Is it bad etiquette to invite all family members but one?
June 30, 2012 6:35 PM   Subscribe

Wedding invite etiquette: Is it bad etiquette to invite all family members but one?

I'm getting married this fall. There is a family that consists of 4 members: mom, dad, and 2 adult daughters. Mom and dad are part of my parents guest list and since I know the older daughter (but not close to her), I am inviting her and her boyfriend. Up until a year ago, I didn't even know the name of the younger daughter or that she even existed. Is it bad etiquette to invite all family members but the youngest daughter (which will also include her boyfriend)?

We have a small budget for the reception and are trying to keep the number of guests as low as possible, so adding 2 additional people we don't know doesn't make sense to us. We also don't want to cause any bad blood between our two families by not inviting the other daughter.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
posted by SndyLnd to Human Relations (17 answers total)
Why invite one daughter you're not close with and not the other? Makes more sense to invite both or neither.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:41 PM on June 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Yes, I think this would be a little weird. As I see it, you have a few other options:

1. Just invite the mom and dad.
2. Invite mom, dad, and both daughters, sans boyfriends.
3. Invite the entire family of four plus boyfriends for a total of 6 happy guests.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 6:43 PM on June 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

Instead of inviting the older daughter and her boyfriend, why wouldn't you invite the older daughter and her sister? Same number of people.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 6:44 PM on June 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I would either just invite the parents or the whole family, sans boyfriends. I would lean toward just inviting the parents though (the daughters might feel weird not having their dates at the wedding of someone they aren't super-great friends with). If you aren't close to the older daughter, I wouldn't feel the need to invite her.
posted by stefnet at 6:50 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just invite the parents.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:51 PM on June 30, 2012 [19 favorites]

Just invite the parents.

If you were actually friends with the elder daughter, I'd say invite everyone. But I think you can invite neither and fall well within acceptable wedding etiquette ranges.
posted by Specklet at 6:52 PM on June 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Just invite the parents.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:07 PM on June 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Invite the parents. No point in having someone you don't even know at the wedding. For reference: at our wedding we invited cousins and cousins' spouses (but not their kids); that's as far "out" as we went on the family trees. Except my dad's sister (my aunt): we invited her and her daughter (my one female cousin) but neither of her sons. All three of these cousins were teenagers, but the sons didn't bother to come to my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary, so we figured, why invite 'em? We still see them at family functions, no harm no foul. Invite who you want.
posted by notsnot at 7:13 PM on June 30, 2012

Nthing to just invite the parents. If you're trying to keep the reception small then don't invite people you're "not close to." It's not weird at all to not invite the adult children of family friends.
posted by apricot at 7:28 PM on June 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by trip and a half at 8:49 PM on June 30, 2012

Nthing just parents--are they good friends of your parents?
posted by brujita at 10:00 PM on June 30, 2012

Just invite the parents. But if you must invite the distant-daughter, you don't need to invite the never known-daughter, no big deal.
posted by arnicae at 10:47 PM on June 30, 2012

Nthing parents.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:19 AM on July 1, 2012

What about getting to know the other daughter, maybe she is a friend you just haven't met yet. Have your parents invite the whole family around for a cookout or something. I do not think you should invite the daughters without +1 unless you are applying that rule to everyone you invited.
posted by saucysault at 7:32 AM on July 1, 2012

I'd also invite just the parents. As another point of reference, for my wedding we invited people in a very transparent rule-based way, hoping that no-one would be offended. Basically, we invited aunts and uncles but no cousins, since adding cousins into the mix meant we'd have to start choosing and excluding in weird ways. (There are LOTS of cousins.) It's already come up once, and I felt sort of bad about it, but we were able to say "sorry, we didn't invite any cousins, it was getting out of hand" and hopefully folks are OK with that.

So maybe there's some sort of general philosophical rule you can give, like "parents, please come, we're not generally inviting children-of-friends so sorry your daughters can't come, thanks!"
posted by lillygog at 9:43 AM on July 1, 2012

Just invite the parents. I think it would be weird to invite the daughters (one of whom you are clearly not close to, since you didn't know her sister existed) without their boyfriends and why invite 4 people you barely/don't know to your wedding? It seems like if your parents weren't inviting the other parents none of these people would have been included (on your own list, that is) so I wouldn't worry about it. I'd be surprised if the daughters even came, if invited.
posted by sm1tten at 9:49 AM on July 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another vote for just the parents. If you invite the whole family but not the boyfriends, there's a good chance they'll bring their boyfriends, anyways. Many people do not realize that an invitation is only for those whose names appear on the invitation.
posted by pecanpies at 9:59 AM on July 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

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