Invite or Not to Invite?

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Now it’s time for your invitation lists…

Of course, you need an invitation list for the Wedding Reception, but the ceremony, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower and bachelorette parties may also need their own list. Figuring out who to invite and who not to invite for each of these events can create some stress. Here are some tips to help you along your way.

  • Put your list(s) on paper! Excel or another spreadsheet software can prove to be very helpful.
  • Be mindful of the person/persons paying the bill. The cost of each event is often the most limiting factor when putting together your guest lists.  If you know the budget for each event, and the basic costs your list limits will be better defined.
  • As a general rule, for each list, always start with your immediate family, then your inner circle working outward.
  • First, start with your Wedding Reception and ceremony lists.
    • If you do not plan to invite the all of the same people to both the ceremony and the reception, the ceremony list will likely be a small subset of the reception invitee list.
    • For the reception, both the Bride and the Groom, need to work through their respective family and friends.
      • If you have any concerns regarding which family members to invite, and your mom or dad are able to assist, lean on them. Their advice may help settle decisions quickly, and help you feel at ease with these decisions.
    • Your parents may also have close friends, co-workers, or extended family that they would like to include as well.
    • Kids at the wedding?
      • If you prefer no children, make sure you note on the invite “ADULT ONLY RECEPTION”. If you still want to include immediate family or other specific children, make sure to list their names on the envelope of the invitation. That will let them know they are invited. Inviting specific children can also be done verbally. To avoid confusion, the verbal invite should be handled prior to the invitations going out.
  • For your Rehearsal Dinner, invite the bridal party, ushers, and both sets of parents, brothers and sisters. Basically, invite everyone that is involved with the ceremony or being escorted by an usher, like a grandparent.
    • Do you include spouses/significant others/? Usually yes, you include the significant others.
    • Dinner – does it have to be at a restaurant? Absolutely not. Depending on the size of the invite list, Rehearsal Dinners are held at banquet halls (large list), restaurants (typically in a back room or secluded area) and at someone’s home. Where to have the Rehearsal Dinner is usually left up to whomever is paying.
  • Bridal Showers are usually handled by one or both of the mothers of the bride and groom. The bride and groom both have a chance to discuss this list with the principle party planner(s).
    • The Bridal Shower planners may want to have one event together, or have 2 separate showers.
      • Be sure you invite all women who are invited to the wedding.
        • It can get tricky if you invite a co-worker to the shower, and not the wedding. If you must do this, the shower invite should be done verbally with a mention that your wedding invite list is at the max, but you wanted to include her at your shower.
      • If you are having two showers, invite the women from each respective side of the family.
        • The exception is: both sets of parents and the bridal party should be invited to both showers.
        • Do men come to Bridal Showers? It’s all up to the bride and groom. Typically, the Groom, Father of the Bride and Father of the Groom are invited. The Grandfather of the Bride and/or Groom may also be considered.
        • Are Kids Included? Typically, children are not brought to Bridal Showers. With the types of games and the length of time taken to open gifts, children do not always do well at Bridal Showers.
  • Bachelor and Bachelorette parties are usually handled by the Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor. You need to provide your preference invite list to whomever is handling your party. Your list should include a smaller circle of people.
    • You should include all of the bridal party, parents, and close friends to both the bride and groom. Remember to include both sides of immediate family.
  • At least two weeks prior to each event, double check your list, make sure you didn’t miss anyone. You don’t want to realize the day of the wedding/party/bachelorette, you missed someone whom you really wish was there, or someone who would be really upset if they found out you got married and did not invite them.
  • For addresses, if you do not keep an address book, check with parents, and see what they have. Also, check with a family member that has gotten married most recently, and they should be able to help. You may be able to get addresses off of some social media pages as well. We suggest, to make your list using excel, to help keep track of names, and to be able to adjust the list as you go.

Good luck!

The Wedding Gurus

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