Guest List Etiquette: All Your Questions Answered

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We are deep into the last leg of engagement season over here and that means there are a lot of couples jumping into wedding planning. We are so excited for them and all that’s to come! One of the very first things we always tell couples to do is to create their guest list. Your guest count has a drastic effect on just about all aspects of your wedding which is why we recommend you figure it out early. Determining who to invite can be tricky but with the help of some wedding etiquette it can get a little easier.

First and foremost, wedding etiquette has been put in place so that feelings don’t get hurt. If following the etiquette will be hurtful for someone, then by all means, break the etiquette rules. 

With that being said, let’s jump in with some of the most common wedding etiquette questions!

Who Needs a Plus One?

Some couples will give a plus one to every unmarried guest and that’s always appreciated! However, if that’s something you aren’t able to do then the modern day etiquette is to give plus ones to every guest who is either in a serious relationship, has been in a relationship with the same person longer than one year, or is living with their significant other. If you are not sure about the seriousness of a relationship, extend a plus to air on the side of safety.

How Much Extended Family Should I Invite?

Family is a tricky situation. Family expectations, family sizes and family dynamics are different in every situation. A good rule of thumb is to make a clear cut off. For example, either invite all first cousins or no first cousins at all. Picking just a few first cousins to invite would show favoritism and could hurt others along the way. Draw some clear lines and be firm about them.

Do I Have to Invite Kids? 

If you would like to have an adult only ceremony and reception you can make this clear by addressing invitations to the adults only. Similarly as extended family you need to make a clear cut off. Either invite all of your guest’s children, or none at all. The only widely accepted exception to this is the ring bearer and the flower girl. Do be aware that some guests with children may not attend if they have to find a childcare for the children in order to attend. Some couples opt to provide childcare for guests to attend, however that should never be an expectation.

They Invited Me to Their Wedding, Do I Have to Invite Them to Mine?

The short answer is no. If you have lost touch and don’t know much about this person’s day-to-day life, don’t feel guilty for cutting them from the guest list, you don’t owe them an invite. 

Compiling your guest list can be a difficult and daunting task. Take your time, write out everyone’s name and review your list on multiple occasions. Most importantly, set clear boundaries and stick to them. Remember, etiquette is here to help you, but when it doesn’t make sense for your situation, feel free to bend the rules.

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