Friday, January 06, 2017

The Guest List Part 3

Written by  David Egan

Creating the perfect guest list for your wedding calls for clear thinking and deliberate action. Once you know who you want to invite (and who you don’t), you need to know how to make it happen. That’s what we’re going to talk about now.

Invitations – One of the key elements in getting the wedding you want is to control your guest list. To that end, and to honor all of your guests equally, invite everyone by name. Thus, married people – who some etiquette writers say are the only people who should receive a joint invitation –  are addressed as “Jennifer Jones-Smith and Jessica Jones-Smith” vs. “Mrs. and Mrs. Jones-Smith.”

Similarly, couples on your guest list who are cohabitating would each be named and, to follow convention, would each receive a separate invitation. If you choose to send one invitation, then “Robert Anderson and James Stein” makes it clear that you are specifically inviting those two people, with no substitutions to be made.

The same would be true with children. Invite the parent or parents as above and name the children on one or both of the parents’ invitations.

Married people – and perhaps long-term couples – are the one exception to the guidance around inviting only the people who you love and who love you. The bonds of marriage call for you to invite both partners in the marriage.

Wedding announcements – If you’ve been working through your guest list (and especially if you’ve read the first two parts of “The Guest List”) you probably have a “cut” list of people who fall into that middle place of people you’d like to know about your wedding but are not, for whatever reason, people that you’re planning to invite. An excellent way to honor them is with a wedding announcement. This is a formal card, often with the same look and feel of your wedding invitation, and also sent via the physical mail. It does just what it says – it announces that you were married. Wedding announcements usually go out the day after your wedding. They can serve the dual purpose of conveying your new address or name change, if either is the case.

The Big Picture – Remember that all of your wedding planning revolves around your budget and your guest list. The list of people you plan to invite to your wedding – that is, the number of people to whom you plan to send invitations – is the number for whom you’ll be planning.

As much as you might guess at who will or will not accept your invitation, you won’t know how many people plan to attend until 30 days or less before your wedding. Nearly all of your planning will have happened by then. Being as mindful as possible of how you want your wedding to look and feel will help guide the size and composition of your guest list.

Much of the stress that arises around the guest list has to do not with whom to invite or not but with managing the family outcry when someone is cut. Trust that you and your beloved are making good decisions. There is no need to explain to anyone but yourselves why you have made your choices. You can be both loving and clear with those that raise objections, offering that you are doing what feels right for the two of you. Feelings are what they are. They can’t be argued away.

The experience of your wedding and the memories built there will affirm your decisions. In the end, the people whom you love and who love you and who are guests at your wedding will undoubtedly see and appreciate that you’ve created that wedding that’s perfect for you.

Next time: wedding costs and your budget.

David Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a historic Baltimore wedding and event venue. Visit, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook! Send your comments and questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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