The guest list is potentially one of the most stressful parts of planning your wedding day. It doesn’t matter whether you’re having a small gathering or a giant affair in a mansion, there are still people who’ll expect to be invited who you really don’t want to be there. But how do you get around this? We’ve given it some thought and here’s our handy list on people you don’t need to invite to the big day.

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Even if you’ve successfully managed to negotiate the rocky road of friendship after you’ve had an intense relationship with somebody, it’s usually best if you don’t automatically assume that you’re inviting them to your wedding.

After all, you’re now with a new partner and they really do have to come first in your life, ahead of anybody else. Even if they say that they don’t mind you’re friends with somebody you’ve had a significant past with, there’s probably just a tiny part of them that is a bit unsettled by that.

We say that there’s no reason to invite somebody who was a former lover to your wedding day. They are part of your past, not your future. Also, how would your brand new husband feel if your old boyfriend insists that you have a close dance with him on your wedding day – and how would you feel if he got up close and personal with an ex-girlfriend?

Plus ones

The rule is that unless somebody is engaged to somebody or living with them in a committed relationship, you really don’t have to invite boyfriends and girlfriends of friends to your wedding.

So if you’re tight on numbers and/or budget then don’t feel guilty about not inviting them. However some etiquette experts say that any single person over the age of 18 can bring a plus one guest. It’s really up to you and how you feel and what your budget can handle.

Obviously, though, unattached guests are going to have more fun if the singles can mingle and socialise and if you have very few singles you don’t want to run the risk of people feeling awkward and lonely.

A and B listers

The A list is people you must have at your wedding – mainly close family members and wedding party members. The B list is people you’d like to be there but whose attendance isn’t absolutely crucial.

Who qualifies for the B list? Well, somebody you worked with a few years ago who you got on with or somebody you were at Uni with. If you haven’t kept in constant touch you shouldn’t feel you have to invite them to your big day.

Your wedding day isn’t a reunion – it’s about you celebrating your union with your significant other. So don’t feel obligated.

The boss

He or she is almost certain to know that you’re getting married, particularly if you’ve received a wedding gift from your colleagues at the office. In the past it used to be a given that you invited your employer but thankfully no longer.

To be honest, how comfortable would you feel if your boss was there and do they really want to come anyway? Even if you’re having a large wedding, it’s still an intimate occasion and you need to feel relaxed among your guests.

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People who work for you

If you’re the boss, then you shouldn’t feel you have to invite your work colleagues, employees or your secretary. In business it’s not always a bad idea to maintain a little distance and your wedding is a personal occasion. Maybe best to keep it that way.

Embarrassing relations

If you’ve got an uncle who always gets roaring drunk at weddings and makes inappropriate comments then you don’t really have to invite him. You don’t want to feel on edge and on the lookout for what he’s up to.

If he’s got a reputation like this he’ll have past form – so just avoid the issue and don’t invite him, although of course, you may have equally embarrassing female relations you feel the same way about.

Badly behaved friends

Some of your friends from college might have been the life and soul of the party then but the trouble is that they still are and behaviour that was funny then is rather losing its charm now.

You don’t really want somebody being outrageous on your wedding day and causing a scene. Think very carefully before you send a friend like this an invitation and how they’re likely to behave at your reception.

Relatives you never see

We’re talking about your second cousin once removed on your father’s side of the family. Just because somebody is family doesn’t mean they’re automatically on the guest list. Your friends know you, these people don’t and if all you share is a last name they don’t have to share your special day as well.


Back in the day the neighbours might have been a big part of family life and it was a given to be invited to a wedding. These days we all travel further afield and if you’re really good friends with your neighbours then invite them of course but if not, you can leave them off the guest list.