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Wedding Wednesday: Who MUST Be On Your Wedding Invite List? A Guide to Guest Listing

Digital Vision, ThinkStock
Digital Vision, ThinkStock

Last Thursday was probably my most successful day of wedding planning yet!  I took a brief break to run down to the CW Penthouse at the C.W. Moore Plaza to lay down a check that assured us that we OFFICIALLY had a wedding date next year.

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media Boise
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media Boise

I went to one of our tailgating friend’s wedding at the CW Penthouse a few years ago and was absolutely blown away by how beautiful the views were. Located at the corner of 5th and Front, the rooftop venue provides you almost a 360º view of Downtown Boise, the Foothills, Table Rock and Boise Train Depot.  Secretly, I’d always pictured my wedding there but thought by the time I finally found the right guy, there would be no way that I could afford a venue like that.  Flash forward to 2017 and color me shocked when a friend of mine who’s getting married there this August told me how affordable the venue was.  After striking out with our first venue tour, we checked out the Penthouse and realized that it met 99% of the criteria we were looking for in a reception venue.  I’m thrilled that it was open on our date! Now comes one of the few limitations of our space: the 200 person capacity.

Nate’s lived in Boise for nearly a decade and I’ve been here almost as long.  We’re very fortunate to have met so many amazing friends and would be heart broken to hear that we’ve hurt someone’s feelings by leaving them off the list…but with a capacity limit, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions. Luckily Bridal Guide had some really good tips for trimming down the list.

Create Your Rough Draft First

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media Boise
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media Boise

Bridal Guide talked to a wedding etiquette specialist that suggested making four different lists, labeled A-D. Your “A Squad” are those friends beyond immediate family, who you can’t imagine the day without.  For me that’s my closest training partners from Team Run Boise and friends that are the first people we think of to call on a Saturday night. Bridal Guide suggests you put close aunts, uncles, cousins and high school/college friends you’ve kept in touch with in your “B tier.”  I have a feeling that the few high school friends that I have on the list may not make the trip when they see the costs of flights to Boise. “C Squad” includes co-workers and longtime family friends (most likely invited by your parents.) Finally the “D list” is for distant family or friends you haven’t talked to in nearly six months.  If you need to trim your list, they say to start from the “D list” and work your way up.

Talk to the Parents

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

Traditionally each family gets half the invite list, but that often changes when one side of the family picks up more of the planning/expenses for the big day or when one family is significantly larger than the other.  In our case my dad’s helping out in a very big way and he’s got the largest amount brothers, sisters and cousins.  Because we wouldn’t be able to plan a dream wedding without his help, I wanted to make sure anyone from his side of the family that was genuinely interested in covering their travel costs to be part of the day in Boise had the opportunity to do so. Bridal Guide’s expert goes on to say it’s a good idea to give each parent a pre-determined number of invites and give them the option to pull people from their back up lists if other guests decline.

The Great Plus One Debate

.shock, ThinkStock
.shock, ThinkStock

At my brother’s wedding last month, I heard some of the single female guests grumbling that they didn’t get an invite for a “plus one.” I fully supported the couple’s decision to not give those guests who weren’t in a long term relationship room to invite a guest.  When you’re looking at capacity limits and paying for that guest’s food/favors, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Plus what do you get out of having someone you’ve never met before at your wedding? Ultimately, we’ll give the friends that are in long term relationships a plus one. If you do the same and your friends get upset, I’ll refer you back to what my wise little sister told me from beginning “the people you matter to will be there no matter what.”

Exes and Kids

Little girl and her father twirl away on the dancefloor
Lisa5201, ThinkStock

Very few people marry their first love.  Some of those relationships go down in flames, others fizzle out and you stay close to that person without romantic feelings. (Or because they share children with that person.)  Even if you’re still friends with your ex, it could make things awkward for your future husband on wedding day to see them in crowd. Bridal Guide’s expert says it’s important for the couple to make the decision if the ex turned friend should make the cut or not.  In our case, we’ve actually chosen someone like this to be in our wedding party.

Then there’s the question of whether your guests should be able to bring their kiddos or not.  We haven’t exactly decided how we’re going to approach that yet.  Bridal Guide suggests that if you only want the parents to attend the wedding, putting their names on the invite ONLY. Some couples opt to only invite children belonging to immediate family or in their wedding party.  My brother had a little play area set up to keep the kids occupied at his wedding.  Another alternative to inviting the kids to the wedding?  Hiring babysitters to hang out in a hotel room near the venue with the kids of guests visiting from out of town/without access to a sitter of their own.  That way the sitters can play games, watch movies and enjoy some kid favorite foods while your guests share in the big day.

Co-Workers

Bridal Guide was pretty blunt about this one.  If you work in a small office of 10 or less where you know everyone, it’s always better to invite everyone to avoid office drama by singling one or two people out. In a larger office, it’s more acceptable for you to only invite members of your immediate team and co-workers you actually hang out with after work. As for your boss? If you’ve got a great relationship with them, go for it.  Just make sure you invite their significant other too!

Still Struggling?

I get it. Bridal Guide didn’t solve all of my problems either. If you’re really torn, they said it’s best to lean toward including the person on the invite list.  You could also use this great flow chart that my Maid of Honor found on Pinterest for me!

Wedding Forward
Wedding Forward

Next: 4 Cool Wedding Ideas to Steal from My Brother's Wedding

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