Etiquette on inviting family to your wedding

My fiance and I are going over yet another revision to the guest list for our upcoming wedding this October. Our reception venue can hold no more than 200 (that’s including wedding party). Ideally, we’d like to keep the list at roughly 175.

The largest debate we often hear from others when it comes to inviting others to a wedding is making sure to invite those you WANT there, and those you feel OBLIGATED to invite. The thing is we would prefer to simply invite only those we WANT there, so we’re trying to keep the list to those who have played significant parts in our lives and are important to us.

Now having said that it’s going to make my actual question sound somewhat “dickish” and possibly make me out to be an ass.

Here is my hopefully basic and simple (to ask) question for everyone here.

I have 4 cousins, each married and with children, whom I’m not really close with, haven’t seen in over 10 years, and most interactions have been likes/comments on Facebook posts averaging maybe 1-2 per year.

While I would obviously like to have family at my wedding, it isn’t precisely priority they be there.

Would I be causing waves in my family (we’re Italian…just FYI) by not inviting them?

Does the fact I still plan on inviting my Aunt and Uncle, their parents, and not them?

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8 thoughts on “Etiquette on inviting family to your wedding

  1. Joyce says:

    [Your question does NOT make you sound like an ass 🙂 That being said, it is difficult to exclude family from weddings, regardless of whether they are close or not. Personally, I would not invite them because (a) this is your wedding and you invite who you want, and (b) they should understand that.

    If they don’t understand it, then explain to them exactly what you said–you guys are not close nor communicate much and they will get over it eventually. You can always send with your aunts and uncles wedding favors for them too.

  2. resullins says:

    [Well, having just gone through this, I can tell you it does make you sound a little dickish, but you totally have that right! It’s your wedding. Now, we’re talking about like 20 extra people here, right?

    What I did, is I invited all those obligations, but I did so knowing VERY few of them would come. This was an option for us because we live relatively far away from most of my family. This has the added benefit of obligating them to buy you presents! Yay presents.

    Now, that being said, if that’s not an option for you… there are two things you can do. A. Invite no one. It’s your wedding, you’re paying for it, and frankly, you don’t have the room for that many clingers. Or B. Invite the adults, but specify that the children aren’t invited. This is a tougher call if you have other people bringing children, but still one that you’re within your rights to make.

    The fact that you’re an Italian family, with all the bells and whistles that entails makes this more difficult. If you invite your aunt and uncle, you will undoubtedly get a little guilt to go along with your ugly punch bowl… but with a guest list that large, surely there’s someone there that can fake a heart attack and get you away from them!

    I would not invite them. Unless you’re sure to get a negative RSVP and a card with $200 in it.

    • Matt Sanchelli says:

      [While I’m all about presents and the free stuff, one thing I was relatively adamant about (and my fiance agrees) is that we didn’t want to invite anyone with the secret desire they wouldn’t come.

      These cousins, 4 original but they are all married so a total of a potential 8 additional guests, all live in another state (8-9 hour drive, or 1.5 hour flight) so while I’m fairly certain most of them wouldn’t come, as they all have children too, I’d rather know for certain…by not inviting them…than sending the invites and dreading an RSVP indicating they would come down.

    • resullins says:

      [Fair enough. I get that sentiment. But I had SO many people that were elderly, and a 6 hour drive away… but absolutely COULD NOT invite, it wasn’t an option for me. A few flat out asked me for an invite so that they could send something. So I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t enjoy the free gifts, but I’m also not going to say (with a straight face) that gift baiting is your best option here.

      Why don’t you call your cousins? Ask them if they would be able to come. If they ask for an invitation, then you’re on the hook. But from what you’ve said, I’d guess a good three out of four are going to tell you they can’t come, and then the rest of the conversation is… well, whatever the conversation happens to be.

  3. Joanna says:

    [To go along with what Resullins said: If you send them an invite knowing they’ll say no, they may feel like you’re getting gift grabby. So if that would set the wrong tone, don’t send.

    • resullins says:

      [But see, the trick to that is to tell them you don’t really want a gift if they say they can’t come. They’ll usually still feel obligated. I tried to say no… it doesn’t work well.

  4. EricaSwagger says:

    [Would you be able to talk to your aunt and uncle about this? Or your parents? I would just ask. There’s no harm in it. Explain to your parents/aunt/uncle exactly what you said here. You haven’t had much interaction with these cousins. Ask if anyone would be hurt if they were not invited. It’ll probably be okay but if not, you may have to suck it up (although not inviting kids is a good compromise).

    I really think the best choice is to invite the couples and not their kids. I don’t think it’s uncool to do this at all (although yes, if other people are bringing their kids you may get some heat for that… how about having no kids at the wedding at all?). With this, the couple may HAVE to turn down the invite if they can’t leave the kids, which is a win. And if they do accept, at least it’s just two people and not a whole family.

    • Matt Sanchelli says:

      [Making it a ‘No Kids’ wedding isn’t so much of an option for us, as there are 5 children between the ages of 7 and 11 in the actual wedding; and that would also then add complications for those adults in our wedding party who have children.

      I’ve had the discussion with my dad (it’s his side of the family) but he’s not exactly the best sounding board since he’s voiced he’d actually rather us not invite even my Aunt and Uncle (his brother) to the wedding.

      3 cheers for family drama…

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