Weddings can fill you with excitement — the positive and the nervous varieties. You hope the floodlights won’t melt your makeup off, wish you won’t sprain one or both ankles in those five-inch stilettos your mother warned you about, and pray you don’t suffer a meme-worthy wardrobe malfunction during Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Such occurrences can make your face flush crimson, but you won’t feel too embarrassed if something unfortunate unfolds in front of a group of trusted family members and friends.
Many couples want minimalistic, intimate weddings, but finalising the guest list and discreetly dispatching personalised wedding invitations without burning bridges and hurting feelings can be tricky. However, who comes to your special day is ultimately your choice, but how do you systematically pare down the list of prospective invitees?
Here are some tips you can keep in your suit pocket.
1 Immediate Family
Immediate family includes both sets of parents and the siblings of the couple. The siblings’ spouses and children are also part of this group. The couple must figure out whether the emotional labour is worthwhile if there are strained relationships.
2 Extended Family
The couple’s aunts and uncles, cousins, half-siblings, step-parents, and grandparents are included in this group, which essentially comprises anyone beyond the nuclear family unit.
3 Close Friends
You and your spouse surely have friends who feel like family, who were with you during blow-hot and blow-cold weather, and who have known, wished, and loved you well for the longest time. Invite only those friends whose presence in the crowd would matter to you. You don’t need to invite everyone you went to school or university with; just those with whom you have a meaningful relationship will suffice.
The only thing more complicated than choosing to invite colleagues is choosing which colleagues to invite. You qualify some people as ‘work friends’ and not just ‘friends.’ Do you reckon inviting one person or group would upset another person or group? If so, is inviting them worth the trouble? If you are not particularly close to or fond of anyone at work, be sure to mention politely — before anyone angles for a spot on the guest list — that your wedding is for family and close friends only.
5 Friends of Your Parents
Do the couple’s parents get a say in who comes to the wedding? Well, in some cases, they do — especially if they are sponsoring the whole affair, or part of it. The couple and the parents will have to strike a compromise and agree on a headcount before distributing personalised wedding invitations. This way, they ensure that one or two people’s connections do not monopolise the guest list. The couple can always voice their opinions if they wish to include or exclude anyone from this group for whatever reason.
6 People from Religious or Hobby Groups
Depending on your religious affiliation, you may choose to invite priests, nuns, pastors, ministers, spiritual guides, etc. However, it might be best to just offer them a token of gratitude for their support if you feel the reception might offend their sensibilities.
If you bonded with people from book club, pilates class, or your social activism group, consider calling them, too. If these circles are small, you’ll have to be tactful when broaching the subject of who is invited to your big day. If someone is not invited, get the message across gently (without giving mixed signals or false hopes).