey Nickel, owner and event planner at Lovely Day Events, says if you haven't laid eyes on a person in 12 to 18 months—or at least had a nice, long phone conversation if they live far away—then you probably shouldn't invite them.
3. Am I Aware of the Day-to-Day Life of This Person?
You should only be surrounded by people who have a vested interest in your life and your relationship, and vice versa, according to Andrea Eppolito of Andrea Eppolito Weddings & Events. This goes for who you are today and who you will be 10 years from now, not who you were 10 years ago.
4. Did I Attend Their Wedding?
If you were at their wedding years ago but have lost contact since, you may not need to invite them. Emily Starr Alfano of mStarr Event Design sees no need to reciprocate if you're no longer close. Only invite them if you really want the person back in your life.
5. For Co-Workers, What Kind of Connection Would I Have With This Person Five Years From Now if We Weren't Still Working Together?
It can be hard to distinguish the present from the future. People who you see every single day for at least eight hours right now? They may not be in your life long term. Alfano urges against inviting a co-worker simply due to proximity.
6. Do I Spend Holidays and Birthdays With Them?
Seeing someone for big life events means they should be included in your wedding—end of story.
7. Are We Inviting the Rest of Their Family?
Eppolito says if you have three cousins but you're only close with two, you should keep the peace and invite all of them.
8. Am I Comfortable Being Around This Person?
"Your wedding is a party, yes, but a very personal experience," Alfano says. That said, do you want your boss there to witness your open-bar-plus-dance-floor hijinks?
9. Is This Person a Positive Influence in My Life?
Nobody wants a Debbie Downer at their wedding. But think twice before crossing all Negative Nancys off your list.
10. If We Moved Away, Would We Keep in Touch? And if We Were in Town, Would We Call Them Ahead of Time to Let Them Know?
Nickel thinks this is a pretty good litmus test for whether or not the friendship is deep enough to merit a wedding invite.
11. Would You Change the Date of Your Wedding if This Person Couldn't Come?
If the answer is "yes," then that speaks for itself. "They are pretty important to you in that case," Nickel says.