Obligation Guests: 3 people to cross off your wedding guest list

by Aleisha

Listen to this Bridechilla Guest List Episode

Obligation guests- who are they?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the guest list and who you can ditch, let's do a little bit an imagination exercise. I'd say close your eyes but as you are reading this, that would be daft.
Ready? OK.

I want you to think about all of the weddings that you've attended. How many of those weddings do you feel like you were an obligation guest at?
Someone who wasn͛'t perhaps on the A list?
No judgement. This is a safe place. It's a harsh question to ask, but stay with me.
Perhaps you went to a co-worker's wedding, or your second cousin's wedding, or someone from college that you haven't seen for ten years. Of course, they wanted you there, but perhaps you were on the B or even C list. Perhaps they invited you out of obligation.
Now I'd like you to think of the last time that you saw that co-worker, or you had dinner or drinks with your second cousin, not including Christmas (!).

When did you last catch up with a uni friend, (not on Facebook or Twitter)? I͛'m talking about a one on one conversation. Now, remember the wedding day where you were that obligation guest, and, by the way, I know there are some of you out there who are saying, "I have never been an obligation guest, because I am always on the A list."
Wake up. We've all been obligation guests. I know it, and you know it.

We've all been obligation guests

Then good, I'm glad you went, and I hope you ate and drank a tonne. However, a lot of people aren't like them, and really struggle when it comes to deciding who should be at their wedding day, without breaking up families and friendships, and causing international incidents, because so many fights, and bad vibes, and ill feelings come from this one decision.
When you look back at the wedding photos, you want to feel good about it and hopefully remember everyone in them!

After that little exercise, I'm hoping that there are a few people on your list that you realise now potentially are obligation guests. The one thing about being an obligation guest, and knowing that you're an obligation guest, is that you probably won't be that offended if you don't get invited.My top three obligation guests are….

1. The co- worker

Do you like your job and your work people?
Will you be working there in 5 years?
Do you see your co-workers socially?... (not just work drinks)Have they met your partner?
Do you know their partner? Would you take them to a high-end restaurant and buy them dinner and drinks? Do you actually like them as real friends and not just office friends who bonded over a mutual disdain of the boss? Don’t feel obliged to invite everyone.
Rookie guest list mistake.

2. Parent's friends

If your parents or your in-laws are contributing money to your wedding, and they're holding the guest list over your head…that’s PGLB…parental guest list blackmail.
Let them have their own parties and invite Barry and Carol from Bridge.Ask them how important these extra guests are to them.Is it because they're trying to keep up with the Joneses? Do they want to show you off?Instead of paying £300 to have them to be at your wedding, send them a nice card with a wedding photo and avoid having the bill and inviting virtual strangers!

3. Partners of friends that you have never met

My husband and I set a firm rule with our guest list, and that was no one is to be invited that hasn't met both of us.
Remember, if you're having a small wedding and you can't stretch the numbers, even if the groom's best friend has met someone that he say, "Is ‘the one" and you've never met her or him, let them have their third date at a restaurant, not at your wedding.

My final piece of advice on the guest list, the most important piece of information I can give you, is you don't want to have anyone at your wedding that you have to pretend to be happy to see.You shouldn't have to fake smile on your wedding day.

Ditch them.
Remember that, you and your partner are the team. Go through the pros and cons of who you want there, and work it out together.

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1 comment

Leslie Johnson May 16, 2017 - 7:25 pm

I have had so many conversations with couples who are trying to work through these issues! The “PGLB” struggle is real! One of the tips that I remind them of is this (so they can pass it along to their parents as well!) once all is said and done…the ceremony, the dinner hour, the first dance and the time for photos…this will leave couples and parents with a set, small amount of time that they can actually socialize with guests. Once you have figured out that set amount of time you can divide it by the number of guests…that division number can be quite informative! If you only have a realistic number of under ten minutes of interaction with each guest then you might actually be doing a “peripheral guest” a big favor by not inviting them! Think of being an outer circle guest and the commitment involved in politely (a.k.a.feeling somewhat obligated in) accepting an invitation. The suit & dress, the time involved, the gift…to be greeted for ten minutes and then left on your own. I often hear that parents feel obligated to invite guests because they had been previously invited to that guest’s child’s wedding…rationalizing the decision and weighing obligations from the perspective of both parties can be really helpful in assuaging guilt!


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