Do You Invite Your Attendants' Parents to Your Wedding? Here's the Tea.
Let's face it: Deciding who to invite to your wedding is one of the most challenging aspects of the wedding planning process. Beyond your closest friends, family and wedding party members, you may be struggling to finalize the rest of your guest list, especially when it comes to folks like coworkers, acquaintances, distant relatives and parents of your wedding party members. Speaking of the latter, it begs the question: "Do you invite the parents of attendants to your wedding?" Below, we tapped into several wedding experts to get the full rundown.
In this article:
Is It Customary to Invite the Parents of All Attendants to the Wedding?
Put simply, says Juls Sharpley of Juls Sharpley Events in Aspen, Colorado, "It totally depends on so many individual factors of your specific wedding." That said, she tells The Knot, "Overall, I would say that if you do not have a personal relationship with their parents, then you absolutely do not need to extend an invitation."
Think of it this way: If there are members of the wedding party whom you met in college or adulthood—and whose parents you've never met—there is no need to invite them. On the other hand, you may choose to invite your childhood best friend's parents if you or your family have a relationship with them. However, even this is by no means mandatory. For one, says Sharpley, you may be coming up against guest count restrictions—whether this is related to venue capacity or budget—or you simply don't want to. Regardless, she says, "Your guest list is always totally up to you and what you want for your wedding."
Will Your Wedding Party Members Expect Their Parents To Be Invited?
Nora Sheils, founder of Pacific Northwest-based event planning company Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, explains that while your wedding party members should never expect their parents to be invited to your special day, sometimes they are naturally included. "Oftentimes, when parents of the wedding party are invited to the wedding, they are lifelong friends," she says.
If you do opt to invite one–or all—of your bridesmaids' or groomsmen's parents, Diane Kolanović-Šolaja, owner and creative director of Dee Kay Events in New Jersey, recommends sitting them down to discuss the scenario before sending out wedding invitations, "Asking for their consideration shows respect for your friendship." She continues, telling The Knot, "Parent relationships can be complicated [and] you want to ensure your attendant feels seen and heard."
Can You Invite Certain Attendants' Parents and Not Others?
The short answer? Yes, you can invite certain attendant's parents and not others—but, per Kolanović-Šolaja, you definitely need to be mindful and "aware of hurt feelings." Meanwhile, Sheils echoes these sentiments and stresses the importance of being transparent with your wedding party. "If you plan to invite the parents of a wedding party member, make sure the rest of the party knows why." All in all, like any solid relationship, communication here is key!
How to Decide When to Invite Attendants' Parents
On the fence about inviting one or more of your wedding party members' parents? Take the below factors into consideration before finalizing your wedding guest list—and remember, there's always the option to put them on the B-list (and no, before you ask, it's not rude—just as long as you remember that it's all about timing!).
You have a personal relationship with them.
"Are you close with the parents? Do you consider them your family? Would you hang a printed photo on your wall in your home? How impactful is this relationship in your personal life?," says Kolanović-Šolaja. "These are questions you can ask for any guests to be on the list at your wedding, especially for parents of attendants."
You have the budget—and the space!—to invite them.
Before inviting your bridesmaids' or groomsmen's parents, make sure you have enough room—both in the wedding budget and the venue itself. If the answer is yes on all counts, you can proceed with sending out those wedding invitations!
You're able to sit them with people they know or would get along with.
According to Sheils, your wedding party member's parents serve as honorary family members. With that in mind, make sure you'll be able to seat them with either 1) people they know or 2) people they'll feel comfortable with. Per the pro, this can include your parents, other family members "or at least someone from a similar time of your life."
Your wedding party member is bringing their child(ren) and needs their parents to look after them.
If you're not having an adults-only wedding, it's possible that one or more of your wedding party members will choose to bring their kids along to the festivities. If this is the case, Sharpley recommends inviting your bridesmaids' or groomsmen's parents if they (meaning the members of the wedding party) are bringing children "who need supervision during the wedding and would like their parents to provide this."
When to Not Invite Attendants' Parents
Ultimately, says Shells, "You should never feel pressured by anyone in your wedding party to invite their parents." If you're on the fence about inviting one of your wedding party member's parents, keep the below scenarios in mind.
Out of Obligation or Guilt
According to Kolanović-Šolaja, "You never want to invite anyone out of obligation or guilt." Additionally, she says, "You are not doing anyone any favors by asking someone you may resent to attend your wedding." So, while it may be challenging to say no at first, remember it is your wedding day—and if you will feel lighter and happier without their presence, then you're doing the right thing.
"If you know that your attendant does not speak to one parent or both, do not cross that line and invite them to your wedding," says Kolanović-Šolaja. "Be mindful of their relationships and respect their standing with you." As with anything, boundaries here are critical!
There's nothing wrong with wanting a small wedding, and it's okay if your guest list reflects that! With this in mind, couples craving a more intimate affair should stick to inviting only their nearest and dearest friends and family members.
"The extra cost of invites can be a major deciding factor if the numbers do not add to your budget," says Kolanović-Šolaja. She continues, "Inviting parents can add to additional plates for dinner, transportation and accommodations."