Old Friends: Who to Invite?

We just passed the four month mark before the big day. It is making me a little nervous, because for some reason, three months until the wedding seems a lot closer than four. Last week I looked at our timeline and realized that our unfinished guest list is staring me in the face. My hesitancy to produce the final list has come as a result of some decision-making issues. Let me explain. Beyond our list of definite invites, there is a group of “indefinites” (for lack of a better word). These are friends we were once close to, yet, we have drifted apart from either physically or emotionally: childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, and friends from old jobs. Well, you get the picture. We are on the fence about inviting many of these people. On the one hand, they have been significant people to us at certain times in our lives. On the other hand, these are not people that we interact with every day. A friendly note via Facebook, an email, or running into them at a social gathering is just about the extent of our communication.

Where do you draw the line as to which friends get an invite and which don’t? We have some room on our guest list. Not a lot, but some. I feel conflicted because several of my future in-laws’ friends will probably get an invite (don’t get me started on this subject), and we barely know a lot of them. So why then, should we fail to consider old friends?

The flip side of this is that maybe some of the indefinites don’t even want to attend our wedding. I’m a realist. I understand that not everyone is banging down the door to get into our wedding, especially those we haven’t seen in a while. I don’t want to put them in an awkward situation where they are like, “Hmmm, if we say “yes”, does that mean we have to dole out money for a gift for these people?” (Okay, I hope no one says that. But you never know…)

Do you have any indefinites on your list? Also, if an old or distant friend has invited you to their wedding, did you find yourself (a) happy and honored to get the invite, or (b) uncomfortable that you were invited and searching for any excuse to get out of it?

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Mrs. Glitter

Location:
Los Angeles
Wedding Date:
June 2014

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  1. Member
    mary-alice-me 1864 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:11 pm

    I also have trouble with this! I am tempted to be of the persuasion that if I haven’t met them, they are on the B list, especially for some of FI’s friends I’ve never met. I figure that if we’ve been together for 3 years and he hasn’t seen them and I haven’t seen them, they don’t need to be invited now.

    The other complication is that our wedding will be a trip for just about everyone and I want to keep it small. So part of me doesn’t want to ask people to make the trip, and part of me wants to keep my small wedding vision.

    In the end, we’ll probably invite some old friends (invites go out in a couple of weeks!!) and be happy if they choose to come. It’s nice to receive an invitation just to know that you were thought of and desirable enough to be included.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Vicki, Guest @ 3:36 pm

    I have heard so many great ideas when it comes to guest lists:
    1) Both of you must have met the person for them to be on the list!! Even family members
    2) USe the cell phone rule… are they in your contacts?
    3) Divide the total guest number by 4 – so that bride/groom/parents/inlaws all have the same number available to invite
    4) Skip the guest list and elope!

  3. Member
    NixLapi 558 posts, Busy bee @ 4:17 pm

    We’re pretty much the exact opposite of what you’re describing! *lol* Our parents have their best-friends on the list, and we’re totally cool with that.

    As for old/out-of-touch friends. – we aren’t inviting any. If we haven’t seen them since we’ve been together, let alone met the other’s friends, then they aren’t on the list. Sure you may rekindle old friendships, but more than likely you will continue not to be close to these people… I know we won’t get to spend quality time with each guests on the big day, so I’d rather spend what time I do have visiting with people who really matter to me, my FI and our life together!

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    at, Guest @ 4:37 pm

    We have this problem! Although the parents thing is from my side, not FI’s. That’s an Indian thing – I don’t know about half of the people they’re inviting (and this is their PARED DOWN list!). Yikes. So because we have so many people from their list, I feel like I shouldn’t invite my “B-listers” – although FI and I made a high, low, medium priority list after we brainstormed everyone we knew and would consider inviting. We’re nixing the low priority and definitely inviting high. Medium is our B-list, I guess. Ugh, so annoying!

  5. Member
    suzanno 2683 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:48 pm

    We had all these issues! As for old friends, we invited a lot of them. We both have friends that we see only every couple of years, but still consider very close – we email, phone, and send Christmas presents. I think it’s clear when somebody is still your friend even when there is a distance factor. And it’s clear when they’re really not – when neither of you really bothers to keep up on what the other is doing. You do lose friends as time goes on – whether because your lives change, or because either you or they move away, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    We also dealt with the group thing. In a couple of cases we invited the whole group, even though we are more close to a few of the people than to the others – but we feel like we would really like to do more with all of them. In the cases where we really only see some people because they are friends of other people – and we honestly can’t say that we would go out of our way to be closer with the rest of the group, we didn’t invite them. It doesn’t seem to have caused any friction at all. Trust me, people know when they are close to you and when they’re not, and most of the people you’re really not close to might feel flattered to get an invitation but won’t feel slighted if they don’t.

  6. Member
    agrosses 98 posts, Worker bee @ 5:22 pm

    @NixLapi: I just went and visited the first (oh so precious) child of my best friend from grade school. I wouldn’t have called her when I was in town (this time or previously) if I hadn’t been invited to the wedding. I can’t stress how much it meant to be invited (I went out of my way when out of town to meet the groom), and to continue to be part of their lives.

  7. Member
    HistoryBride 409 posts, Helper bee @ 6:19 pm

    We definitely had that .. or, at least I did. See, my family was part of the same small church for my entire life, up until this past year. Many of these families watched me grow up and played a really big part in my life. However, I kind of split with the church my senior year of high school (I just think differently than many of them do), and haven’t really looked back.

    So … they were a huge part of my life, but I haven’t talked to them in four years and now my parents don’t even have to see them on a weekly basis. Are they invited? We ended up deciding against inviting any but the few couples that my parents often got together with outside of church. It was hard and I’m still a bit iffy about it, but I think it’s for the best. (plus, another 50 people would be very difficult to fit!)

  8. Member
    HistoryBride 409 posts, Helper bee @ 6:21 pm

    PS. We definitely split the target number into 3 and gave each group (my parents, his parents, and us) a target of 50. We only had about 30 to invite, so we donated some extra to our parents to cover family :D

  9. Member
    lazybride 63 posts, Worker bee @ 7:46 pm

    i had to be realistic. of course we have people in the past whom we were close to once upon a time. i tried to look in past (2-3 years) and to the future (5-10 years). i’m not inviting everyone whose wedding i’ve been to esp if i don’t really keep in touch with them now. also i tried to think of it in their shoes…like if they came, would they have fun? meaning, are these people who are already invited that they will know and have fun with? because i’ve been to weddings where i was really bored because i didn’t know others. hope that helps.

  10. Member
    bruschetta 5565 posts, Bee Keeper @ 9:04 pm

    Coworkers are my big variable, as I’m currently looking (actively) for a new job!

  11. Member
    driftslikesmoke 1224 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:37 pm

    We make a decision based on the very wise advice of my FH’s aunt who had an oversized wedding with an unlimited guest list. She told us that we should choose our list based on who we planned to have in our lives in ten years. If that means forgoing the coworkers we see every day now but aren’t connected to in favor of those who we only see occasionally but plan to keep in touch with for the long term, that’s what we’re going to do. :)

  12. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 11:54 pm

    we ended up being extremely brutal and now have a guest list of 40 :P

  13. Member
    honeymyheart 764 posts, Busy bee @ 1:42 am

    i was just thinking about my guest list! one of my really close high school friends just got in touch with me, after 4 or so years, and we’re reconnecting. right now my fiance and i have decided we’d stick to inviting people who we talk to on a regular basis. regular meaning once a month.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Valerie, Guest @ 1:59 am

    How I feel you on this one! It’s a wedding-related topic that I’ve mulled over more than any other, believe it or not. In the end, I decided to invite them. I am very sentimental and even if we’re not active in eachothers’ lives, they’re part of who I turned out to be, and sentimentality got the best of me. When I asked for a friend’s advice he said “I know they still think of you,” and that, although simple, made me realize that even if they didn’t come, I wanted them to know that I wanted them to. We’re getting married April 4, and while most guests can’t make our out-of-town wedding (an especial point of guest-list contention), most expressed their interest and happiness. In the end, that’s all I really needed.

  15. Member
    Tstew 109 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:35 am

    I understand… We are going through this now. My fiance and I have just set a time as to when we last talk to the person. If they don’t fit the timeline then we move them to the “B” list and if someone can’t come, then they will get an invite.

    If I’m invited to a wedding, I always try to go but if I can’t I will just send a nice gift..

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