We are getting married at the end of 2009. Since more than half of our guests are coming from out of town—some as far away as Australia—we want to make sure we have some time to spend with them before and after the wedding. The other half of our guests are primarily local family and friends. After inviting all of the people you care about to the wedding, is it okay to only plan pre and post-wedding events for a select group of people? Is it okay to exclude some and invite others?
Dear Baffled Bride,
When it comes to weddings with a large amount of out-of-town guests, it is completely normal to have pre and post-wedding activities to entertain them while they’re in town. It’s also fine to to invite only certain people to these activities, as long as you have defined guidelines for who those people are. For example, it is totally acceptable to invite only out of town guests to your events, and to leave the local people out. This is done regularly for weddings and most guests will completely understand that your goal is to entertain the people who do not live there and have to stay in hotels, pay for travel, etc.
If, however, you decide to invite some local people and some not, you may end up hurting feelings or causing resentment between guests. Since your wedding is meant to be a celebration of a joyful time, this is definitely not something you’ll want to do! Just make sure that your events either include everyone, just out of towners, just bridal party, etc. If you decide you want some local people, etiquette states there really is no choice but to invite them all. You may also want to mix events; for example, have one event that includes everyone and then have a collection of smaller events only for your out of town guests. This way, everyone will feel included in something!