Can You Pick and Choose Which Family Members You Invite to Your Wedding?

Photo by by Amy and Stuart Photography

Posted to on August 26, 2015 by Jillian Kramer

You love your Aunt Jen, but you could do without your Uncle Bob. And while your cousin Kelly is totally cool, you have no desire to see your second-cousin pull out his spastic dance moves on your reception dance floor. So can you invite your favorite family members only to leave the rest off of your guest list?

On one hand, “there are no hard-set rules when it comes to who you invite and not invite to your wedding,” says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. “Family dynamics and situations are different for each person, so each case must be treated as such.”

If you’re reluctant to invite a certain relative, start with asking yourself why is that the case. “Is the situation so bad that having this relative at the wedding will make a lot of other people upset?” asks Fisher. “If so, this is one of the few cases where I’d advise a couple to keep this person off of the guest list. If it’s someone your just not on great terms with because of a small disagreement, I wouldn’t single out this particular relative. Take the high road and send them an invite. Not inviting them could make the situation worse than it already is.”

Another reason you might leave a long-lost cousin off the guest list is because you’ve grown apart. In this case, “inviting this relative might be just the thing to get the relationship back on track,” says Fisher. “It would be hurtful to exclude this one person while inviting the rest of your family members.”

Before you make any final decisions, Fisher suggests consulting with your parents and partner. “Brides should consider if not inviting a relative would do more harm in the long run,” she cautions. “If so, she should just invite them. It’s not worth the stress and possible regret later on.”

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