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Wedding Etiquette: The Awkward Guest List Questions You’re Too Afraid to Ask.

Creating your guest list is one of the most important tasks on your wedding to-do list – but unfortunately, it’s not always the easiest! From figuring out who gets a plus one, to dealing with unwanted input from your parents, creating your guest list can quickly become one of the most stressful parts of planning your wedding.

Currently dealing with some guest list dilemmas? We’re here to help. Read on as we unpack all of the awkward guest list questions you’ve been too afraid to ask below!

Wedding Etiquette: The Awkward Guest List Questions You're Too Afraid to Ask. Wedding Etiquette: The Awkward Guest List Questions You're Too Afraid to Ask.
Image by Figtree Wedding Photography

So, what’s the deal with plus ones?

Plus ones can take a huge chunk out of your wedding budget – so who actually needs one, and who doesn’t?

When it comes to social etiquette, we’d say plus ones are typically expected for any guests in a committed relationship, whether they’re married, engaged or long-term partners. Here’s our take: Even if you haven’t met their other half, extending a plus one to long-term partners is a sign of respect to their relationship. If the situation was flipped, you would probably want the favour to be returned for your spouse, right?

Now when it comes to single guests, the expectations are a little different. While it’s nice to offer a plus one, there’s absolutely no obligation to do so. We’d suggest using your discretion here – for example, if the guest won’t know anybody else at the wedding, offering a plus one would be a thoughtful gesture to help them feel less isolated. But if the guest is a tight-knit member of your close friendship group, they’d be absolutely fine without one.

Help, one of my guests has asked me for a plus one! What do I do?

Even if you’ve sent out your invitations without plus ones, be prepared for your guests to reach out and ask if they can bring a date anyway. It happens more often than you’d expect, so what’s the best way to deal with these plus one requests?

First, you’ll need to decide how you feel about it. If you have some extra wiggle room on your guest list, you might be happy to say yes and accept their request.

If not, you can gently decline their request with a simple explanation that you’re unable to accommodate more guests. Say something neutral like: “We’d love to offer plus ones but sadly we’ve reached capacity at our venue, sorry! Thanks for your understanding – can’t wait to celebrate with you on the day.”

Wedding Etiquette: The Awkward Guest List Questions You're Too Afraid to Ask.
Image by Cloud Catcher Studio

Should my parents get a say in the guest list?

So you’ve crunched the numbers and narrowed down your guest list, but now your parents are insisting you invite 10 of your long lost cousins and Great Aunty Meryl. How much input should your parents really have when it comes to your special day?

The main sticking point here is whether your parents are contributing financially to the wedding. If your parents are helping you cover the costs, it’s only fair to give them some input into the guest list. If this is the case, it’s best to have this conversation early on and agree on a certain number of guests upfront so you can plan accordingly.

If your parents aren’t contributing financially, the situation is a little different. While it’s thoughtful to consider their requests and reach a happy compromise if you can, the final decision is ultimately yours. If you do need to put your foot down, just explain that you want an intimate day with your closest friends and family.

Do I need to invite my colleagues to my wedding?

It might feel like you spend your whole life with your colleagues, but does that mean you need to invite them to your wedding?

We’d say it completely depends on the kind of relationship you have with them. Are they genuinely close friends who you socialise with outside of work? In this case, go for it! But if your relationship is strictly limited to the office, we’d suggest leaving them off your guest list.

What about inviting some colleagues, but not others? There’s nothing wrong with inviting a select few friends from your workplace – but maybe try to keep the wedding chat to a minimum, so nobody feels excluded.

Wedding Etiquette: The Awkward Guest List Questions You're Too Afraid to Ask.
Image by Kirk Willcox Photography

Do I need to invite someone who invited me to their wedding?

Do wedding invitations need to be reciprocated? This is another tricky one, and it’s often best to approach it on a case-by-case basis.

For example: If their wedding was a few years ago and you’ve since grown apart, we’d say you shouldn’t feel pressured to invite them. But if you’ve only recently attended their wedding in the last 12 months and your friendship hasn’t changed, including them on your guest list would be the courteous thing to do.

Do I need to invite kids?

Oooh, kids at weddings can be such a delicate topic! In a nutshell, there’s certainly no obligation to invite kids to your wedding – but it’s important to be respectful of any parents by giving them plenty of notice and considering exceptions for newborns or travelling guests. We’ve written an entire blog post tackling the subject of kids at weddings here, where we answer all of your FAQs!

Wedding Etiquette: The Awkward Guest List Questions You're Too Afraid to Ask.Image by Caroline Sada

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