Q: “Help! Am I Obligated to Invite Somebody to My Wedding?”


It is not easy to prepare the wedding invite list. While almost every facet of a wedding needs deft planning and extensive decision making, the wedding invite list is perhaps the hardest of them all. Unless you have the provisions to have an unending wedding invite list that can accommodate all and sundry you know, you would have to leave some people off of the list.

Who to invite for your wedding is a paradox. You invite too many people and it would pinch your wallet. You do not invite some people and you would feel bad about it. While traditional wedding etiquette may demand that you include all who matter, there are some more complicated realities in today’s world.

The biggest challenge you are likely to face while pondering over who to invite is when you would have a sudden invitation from someone that you didn’t expect and then feel obligated to invite him or her to your wedding as well. It is customary to reciprocate social gestures. That is how the society works and that is what acceptable wedding etiquette demands. However, the reality is not as simple.

You may not have the space on your wedding invite list or the budget to have some more guests, simply because you feel obligated. That might compel you to decline their invitation which will make you feel worse because you are not only excluding them from your list but also declining their social gesture outright.

What you must remember here is that the social gestures and obligations are not incumbent upon you for your entire life. If you have been invited to a wedding or a reception and you are not getting wed right now then you need not feel obligated to invite them at your event as well. However, you can also reciprocate the gesture by inviting them over for dinner or by hanging out an evening after you have been married.

If you are declining their invitation because you cannot invite them to your wedding, you should do so with a simple but lovely gift. This will make you feel good and would also be a sweet gesture that they would appreciate.

Should you be in a dilemma, you must try and ascertain the significance of that person or people in your life. If they are important and you wish to continue a relationship with them for time unforeseen then you must go to their event and invite them to yours as well. Else, you can be free of obligatory wedding etiquette and do what you are comfortable with.