Wedding Guest List Etiquette – Who Is Invited?


by Laura Howes

On the search for a wedding venue? Already found your dream destination and paid the deposit? Then it’s time to let your guests know!Of course, there is a lot of thinking, negotiating and compromising involved in selecting your guests. But there’s not only the headache of choosing who amongst them will be invited to the ceremony, but you might also have a whole reception guest list to get your head around! But who makes the cut? Fear not here are our useful tips for planning a wedding guest list…

Should You Invite Every Branch On The Family Tree?

Firstly, just because they are family it does not mean they automatically qualify for a place at one of your wedding guest tables. Who you invite is completely up to you, and you should only have those around you with whom you want to share this personal moment. For instance, if you have an estranged sister, don’t feel pressured into inviting them simply because that is ‘the done thing’, especially if it could spell disaster on the day.

Secondly, where do you draw the line when it comes to family invitations? Some families come with huge extended relations like great aunties and uncles, cousins twice removed, step-nieces and nephews, and so on… It is impossible to keep everyone happy, but as long as you do your best and follow your heart then you can’t go wrong!

In general, most engaged couples will invite their nearest and dearest blood relations to the wedding and extend the invitation to more distant relatives who they see regularly, be it every year at Christmas or every five years at a family get together. However, that could depend on the size of your venue; if you go down the line of choosing a small venue in the hope of an intimate ceremony, then that is where you must be more ruthless in your selection and not give in to pressure.

Don’t worry, though, it’s not always hard to put together your guest list, especially if you have a caring and supportive family around you!

Will Your Friends Be There For You On The Big Day?

This is, once again, your call but most people look forward to having their friends attend their wedding day as well as their family members. In fact, it is often friends who socialise with the soon-to-be newlyweds who know the couple inside-out, and it’s therefore very meaningful for them to be able to share these treasured memories with you. What’s more, as your wedding day marks the first day as your life as a married couple, then wouldn’t you want your friendship group to be a part of that new life?

As is always the case, there may be some disagreements on which friends should come to the ceremony and who should only be invited for the wedding reception, but that is one of the first big challenges of wedding planning for you to get through together.

Some may try to tell you “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that” or that “you should do this” and “you should do that” but, in reality, there is no etiquette when it comes to wedding guest lists because the decision is all yours to make, independently, as the future Mr and Mrs.

Best of luck with your ongoing wedding planning!

COVID-19 Update

If you are attending or planning a wedding before the 19th July 2021, please visit our Health and Wellbeing page.

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