Your big day won’t be quite the same without your family and friends to help share in the celebration, however selecting which family and friends to include on the guest list can be quite a bit tricky
For your convenience we have put together a flow chart.
Where to start
Start by roughly determining what size of wedding you and your partner want - are you looking at a small intimate wedding with just close family members and friends, or a larger affair where you include everyone. Factor two aspects into this decision, firstly your budget and secondly the venue capacity. Working out what your budget is for the catering will give an idea of the amount of guests you can afford, but also make sure not to invite more guests than your venue can comfortably handle - if you do and they all RSVP yes you will have the problem of having to ‘un-invite’ some of the guests or end up with an uncomfortably crowded wedding. You can always add more guests at a later stage.
When you have a good idea of the number of guests you are looking at you can start to compile a list, we recommend that when you do this that you take the limitations out of the equation and include everyone you could ever imagine attending your wedding - from your best friend to your old college roommate. This list will most likely be much bigger than the number of guests you are planning to invite but it will give you a good basis to work from and to also make sure you do not forget anyone
Who to Invite
Unless you are planning on having a large wedding and want to invite everyone on the list you will need to trim it down. Here are some guidelines on people you can consider removing from the list.
1. Family Members
Do not feel obligated to invite people to your wedding just because they are family, this is your wedding and not a family reunion. If you have not spoken to them in years there is not much point in inviting them, and besides, it probably won’t make much difference to them whether they are invited or not.
However, if you do decide to invite distant family members it is just common decency to invite all of them.
Naturally you will want to invite your close friend, but with those friendships that have grown apart over the years you may want to think carefully before inviting. If you are considering inviting them as a way to ‘fix’ the friendship your wedding may not be the best setting to do so - you will have a lot of duties and expectations on the day and will not have a lot of time to spend with them.
It is completely possible that you happen to work with your best friend, whom you obviously will invite. But other than that, just because you share an office with someone at work or occasionally have lunch together does not mean they have to make your guest list.
Unless you consider them friends, don't feel obligated. Just because they live next door to you does not mean they automatically get an invite
5. Friends and Family with a Track Record
Everyone knows someone that tends to be a bit unreliable or unruly, and the last thing you want is for someone to cause a seen or make your other guests uncomfortable. You may want to consider cutting anyone like this, however if it is your partners brother and you can’t not invite them, make sure to talk to them beforehand and set some ground rules.
This is a personal decision between you and your partner. Any children will add to your number of guests which means that you may not be able to invite certain adult guests, they can also be unruly (especially if still very young) and even keep their parents from fully enjoying the wedding. But on the other hand, you may feel that the wedding is a family celebration and the children are part of the family. If you do decide to go for an adult-only wedding be sure to inform the guests with children ahead of time so they can make the needed arrangements.
If, however, you would like to have the children at your wedding but also want their parents to enjoy the wedding and not worry about their children you can consider hiring a nanny who specializes in taking care of children at weddings.
7. Plus Ones
Every person you invite will count as a guest, so do not feel obligated to add a plus one on the invites to your single friends or family. Even if they are in a relationship, and you've never met the person, you can consider not inviting them - especially if you need to choose between inviting someone you want or inviting a plus one that you do not know.
A good way to do this is to put the names of the people you are inviting on the invitations, this way you can avoid any confusion as well as eliminate the chance of unexpected guests showing up.
8. Other Wedding Invites
Just because you were invited to someone else’s wedding does not mean you have to return the favour. Ask yourself are you inviting them because you want them there or do you feel obligated to invite them because you were invited to their wedding - if it is the latter - don’t bother.