Creating a guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning, and many couples agonize over who should share their special day. Just as important as knowing who to invite, however, is knowing who should not be on the guest list. Certain types of people can be awkward and difficult wedding guests, and including them on an invitation list can be inappropriate.
Why Not Invite Everyone?
It can be hard to make cuts to the guest list and decide that some people shouldn’t be invited, but there are good reasons for doing so.
*Budget: Every additional person on the guest list means another meal from the caterer, another slice of wedding cake, and another wedding favor to purchase. Trimming the guest list is the easiest way for couples to trim their wedding budget without sacrificing the quality they desire.
*Intimacy: The more guests there are invited to a wedding, the more people couples will have to greet and mingle with on their special day. Large weddings mean less time for heartfelt conversations with the individuals closest to the couple, and with too many guests the day will seem more rushed and hectic.
*Awkwardness: Some individuals are poor choices to invite to a wedding because of their behavior, attitude, and relationship with others. While the couple may consider the person a good friend or close relative, their position on the guest list should be reconsidered if their presence may cause problems for other guests.
*Gifts: Inflating the guest list with inappropriate acquaintances can make the couple appear more interested gifts or cash than to enjoying the day with people truly special to them. Furthermore, inviting too many guests or people who don’t know the couple well is more likely to result in duplicate gifts or unwanted items, creating a hassle with store return policies and hurt feelings when a couple sorts out their gifts.
Who Not to Invite to Your Wedding
While individual considerations will vary for every couple, there are ten types of people who are generally poor, inappropriate additions to any wedding guest list.
Some couples may feel that if their fiancé is okay with a former significant other in attendance, then adding that used-to-be-special someone to the guest list is acceptable, but couples need to consider more than just one another’s feelings when crafting a guest list. Meeting previous significant others can be awkward and uncomfortable for the couple’s parents and other friends, and that individual’s attendance can spark rumors of unresolved relationships and other inappropriate assumptions.
Just like it is inappropriate to invite estranged former partners to a wedding, it is inappropriate to invite estranged relatives to the celebration. A wedding is a happy family occasion to share, but it is not a day to force reconciliations or put other family members in uncomfortable situations with relatives whom they are not speaking to. If a couple truly wants two estranged parties at their wedding, they need to take steps to improve that relationship months before invitations are mailed.
While inviting estranged relatives to a wedding can spark bitter feuds and arguments on what should be a happy day, inviting unknown distant relatives is equally awkward through uncomfortable silences and stammered introductions. The distant relatives a couple speaks to only rarely and sees even less are not likely to be offended at being omitted, and avoiding this type of familial inflation to the invitation list can help the couple keep their wedding budget-friendly.
Friends who are distant from the couple either in relationship or geography do not need to be on the final guest list. While at one time these friends may have been close confidants, relationships wane over time and a wedding celebration is a time to enjoy the company of close friendships, not renew friendships that lost their spark long ago. Very distant friends are also less likely to be able to attend the wedding because of travel expenses, and inviting them may seem like only a way to show off or solicit gifts.
While you may see them daily and even chat with them about the community, it is not necessary to add neighbors to the wedding guest list unless the couple also shares a close, personal friendship with them. To invite them just because they’re neighbors is not a neighborly gesture, but instead can be seen as a pity invitation or a hope for additional gifts. The same logic should also be applied to the couple’s parents’ neighbors.
It might seem awkward to not invite one’s boss to the wedding, but it can be even more awkward both during and after the event if the boss is invited – such an invitation can seem to be a covert strategy to secure a raise or promotion, and it can cause resentment among coworkers who perceive those motives. Even if a couple has no intention of using wedding invitations to garner career gains, it is best to keep one’s professional and personal lives separate.
Many parents are proud when their children marry and can’t wait to spread the news to their own coworkers, but those coworkers should not receive invitations. The wedding is the couple’s time for celebration with their close friends and family members, not an opportunity for their parents to show off to their own peers through an elaborate event. Unless the couple knows their parents’ coworkers and considers them close friends, they should not be on the wedding guest list. To do otherwise only look like the wedding has become a gift grab.
A bride or groom may have a friendly relationship with their hair stylist, optometrist, mechanic, or other service professionals, but unless they socialize outside the confines of that service these individuals are not typically included on a guest list. Consider the conversations they may have with close friends and family members about how they know the couple or how them met. If the answers to those questions will spark speculation and awkwardness, it is best to keep service professionals off the guest list.
To include one’s teachers or professors on a wedding invitation guest list immediately sparks gossip about the ages of the bride and groom, and worse still, because a couple may have dozens of teachers over the course of their education, to invite an entire faculty is in the poorest taste of fishing for additional gifts. The only time it might be acceptable to invite one’s teacher to a wedding is after an internship or strong mentoring situation when a true friendship develops.
Known Problem Guests
In some unfortunate cases, a good friend or relative who would otherwise make a perfect wedding guest needs to be left off the invitation list because of known behavior or attitude problems. A rowdy uncle who gets belligerent after just a drink or two, for example, or a boisterous friend known for quickies in the bathroom is a guest incident waiting to happen. If at all possible, the couple should exclude these types of individuals from their guest list, or enlist others to help monitor their behavior during the celebration to avoid embarrassing incidents.
Crafting a wedding guest list isn’t easy, but if a couple knows who they should not invite it can be easier to figure out who they should.