You're In, You're Out

The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: When the guest list gets hairy, where do you draw the line?

When a couple marries, their two families merge. How that relationship proceeds — and how it’s defined — are everyone’s responsibility. If the two families are going to be close, then each family needs to make choices that will further that goal and each needs to develop come-together behavior. Such merges often lead to life-long friendships.

A bride asks: “Since I was a little girl, my parents have impressed upon me that when I marry, I will gain a whole new family and I should treat them as such. So, is it appropriate to invite the parents of my new sister-in-law? I’m concerned that by doing so, I will alienate the people in my new family that I don’t invite. I’m also concerned that I’ll set a bad precedent for my three younger sisters when they get married. Please help!”

» Have related wedding invitation queries? Read about inviting co-workers, rabbis, and exes.

Dear bride: One of the most important aspects of a wedding is the company! If you keep focused on that, you’ll be making correct decisions. For the purposes of this Q&A, I’ll assume that money is not the most important priority.

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That said, it would be wonderful to invite as many people from your new family as possible. The best way to keep from insulting family members is to invite by the levels on the family tree. For instance, if you invite first cousins, invite them all, as well as aunts and uncles. (That scenario would mean no second or third cousins.) Then, if you see yourself going over-budget, keep in mind that the guests come first. In other words, when you can, make a list of those people you would like to invite and then look for a venue that will hold them comfortably and not go over-budget.

Readers, what say you? What are your suggestions for couples with a limited budget? Share your thoughts in the box below.

To submit your own question to the Wedding Guru, email Judy at

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