The size of your dream wedding will determine the number of people you should invite. A big society wedding allows you to invite as many people as you wish. But a small, intimate wedding will mean the exact opposite.
If you are planning a small or mid-sized wedding, you probably have to pore over your list a few times to see if you really need to invite certain people, or if you can afford to leave out another without making an enemy of them. (Yes, some people take it personally if you don’t invite them to your wedding.)
A friend or close relative finding out about your wedding from a third party can be awkward. So, when putting together your guest list, you must make sure all your social circles are covered. To keep things in perspective, here are a few sections/categories you should consider.
No one needs to tell you this. Your family members have to be at your wedding. Unless you plan to elope and face them later. Besides your parents and siblings, you should invite your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Your parents might have already informed them about your wedding, but it’s safer for you to tell them yourself.
You can probably get away with not inviting other members of your extended family with whom you don’t have regular contact.
You work with these people and see them most days, so you may want to invite them. You really don’t want to be the snob from Admin that got married and didn’t tell anyone about it. But just how many people from the office do you have to invite, especially if you work in a big organisation?
A simple trick: your line manager and other people at the management level. (this is out of courtesy; some of them may not show up). Then there are your team members if you work in a team and then, any office friends you have.
This is perhaps the vaguest category on this list. The word, “friend” is such a blanket statement. I mean, do Twitter friends count? What if they are not on your contact list? and so on.
Honestly, we don’t have all the answers. All we know is you should probably start from your contacts list to figure out who needs to be informed about your wedding and who doesn’t. Check your private messages and inboxes for people you talk to regularly. That should guide you when figuring out with whom you really have a relationship.
You are probably still close to the ones that matter and are in Facebook or Whatsapp groups with the ones that are mild acquaintances. Drop a message in any of your groups, informing them of your wedding then steer the direction of the conversation where you want it to be—either you want them to make an appearance or not.
Don’t forget the people in your religious circles; the ones you pray and worship with. You can go big and have your pastor announce your wedding, or you can go small and make personal invitations. The chances of you going back to your church or mosque for thanksgiving/prayers after your wedding is pretty high and you don’t want that to be the first time someone who cares finds out that you got married.
Parents’ Friends and Colleagues
For this list, you are going to have to work with your parents (if they haven’t brought it up already). Give them a number to work with so they don’t go wild inviting their entire circle and leaving you in a room full of strangers on your own wedding day.
After listing names from the people in all your circles, send out your invitation cards or digital invites. There are people who won’t make your list, but still need to be informed. You can think of them as unexpected but invited/informed folks. For these people, you can inform them without exactly inviting them. A simple, “I’m getting married next month, but it’s a small ceremony”, will suffice. The idea is to inform them about your wedding BEFORE your wedding. That way, they won’t feel offended or left out. If the person is really nice, they might still get you a gift. Win-Win.
If all fails and the list is still too long after pruning, elope or opt for a destination wedding.