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10 People You Shouldn't Feel Forced to Invite to Your Wedding

Second cousins, coworkers, your dentist? Get the lowdown on who you shouldn’t feel forced to invite to your wedding.


Raise your hand if you’re working on wedding planning and you’re feeling stressed out about cutting potential guests. You too? Phew, that’s a relief. It is totally normal to be a little worried about not inviting people to your wedding. The good news? You don’t have to invite everyone. Weddings are a huge expense, especially if you are planning a wedding on a budget and there is a reason you can’t invite the entire world—it would cost a fortune. Plus, some people just want to have an intimate celebration with a small, select group of people. Whatever your style is, when it comes time to make your guest, there are some people you shouldn’t feel forced to invite.

Every. Single. Coworker.

Depending on where you work, you may feel some sort of pressure to invite a ton of people from the office. And while you may have friendships with some people from work, it is unlikely that you’ve forged a close bond with everyone. If you frequently text about topics outside of work or you spend time together on the weekend, you can go ahead and extend the invite. If you have a strictly professional relationship with your bosses or coworkers—it’s okay to skip them. Just make sure not to openly chat about your wedding too often, otherwise, you could come off a little rude. For me, I plan on inviting one close coworker and my bosses if the list allows it. If people RSVP no, you could always throw out a last minute invitation to your buds at work! Most work peeps will understand that they will be the first cut from your list.

Distant Family Members

Have you met my distant cousin who lives in Texas? No? Me neither. And the only reason he is a ‘distant’ cousin is because he lives far and I’ve never met him… but technically he is my first cousin. This is a perfect example of distant family members that do not have to make the list. Just because you’re related doesn’t mean the invitation is automatic—especially if you have close friends who have earned the invite. And don’t let guilt from other family members get you down. It’s your day—you (and your partner) get to make the final decision on who is in and who is out.

Plus Ones

This is a tough one. If you ask your friends opinion on this, the response you get might vary. Some might say it’s rude to invite people without a plus one. I mean, have you been to a wedding without a plus one? Regardless, if you’re really trying to cut your list down and the friend you’re inviting doesn’t have a long-term beau? It’s okay to invite them without a guest, as long as you know they’ll have people to talk to and be comfortable with. 

Ex Lovers

Once upon a time, I definitely thought I would be inviting my first love to my wedding, no matter who it was too. When you have a strong bond with someone, it’s hard to believe that one day it would be inappropriate for them to be there for your big day. Unless you dated ages ago and the ex hangs with you and you're betrothed often and things are totally cool, it’d probably be best to leave them off the list. After all, an ex should stay an ex for a reason. Even if your mother totally loves your ex, don’t send them a save the date.

Speaking of Parents…

Occasionally (ahem) parents can feel entitled to making a guest list of their own—especially if they’re helping out with the bill. They’re likely bragging to everyone they know about their child’s upcoming nuptials. Neighbors, coworkers, and store check out clerks… your parents are proud and won’t be able to keep their mouths shut! Allow them to invite a fair number of guests (whatever you can reasonably spare) and give them a hard limit. They'll understand that these are people you shouldn’t feel forced to invite to your wedding. Have a conversation with them about who they want on the list and make sure they are important to the both of you! 

Friends from High School or College

We all have those people. The friends we swore we’d grow old with. The ones who knew everything about us back in 10th grade. Over the years something happened, you grew apart from one another. It’s hard to imagine the old crew not being there for your big day, but if you haven’t been close with them in a while—its time to reconsider. It doesn't have to be a battle of college friendships vs. high school friendships when it comes to who's getting invites. Just because you were great friends at one time does not make you obligated to invite them. If you’re looking to rekindle an old friendship, do it! An olive branch is always appreciated, but it doesn’t have to be on your wedding day.

A Couple Who's Wedding You Went to

In a perfect world, I suppose it would be polite to invite someone who's wedding you were invited to, but it certainly is not an obligation. Maybe their wedding was over a decade ago or maybe you've fallen out. Or perhaps you were a last minute invite to fill their quota. Regardless, an invite to their wedding does not equal an invite to yours.

Children

Oh, those little rugrats. Love them or just like them, only you and your fiancé get to decide if your wedding is kid friendly. Things to consider: is your venue suitable for kids? Will the parents be able to enjoy themselves and keep an eye on their children? Have you ever met these children? You can decide to invite only the children of family or none at all! In my opinion, most parents would gladly take the night off of parenting for a celebration. If the child is closer to a teen than a toddler, count them as an adult! No matter what you choose, make sure it is clear on the invite if kids are invited or not.

Neighbors

Are you having a local wedding that is the talk of the town? Chances are, your neighbor knows about it. Depending on where you live, it can be hard to avoid the folks next door, and maybe you don't want to. But when it comes to your wedding, if the neighbors are just casual friends, you can safely take them off the list. 

Anyone Who Doesn’t Approve of Your Marriage

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people feel guilty and obligated to invite people who haven’t been supportive of their relationship. Let me be clear: if they don't, they fall into the category of people you shouldn’t feel forced to invite to your wedding. Gay, interracial, and young couples are just a few of the examples of people who can experience prejudice. If for any reason you’re considering inviting someone who has been negative about your relationship—don’t. Those people have no place on the guest list. You deserve all the love and positivity you can get on your special day. Screw the judgmental ones.

When it comes down to it, only you and your S.O. can decide who needs to be in attendance for your wedding day. Leave the guilt at the door and plan to invite whoever will help make your day as perfect as you deserve. Just be polite—don’t extend invitations until you know you can afford them.

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