Wedding Planning 101: Navigating Your Guest List


When it comes to wedding planning, the guest list can be one of the most stressful parts. You don’t want to offend anyone, but some couples have a limited budget and/or space, and not everyone can be asked to attend. What’s the best way to navigate this? Check out our etiquette tips below.


You see them every day. You spend hours with them. You talk with them all the time. They know you’re getting married. The question is, do you invite them to your wedding? For some people, this is easy. Maybe you already hang out together outside of work hours, and you’re close. But what if you haven’t? This is an area where you’ll know if it’s a good decision to invite them or not. Go with your gut. The only thing to consider is that if you invite just one or a few co-workers but not everyone, some may feel left out. Think about their personalities and if you think this would offend anyone—and go from there. If you work in a large department, this may present problems for your budget, so sometimes it’s best to skip inviting anyone from work.

Your Boss

This can be tough. Do you invite your boss and allow them an inside look at your personal life? Will it reflect poorly on you if you don’t invite them? Maybe your boss already knows you so well that you’ll be completely comfortable asking them to attend. It’s an area where wedding planning will help answer the question, because your location may determine the answer. For example, if you’re having a destination wedding, your boss most likely won’t come (unless you’re very close outside of work).

Childhood Friends

Maybe you grew up together, but are you still close? Childhood friends can be tricky when it comes to invitations because they know you well, and you feel like they would care—but it may have been years since you’ve spoken. Does this make it awkward to invite them to your wedding? Here’s a good way to decide: think about having coffee with them right now. Does that scenario seem forced or strange? If yes, that’s a pretty clear sign that too much time has passed, and you probably shouldn’t invite them. But if a hangout seems natural and fun, you should send them an invite.

Distant Relatives

Obviously, most couples invite their immediate and extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. But what about great-aunts and great-uncles, second cousins and the like? This one is more personal, and you must go with your instinct. Or, if you feel too unsure, ask a parent or someone who may know better. Every family is different. Some couples choose to send wedding invitations to certain relatives, even though they know they won’t attend—going with the “it’s the thought that counts” route. Others play it safe and just invite everyone. Others choose those who are absolutely closest to them. No matter what you decide to do, just make sure you think carefully about it.

Plus Ones

This is a delicate area that every couple faces. Plus ones can have a huge effect on your wedding planning. If you allow all of your guests a plus one, it can truly increase the cost. But we all know that people like to bring someone with them to a wedding. However, that creates a lot of extra people to feed and make room for—plus, do you really want random strangers at your wedding? What’s a couple planning a wedding to do? Many of them decide to not allow a plus one unless they either: a) know the plus one well, or b) the plus one is engaged to the guest (or at least in a very serious relationship with them). This usually ensures that there are no “unnecessary” guests in attendance. The exception to this is usually your wedding party. As such a big part of the day, it’s good to allow them to bring a date to enjoy at the reception.


Many couples decide to have adults-only weddings. This is typically done to make sure there are no babies crying during the ceremony, or wild six-year-olds tearing around the reception. While this decision isn’t always popular, it is your decision to make. If there are kids you can’t imagine not seeing on your wedding day, great! Go for it. But if the guarantee that no kids will be loud during your vows is important to you, include on the wedding invitation that your special day is for adults only.

You Were Invited To Theirs

An iffy area, but you can figure it out. If a friend invited you to their wedding and it was fairly recent—within the last three years—you should probably invite them to yours, unless you’re simply not close at all anymore. The other exception is if your wedding happens to be a lot smaller than theirs was. If they invited 400 guests and you’re only inviting 50—and you’re not all that close—you can probably leave them off of the guest list.

Guests For Your Parents

Traditionally, the bride and groom get to create half the guest list, and each set of parents get a quarter. However, many find this rule to be old-fashioned, and some parents don’t care to invite anyone, even if they’re helping pay for things. Each set of parents is different. For some, it may be important for them to be allowed to ask business colleagues to attend their daughter’s wedding. Others may want to invite guests simply to avoid offense. Whatever the reasons may be, this is another delicate area. If you and your fiancé don’t want to give each set of parents an entire quarter of the list, perhaps give them another set amount, or none at all. It’s a personal choice that must be made between the couple.

How To Make An “A” And “B” Guest List:

Good luck with this area of your wedding planning. Many couples find it to be fun! And if you’re currently in the middle of planning your wedding and you’re looking for an amazing wedding venue in Los Angeles, check out Vatican Banquet Hall. Our magical venue is perfect for weddings of any size, and we also help with every aspect of the wedding planning, if you need it. Check out our photo gallery, and feel free to inquire about pricing and availability. We’re excited to hear from you!

2017-08-29T23:52:30+00:00 May 25th, 2017|