1. The “B” Listers: When you start making your guest list, separate the people you must have at your wedding (the “A” list) from those you’d enjoy having there but don’t feel like their presence is crucial (the “B” list). Just because you were close with someone in college, or were invited to their wedding five years go, that doesn’t mean you are required to invite them to your own nuptials, especially if you’ve lost touch. A wedding is not a reunion — it’s about celebrating your union with your partner.
2. Exes: Unless your ex is your best friend and your partner has no qualms whatsoever about your close relationship, there is absolutely no reason to invite former lovers to your wedding. It’s not so much the fact that they are a part of your past, but how will your new spouse react if your former flame pulls you onto the dance floor? (Or if his did the same to him?)
3. Plus-Ones: Etiquette experts have a number of opinions on who gets a plus one: Some say any single person over the age of 18 (others go as low as 16), while some say that you’re only required to give a guest a plus one if he or she is cohabiting with a partner. When it comes to your unattached guests, however, I say let the singles mingle, unless you have very few singles invited and you run the risk of just a few loners.
4. Your Boss: Although it may seem awkward not to invite your boss, it may be even more awkward to invite him or her, especially if no one else from work is on your guest list. While etiquette once dictated that your boss was a must-invite, I say it depends on your office culture, the size of your team, and how comfortable you feel around your boss in general. Your wedding is intimate, no matter how many guests you have, and you want to feel at ease.
5. Relatives or Friends Famous for Behaving Badly at Parties: Your wedding day should be a stress-free as possible–you shouldn’t have to worry about Uncle Mort drinking too much and causing a scene, or your sorority friend starting drama with your bridesmaids. Anyone with a track record of causing major problems at parties should be carefully considered before you send him or her an invite.
6. Distant Relatives: While blood might be thicker than water, your friends likely know you, and your spouse-to-be, better than your second cousin removed on your mother’s side. Family doesn’t automatically make the guest list, especially if you don’t have a relationship besides sharing a last name. If you are questioning inviting an estranged relative over a friend…invite the friend.
7. Neighbors: Just because you share a morning greeting doesn’t mean you should feel guilty not inviting the people who live next door. While it might have been customary to invite the neighbors to your nuptials at one time, now it’s far less common — unless of course you’re legitimately friends with your neighbors and get together socially. If not, don’t feel bad about leaving them off the list.