Inviting children, plus ones and difficult relatives to your wedding
Your wedding guest list can be a stressful element of wedding planning, as you’ll be balancing your budget with your guest numbers and may have to make some unpopular decisions. Here’s how to handle your wedding guest list dilemmas…
Whether to invite children to your wedding is an emotive and therefore important decision to make from the outset. Since many venues do not make a distinction between children and adults in terms of numbers, it is a decision that needs to be made fairly early on to avoid unexpected costs. For some people, children are an essential ingredient for their wedding, but for others the thought of having children running around the reception is hell.
If you do decide to invite children it may be worth putting them at the back of the church in case of crying or disruption, and organizing a children’s entertainer for the speeches later in the evening. If children are not on your guest list, and are not included on the invitations, then you may get friends ringing up to confirm whether they are invited or not. Therefore it is best to have something prepared in response so you are not left in a difficult situation at the other end of the phone.
If you are not inviting any children, make it clear to your guests. If you are just inviting certain children, warn parents of other children before the wedding day and explain why, otherwise when they see other children there, they may feel resentful that their own weren’t invited.
Inviting partners to wedding is one way of rapidly expanding the guest list, but wedding etiquette dictates that you need to invite both parts of a married couple, regardless of whether or not you’ve met them. It’s also good form to extend an invitation to couples who are living together or in long-term relationships, especially if you’ve met their partners (although some brides operate on a ‘no ring, no bring’ policy).
However, don’t feel the need to extend plus ones to single guests, or people who have been in short-term relationships (under six months). If you can, it’s a nice thought, but if you’re working with strict limits on the budget or venue, these should be the first people to cut.
Inviting difficult relatives to weddings can be a minefield. If you have tension in your family, perhaps between your parents and step parents, or between brothers and sisters that have not spoken in years, it is still courteous to invite them all, rather than just assuming that they won’t want to come. They are there to celebrate your wedding and therefore hopefully they can put disagreement behind them so they can have a good time with you at your wedding.
If your relatives don’t get on, speak to them. Explain that it is your day, and they need to put their differences aside for that one day. Be sensitive; don’t put them on the same table to force them to get on!
However, if there are relatives you really don’t want at your wedding, don’t feel the need to invite them – it’s your day, after all. Just be sure to give any related family members an early heads-up so you can get any conflict or discussions on the matter out of the way early.