Wedding Invitation 101: Who Gets an Invite?

Deciding who gets a wedding invitation is one of the first hurdles to face in wedding planning, and it’s a formidable one. Ultimately, it’s not what flowers you choose or what dress you wear that makes the biggest difference on your wedding day – it’s the people you surround yourself with who make your day memorable. And who receives a wedding invitation determines whether that’s memorable in a good way, or a bad way!

The first step to sending wedding invitations is for both the bride and the groom to come up with a list of everyone they would invite if money, space and availability were no object. After that, look at your budget and figure out how much money per person you would be able to allocate if you include everyone. $15 a head? It could happen. $2.50 per person? Time to start trimming the list, dear bride. To do this, try comparing lists and circle the people you both want to come – family, mutual friends, your favorite sushi chef, whomever. Those are the people who should get an invite.

Things NOT to consider when addressing wedding invitations: Who invited you to their wedding. Even if someone invited you to their wedding, they are not guaranteed a wedding invitation from you. Relationships change and chances are, even if you were close at one time, if you don’t feel like inviting them, they probably don’t feel like coming.

Co-workers. Sending wedding invitations to co-workers is a slippery slope. In general, an open or closed invitation is the best route, but if you must invite only a select few, confidentiality is the name of the game. No pinning the wedding invitation up in their cubicle!

Extended family. Whether or not to extend wedding invitations to every single one of your 1,800 relatives is a tricky call. In general, we recommend never letting your sense of obligation override your ability to genuinely enjoy your special day. We do however, also want you to enjoy every subsequent Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter thereafter, so use your best judgment. If you decide not to send them a wedding invitation, send a card tactfully saying that you a) opted for a small ceremony, b) didn’t think they were up for the trip and didn’t want to put them in the awkward position of having to refuse, and c) propose an alternate get-together at a less pivotal time.