Should you invite someone to your wedding because you were invited to theirs?

Whittling down your friends, extended family, colleagues, school, and university friends into a guest list that you can afford (or fit into your dream venue) is one of the toughest parts of planning a wedding.

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You may have already been invited to several weddings and had a great time celebrating with the newlyweds, but now that it’s your turn to walk down the aisle, do you have to repay the favour and invite those couples to celebrate with you?

Let’s stop right there and think about the word favour for a moment. It sounds so… transactional! So why do so many couples feel like there is a tit-for-tat expectation that if they attended someone else’s wedding, they automatically should be invited to theirs?

It is hard enough to decide whether to go more family-heavy, focus on friends, or to go totally intimate with just a handful of guests, so remember this – you are only obligated to invite two people to your wedding as your witnesses.

It is something couples so easily forget in the rush to make sure they have invited everyone that they should.

When it comes to couples who have invited you to their wedding, the short answer is no, you don’t have to invite them to your wedding. Consider the following things to help you decide if you will include them in your wedding guest list.

How long have you known them?

There is always a place in a wedding guest list for friends or work colleagues that you have known for many years. There is a reason why you have kept them in your social circle and regardless of whether they have invited you to a past wedding or not, it will be special to have them celebrate with you.

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Is there potential for a strong future?

You may not have known them for too long, but you have a strong connection to the couple. They must have seen the same in you to have invited you to their wedding already. But think about whether you see your friendship lasting for many years to come before you consider extending a wedding invitation.

How long ago was their wedding?

If you attended their wedding within the past 12 months and your relationship is still going strong, consider inviting them to your wedding. If it has been a couple of years and you have fallen out of touch, there is no need to use your wedding as a means to reconnect when their seats could go to people you hang out with regularly.

Were you surprised to be invited to their wedding?

You may not have been that close when you received an invitation to their wedding, but look at how you are now. If you have become tight-knit since, consider them in a good friend category. If it was a one-off and you attended their wedding to be polite, don’t invite them.

Was their wedding huge?

Different couples have hugely different wedding budgets, which can dictate the size of the wedding and number of guests you can invite. If the couple invited 250 guests and you were among those who may be on the outer of their social circle and were fortunate enough to get an invite, don’t feel like you have to squeeze out close friends from your guest list of 90 to be able to fit them in.

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