It's your wedding and you can invite whom you want to. Ah, wouldn't it be nice if it always worked out that way?
Creating a wedding guest list is serious business and you'll often find yourself going back and forth over whether or not to invite that cousin you haven't seen in a couple years or dad's boss he insists must be in attendance or else. So we talked to national etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, in order to find out how to confidently navigate those tough wedding guest list choices.
A Friend Who Invited You to Their Wedding
While it would certainly be nice if you could reciprocate an invitation, Gottsman acknowledges that circumstances don't always allow for it. "The consideration may be finances, venue, family discord or you simply may not want to include them on your guest list if you have to limit the number of invitees, which is a common dilemma," she says. Perhaps you could add this person to your B list and extend an invite if/when you wind up having room for them, considering there's no beef now, that is.
A Family Member(s) You Aren't Particularly Close With
Picking and choosing family members is always prime for drama, points out Gottsman. "However, if you aren't close to particular people and you don't see them often, it won't be as awkward to leave them off the list when you don't come into contact with them routinely." On the other hand, omitting immediate family over a current family dispute may backfire if you resolve the issue in the future and hurt feelings will likely remain if they weren't invited, she notes. Definitely something to think about…
Your BFF's Mom or Plus-One
What do you do if your best friend asks if her mother can attend the wedding or she can get a plus-one? Considering it's your BFF and she's probably your maid of honor, if she wants to bring her mom or a date as a plus-one and you aren't restricted by budget, Gottsman would say yes to her request. "After all, you're building on a lifetime of future goodwill."
This one is a big fat maybe. If you want him to be part of the guest list because you're still friends and your fiancé doesn't have any issue with it, there's no reason not to invite him, says Gottsman. "If you have had no contact with him for years, and it feels uncomfortable, or your fiancé would prefer you not, the answer is no."
Your Friend's Kids
If the kids are grown or older, Gottsman suggests finding a way to politely let them know that your guest list is limited. "You should not feel obligated to invite anyone to your wedding that isn't a priority." Now, if a good friend or family member recently had a baby who isn't mobile yet, consider saying yes as the mom may still need to breastfeed frequently and the babe won't take up an extra seat or need a meal paid for.
Your Dad's Co-Worker or BFF
It's always a nice gesture to give every parent a few plus ones if you can afford to do so, particularly if your parents are paying for the wedding, then we say they definitely get to invite their bosses or a couple they're close to.