Ask the Wedding Maven: Guest List Advice

by Marta
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Dear Wedding Maven,

My fiancé and I just recently got engaged and although we do not have a date set, I have already started thinking about the guest list so that I have one on hand if anything comes up. My parents are divorced, my mother re-married, so it goes without saying that I have a large family. My dad's family all lives out of town, and the majority of my fiancé's family lives out of town as well. We are trying to keep our guest list small but still want to invite a few co-workers and close friends. Is it acceptable to not invite out of town family to create a smaller guest-list even if non-family members are invited?

Signed-
Guest List Worrier.

Dear Worrier,
First of all, thanks for not writing to complain about your bridesmaids. Even I need a little break from sorting out those problems from time to time.

Different cultures have very different rules about who is and isn’t invited to a wedding. In some cultures it would be a slap in the face if you weren’t invited to your third cousin’s wedding. Not only would it be a slap in the face, but it would also be insulting to the engaged couple for you to not attend, even if you lived on a different continent. On the other hand, I know people who have no idea who their third cousins are, let alone how to find them to invite them to a wedding.

What’s acceptable completely depends on your family, your family’s traditions and expectations, and also your own wishes. As a general rule, you should invite people you love who will add to the joy of your wedding day. Although, you should also keep in mind the feelings of your parents and other family members, especially if your parents or in-laws are helping to pay for the wedding.

Your co-workers may wish they were invited to your wedding, but a year from now you might not even know them. If your mother will never hear the end of it because you didn’t invite her cousin, do everyone a favor and invite the cousin.

Good luck.

Do you need wedding advice? If you have a question about wedding traditions, etiquette or relationships write the Wedding Maven at weddingmaven@onewed.com

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