How to Decide Who to Invite to Your Wedding

Winnowing down the guest list can be one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding, but it doesn’t have to be with these three tips.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #143

How to Decide Who to Invite to Your Wedding

In my last article, I talked about the proper engagement gift and I figured I would take the marriage discussion one step further and talk about what to do when you have to tell someone they are not invited to the wedding.

How to Decide Who to Invite to Your Wedding

After you drop down from the high of telling everyone you are engaged, you have to get to work planning that special day.  Regardless of how big the wedding will be, you will still have the arduous task of making your invite list. And no matter how many people you plan on having, I guarantee you will have to make the tough decision of figuring out who to leave off—and then letting them know. It’s never easy, but making sure you do the proper thing is important as it will cut down on bruised feelings.

So here are my top three tips on how to how to tell people they aren’t invited to the wedding.

Tip #1: Invite Who You Want

Your wedding is, wait for it, wait for it… drumroll… YOUR wedding. Not your parents', not your friends', not your families', but your own. Bottom line, if someone isn’t nice to you, don’t invite them. Think of a guest list as a college paper. You remember those days right? You have the long list of notes with facts and points you want to add, but you have to narrow the list down to the ones that will make the paper an A+. And with your wedding, you’ll want to invite the guests who will make the day as special and fun as possible.

When it comes to weighing which friends you should invite, think of those who would appreciate being there and be happy for you. Your wedding is not a time to pay people back or make others happy, despite your own conscience.

So how do you politely tell those old college friends they aren’t invited? Well, if you haven’t spoken to them in years, then your answer is right there. If you wouldn’t even consider sending them a holiday card--let alone an email--then you don’t owe them an explanation, let alone an invitation to your wedding.

Tip #2: Don’t Invite Unwanted Coworkers

This one is usually the number one issue people have when planning their wedding. Do you invite the coworkers and boss? I had this dilemma when I was planning my wedding, especially because I worked in an office with hundreds of people. I sat down and thought about all the people I worked directly with--the ones I saw every day and even had lunch with. Then I thought to myself, “If I was going out for dinner, would I invite this person?” Turns out the only ones that made my invite list where the ones I DID have over for dinner or make plans with. When you use this methodology, it will really help shape your ideas of who should be invited.

Here’s one more tip: if you aren’t inviting everyone you work with, just don’t talk about the wedding around them. Hopefully they won’t think about it and even if they do, they won’t think you are rubbing their faces in it, as you talk about the ten foot ice sculpture and chocolate fountain you have planned… Mmmm, chocolate fountains are so good!

Tip #3: You Don’t Have to Invite Everyone with a Date

This one I could not wait to discuss. Deciding if you should invite someone with a date can really make your numbers add up to grand proportions. And sometimes when you invite someone with a date, they feel burdened with having to go find one! The last thing I wanted to do when planning my wedding was drop serious cash on some girl or guy that just happened to run into my friend at a bar the weekend before and most likely won’t make it to another weekend. A lot people have this problem because they may have a friend who is dating someone and said friend feels they should be invited. Guess what, they shouldn’t. That’s right; I’m laying down the wedding date law right now.

I even consulted my mom--“The Wedding Maven” of South Florida--who has done some of the most amazing wedding parties for nearly three decades. If they are married, engaged, living together, or have dated for more than six months, they get invited. Anything aside from that, it’s a no. However, The Wedding Maven did say that if there is extra room at the end, after everyone else has handed in their reply cards, you can then go back and invite someone’s date--but only if you feel it necessary.

When you have to tell someone their date is not invited, state your rules. Even if they put up a fight (“But he’s the one for me! I know we are going to be together forever, so please can’t he come… even though we only have been dating for three weeks”), still, let your friend know that’s the rule you and your fiancé decided on. It’s cut and dry and across the board and the only way to make it fair.

Do you have a great story about how you had to tell someone they weren’t invited to your wedding or was told you weren’t? Post them on my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page so we can all hear the details. As always, if you have another manners question, I’m look forward to hearing from you so drop me a line at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. As well, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT. And of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips.

 Cake Topper image from Shutterstock