Wedding Guest List Etiquette

I wouldn’t have done it that way. I would have invited all the cousins and assumed that the ones that weren’t close might send regrets.

But what’s done is done. They made the best decision they could. You made the best decision you could. Hopefully you can all move forward with kindness. These are strange and sad times we are living in. Send them love and wish them the best and move on.


My daughter is already worrying about this and she isn’t even engaged yet! Her BF is someone she went to college with and they both played on the lacrosse teams, so have lots of mutual friends (and they are being invited to many, many weddings right now). BF is related to half of New Jersey and they all will want to come to the wedding (that isn’t even happening yet).

When the time comes, I hope to convince her to have a less expensive wedding and invite everyone, or to have several receptions. Not worth it to exclude people who really want to come. I hope I make the cut.

My nephew is going to the third event for his girl friend’s sister this weekend. She had a small wedding last Sept, then had a bigger reception in Chicago this September, and now is having a third reception in Colorado. Not everyone has been invited to every event but nephew was as the +1 of the sister. He was also involved in a two part wedding with the wedding marriage in DC in June and then a second reception in Colorado in Aug. Yes, he pretty much goes to a wedding, reception, engagement party, or bachelor party every weekend.

@TatinG could you host a party for niece and new husband for your family who was not included in the wedding reception?

No. Everyone is scattered across the country.

I am not disregarding any feelings here because I can tell they are genuine and real.

But also keep in mind that a wedding is a one-day event (usually! -maybe a weekend!) but a relationship can be a lifetime. Maybe put feelings aside for one (wedding) to possibly have the other? (lifetime relationship)???


I think that is true. To an extent. When you’ve put yourself out for another person time and time again (as @TatinG referenced) but that it seems your effort is not appreciated, when do you stop putting yourself in that position?

It sounds to me that TatinG was disappointed and expressed her disappointment. But in expressing her feelings, her sister and niece are discounting the fact that by excluding certain family members, there is bound to be hurt feelings. It’s not just being excluded, it’s also being the person blamed for the fallout.


What timing. I just got a call from a niece for clarification about ds1’s wedding next month.

The kids have made clear that you must be vaxxed in order to attend so she wondered about kids who are too young to get vaxxed (yes, bring them!) and her brother and his family who aren’t vaxxed but have gotten Covid, all six of them, so have antibodies (no, don’t come). Will that cause hard feelings? No idea, but the kids aren’t willing to put the grandmas at any greater risk so there you go.

I really feel like this is an instance where you should give others lots of grace. Imagine being the aunt or uncle who isn’t invited but you are. I can preach this either way, and because of that I think that demonstrates that there are lots of ways to do this and not everyone will agree.


When we got married, we had a very very small wedding. We didn’t want to invite any of the aunts and uncles on my MILs side of the family because it seemed like a gift grab. They lived 3000 miles away and I had never met any of them. My MIL insisted…and we invited them…none came. All sent gifts.

In the case of the OP, none of the aunts and uncles were invited. Yes, disappointed. But consistent. I’d work on that long term relationship with the niece, and not the one day event.


The couple decided to not include any aunts or uncles on the guest list. Not uncommon. It would seem more strange and exclusionary if the bride had included one of the aunts or uncles on her side but not @TatinG .

Guest lists are certainly tricky and can cause hurt feelings. Hope you will be able to mend any rift with your sister and niece because of this .


When my step brother got married we were invited, including D, who was a 6 month old. We didn’t go because I was a SAHM at the time and we didn’t have a ton of extra money for travel. We did send a gift. It didn’t cause any hurt feelings at all.

The kid thing is tough at weddings. I know people who don’t take their kids even if kids are invited because they want a night out and they want to enjoy the wedding and not have to keep an eye on their kids. Another time when our kids were little the 4 or us were invited to a co-worker’s wedding and just H and I went. It was probably for the best, it was a church wedding and the only other kids there were all teenagers. We probably didn’t stay for entire reception, but it was nice to have a night out as a couple.

Later on both D and S were asked to do readings at their cousin’s weddings and D was asked to help with the guestbook and hand out programs at a family friend’s wedding when she was 13. In these cases, even though they were teenagers they were a part of the wedding and it was family and close friends.


My niece said that if they can’t bring the kids it’s OK with her. And that they may decide not to bring them anyway and leave them with the in-laws!

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I understand how this can be disappointing, but they were going to end up hurting someone’s feelings either way. By excluding everyone in that category it’s less personal. I can’t imagine having the entire family know only some aunts/uncles were invited and being among those who were excluded. That’s deeply personal and I’d be very hurt.

My kiddos have aunts and uncles they saw frequently pre-Covid just because of how close they live. There are others who love them just as much but live farther away. Should the aunt who’s a single mom be cut out because she couldn’t afford to travel across the country to see us every year (or vice versa)? If it were my kids I’d encourage them to invite all or none. I think your niece is doing the right thing, but your sister could have handled it better. She should have picked up the phone and had a conversation with you. And whoever repeated the story to your niece needs to rethink how much they share. No good was going to come from that.


When a nephew got married in a western state eight summers ago, it was odd that no one under 18 was invited. So our youngest and two cousins, all between 14 and 16 or so, didn’t go. I didn’t go, either, and stayed home with our youngest. I didn’t really care, and it wasn’t my side of the family, anyway.

When couples don’t want young children at their wedding, they should be respected and not bullied into allowing certain children to be allowed to attend (yes, it happens).

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OP I hope you can let this go, I saw a close lifetime friendship end over a wedding party, and it was similar with a line having to be drawn in the sand at some point. The hurt party said nothing until after the wedding and then ended the friendship. Weddings are 4 hours long, there are always going to be hurt feelings, it’s rare that the line is simply to draw.

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My D is not inviting one of her aunts to her wedding. All other aunts and uncles are invited. The reason is that my half sister (who very likely has borderline personality disorder) is a toxic human being. She cares mainly about herself. She is extremely vicious if she feels even slightly rejected-and “rejected” could simply be someone disagreeing with her on any random issue, not responding quickly enough to a text, or not responding with the appropriate (by her definition) enthusiasm or tone. She has spent years sowing discontent in the family. Her life’s road is littered with the bodies of dead relationships. Her husband’s large family wants nothing to do with her and cut off all contact over a decade ago. She quit speaking to her mother’s whole side of the family after a public airing of family issues (complete with sister calling names and using profanity towards them on Facebook). I finally had enough last year and told her I didn’t wish ill on her but no longer wanted a relationship with her. After a minor disagreement, she had sent me a series of increasingly vicious emails that I finally quit reading after the first couple (total of 8 eventually). Later she wrote that she was willing to calmly discuss how I had sullied the relationship. I passed.

My life is immensely more peaceful and her presence is not missed one iota. D2 had been telling me for years that her aunt was a terrible human being and that I didn’t need to continue the relationship simply out of some sense of familial obligation, particularly since her aunt has shown a pattern of disregarding the importance of familial relationships herself. I finally got it.

D2 will have a lovely wedding surrounded only by people who care for her, her fiance, and each other. There will be no negativity, and that’s at least partly due to the fact that my sister will not be present. I doubt she will know about or even care about the wedding, but if she does find out about it and is insulted, I can’t be bothered enough to care.

As to OP-it’s hard to imagine omitting a beloved aunt from a wedding. Perhaps they are severely limited as it relates to guest list, and by omitting all aunts and uncles, they figure they can avoid hard feelings since none of them are coming and no one can claim favoritism. It does seem strange, though, particularly if this is a large wedding.

I can understand the hurt feelings. If OP still loves and cares for her niece and her sister, perhaps she can forgive and forget. If this is a reflection of a lifetime of toxicity, then it may well be time to re-evaluate the relationship.

I rarely advocate that family members break permanently from each other. But sometimes it’s the only way to reclaim one’s peace.

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The OP said her sister said the wedding will be small.

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It makes a lot more sense then.

Sounds like that even though OP was closer than the other aunts and uncles, they were deliberately trying to avoid the appearance of favoritism. I hope the OP can get over her disappointment and continue to have a warm and happy relationship with her niece.


I got a group text yesterday morning from an unknown number reminding the “girls” about a wedding invitation with a link to the Zola site for RSVP. I know no one getting married. So I said it might be a wrong number and that I did use to live near where all the other area codes were. The texter responded with “I know” and her name and apologized for texting the wrong Marilyn. Took me a while trying to figure out how she knew me until I realized she was the person we dealt with when we sold our home to her developer brother almost seven years ago.

The wedding will be outdoors at a lovely resort hotel in Key West in January. Unfortunately I am not actually invited :wink:.


But feel free to send a gift!

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Marilyn, I’d be happy to meet you in key West. I’m curious about the resort. I suspect it is on the far side of the Key.

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The Perry Hotel and Marina. The developer basically gave us everything we asked for when we sold them our house, including a six month rent free post possession agreement, so I guess I shouldn’t crash the wedding.

And I know it’s the other thread, but the couple has a large registry with tons of items at all price ranges. No fine china or silver, but everyday dishes and sheets and oodles of kitchen and entertaining stuff. And $100 gift cards for Home Depot, Southwest, and American.