March 14

A Tricky Guest List: The Divas Dish

One of the hardest parts about wedding planning is culling through your guest list—especially when it comes to family. Take this question from a reader, for example:

Dear Divas,

I have a question regarding wedding invitation etiquette and hope you can help. Our situation is a little complicated by the fact that we really only want 30 guests at our wedding. My fiance is one of eight kids and he’s 50. This means that his siblings have grown kids, and those kids have kids. How can we handle this as we do not want to offend anyone, yet we are only inviting siblings and spouses? To complicate this a little further, one of his siblings has two grown kids that we are close to and would like to have there. Is there any hope for us?? Please help.

Getting a Headache in Chicago

Dear Headache,

Our hearts go out to you! It’s not easy to host such an intimate wedding, but we applaud your efforts to stay true to the celebration you have in mind. Our advice for your situation is twofold:

1. It’s perfectly reasonable to limit the guest list to siblings and spouses, but by inviting two of the grown children and not the rest of the pack is pushing the limits of proper etiquette (not to mention increasing the likelihood that someone will be offended). We suggest limiting the guest list to siblings and spouses and excluding all children in accordance with proper invitation etiquette.

2. That being said, we think a big family like yours would probably love the chance to celebrate all together. Have you considered hosting an informal party after the wedding? Invite everyone over, ask them to bring a bottle of wine, lay out some snacks and let everyone raise a glass to your new union without the formality of the ceremony and reception (or the obligation to bring gifts!).

We hope this helps ease your headache a little! Your extended family will likely understand your desire to keep the ceremony small, but by offering a second celebration they can all attend you might make a little headway in repairing any hurt feelings.

What would you suggest Getting a Headache in Chicago do? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Do you have a question for our wedding experts? Send your etiquette, wedding planning or style dilemma to and we’ll post an answer for you.


2 Comments   |   Posted in: Diva Dish
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About Katie

Katie M. is a Writer at Wedding Paper Divas. She has the privilege of viewing nearly every piece of stationery before it goes up on the website, giving her the ultimate inside scoop on upcoming trends in the stationery world. She loves classic designs with a surprising twist, and enjoys finding new ways to express her ever-evolving personal style—a blend of traditional glamour and bohemian whimsy that makes Wedding Paper Divas a perfect fit! In addition to her love for writing, Katie is obsessed with health and fitness, skincare, UC Santa Barbara, all things adorable, the beach, dancing, cooking, getting real mail, fresh flowers, discount shopping, and shoes (who isn’t?). Katie is a contributing editor to Diva Dialogue. Be sure to check out her recurring feature, “Rant or Rave.”

2 thoughts on “A Tricky Guest List: The Divas Dish

  1. Kisabird

    agreed, weddings are happy events for the whole family and so by keeping it intimate, you have to stay true to what you are doing by only inviting siblings and spouses – no exceptions. I agree that a fun informal ‘open house’ reception later for all family would be a wonderful way to share the joy. I would probably call the 2 grown children you are close to so you can explain up front your decision; I’m sure they’ll be understanding.

    Congrats on your union!


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