Featured Photo Credit: Sinead Dubeau Photography
One of the first things you’ll do when getting married is deciding on how many people you’re going to invite. This number is often tied into the venue you want to get or directly influences what venues are available to you, so it’s an important step. How many people attend your wedding will be determined by a variety of factors, including the size of your family, the culture you come from, and how many friends you have. You can have a teeny tiny wedding of 20 guests or a larger wedding of 200 (we know that South Asian couples are laughing at a 200-person wedding being large). Sometimes, though, it’s not just a numbers game, and figuring out how to tackle who gets a wedding invite can be a headache.
While there are a lot of websites that dictate a set of rules for wedding invitations, the truth is that these rules can easily be bent or broken. It depends a lot more on your family situation and relationships. It also depends on what hills you’re willing to die on, and what is going to cause you the least amount of stress. This being said, some general guidelines can help you figure out what to do. Just don’t feel that these are set in stone.
When you send out invites, half should be given to each member of the couple. Sometimes one person has a massive family, and the other person has a smaller family. That does not, however, automatically mean that the person with a smaller family should invite fewer people. Often times in small families, the extended family becomes even more special. It does not have to be a perfect split, especially when you take into account the couples shared friends. Giving half the invites to each side is the fairest way to go. Adjustments can always be made later if needed.
Where Do You Draw the Line?
When inviting family, it is best to lump invites into chunks. Immediate family (including spouses and children), grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and farther and farther down the line. If you invite one from any of the groupings, it’s expected that you invite the rest. If you have a ton of cousins, not enough room on your invite list, but really want to invite one or two you’re really close with then we recommend putting them in your wedding party so they can attend.
What About Parents?
Parents often have a lot of input into a wedding day. Sometimes because they are footing the bill, but also because they are usually such a huge part of your life. You might not like your parent’s best friend, and you may think it’s a waste of an invitation to invite all your parent’s business partners, but it’s often considered rude to exclude them. These are people who mean a lot to your parents, and it is gracious to extend an invitation to them.
What About That ONE…
Every family has that one person that always makes a fuss, makes a fool, or ruins the party. Remember how we said that you might have to decide what hill you have to die on? This might be one. It does depend on the situation. If the person in question is annoying or creates drama, then you’re probably safe inviting them even if you don’t enjoy their company. Or maybe they ruined past family get-togethers and celebrations, then it may be a difficult discussion with your family and even that person to let them know they aren’t welcome unless they get their act together. Sometimes you need to plant your flag and say “no,” and this is the time to do it. Hold firm, even if it’s hard.
Kids, Plus-Ones, Returning the Favour
There are more uncomplicated guidelines to follow when inviting kids, plus-ones, and inviting those who have recently had you at their wedding. If you don’t want to invite kids, stick firm to this rule with everyone. Kids are generally considered anyone under 12. The only way around this is to have a few kids in your wedding party. Even this, at times, can cause rifts amongst guests.
When extending invites for plus-ones, the new rule goes against the old saying “no ring, no bring.” It is polite to offer guests the opportunity to bring a plus one. You should always provide a plus one to a guest in a long-term relationship, especially if they live together.
Lastly, if you were recently invited to someone else’s wedding, then courtesy dictates you invite them to yours. If their marriage was within 18-months ago, this rule holds firm, while anything longer becomes more flexible.
Surround yourself with the people you love on your wedding day. We hope that these guidelines will help you make your invite decisions easier.