So you’re engaged – but how do you decide who to invite to the big day? Charlotte Buxton is here to help you with this question, as well as all the other ones that come along with writing your wedding guest list!

How many people should you invite?

There’s no set number of people that you have to invite to a wedding. It all comes down to two things: capacity and budget. Your venue will tell you the maximum number of people who can fit in the church or ceremony room, and join you for the wedding breakfast. After that, it just comes down to what you can afford, and whether you want an intimate feel to your day or a large crowd of friends and family.

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Can you invite guests you know don’t get on with each other?

It’s very possible that there will be people in your life who don’t always see eye to eye. Perhaps you have family members who have fallen out, or friends who used to be a couple? If they’re all still in your life then of course you should invite them to your wedding – they care about you, so they’re bound to be happy to put their differences aside. If you’re really worried about it, just make sure you use the table plan wisely to keep a healthy distance between them!

Do you have to invite your second cousin twice removed?

You need to make sure your guests list is representative of the most important people in both of your lives, whether they’re family members or friends, so avoid inviting people just because you feel like you have to. A good rule of thumb is not inviting anyone who you haven’t spoken to in person in the last five years!

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Is it okay to invite people to the ceremony but not the wedding breakfast?

As long as people know exactly what they’re invited to, it’s fine to invite guests to specific parts of the day – you just need to make sure it’s clear on the invitation. You may also find that you’ve got room to invite everybody along to the evening do, so they’ll get to enjoy the party, too.

Do you have to give people a plus one?

The simple answer is no. It’s a good idea to come up with a policy to help you with things like this – for example, only inviting people’s other halves if you have met them, or if they were together when you got engaged. Make sure to state clearly on the invitation exactly who is invited (by name, if possible!) to avoid any confusion.

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Should you invite people who live abroad?

If they’re your friends and you want them to come, then you should invite them – they’ll really appreciate the invitation, and can then decide for themselves if they’re able to make the trip. Just remember not to take it personally if they can’t afford the travel. And if they do make the trip, make sure they get a special mention in the speeches!

What are the rules for inviting evening guests?

Having evening guests means that even more people can be part of your special day. They generally arrive after the wedding breakfast to help you celebrate at the evening party, so it may be a good plan to have separate invitations for evening guests to provide all the details. For those who can make it, it’s nice to provide a light evening buffet to make sure everybody’s got enough energy for all the dancing you’ll be doing!

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Do you have to invite people whose weddings you’ve been to?

If you went to somebody’s wedding years ago and you have drifted apart since, then it doesn’t make sense to invite them just because you feel guilty or impolite for leaving them off the list. However, if it’s somebody that you’ve lost touch with and want to catch up with again, this could be the perfect excuse to rekindle an old friendship! Weddings are a great way to bring people together over good food, a glass of fizz and a trip to the dancefloor.

Should you invite your colleagues?

Weddings are the perfect test for whether your favourite colleagues have made the transition into being friends outside the office, too. If they find their way onto your wedding guest list, it’s proof that they’re not just people you moan about your boss with. You just need to include the rule that nobody talks about work on the big day!

Children or no children?

If you’ve got the space and the budget and you’re happy to have children at the wedding, why not let your guests decide for themselves by giving them the option? Some parents will like the chance to have a night off and enjoy the party, whereas others might not be able to make it unless they can bring their children with them.

Should you invite your exes?

If you’re one of those lucky people who are still friends with their exes and your other half feels comfortable with the decision, then you can certainly invite them. AS long as you don’t think there’s any chance of an Eastenders-style outburst during the ‘If anybody knows any reason why these two people should not be married’ part of the ceremony, it’ll be fine…

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What should you do when people ask you outright if they’re invited?

It’s a cheeky question to ask, but one that you should be prepared for. You’re well within your rights to brush people off politely with a ‘We’re still in the early stages of planning,’ response until you know for sure who’s on the list. Only say yes if you’re 100% sure that somebody is going to be invited, to avoid having to backtrack later.

Is it okay to have a B-list?

Most brides and grooms have a list of people they would like to invite to their wedding but can’t unless one of their initial invitees is unable to attend. This is all just part of running an event. If somebody drops out and that means that a guest moves from an evening invitation to a full invitation or that somebody is invited at the last minute, just explain how much you wanted to have them there but were initially limited on space.

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We’re hoping that’s all your guest list dilemmas sussed and solved! And now on to how to keep them happy when the big day comes around – we can help there too! There’s the things they always complain about too

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