7 Wedding Guest List Etiquette Tips

4 minute read

Source: Wedding and lifestyle/Shutterstock

Weddings require a lot of planning, from finding your venue to scheduling your wedding date, to hiring the right photographer, videographer, and caterer. There’s a lot of stress involved, especially if you and your spouse don’t agree on everything. And let’s be honest. Some couples just like to poke the other person’s buttons. But there’s one thing you should make sure the two of you agree on from the beginning: your guest list. 

Wedding guest list etiquette is important for one very important reason: You want to make sure you’re making informed, considerate decisions when choosing and inviting your guests. Otherwise, you might find some of your guests upset by decisions, exclusions, and more. 

So, what should wedding guest list etiquette look like for you and your to-be spouse? Whether you’re sharing silicone wedding bands or traditional wedding gold bands, your wedding won’t be primo unless everyone in attendance is copacetic. Here are some things to consider when getting your guest list in order: 

1. Are plus-ones allowed? 

What type of guest list are you looking for? Are you expecting to have a lot of single friends in attendance? If so, it might be in your best interest to allow plus-ones. Weddings are generally best in pairs. You’re celebrating the sharing of love between you and your partner, so why not allow others to share their own experiences, whether with a friend, a girlfriend/boyfriend, or a romantic flame?

If you’re worried such a decision will quickly bloat your wedding guest list, consider limiting plus-ones to just those in the bridal and groom parties. 

2. Where do we draw the line?

Who’s a viable guest? That one friend from high school you haven’t talked to in 12 years? That ex-boyfriend from college whose name comes up every so often? Your coworker who is always nice? Make sure the two of you know what’s okay and what isn’t. 

3. Do you invite that one other couple? 

Okay, so that couple the two of you know invited you to their wedding a few years ago. You went, as you thought it would be nice to go. But you were never really friends. So, do you invite them to your wedding? 

This is a tricky situation, as they’re sure to feel slighted if they find out you got married and they weren’t invited. But consider the circumstances. If it’s someone you both regularly interact with, invite them to keep all your worlds stress-free. Otherwise, if you don’t see them much anymore, you might be safe without adding them to the list. 

a bride and groom at their wedding reception

Source: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

4. Should you make it adults-only?

Let’s get real. Some weddings are better without kids and teens—where the adults in attendance are able to get loose without worrying how their children see them act when a little tipsy and enjoying a wedding. Do what feels right for you and your partner. And know when to bend, too. In some cases, it might be best to allow children to attend, especially if a guest can’t get a babysitter to help. 

5. Should there be a dress code? 

Do you tell your guests how to dress? If it’s a black-tie wedding, definitely. Equally, if you have a theme or want guests to dress casually, make sure to inform them. Otherwise, let guests dress as they desire. We also recommend telling guests what the color themes of your wedding will be. Certain guests will appreciate it, as it will allow them to consider it while picking out their jewelry and clothing.

6. Do you consider travel distance? 

Some guests you’ll want to invite live an unfortunately long distance from your wedding venue. Do you just not invite them? We recommend giving them the option. Invite them but be frank, saying, “If you can’t make it due to the distance, we understand.” The forethought will be appreciated. 

a bride and groom with their wedding party

Source: Halfpoint/Shutterstock

7. How do you get others in on the wedding? 

Some guests will feel left out if they weren’t included as part of the groom and bridal party, so find a way to include them in the festivities. Let’s call it democratizing your wedding reception: Ask guests to bring food, mixed drinks, flowers, and more. 

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At Manly Bands, we’re committed to making your wedding as easy as possible. Whether it’s creating the most considerate guest list or finding a unique wedding band, we’re here to offer guidance, from proposals to wedding ceremonies and beyond.

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