When it comes to getting married, there are a whole lot of difficult questions to navigate.
One of the sticking points some couples face is who to invite to their wedding.
Do you want a wedding with mostly family, or would it be better with more of your friends? How do you even decide?
The way to make this decision is to ask yourself one simple question…
Why are you having a wedding?
Well, duh!! I hear you say. We’re having a wedding because we love each other and want to get married?
Stay with me for a minute.
If marriage was the only thing you wanted, you could easily slip off to the registry office in your everyday clothes, grab two strangers off the street to be your witnesses and get legally hitched. No flowers, no photos, no personal vows, no rings, no worries!
But that isn’t what you’ve dreamt about. You’ve always imagined a wedding ceremony that’s a little more personal and special.
And so the question arises… when you have a finite number of guests you can pay for, how do you decide who makes the cut? The answer lies in knowing WHY you’re having a wedding.
What is the purpose of your wedding?
People get married for a wide range of reasons — for love, companionship, to recognise commitment, to provide security for children, for legal status and financial security, or for religious beliefs.
But when it comes to a wedding, there are usually one of three reasons.
- You want to bring your families closer together
- You want to thank your friends for their support
- Or you want to create an intimate moment between you and your partner you’ll remember forever
Is your wedding more about the interaction between you and your friends, you and your family or between each other?
The easiest way to choose is to picture yourself one year in the future on your first anniversary, seated across the table from your partner, enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail at your favourite restaurant. As you think back to your wedding day, you break into a big smile. You look at your partner and say “remember when …”. That moment you remember defines what you value most for your particular wedding.
A wedding ceremony for your family
A wedding that focuses on bringing together two different family groups, and/or recognises the contribution they have made to your lives so far has a family focus. This means you’ll be more inclined to invite Aunt Sarah rather than Megan from Grade 10.
This type of wedding might have a parent walk you down the aisle and give their blessing for the marriage. You might ask a relative to perform a reading, and your attendants are more likely to be siblings, with nieces and nephews as flower children and ring bearers.
A wedding ceremony to celebrate with your friends
A wedding that celebrates the part your friends have played in your lives has a friend focus. This means you’ll be more inclined to invite Maddie from Grade 12 rather than second cousin Sam.
You might walk down the aisle by yourself, have a friend read the lyrics of a song you love, and invite your closest friends to be your attendants.
A wedding ceremony for the two of you
If your wedding is more about the moments between you as a couple rather than hosting an event for your guests, then you should give yourself the freedom to invite only those you truly want to.
You have my permission to go the whole hog and only invite a couple of witnesses. An elopement or micro wedding is designed to highlight your relationship, so only your nearest and dearest will make the cut.
You might not make an entrance at all, have no attendants and enjoy a short and sweet ceremony without any extras.
The joy of an intentional wedding
Once you decide on the intention for your wedding, the guest list will fall into place. No matter whether you focus on your family, your friends or simply yourselves, you will have designed the perfect celebration for your chosen purpose.
[Inspired by Priya Parker, The Art of Gathering]