guests watching wedding ceremony
Photo: Honey Honey Photography

Let's be honest - cutting down your wedding guest list isn't as fun as dress shopping or creating your registry. But it doesn't have to be as stressful as it seems! Once you create a master list of everyone you're thinking about inviting, here are some questions to help you confirm your final number.

How do I picture my wedding day?

First things first, do you two want a more intimate or grand celebration? Whether you're picturing a huge outdoor reception that goes into the late hours of the night or a small rustic event, let your vision guide your guest list. 

Have I met this person before? 

It seems obvious to not include guests you don't know. But in the case of your cousin's new boyfriend you haven't met, your parents' friends or your neighbor's children you've met once, don't feel pressured to invite them if it conflicts with your budget or vision.

When was the last time I saw this person?

The rule of thumb is one year: If you haven't spoken to them within the past year, you don't need to include them in your guest list.

If I work with them, should I invite them?

This can be more of a tricky topic. Traditional wedding etiquette typically advises against inviting coworkers, but there's no "rule" stating you can't. If you grab happy hour with them on a regular basis, you could consider it the same as inviting friends. Still, this may not apply to the entire office and if you want to invite just a few, request that they don't make a big deal of it. This goes for your boss, too — if you two have a friendly relationship, it doesn't hurt to send an invite as a thoughtful gesture. 

Did this person invite me to their wedding?

If the answer is yes, it's polite to reciprocate. An exception here would be a friend whose wedding you attended years ago, and you've rarely kept in contact since.

The most important thing to remember: don't feel obligated to invite someone. Whether that means you don't have the budget to include them, you prefer a smaller event or you're just not comfortable with them being around, that's okay. It's your big day, and if you find yourself stuck with the awkward "why wasn't I invited to your wedding?" conversation, well, there's a way to handle it.