Who Has a Say When It Comes to Our Wedding Guest List?

Brides, prepare yourself for negotiations, some compromises, and probably family politics...

Updated 03/25/17

Michael Falco of Christian Oth Studio

One of the first tasks you’ll tackle as you’re planning your wedding is also one of the toughest: your wedding guest list. Deciding who does (and doesn’t) make the cut involves all sorts of negotiating, some compromises, and probably family politics—because you know your parents are going to have something to say about it! They’re entitled to their opinions, but who actually has a say when it comes time to finalize your guest list? Our experts have a few thoughts.

When it comes time to decide who you’ll be inviting to your wedding, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

First and foremost, of course, are the two of you, the happy couple! You should celebrate your wedding surrounded by the people you love most, so make sure you’re making your voices heard. Prioritize your list with the VIPs at the top, placing the “nice to have” guests on a separate list that you can draw from if you end up having more room than you expected.

The other opinions you really need to consider are those of anyone who is contributing financially to your wedding. You may not want to give everyone veto power, but those writing a check they should be able to suggest at least a few people they’d like to have you invite.

And of course, you can’t forget about the roles your budget and the size of your venue play in all of this. These two factors will determine how big your wedding guest list can be in the first place, so all the negotiating about who is and isn’t on the list will have to happen within the confines of exactly how many people you can fit in the space and afford to feed. So even if your parents are paying for the whole thing, if you can’t fit the extra 20 family friends they want you to invite, you’ll have to pick and choose—or cut the list elsewhere.

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