Q: While finalizing the guest list for our wedding in a few months, we’ve run into a sticky question. What should we do when people assume they’re going to be invited — but they’re not?


A: Managing the expectations of other people is a common struggle for couples as they plan a wedding. This is especially true for couples who desire a small, intimate celebration.

When people assume they will be invited, my advice to couples is always to be honest. If you want to keep the event small — family members and your closest friends — let the person know that. Or, if it’s a matter of the budget or size of the venue, it’s perfectly acceptable to tell the person that you are restricted to a certain guest count. You can say, “In an ideal situation, we would invite everyone, but the fact is, we can’t.”

Be sure to approach the person in a kind, respectful way. If people get offended, it very well could be an indication that their desire to be a guest is more about them than it is about you. In which case, your lack of invitation is justified.

Above all, couples in this situation should realize that you don’t owe anyone an invitation. You are free to invite whomever you want, for any reason you want. Let your day be about you and the one you love, and surround yourself with only those you want there.

NIKEVA LAWRENCE, owner and lead planner of SouthWind Events



A: Your wedding is an exciting time for not only you, but for everyone around you. People will be thrilled and intrigued by all the wedding details when you first get engaged.

Before you start publicizing all your wedding plans, come up with a realistic guest list based on your wedding style, venue choice and budget. Start by coming up with parameters for the list. Commonly used guidelines include plus-ones only for those in established relationships, no extended family whom you haven’t seen in five-plus years, or every guest has to have met both of the soon-to-be newlyweds in person.

When you are faced with people who assume they are invited, let them know you feel honored that they would want to come. You don’t owe them a reason they aren’t invited, but if you feel compelled to do so, some common ones are budget constraints and venue size.

Whatever you do, don’t back down from your decision or sound wishy-washy in your response. Deliver the reasons confidently, and don’t feel guilty that you aren’t able to invite every individual who has ever been a part of your life.

LAUREN WEST, senior associate event planner at Naturally Yours Events