Every wedding has obligation guests. Let's explore the nature of these guests and why people regret having them.
WHO ARE OBLIGATION GUESTS?
Most of the time they end up being friends or acquaintances of our parents or grandparents. Sometimes they are also extended family members that we haven't seen or spoken to in five years, and sometimes they are our coworkers or boss.
WHY DO WE FEEL LIKE WE NEED TO INVITE THEM?
There is guilt that you haven't actually spent any time with them over the last few years. Maybe your parents' are paying for part or all of the wedding making you feel as though you need to invite everyone they are requesting an invite for. You could feel obligated to invite people that you work with because they know you are getting married and you spend more time during the day with them than you do your fiance.
OKAY, IF I DON'T REALLY WANT THEM AT MY WEDDING THEN WHAT DO I DO?
You don't invite them. Let them know it is a smaller and more intimate event for really close friends and family. You don't need to go out of your way to let them know, but do tell them if they are asking for details.
WHY IT IS OKAY TO NOT INVITE THEM:
The obligation guests know that they are obligation guests. I am sure you know that feeling when you got invited to a party or an outing because you just happened to be standing there when other people were making plans? That's what it is kind of like as an obligation guest at a wedding, but worse. You don't know anyone, you may have not been able to bring a plus one, you try to get in with the crowd that looks to be your age but they all finish each others sentences with inside jokes - which is annoying.
SOME PEOPLE MAY FEEL HURT, but they will get over it. Life goes on, and you can't make everyone happy. If they are potential friends or family members, they should be happy for you anyway.
Personal Story: For my wedding, I originally wanted to elope with my man and then throw a big party afterwards. I have anxiety about being center of attention. I cringe thinking about 10 people watching us get married and it will actually be 150. My FMIL*, FFIL*, and my grandparents really wanted to include a long list of people that we just did not really care about being at our wedding. We didn't want to be looking at our photos in 5 years from now thinking - "who is that?" or "I didn't know we invited them!" or "we are totally not friends anymore" or "we haven't seen them or spoken to them since the wedding."
I am sure you have those guests. Chuck them off the list or put them on the secret "B LIST."
Okay, this is a big one. Do you want children at the wedding? If yes, you don't need to keep reading. If not, then you need to be strong through the wedding process, because some will have strong opinions about this. People will thank you in the end for letting them have a great time without worrying about leaving early for their kid to go to bed. If you have a lot of out of town guests then hire a local nanny or babysitting service to go to the hotel to watch them for 5 or 6 hours during the wedding. You can also hire a babysitter or two if you do want to have children at the wedding so that they can be kept occupied and watched while their parents get to dance! (It is a lot cheaper than you think it would be!)
*FMIL: future mother in law
*FFIL: future father in law
I am available hourly to help with any advice you need about guests or obligation guests. It is a struggle dealing with other people's opinions about how you are planning YOUR wedding day.
Go back to read more about how to manage and track your guests and RSVP's.