6 People to Exclude from Your Wedding Guest List

A  table setting at a wedding reception.

Creating the wedding guest list can be one of the most difficult, complicated aspects of wedding planning, particularly because it can be such a sensitive, emotional process that involves a lot of feelings all around. But if it’s getting down to the wire and your guest list is looking a little tight, here are a few people to consider leaving off your list.

1. Children

Now I know this can be a controversial statement, but leaving children off your guest list is a great way to bring down your numbers, as well as allow the parents on your list to really hang out and fully enjoy themselves without worrying about keeping their kiddos well-behaved and entertained. It is important to know, however, that this may cause a friend or family member to have to bow out of attending if they can’t get a sitter. Hopefully, though, if you give them lots of advanced notice (or some couples even provide a group sitter for the evening!) you’ll be able to keep the event adults-only and not miss out on anyone’s attendance. Of course, if you love and want children to be in attendance, then keep them on the list! This is just a great option if you’re unsure or really need to keep your numbers low.

2. +1s

Before I move forward with this, there are a few important things to make clear. There are certain people on your list who should absolutely get a plus one, including any friends who are married or in a serious committed relationship, as well as anyone in your bridal party. However, it’s okay to keep casual dates off of your wedding list. Most of your friends and family members know the way this works and will totally understand, but the great thing about this is you can totally adjust and change it for each individual as needed.

3. Old Flames

A bride and groom with their bridal party looking from a high angle into a camera lens.

This may sound like an odd or obvious thing to say, but some folks who are friendly with past romantic interests might feel like they need to send them an invite. Consider this your permission to put down the pen, if you’d like to. Keeping any past relationships out of your wedding day, as a general rule, could help calm some nerves and tension for both parties, and might be a particularly good call if previous relationship dynamics have negatively affected you and your partner. Now, obviously, if either of you does have a strong friendship with a past relationship and you’re both okay with the invitation, that’s totally fine, but if you’re unsure, feel free to make “no exes” a new rule.

4. Someone Else’s Guest List

A group of people at a wedding toasting with champagne.

Although there is a certain amount of decorum involved in inviting family members or requested guests from the parents of the couple, you should be able to put your foot down about how many guests other people get to contribute to your final list. Of course, it’s completely appropriate for your parent to ask that you invite a close relative or friend of theirs to the celebration, but it’s important for you to feel empowered to make the final decisions on who you’d like to be there for your big day. Talk to your family and let them know what you’re thinking for your guest list and if there are people you’d rather not be there or if you have a certain number of folks in mind that they’re welcome to invite. Be gracious and kind, but remember that it’s ultimately you and your partner’s decision and no one else’s. When you have this conversation, make sure you’re clear, but understanding. This is emotional for everyone and the last thing you want is for a guest list to cause strife in your relationships! If the talk starts to go down a road you don’t like, take a breath, table the conversation, and bring it up at another time when everyone is less emotional.

5. Debbie Downers

Do you have someone whom you really like, but who always brings you down? Someone who always has something bad to say or something to complain about, no matter what the situation? This is a person you might want to cross right off your guest list. Your wedding day is not a day to deal with this kind of difficult attitude and, if you know it’s going to present itself, even on the best day of your life, maybe it’s best to leave that person out this time.

6. Anyone you don’t want there

You do not need to justify why you don’t want someone at your wedding. This is a big day for you and your spouse-to-be and at the end of it all, you are the decision makers for your celebration. If there’s someone you just get a bad feeling about and it stresses you out to think of them at your ceremony, then take them off the list and don’t give it another thought. People may question or ask about why you’ve made certain choices, so be ready for that, but remember that it is ultimately your decision and you are allowed to make the choices that are best for you and your partner.

Find Amazing Vendors