Here’s Everything You Need to Know About (Tactfully) Inviting Your B-List Guests to Your Wedding



Piecing together your guest list (as in, gathering the names of every relative, friend, and parents’ friend, etc. on both your side and your groom’s) is a massive project in and of itself, but it’s trimming down that list that can prove to be the most challenging part of all.

That’s where having a so-called “B-list”—the guests that you don’t have to have at your wedding, but that you’d truly like to invite if space allows—comes in handy, so when it’s time to cut a few people from the list, you know exactly where to start.

But as useful as a B-list can be, it’s also a very tricky situation to navigate: You don’t want any of your guests to suspect that they were your second choice, so there’s a bit of strategy—and lots of forethought—that must go into inviting them without causing hurt feelings. This Loverly post, which covers who to put on your B-list and when to send out the invites, has got some really great guidelines you should follow if you’re going to take a crack at a second round of invites—and it got us thinking about the great things our local expert buds had to say on the subject in a past issue of PW. Between all these tips, you should be able to pull this off and have a great time at your wedding with all the amazing people in your life you were able to gather. Take a look:


We’ve all heard of the A-list/B-list phenomenon: Divide your guest list into one group of must-have guests and another of guests you’d like to invite later on, provided enough of the A-listers decline. Since this can open the door for hurt feelings, it’s a divisive, thorny issue that most planners urge brides to avoid. But in some cases—say, when your venue holds you to a minimum number of guests—it can behoove you to employ a strategic, thoughtful approach to the B-list.

1. Early planning is a must. “You don’t want the B-list to look like a B-list,” says Phyllis Jablonowski, owner of Glenside’s event decor and planning firm Eventricity. That second batch of invites should go out early enough that guests don’t suspect they were an afterthought.

2. Once you decide on the breakdown, send your save-the-date cards ASAP—but only to your A-listers. Many invitees will express their intentions (yes or no) after receiving the save-the-date, which helps you gauge how many B-list spots you’ll have even before you send out invitations.

3. “When you find out you’re on the B-list, it sucks,” says {former wedding planner} Melissa Paul. Avoid this by keeping guest categories (work friends, teammates from your touch-football league, etc.) intact across groups; don’t invite some now and some later. They’re bound to talk and discover your approach.

4. Organize your B-list in priority order, so that when the response cards start trickling in, you immediately know exactly whom else you can invite. And don’t send out more B-list invitations than you have available spaces. The last thing you want is more guests than seats, especially when you’re closing in on the Big Day.

5. Give all guests as much time as possible to respond. Aim for A-list invitations to be sent at least eight weeks before your wedding date; B-list invitations should go out as soon as you can send them, with an RSVP date no later than four weeks before the event date.

RELATED: Ask the Expert: Do I Have to Invite All My Female Wedding Guests to My Shower? 

RELATED: Ask the Expert: Can I Invite My Co-Workers, But Not Their Spouses? 

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