Question from Laurie:
I would like to know the etiquette for inviting cousins to my wedding. My aunt has 3 children from her first marriage and 3 children from her 2nd marriage (she has been married for 13 years to her 2nd husband) I would like to invite her first 3 children to my wedding, but they say they say they do not feel right attending unless their stepsister and brothers are invited as well. They have stated that they are aware that this could be a numbers problem for me and have asked if they all could be invited to just the reception after the meal. What do you think?
Answer from Wedding Expert Angela:
Hi Laurie, and congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Good heavens! However did you get into a position where your guests are telling you who to invite to your wedding? Let’s get things straight. This is your wedding. You invite who you want to invite. Period. Yes, there are budget restraints, and that’s a reality of weddings today. So, you invite who you want to invite. There is no etiquette around how to invite people to your wedding. You want to invite those closest to you to share your special day.
My cousin’s daughter got married this summer and numbers being an issue, a minimum of two people from each family group was invited—based on who the bride felt closest to. All families were represented, but not everyone was invited. Some families had 4 or 5 people there, other families had only 2 people there. No one is ‘upset’ because it is their wedding, and it was their choice. They chose as they felt was appropriate to them.
As for inviting them to come after the meal, well that is very tacky, and poor etiquette. This video talks about wedding etiquette and covers your situation.
If you choose to have wedding announcements, they are sent to people who you did not invite to the wedding but who you want to let know that you are married. It is a nice gesture to family members who are not invited because of wedding size, as well as to send to out-of-town family and friends.
As for your situation, you know your family dynamics best, but, my opinion is that you should be inviting only people you actually want to your wedding. If you had lots of money, you could indulge yourself and invite many people, but the reality is weddings cost lots of money, and tough decisions need to be made. The real question is how close do you feel to these cousins? If you want them there, invite them. If you don’t feel close to them, don’t invite them.
What is the worst that can happen? The cousins you do invite might not come to the wedding. How do you feel about that? How often do you see them, spend time with them? How will it impact your life? Hopefully these answers will make your decision easier.
Angela Fiebelkorn, Ask The Wedding Expert
certified WPIC Wedding Planner