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Our guide to wedding invite etiquette

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Avoid invitation disaster

One of the most stressful aspects of wedding planning can often be narrowing down the list of who gets an invitation – and who doesn’t. To make the whole process easier, we’re here to help. The wedding whizzes at SheKnows put together a guide for getting your list just right and avoiding any guest list faux pas.
Handmade wedding invites

Come up with a plan –
and stick to it

Before you even think about making your wedding invitation list, decide what your budget is and what size wedding you want to have. This will help you decide on the size of venues you need, which in turn helps shape your invite list. If you do that planning first, you’ll have a better idea of how many people you can invite before you start promising your mother all her bridge club friends can come to the wedding.

Consider the
current economy

The economy can actually be a help to brides and grooms who don’t want a huge wedding. As you create your guest list, you can tell parents and guests who wonder if they’re invited that you’ve had to slim down your wedding plans in order to suit your budget. In this economy, every dollar counts for a large majority of brides. People are becoming much more conscious of the numbers. Citing the economy is also a great way for couples to convince parents that spending a fortune on a huge wedding isn’t a wise thing to do.

Have parameters for inviting family

Inviting your parents and his parents is a no-brainer. So is inviting siblings, grandparents and favorite aunts, cousins and uncles. But there are always family members you never see, extended family you never got to know or estranged family that’s been off your radar for years. So who makes the cut? First and foremost, invite close relatives, and from there, choose from more distant relatives you have a close, personal relationship with. Most families will (hopefully) understand that wedding guest lists are built so relatives who are closest to the couple get invited.

Focus only on
who you know

You should know and have a connection with everyone you invite to your big day. You should invite people you want to share your life – not just the wedding moment – with. Invite people to your wedding who are part of your life now, and who will be part of your future rather than anyone you have ever exchanged a second glance with at the office.

Factor in how often you socialize

The friends you invite should be the group of friends you see all the time. If you have friends that live out of town and you don’t see often, try to only invite one or two who you talk to and correspond with regularly. When it comes to colleagues, there a few ways to decide on who (if anyone) to invite. Start with only those you socialize with outside of work. If this has too much potential for causing disappointment, set logical parameters, such as only inviting people from your department.

Don’t let others monopolize your list

If a parent is pushing for additional guests, you have to stick to your guns and explain that there is simply no room in the budget for adding more names. When it’s your future mother-in-law, it’s a bit trickier to stand your ground. As a couple, create a united front, and talk with her together about why she can’t invite a dozen of her friends to the wedding when your small guest list requires you to leave some of your own college friends off the list.

Make a note

It can be very helpful to keep family involved in the planning so they feel included. If parents and future in-laws feel part of the planning process, they may not feel the need to become pushy or overbearing. It’s also a good idea to give parents a few guest list invitations so that they may invite their closest friends.

More wedding planning tips

7 Quick fixes for your worst wedding day nightmares
Wedding day supply checklist for brides
Trend alert: Outrageous wedding requests

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