Amy Sprunger Photography

Wedding Tip Wednesday – The Guest List

Wedding Tip Wednesday – The Guest List

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have to know that there is a Royal Wedding this weekend.

Weddings are a big deal! And so is the invitation list!

This particular Wedding Tip Wednesday is brought to you spawning a conversation that I recently had with a 2018 bride.  She is toiling and frustrated. Her invitations have been sent and she is getting some ‘interesting’ feedback on her invitation list.

But before I dive in, I want to share that even the Royals can’t escape the questions regarding their guest list.  When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first became engaged I happened to be watching a TV interview between Prince Harry and HLN.  The host of HLN was talking with Prince Harry about a recent conversation that he had with former President Barak Obama.

Here is how that conversation went down. (I was so dumbfounded that I had to pause the TV and take photos for proof.) HLN to Prince Harry regarding President Obama, do you, “know him well enough to invite him to your wedding?”  To which the Prince replied, “Well I don’t know about that, that’s…we haven’t put the invites or the guestlist together yet so who knows whether he’s going to be invited or not.  Wouldn’t want to ruin that surprise.”

There is an etiquette that is lacking when it comes to wedding invitations.  And that is our topic for Wedding Tip Wednesday. I think that these thoughts are not only insightful for upcoming couples but also for the people who don’t make the cut!

I recently sat down with one of my brides to ask her some questions, with the promise of anonymity. For this interview we’re calling her Julia.

Amy: When deciding who to invite, how did you decide?

Julia:  This was hard but we had to make some choices for our list.  Immediate family was invited. Our siblings, their spouses and their kids.  However, we have some extended family members who aren’t part of our lives.  He has an aunt who insists that her invitation is still ‘lost in the mail’.  But truly it isn’t lost, it just wasn’t sent.    We personally had to draw the line and choose not to invite family members who aren’t a part of our lives.  Just because they’re on the family tree, doesn’t mean they have been involved in nurturing our lives.  It was really hard to make this choice, but we had to go with the people who have truly made an investment in our lives and who have loved and supported us.  Those who have been absent or who have caused us strife were not invited to be with us on the most important day of our lives.  We wanted a drama-free wedding day.

As for cousins.  We have a lot of cousins, both on my side and my fiancé’s side.  The truth is we don’t know most of them.  We decided that if we only see them at family gatherings once every 3 years then we weren’t going to feel obligated to invite them.  The reality is that we don’t even know half of their names!

Amy: How did you draw the line on friend groups to invite?

Julia:  We both just graduated from college and have a lot of friends from our dorm wings.  While we know a lot of college friends, we also have a lot of acquaintances.   Because of that we chose to send personal invitations to those who were our best friends.  We didn’t hang an ‘open’ invitation in our dorm wing.

We also only invited our ‘real’ friends.  For example, friends on Facebook who we don’t associate with regularly were not invited.

As for High School friends, we both only invited our high school friends if we were still good friends.  I think this depends on how long you’ve been out of school.  But for us we only invited people who we still consider our close circle of friends.

Amy:  How did you handle the ‘plus one’ for your single friends.

Julia: We only allowed a plus one for single friends who might not know others at the wedding.  For friend groups from college, they all know one another so are going to be sitting together at the reception.

Amy: Did you send out RSVPs with your invitations? (Julia had some things that she wanted to elaborate on here with RSVPs so this is all included in this question.)

Julia: Yes, we did ask our guests to RSVP.  Our wedding is actually getting close and there are so many who haven’t replied.  This has been a source of frustration to my fiancé and I, and most importantly our parents who are paying for the reception meal.  It’s important that if you get invited to a wedding to RSVP right away.  Whether that be a Yes or No.  Caterers need to know a head count for food quantity purposes.

We ended up calling people (which took a lot of time) to ask if they were coming. So, my advice is that if you get invited, please don’t assume that just because you know the bride and groom well that they will know whether you’re able to come or not. 

So, please, please, please RSVP.

Amy: How did you word who was invited on your envelopes?

Julia:  Here is an example of how we addressed the envelopes (actually our calligrapher did the addressing!)

Ms. Susie Smith

Ms. Susie Smith – Plus One

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (this indicates that just only Mr. and Mrs. Smith were invited.

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, Jonny and Susie (this indicates that their kids were invited).  We decided to put their names instead of ‘and family’ so that it was more specific.

Amy: This is a touchy one.  What advice would you give in general to people who are not invited to a wedding, but who might mention it to you.

Julia:  This is so very hard and you’re right it’s touchy and it has happened to my fiancé and I.  My advice is this – If you don’t get invited, please do not confront the couple.  It is a very difficult process to narrow down a list.  And as a whole the bride and groom probably felt like they had to cut the list in some way or another.  Please never lay guilt on someone if you don’t get invited.  It simply isn’t possible to invite every single person you know.  Wedding meals are expensive and so many venues are limited on space.

So, there you have it. Wedding Tip Wednesday from a bride’s perspective.   If you are bride or groom and have been toiling with the invitation process, I truly hope that this is something that is helpful to you.

If you are a wedding guest (or not) I also hope that this is helpful to you as well.

Have a great day.









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