Your wedding day is bound to be a big deal for a lot of people who are outside of your immediate social circle. It might even be a big deal for people who have no business coming to the ceremony, and who you’d really rather not invite. Our take is, if there are people whom you don’t want to invite to the ceremony, feel free to not invite them. But we do acknowledge that it’s not always so simple. So here’s our guide for whom not to invite to your wedding, but we’ll also include some advice for how to handle these folks if they just have to come.


Any and All Exes

Look, we shouldn’t really have to say this, but it does come up from time to time. Unless you dated very briefly and have remained platonic friends for longer than your current relationship, exes have no business being at your wedding. Wedding receptions tend to involve booze, and booze tends to make exes nostalgic and jealous, and the whole thing ends in tears.

If you must invite them: Tell them they’re welcome to bring a date, try not to make eye contact, and hope they don’t hit the bar too hard.

The Friend Who Parties Too Hard

We all have that buddy who just never knows when to quit. Either they have a serious problem and should really get help, or they rarely drink and always overdo it when they do. Either way, they may treat your open bar as an excuse to get hammered and go crazy.

If you must invite them: Have a heart-to-heart before the big day and explain that your reception is not a raging keg party, and that they’ll need to dial it back a bit. Then enlist a groomsman to keep an eye on them.

The Family Member Who Parties Too Hard

See above, only it’s a family member, so it’s extra awkward. Plus, they’re a generation older than you, and aren’t likely to take advice or admonishment from you.

If you must invite them: Have your parents or grandparents do the intervention before the wedding, letting them know that crazy drunkenness is not going to be tolerated. You can include them in activities such as the wedding sparkler send-off line, but try to avoid giving them much responsibility. You may also want to buy cheaper wedding sparklers for the guests that you don’t really care for and reserve the 36 inch sparklers for weddings for the guests you like since they cost a lot more. Have someone their age or older keep tabs on them throughout the reception.

Your Old Friend You Lost Touch With

Everyone has at least one or two of these. You were really tight in high school or college, but you lost touch over the years, kind of outgrew each other, maybe developed polar opposite views on religion and politics. Seeing them again is going to be more awkward than pleasant.

If you must invite them: Seat them next to your parents, who probably remember them more fondly than you do. Make a little small talk when you have to, but don’t hesitate to use the business of your wedding day as an excuse to get away.

If you have to invite any of these potential time-bombs to your wedding, take heart and eliminate risks like booze and sparklers from the equation. No wedding is perfect, but you can make yours wonderful regardless of who is lurking around the periphery.