Distant relatives and family friends
Just because you're envisioning a small guest list doesn’t mean your parents are. And while it might at first feel difficult to say no to your mother inviting her neighbours from down the road and your dad's long lost cousins – especially if they're helping to pay for the wedding – if you really don’t want strangers at your wedding it’s important to make this clear from the get go. Plus, those family friends and distant relatives who you (or your partner) haven’t met will no doubt understand not being invited. Most of us have been to a wedding where you’ve had to introduce yourself to the bride or groom on the day, and will agree that it feels a bit odd.
People who don’t know you as a couple
Have you and you partner seen them since being in a relationship? This is a great initial question to ask yourself, because if the answer is ‘no’ then chances are you probably won’t see them very often after the wedding either. If you’ve had a whirlwind relationship then perhaps this rule doesn't apply, but for the most part, if they don't know you as a couple, it's okay to cross them off the list.
Even at Brides HQ there is an understanding that you may not be invited to your colleagues wedding. Office politics can be a minefield at the best of times, let alone deciding which colleagues to invite to your wedding. Do you invite them all? Pick your favourites? Would you offend someone if they didn’t make the list and others did? Our advice is it’s totally fine to not invite colleagues. Remember it’s you and your partners day, and they may not know your partner despite spending every day in the office with you. There is also the option of inviting colleagues but not their plus ones, even if they have husbands or wives in this instance, we think it’s perfectly acceptable.
Plus ones that you haven’t met
You know what they say... no ring, no bring. It’s the oldest rule in the book and one that is still okay to go by it. These days however there are plenty of couples who have been together for a long time and haven't said they 'I Dos' yet. So instead, we recommend basing plus one rules on how well you know them. If you class them as a friend then they should be on the list. If you haven’t met them before it’s fine to not extend the invitation.
People who didn’t invite you to their wedding
Did they invite you to their wedding? Granted, this isn’t always so black and white. Maybe their wedding was at the start of your relationship and you didn’t know them very well, so you were understandably not invited. However, if they had a small wedding and you didn’t get the invite you shouldn’t feel bad about missing them off the list.
People you don’t usually have dinner with
In everyday life would you take the person out for dinner? Another great question to ask yourself, and if the answer is no then why are you inviting them to your wedding? Especially when it's going to be the biggest dinner party you’ll probably ever host in your lives! Delete.
Other wedding guest list culling tips:
Choose a small church or wedding venue
Sounds obvious, but if you can’t physically fit everyone into the tiny, picturesque village church then it will force you to be brutal with the guest list.
Sending save the dates
Be savvy by only sending saves the dates to your nearest and dearest (we’d suggest 70% of the proposed guest list). This way you have longer to think about your final list, plus some of the ‘maybes’ may not be able to make it if they haven’t received a save the date, making the culling easier (harsh, but true!).
Have an abroad wedding
This may sound extreme but often one of the drivers to having a destination wedding is to keep the numbers down. This provides the easiest explanation and excuse to host an intimate wedding – and think of the dreamy beach backdrop!
Evening invitation only
A good compromise, especially if you and your partner are disagreeing on some of the people on the list, is to invite them to the evening do only. They will still be flattered to be part of your special day!