You may hate your best friend’s husband and your fiancé may be nervous about his first cousin who always ends up half dressed and drunk by the end of the night, but these people must be added to your wedding’s guest list. Read our guide to help you determine who you have to invite to the wedding. It’s okay to hope they can’t make it.
You don’t have to invite anyone from your office, but you might want to seriously consider the person who just gave you two weeks off and was patient with your long lunches during the planning period.
Spouses and live-in partners of friends and family
You may not like, or even be able to stand, your college roommate’s husband, or you may be trying not to invite any strangers, but this is a coed social event, therefore, spouses and live-in partners are considered to be a package deal.
Your crazy/spotlight-stealing/practical-joking/etc. cousin
You can’t make any personal cutoffs. If you’re inviting one first cousin, you have to invite them all. You could opt to not invite any cousins, but that’s going to make their parents (your aunts and uncles who are on the list) kind of peeved. At least you’ll have made a unilateral, rather than personal, cut.
Even if this isn’t someone you have much of a relationship with, they just united you. Without them, there wouldn’t be a marriage to celebrate. Invite the officiant, along with his or her spouse, if applicable, to your reception.
Both halves of a divorced couple
If you or one of your sets of parents is friends with a divorced couple, invite them both, but inform them of the fact that they’ll probably run into each other.
An uninvolved parent
If your dad has been raising you ever since your mom all but disappeared when you were seven, you have understandably complicated feelings about inviting her to the wedding. If you have any relationship at all with an estranged or uninvolved parent, and if it won’t put unimaginable strain on you, give serious thought to putting him or her on the list.
Date for divorced parent
If one of you has a divorced parent who is seeing someone seriously, invite that person as the parent’s date. Give the other parent the heads-up so there’s time for everyone to adjust to the idea. This is not the time for anyone — bride and groom included — to make a political statement.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.