Your wedding day is a celebration of love and marks the beginning of a beautiful journey with your partner. As you plan every detail to create the perfect atmosphere, one major step is to curate a guest list reflecting your closest relationships. While selecting who to invite can be fun, it’s just as important to consider who might not be the best fit for your celebration.
You know who should absolutely be there, but what about those people at the bottom of your list? Do they deserve an invite? We sat down with a handful of industry experts to gather their best tips on who’s best to leave off the invite list — and their answers may surprise you.
Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life. So if there are people on your guest list who are known to complain, gossip, or bring bad vibes, it’s time to scratch them out. (#Sorrynotsorry!)
“Don’t invite the energy vampires in!” urges Megan Breukelman of Megan & Kenneth. “This is your big day, and you deserve all the good vibes and positive energy! Inviting those who you know thrive on drama will only result in…well, drama! Keep your guest list filled with supercharged, joy-spreading individuals who will make your wedding an epic celebration of love.”
Kawania Wooten of Howerton+Wooten Events agrees, with an added note for emphasis: “You should not invite anyone to your wedding if they have a tendency to make you feel bad about yourself. This is a day when you should feel great about your life, your love, and the new journey you are about to embark upon. Surround yourself with people who love you and have your best interest at heart.”
Don’t be afraid to leave out the people you know in their hearts won’t be happy—you don’t need that negativity on your special day!
The ones who invited you
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to invite someone to your wedding simply because they invited you to theirs. Times change, people change, and leaving someone off your guest list is OK if they no longer hold a significant place in your life.
“Don’t invite people simply because they invited you to their wedding,” advises Lilia Shatnaya of Plume and Stone Invitation Studio. “This is a beautiful celebration of two lives joining together. Make sure the people invited to spend it with you are close friends and family and are not invited simply to return the favor.”
You don’t owe anyone anything regarding your big day, so only invite those you feel are essential to your celebration. Trimming down your guest list to the essentials will allow you to spend more time with the people who have surrounded you with love!
The party animals
Let’s be honest—weddings can be one heck of a party. But there is such a thing as too much, and if you worry about someone losing control, it’s understandable if you want to leave them off of your list.
Elena Gera of Focus on the Moment Photography notes, “If there’s a guest on your list who grapples with alcohol and lacks self-control, it’s wise to steer clear of extending an invitation. Otherwise, you risk spending the entire evening anxiously monitoring their drunken antics instead of reveling in the joyous celebration. Don’t let the party crashers dampen your special day — opt for a worry-free and enjoyable experience by omitting them from the guest list.”
The last thing you want to worry about on your wedding day is someone causing a scene. By leaving the party animals out, you’ll have peace of mind knowing there won’t be any major disruptions.
The anxiety inducers
See a name on your guest list and instantly worry about having to interact with them on your wedding day? That’s a sign they shouldn’t get an invite.
“Is there someone that would make you and/or your fiance feel uncomfortable to see?” poses Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “Maybe it’s an estranged family member, an ex, or someone else that makes your heart race. If the thought of someone attending your wedding gives you anxiety, you should absolutely not invite them!”
Christina Lovelace of Lovelace Design concurs, stating, “A huge red flag when figuring out who to invite to your wedding is an ex-partner that makes your current soon-to-be life partner feel very uncomfortable. Any level of awkward feelings should stay far away from your big day.”
Regardless of your history, if someone makes you or your partner uncomfortable, you don’t need to invite them to your celebration. Your wedding day is no time for awkward conversations or unwanted family drama!
The little(st) ones
Depending on the vibe of your big day (and the size of your family), kids can take up a significant portion of your guest list. Think about the type of party you want to host and whether or not it’s a suitable vibe for children.
“While some weddings might be perfectly kid-friendly, there are some weddings that are not the place for children,” reminds Kelley Nudo of Momental Designs. “A late-night reception with loud music and an open bar is not really the best scenario for young children, so it is perfectly acceptable to request an adults-only reception.”
Talk to your partner and closest loved ones to determine if your celebration should be open to children or adults only. If you decide to leave out the little ones, Nudo recommends “making a note on your invitation that it is indeed an adults-only celebration so your guests are clear on this preference. You can even take a step further to set up and offer babysitting services for the guests who need childcare on your wedding day.”
While it may seem like a tough decision, choosing not to invite certain individuals can be a form of self-preservation, ensuring your special day remains a haven of happiness and love. Remember: Your wedding is an intimate and memorable occasion that you should share with those who uplift you, encourage you, and genuinely wish you the best for your future.
Ultimately, it’s not just about the number of guests but the quality of connections that truly matters. By thoughtfully curating your guest list, you’re setting the stage for a wedding day that resonates with authenticity, laughter, and an overwhelming sense of togetherness!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct prof