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Wedding Budget Etiquette – Who to Invite

Whether you are a guest or the couple of honor, weddings are expensive! Even if you’re not in debt management, keeping your wedding within budget is super important. However, once you start compiling a list of who to invite to the wedding, things can get a little hairy. You want to keep the numbers down, but the list somehow keeps growing. Does your cousin’s new boyfriend have to be invited? What about that friend from college? We’re here with some wedding budget etiquette about who to invite, and who to leave off the list in order to stay on budget.

Check out ACCC's tips for wedding budget etiquette.

Check out ACCC’s tips for wedding budget etiquette.

Wedding Budget Etiquette

Remember, your wedding is your day! Getting bogged down by familial obligations is hard, and we’re sure you’ve gotten used to hearing lots (and lots) of opinions. Of course, you want to invite everyone, but sometimes that’s just not a realistic expectation. It’s okay to have a small, intimate wedding. Remind yourself that sometimes, it’s just not possible to please everyone. Don’t go into credit card debt just to avoid discomfort.

Family: Do I invite everyone?

If you have a big family like I do, then inviting every aunt, uncle, cousin, niece and nephew can get really expensive. So, if you have a firm guest limit, inviting everyone just isn’t plausible. So, how do you decide who gets the invite? First of all, immediate family is a yes. When it comes to extended family, ask yourself a few things:

  1. Are you close to these family members? The fact is, some family members are closer than others. Do you have a favorite cousin or cousins? Invite them! But, if you’re not really sure how you’re related to someone, or you just don’t get along, then really consider if you want to extend the invitation.
  2. How would you feel if you were left out of their wedding? (Sad or a little disappointed? Indifferent? Heartbroken?)
  3. Could you imagine your wedding without them there? Would you value spending a few minutes with them at your wedding?
  4. When was the last time you spoke?

A good rule of thumb is to decide a certain “cut off” point for family with your spouse-to-be. Are children invited? How many people from each side? Make and stick to these decisions.

Friends, Coworkers, Significant Others, etc.

Wedding budget etiquette is never more “gray” than when it comes to non-family members. Do you invite everyone in the office? Just a few close coworkers? That’s really up to you. What about significant others? Let’s break it down.

  1. Significant Others. Generally, if a couple is married, both people should get invited. Most of the time, fiance’s garner an automatic invite, but your decision could depend on the number of engaged couples on the list. As for dating couples, make an across the board policy about whether you are planning to invite people’s boyfriends/girlfriends.
  2. Friends/Acquaintances. When was the last time you spent time with this individual? Are you casually friends, or is this person someone you consider close? How many plates do you have allotted for friends?
  3. Coworkers. Don’t feel obligated to invite people from your work unless you have a personal connection. Do you socialize with coworkers out of the office? Consider inviting them! But be sure that anyone invited to your wedding is someone you really want there.

If your wedding is on a budget, you will have to make some tough financial decisions. Wedding budget etiquette is tough stuff, but don’t let it get you down. Try to keep in mind what you really want, what you can’t go without, and how to make this day as special as you dreamed it would be!

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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