Who’s invited to the wedding?

Now that is a loaded question, isn’t it? There is no way we can tell you any hard and fast rules as to who should be invited to the wedding. The only rule we can stand behind in almost all situations is that anyone invited to a pre-wedding party should also be invited to the wedding, and even that rule has an exception. See Who’s Invited to the Bridal Shower.

There are so many factors to consider: the size of the venue, your budget, your family situation, how many close friends you have and so on. The variables never end BUT we have a great visual to help you. The ever-helpful Venn Diagram.

Creating a wedding guest list is all about relationships, and the Venn diagram below is great for helping you visualize your relationships in a new way. You can recreate this diagram however you wish. We’ve decided to show one diagram for the bride and/or groom and a second diagram for parents.

Wedding Guest List

A Helpful Guide for the Bride and Groom

Who’s invited to the wedding?
  • Friend + Other = Maybe Invite
  • These are the relationship you just aren’t sure should be included. Yes, you really click with your hair dresser but well enough to invite him/her to the wedding? Possibly.
  • Friend + Family = Invite
  • A family member who is also a friend should be invited to the wedding. We all know this isn’t always the case and there may be immediate family you don’t particularly enjoy but it’s common sense that they should be invited no matter what.
  • Family + Other = Maybe Invite
  • This is an interesting category. Chances are if you have a family member that also falls in the other category, you will need to invite them to the wedding. Not necessarily because they are friends but because you need to maintain a healthy relationship. If your cousin’s wife is the hair dresser you really click with, you may want to invite your cousin and his wife.
  • Family Member + Friend + Other = Definitely Invite
  • If you’re lucky enough to have someone in all three areas of your life, they deserve to be invited to the wedding. Immediate family and grandparents also fall within the definitely invite category.

Wedding Guest List

A Helpful Guide for the Parents

Who’s invited to the wedding?

Now the circles have changed to include You (the bride or groom), Friends/Colleagues and Family. Parents don’t get an “Other” category because the other category is too far removed from you, the couple.
TIP: Determine your guest list first then give it to your parents so they can see if there is any crossover between their list and yours.

  • Bride + Friend/Colleague = Maybe Invite
  • If your parents have friends and colleagues/coworkers that know you well and have been a big part of your life, we recommend inviting them if budget and space allows.
  • Bride + Family = Probably Invite
  • We say probably because you will need to draw the line somewhere but if your mother’s second cousin happens to be your Godmother, you should invite her to the wedding. If your father’s second cousin is also your mechanic, you may want to think on it.
  • Friend/ Colleague + Family = Maybe Invite
  • Since this category doesn’t overlap with you, it is a category that should be reviewed carefully. If your mother was at one time really close with her second cousin but you’ve never met her, you may not want her on the guest list. If your father has a new partner in his law firm but you’ve never met the person, you may not want that person on the list.
  • Bride + Friend/Colleague + Family = Definitely Invite
  • If your parents have friends or colleagues who aren’t necessarily related but are like family, they probably know you pretty well and would be considered in that center space on the diagram. These people should be invited because they are special enough to be in all areas of your parents’ lives.

Another idea that’s a bit simpler is to determine who is definitely invited to the wedding, and then create a list of people you’re unsure about. Take the maybe list and place those names appropriately in the diagram. Now start moving names to the shared spaces where it makes sense. The names that fall within two or more categories are probably important enough to invite to the wedding.