Creating your guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning. You want to surround yourself with all the people who mean the most to you, but you also know that keeping the guest list small is one of the best ways to stay under budget. So how do you decide who to leave off the list?
To minimize the guest list (and minimize the drama), we’ve compiled a list of people you shouldn’t feel bad about crossing off.
Old friends you never talk to
You’ll hardly have enough time to spend with your good friends at your wedding. There definitely won’t be time to mend broken or distant friendships. Only invite old friends that you’ve kept in touch with or who you feel strongly about sharing the day with. No need to bring the whole high school crew back together.
Estranged family members
Your wedding is a celebration of your love — not a family reunion. Don’t feel obligated to invite relatives you haven’t seen or been in touch with for years.
People you’ve never met
As you draw up your guest list, your parents, siblings, and even friends might want to add some people of their own. If you’ve never met (or even heard of) these people, politely decline the suggestion.
The exception here is if the request comes from the person or people paying for the wedding. If, for instance, your parents are paying for the wedding, consider letting them invite a good friend or two (as long as you don’t have personal beef with the people they want to invite).
It’s easy to feel like you should invite your neighbors, but, unless you’re close friends with them, you really don’t need to. If you feel awkward about it, next time you see them around the neighborhood simply mention that you’re keeping the wedding small.
Keep the guest list small by making the event adults-only. Just make sure to inform your friends and family with children well ahead of time, so they can arrange babysitters.
Just because you see someone every day at the office doesn’t mean you have to invite them to your wedding. It’s totally okay to invite only the people you’re close with at work, as it’s probably obvious to everyone who you actually see outside of the office. But if you work on a small team, and only want to invite half of your coworkers, it may be hard to keep feelings from getting hurt. In that case, either invite everyone, or invite no one. Consider planning a little happy hour to celebrate instead.
People who invited you to their wedding
Wedding invites are not necessarily reciprocal. You are not required to return a wedding invite. Consider what feels right for you and your partner. Unless you’re still good friends with someone, leave them off the list.
This category is tricky, but there really is no rule that says you have to give everyone a plus one. Conventionally, you should extend plus ones to people who are married, living with a partner, or in an otherwise committed relationship. If your guest list is tight, consider withholding plus ones from your single friends and family.
Pay attention to your guilt
As a general rule, if you’re only inviting someone because you feel guilty about it, it’s probably okay to leave them off the list. Be intentional about every guest you invite to your wedding. Think about why you want each person to celebrate with you and your partner. Create your list from the people you truly want to celebrate with.