I have found that building the guest list is one of the hardest tasks of wedding planning. You don’t want to insult people or hurt their feelings, but at the same time, you are spending a lot of money, time and effort and want to make sure that those invited are going to add to your day, not take away from it!
I have found some guidelines to help make this easier for you! Remember, these are guidelines and do not need to be followed to a “T”, do what is best for you!
-Anyone in a long term relationship or that is engaged should get a guest. Some people find this “rule” to be outdated and that everyone should receive a plus one, but if you are under a tight budget, that might not be feasible for you. I’ve also heard the rule that if your single friend knows others at the wedding, they don’t need a plus one, but if they don’t know anyone else, it is a nice gesture to allow them to bring someone.
-If you invite one first cousin, you should invite them all! It wouldn’t be fair to pick and choose between family, but you can always cut it off at first cousins.
-Workmates can be a hard decision to make. I am lucky in that I work with a small staff, which is not the same for most people. There is no hard rule for co-workers, you should take into account the size of your wedding as well as the location. If there is traveling involved, or the wedding will be small, most will understand and not be upset if they are not invited. Beware if you decide to invite some and not others, though.
-Children are also another hard decision to make. The majority of my friends have children and it isn’t always easy to find a sitter, especially if the wedding is out of town. Once you decide to have children or not, the rule stands for everyone, this is one that you cannot make an exception for. It would be very insulting to allow one parent to bring their child/children and not another.
-Should you invite all the couples whose weddings you’ve been to? If you are still close, then there shouldn’t be a question, but if you haven’t kept in touch, then it is alright to leave them off of your list. Be conscious of mutual friends that may mention that they are invited, therefore leaving your acquaintance upset that they did not get invited.
-It is completely appropriate to make more than one list, an “A” and a “B” list, if you will. Therefore if you know that someone on your “A” list can’t make it, you can always include someone from your “B” list.
I found a couple of cute, fun and helpful flow charts to help you make some decisions.
Remember, while the day is about you and your groom, you are hosting a party! You want it to be fun and enjoyable for all, not awkward because Aunt Betty didn’t make the cut!