Wedding Guest List Etiquette
Often times one of the biggest questions brides have is about the appropriate etiquette when it comes to the wedding guest list. How do you decide on the number of guests? Who gets invited, and do you have to invite the guests to every part of the wedding celebration? So, here to help are a few notes to keep in mind when writing up that guest list.
- If you send a guest a Save the Date, you also need to send that guest an invitation. The final guest list needs to be solidified before you send your Save the Dates to ensure there aren’t any hurt feelings or awkward moments when a guest shows up that you weren’t expecting!
- If a guest shows up that you weren’t expecting – for example, someone who was not invited with a date decides to bring one, or a guest who declined shows up out of the blue – the best course of action is to find a way to fit them at the table and still feed them. If you’re having a buffet, make sure to have some extra place settings available, and if you’re having a sit-down meal make sure to order a few extra meals. You may be unhappy about the situation, but the best way to deal with it is gracefully and not let it ruin your good time!
- The number of guests will often depend on the wedding venue and your wedding budget. Some venues will have a limited capacity, so make sure to ask about that maximum occupancy when booking your wedding. The majority of your reception costs will be your food and alcohol – almost 60% – so make sure you can afford to feed everyone at your wedding, whether it’s a 3-course sit-down meal or a mid-day wedding with light apps.
- Typically, if someone you are inviting is married or engaged, it’s proper etiquette to invite their partner as well. If a guest is living with his or her partner or they’ve been together a long time, then it’s your call on whether you think it’s necessary to invite both, but if a guest is not in a serious relationship, it is ok to not invite them with a guest, especially if it’s not in your budget.
- If you invite a guest to your wedding, you can’t cut costs by only inviting them to your ceremony and not your reception. That’s bad etiquette! So think long and hard about who you love enough to invite to the entire wedding, and for whom you are willing to pay for a meal and a wedding favor!