(Closed) Guest List Etiquette

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
3075 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@sunsetchristy:  If I received an invitation from someone who I used to be close with, but kind of grew apart, I would be ecstatic!!  I don’t think the note is necessary.  If people can make it they will, but most people don’t feel “obligated” to attend a wedding just because they received an invitation.  Also, we didn’t receive a gift from most of our guests who declined our invitation.  I think if they want to send a gift they will, but I personally do not think that it will come off as “gift grabby”

Post # 4
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@sunsetchristy:  I came across this same dilemna, and my mom warned me that inviting people may be interpreted as soliciting gifts and that was certainly NOT my intention – I just wanted everyone to feel included and invite everyone!

I would say go ahead and invite as many people as you want!

Post # 5
1602 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

View original reply
@Brideonabudgetlauren:  Agreed – I helped my sister, Future Sister-In-Law, best friend with the entire wedding paper process and I haven’t seen them receive large amounts of gifts from people that didn’t come.

Also, I like to side on sending them as a bit of a notice, like ‘hey, we are getting married and we thought about you’. We have some family in Texas that we knew ahead of time wouldn’t be able to make but we sent the invites anyways because we wanted them to feel included still. 🙂 Hope this helps!

Edit: This is further proof how different our generations are!

Post # 6
2966 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

i say whoever you want as long as you can afford it. no one will feel obligated to attend just because they got an invitation and they won’t feel like you’re trying to score gifts from them either 🙂

Post # 7
9079 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

If I got an invitation from someone I was “close but not really with” anymore, I’d be pretty happy they thought of me.

I may or may not attend depending on where I was and where it was, but I would at the very least send a gift if I thought fondly of the person. I would not feel obligated to. IF the person and I were still on “friendly terms” (IE: we didnt stop talking for nasty reasons) I would definitely willingly send them a little something. If I didn’t feel favorably towards them, I would send them a card but no gift.

Handwritten notes are very nice gestures — I do not think they are required, but I think it would be very pleasent to get.

Post # 8
954 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think its always nice to be invited, even if you cannot make it.  THe only people I would recommend you NOT invite is if say you had a falling out with someone or it would be uncomfortable for them to be there.  A wedding is not the time or place to try to rectify a failed friendship.  Barring that constraint, go for it!


I dont’ think you need to add the note “We’d love to see you at the wedding, but we understand if you can’t make it!” since that is pretty much implied on the RSVP…

Post # 9
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I don’t think I would ever think a friend was just trying to get a gift out of me if I recieved an invitation, however, depending on HOW much we had grown apart I might think it was a little weird. But this could just be because I am so used to people (myself included) doing everything they can to get the guest list down so I would wonder why I was being invited. For our wedding, we have HUGE families. Our guest limit for our venue was 150 (although they won’t kick us out for a few extra) and our family made up 80 of that. Add in family friends who are basically family and we stood at about 115. This only gave us the chance to invite 35 friends and their SO’s. I think our friend count came down to me inviting 9 from HS and 12 from college and him 5 from high school and 9 from college. The high school friends are people that we don’t neccesiarly have a strong relationship with anymore (although one or two of them we do) but are significant in some ways. For example, one of my friends from high school introduced us so even though her and I talk maybe once a year on facebook, she is a significant part of why we are here. Others are high school friends whose entire family is invited because our parents have stayed friends even though we grew apart. All of our college friends are ones we have stayed in contact with. We just graduated 2 years ago so it was hard because even though we don’t talk to them much, not that much time has passed so we still feel like they are “our friends” but we couldn’t stretch our guest list anymore. 

Ultimately, I have to say if you can invite them, then do it. If they feel the same as you, that you are friends despite the distance/growing apart them I am sure they will be thrilled. If they don’t really consider you close enough anymore to attend, then they probably won’t. And no one is OBLIGATED to give a gift and I don’t think it’ll look grabby. 

Post # 10
699 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m the type of person who is ecstatic to receive an invite, even if I won’t be able to make it or we have grown a part a bit.  I would definitely send a card and possibly a gift, depending on my relationship with the person,

Post # 11
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

My opinion is short and sweet: Real friends look at invitations as invitations, not gift requests.


We give gifts because we love you and want to share in your joy, not as a social obligation. That’s the same reason that we will fly across the country (or the world!) to attend your wedding. It’s not because we want a great meal, a cool party, or a nice party favor. It’s because we’re friends. Sharing in joy and major life events is part of the deal! 🙂

Post # 12
3323 posts
Sugar bee

@sunsetchristy  I like the use of a note if you decide to go ahead with this.

But I do think you should be prepared that some people who receive them WILL think you are being gift grabby.

If I received an invitation from someone I hadn’t been close with in some time, I would probably think they were after my presents.  But I am also not someone who thinks being to invited to a wedding is an honour.  And I definitely wouldn’t attend the wedding of someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. 

If it was someone who I would like to rekindle the friendship, it may inspire me to get together with them, but it wouldn’t be at their wedding.  At their wedding, you will only get to spend a few moments with each guest (especially with a big guest list), and for me to rekindle anything, I would at least need the time it would take to drink a coffee.

Post # 14
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t think people feel obligated to gift just because they received an invitation. I only had about 1/3 of the people that declined to attend actually send us a gift. Others graciously offered/promised to gift, but we assured them it wasn’t necessary.

That said, I’ve been told that some people that are invited that are not close to the bride and groom feel like it’s a gift grab. It usually depends on how it is worded. For example, when you are getting their address and being very warm and excited to see them, then it won’t come off as a gift grab. But if it is like “Hey, I’m inviting you and 100000 of my friends for just cake and water”, then it can come off like that.

Specifically, I was told of one couple that didn’t even hand out tangible invites but did evites to the entire world and all the guests had for refreshments was a little coffee or tea and like three cheese platters and cake for hundreds of guests.

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