Deciding on wedding guests!


Our dd is getting married this summer. My initial rule of thumb for invitations was - if I wouldn’t expect to be invited to their wedding (or their child’s wedding), I wouldn’t invite them to our daughter’s wedding.

I have 2 cousins who I have almost no contact with. There’s no animosity or anything, we just never developed a relationship. I don’t even know their phone numbers. Obviously dd doesn’t know them and they don’t know her.

I had not intended to invite them because if their kids were getting married, I would not expect to be invited. Dh thinks my mom might be offended if I don’t invite them.

Where do you draw the line?


Why not ask your mom if she’d be offended instead of assuming? :shrug:

Weddings are tough… lots to balance with guest lists like seating capacity at the reception, cost per person, etc, etc…
But weddings are a wonderful feast… scriptural, even! So it’s definitely “worth” it if you feel called to provide a large wedding celebration…

I think responses are going to vary based on personal experiences…


No matter what you do, someone is going to get offended or get their feelings hurt. Honestly, if I were your cousin (the one you have little to no contact with) I would be relieved that I wasn’t invited because then I might feel obligated to go or send a gift…and it’s awkward to do either one if you don’t know the bride or groom.

My mom has 6 cousins who are all siblings, we only invited 2 of them because they maintain contact with us and they live in the area. The other ones didn’t seem to care, they wouldn’t even recognize me if I walked right past them on the street.


DH and I used the rule of thumb that all relatives in the same degree were to be invited equally. It would be rude to invite all of Aunt Betty’s kids and none of Uncle Bob’s kids-- or worse, one of Aunt Sue’s kids and not the others. We decided it was all or none at each level of kinship. We did not want any hard feelings within the immediate family.

We invited up through first cousins plus their spouses and children.

Some of it will depend upon family custom and your cultural background.


I found this on The Knot, it’s written for the bride and groom. You can take it or leave it with some of the suggestions, but they really do make sense. You can’t please everyone! :o

rule #1 If you have never spoken to, met, or heard the name of a particular guest, he gets cut, even if dad swears they’re close as clams.

rule #2 Anyone whose bedtime occurs before 9 p.m. will miss the cake cutting, so don’t feel bad about nixing all the under-12-year-olds.

rule #3 Single friends who want to bring a significant other only get an “and guest” if they’ve been in the relationship for a year or more (or live with the person).

rule #4 It’s your party – if you don’t want them there, don’t feel guilted into sending an invite, even if you were invited to their wedding or they are friends with lots of people who will be invited. With a little bit of forethought, mastering your guest list is a breeze.


It’s not so much would she or wouldn’t she be offended if those 2 people were not invited. If it were up to my mom, lots of 2nd cousins would be invited and I’m not going there :wink: . I’m not sure the grandmother of the bride has much say in the whole thing.

I was more looking for other people’s “rule of thumb” if they had one. We have to start somewhere.


I think what you said in your OP is a good one. If you would expect to be invited to their kids’ wedding, then they should expect one to yours.

There’s exceptions to every rule, though! Sorry I couldn’t help more.


What does your DD think?

Sometimes it works out that when you invite distant cousins, they don’t come anyways, especially if they live out of town. My DH has at least 20 cousins in his dad’s side and they were all invited through word of mouth to our wedding ( no invitations because we didn’t know where they lived exactly ) and none of them came anyways which worked out for us! hehe.


For our wedding, in Texas, to be fair we sent invitations to my dw family in Idaho, Oregon, California, and Michigan. We really didn’t expect them to come. Most of them my dw had met less than 5 times. We were pleasantly shocked when they used our wedding as an excuse to get together with the family that lived in Texas. We ended up staying with one of them on a trip to California 5 years later.

So I guess, don’t automatically count on someone not coming, you may be surprised.


I agree :thumbsup:


Check this book out of the library if possible, and keep renewing it. If it is not possible, then get it as cheaply as possible:
You will find that the degree of kinship mentioned by 1ke is the standard rule. And no, the grandmother of the bride doesn’t have much say in who gets invited.


This is also a good lesson in why you should not invite people simultaneously counting on the fact that they won’t come when calculating your number of invites. If you invite them, presume they will come. Only after you get the RSVP with an accept or decline will you know for sure.


Our rule of thumb for weeding out the people my in-laws wanted to invite (old friends from 20-30 years ago) was that if DH wouldn’t recognize them on the street, they didn’t need to be invited.


Yes, I agree. This is what we did, too.

Except for my MIL who invited HER friends and cut my DH’s. One of the last minute invites was a baffoon dancing crazily and stepped on my dress which ripped my bustle!!! :mad: He didn’t even apologize.


If these are your cousins with whom you have no contact, then I imagine your daughter knows them barely, if at all, as they are a generation removed from her. I’d say you are absolutely fine in not inviting them (and, yes, they may well be relieved, if they know about the wedding at all!) I don’t think your mother really gets a say in this, particularly as you indicate she would invite other relatives with whom you have little contact - and your daughter probably knows them not at all!

We’ve been going through this, too; I will be in an institution by the time the wedding arrives in June! Good luck.


DD’s FMIL is miffed that I “limited” her side to 150 (same as ours) and is therefore inviting the “extra” people (her husband’s employees - 60 people including spouses) to the rehearsal dinner instead, where she plans a gift table!!! I am appalled beyond words.


my crazily dancing buffoon was my drunken godfather. -_-; he and my aunt crashed into me and my husband while we were dancing causing me to stumble and step on the back of my dress which pulled the bustle out. mom tried to fix it, but a couple of the button loops were pulled out. I would have been more upset if it had been the beginning of the reception instead of the end.

as for the cousins thing, if you have room on the guest list for them and can locate them, it couldn’t hurt to invite them especially if your family is on the small side. I wouldn’t invite their kids though, just your cousin and their spouse.

my husband also has cousins that he doesn’t really know (some live out of state and don’t come to visit, some had divorced parents and didn’t do much with that side of the family, some moved constantly, etc) and I’m pretty sure that while their parents were invited, they weren’t. as far as I know, no one said anything about that. (I did however get a comment from the wife of one of my mom’s cousins who was very upset that we didn’t invite her daughter - that I barely know btw - and how rude it was because it was her daughter’s birthday and blah blah blah.)


we told our girls relatives only, including cousins they know and are friends with, not ones they have never even seen, with a limit of 10 each of friends (theirs, not ours) and business partners only, not coworkers. that worked out to 300+ for DD #1 and 40 for DD #2. (SIL#1 has 13 aunts and uncles on one side, and 7 on the other, with hoards of cousins, and the families are very close and all live in town).


When my brother and sister got married (not to each other), there was all sorts of drama over the guest lists. I didn’t get it. If you haven’t seen them for over a year, don’t invite them. When I get a wedding invitation from someone I’m not close to or have any kind of relationship with, I always view it as a gift request.


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