Who to invite to the wedding?
So you or a family member is getting married: congratuations! As you plan the ceremony and reception, here are tips about who to invite.
Throughout history, weddings have provided opportunities for committed couples to pledge permanent vows of fidelity to each other. Guests or witnesses were feted with food of some kind, often accompanied by entertainment, in exchange for a gift to the marrying couple.
Nowadays weddings can cost several thousand dollars. A significant portion of the budget goes toward the “entertainment” value of planning for guests, including decorations, a meal, music, and a banquet hall. To control these expenses, it helps to put a cap on the guest list. But who do you invite? And who can you afford to leave out? Here are a few ideas that may help to trim the list.
1. Include immediate and extended family of the bride and groom. In addition to parents, siblings, and children from a previous relationship (if any), this may include step-, half-, or foster-siblings and parents as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Here you can be a bit selective if there are cousins you haven’t heard from in twenty years or who live on the other side of the globe.
2. Employers, coworkers, and congregational members should be considered. Unless you have a private or very small ceremony, it may be politic to invite the couple’s employers and a few close coworkers. Some couples post an “open invitation” at their work sites or at their houses of worship, especially if they belong to small congregations.
3. You may wish to add a few neighbors to the list. These might be the folks who hold a spare key to your house, return lost pets, or help out in a pinch. You need not invite the entire neighborhood unless you can afford it. Of greater question are your parents’ or siblings’ neighbors, who you may wish to omit unless you’ve enjoyed a special bond with them.
4. Professional or community associates. If you are on friendly terms with the banker, store clerk, lawn maintenance person, hair stylist, or child care provider, you may want to invite them as well. Make a list of potential invitees and then decide whose name can be omitted without causing hurt feelings or dashing expectations.
5. Close friends versus acquaintances. While you will most likely want to invite a handful of close, long-time friends, some who you may know from high school or college, you are not obligated to invite those with whom you’ve lost contact or who you relate to on a casual basis. You can always send out an announcement afterward to those who may not be interested in attending or who live a great distance away.
6. Miscellaneous. Save a few slots for those odds-and-ends persons that may be added spontaneously or at the last minute. Your future mother-in-law’s godmother, the groom’s college roommate, or the bride’s pet groomer may become the indispensable names that you will want to add as the date approaches. Be sure to ask your parents and your intended spouse and family for names early in the planning stage so no one gets left out inadvertently.
Weddings can be stressful as well as fun. Plan your invitation list early to allow for last-minute adjustments that won’t throw everyone into a panic. Then relax and have fun!