Etiquette 101: Guest List

Next up on our list of dilemmas, Amy and her guest list issues. She writes,

My fiance and I are having trouble with our guest list. We want a relatively intimate affair, with people who truly mean something to us, people who have been influential to us as a couple. In other words: no strangers. My immediate family (including my dad) has not been on good terms with my father’s parents/siblings for over a year. I remain in some contact but it’s very limited. We live so far away that my fiance has not met anyone from that side of the family. We’d really like to have a wedding without them there since they’ve proven to cause drama in the past. What to do?

The questions you need to answer: Is this family split permanent or short term?  Specifically, is this something that would be resolved in a year or two?  If these short separations have happened in the past or you see a possibility of a resolution, I would invite them.  A wedding can be an opportunity for repairing that relationship.

That being said, this is your wedding.  If you do not want to invite your father’s family, and your father is at peace with that decision, then do not invite them.  Guilt is a major motivating factor in creating the guest list, and a horrible emotion to be guided by.  Most brides don’t want to hurt feelings or make acquaintances feel excluded.  Do not force yourself into a much larger wedding simply out of guilt.  Have the wedding you want.  We were discussing this very issue with two close friends last night.  They struggled with who to invite out of our group of friends.  My advice?  If you would not call, write or email to tell them you are pregnant or moving, then you should not invite them.  Bottom line.