Wedding Advice: Obligation Wedding Guests ⋆ Regina Wedding Photographer | Erika Gayle Photography

Wedding Advice: Obligation Wedding Guests

by Erika Hodson

January 16, 2019

“Obligation Wedding Guests”

So, you’re planning your wedding. Sooner or later you’ll end up running into the dreaded Obligation Wedding Guests dilemma. Do you invite your Uncle Bob that you haven’t seen since you were 8 years old? What about your third-cousin-twice-removed (whatever that means) that your parents are begging you to invite? When your only memory of her is when she ripped your favourite Barbie’s head off and threw it in a fishtank? Yeah, I wouldn’t want to invite her, either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our best advice, when making your wedding guest list? Invite who YOU want to be there. Your wedding isn’t your parents chance to reconnect with long-lost relatives that you haven’t spoken to in ages, or the chance for them to show you off to their friends that you don’t know. Put your foot down and stick to your list, it’s YOUR wedding! You want to look back on your wedding photos and feel good about them, and remember everyone who was in the pictures, right?

That being said, it’s a heck of a lot easier to say NO to guests you don’t want there, when you’re paying for your wedding yourself. If your parents or relatives have pitched in for your wedding, it may be a lot harder to stick strictly to your original guest list. Especially if they gently finger-stab you in the ribs every time they mention that they pitched in for your dress/cake/catering/etc.

Types of Obligation Wedding Guests

Trying to keep your get-together on the small side? There are a few types of obligation wedding guests that you can probably skip on your invite list. Remember always, take any of our wedding advice with a grain of salt because not every situation is the same! Please don’t email us crying that your family is torn apart because you followed our advice, that would make us very sad. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Shawn and I are currently planning our own wedding, too! We’ve decided to share some of our wedding planning frustrations and advice, from our perspective during our planning journey.


This first category really depends on how long you’ve worked at your current place of employment, and how close you are with your coworkers. Are you still going to be working there in 5-10 years? When’s the last time you went out with your co-workers for drinks (or whatever?) Have you even met THEIR partner? You don’t HAVE to invite everyone (or anyone!!) to your wedding. It might be awkward if they’re expecting an invite, but if they bring it up, gently remind them that you’re keeping the guest list to very close friends and family only (if that’s true, that is!).

Friends of your Parents

Have you met these friends of your parents? Have they met your future spouse? If your parents are begging you to invite their friends, stop and ask yourself WHY they need to be there. Would you go to any other get-together with your parents friends? If not, why do they need an invite to your wedding? Sure, it’d be great for your parents to have someone to hang around with during your reception, but extra guests mean extra mouths to feed and those costs add up fast! (PS – See our blog post on how to save $$ on your wedding if you’re on a budget!)

Significant Others That You’ve Never Met

Your best friend just found a new beau – and they’re “the one!” Yay!! I’m sure that you’re hella stoked for them. But… they’ve only been together for three months and you’ve met them a grand total of 0 times. Should you invite them to your wedding?

A couple years ago I was invited to a wedding where I was that significant other the bride and groom had never met. I went to that wedding and it was LOVELY, don’t get me wrong, but… I felt awkward as hell being at that wedding. Realising you’re that obligation wedding guest isn’t the nicest feeling! Explain to your BFF that you’re super stoked for them but in an effort to keep numbers small, +1s are reserved for long-term and married couples only. Besides, chances are if they’re still together by the time your wedding rolls around, you can always sneak them on the guest list closer to the date. ๐Ÿ˜‰

People That Haven’t Met Both of You

Have all of your guests on your list, met both of you? Your long-lost uncle that you haven’t seen in 6 years hasn’t met your future spouse that you’ve been dating for the last 5 years? If you don’t want them there, don’t invite them.

People You Have to Pretend to be Happy to See

WHY are they even on your list?! No thank you! No fake smiles on your wedding day!!

Children of Your Friends and Family

Do you want kids at your wedding? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Adult-only receptions ARE an option! If you have a lot of friends that have children, you may consider trying to arrange a group-care situation for the kids in case parents have trouble finding a babysitter.

If your friends raise a stink about bringing their kids to your wedding, remind them that you’d loveย nothing more than for them to have a night out for themselves. What parent doesn’t want some time away from their kids, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don’t feel guilty about not wanting to have children at your wedding.

It’s alsoย totally ok to limit the children involved in your wedding to your nieces/nephews or other close-to-you kids, while asking that your friends and extended family leave their kids at home!

Repeat after me: It’s your wedding, invite who YOU want!

Have you run into issues during your wedding planning to do with obligation guests? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Still looking for your wedding photographer?

Shawn and I travel all across Western Canada photographing weddings, couples in love, and intimate portraits. Mileage is currently included in all our wedding photography packages within an 8 hour radius of our hometown of Regina, SK. Click here to learn more about us, and find out if we’re your perfect match! ๐Ÿ’•

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