Ask Lolly – ‘Guest List Etiquette’


Afternoon dolls! How has your Monday treated you so far? And how was your weekend; did you manage to tick some things off your wedding ‘to do’ list? I spent a vast proportion of the weekend planning, plotting and pinning home interiors as part of the huge refurb project the boy and I have undertaken this year. Were any of you doing something similar?

This afternoon sees the first ‘Ask Lolly’ post of 2014. The regular readers out there will already be familiar with this particular post but for those of you new to these glossy pages (hello and welcome by the way!!) let me take a moment to explain the concept.

Essentially, once a month, I take a moment to try to solve the wedding trials and tribulations of you lovely lot. It could be anything – a plea for help with how to seat divorced parents and their new partners, an accessories dilemma or even a suggestion for a wedding processional hymn or song.

This is also an opportunity for you folks to weigh in with your thoughts and opinions too – after all we love to hear what you have to say on wedding matters and I’m sure there’s more than one of you in a similar predicament.

So without further ado let’s hear what our January bride in distress has to say. Take it away Cassie…

Hi Lolly,

I think you may be able to help with a bit of a dilemma we are having with our wedding and in particular our guest list and guest list etiquette!

We are getting married in October next year so we are busy pulling together lots of lists including our guest list.

We are in the very fortunate position to have a massive circle of friends and family who we would like to celebrate our special day with us, however this does mean we are verging on 140 guests just for the day reception! One particular group of friends we are having trouble allocating to day or night guests are my old work colleagues.

I left my previous job over a year ago, and while I was at the job I was lucky enough to be invited to 3 weddings as a day guest in the 4 years or so I was there – one was only in November 2012 just after I left.

Since leaving the job I haven’t seen any of the friends whose weddings we went to other than when I have made the effort to go visit my old job; we haven’t met socially, and don’t really text/Facebook etc apart from liking the odd picture or two!

But as we were invited to theirs’ is it polite to return on the same level?? It could save us up to nearly a whole table if we invited them to night only.

What do we do?! Help!


Cassie x

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The age old guest list predicament eh? A veritable minefield of can’t do right for doing wrong. Where one wrong move sets off a chain of events resulting in everything exploding in front of your face.

Ok so maybe that’s a little excessive…I do have a penchant for over-dramatising a situation. That said, it’s a common dilemma and one we hear over and over again at RMW HQ so it seemed apt to share Cassie’s plea for help especially at a time when so many of you will be starting to sketch out your own wedding guest lists.

If I’m honest Cassie I do think that you’ve answered your own question when you say ‘since leaving the job I haven’t seen any of the friends whose weddings we went to other than when I have made the effort to go visit my old job’.

If you were to ask yourself truly and honestly, just how important are these old work colleagues to you? It sounds to me that you’ve been nurturing the relationship with little being given in return. If you stopped making the effort would they fill the gap?

I think so many of us fall into the trap of feeling as though we should invite certain individuals to important life events due to guilt or because we don’t want to appear rude or unappreciative.

Weddings are expensive affairs pushed to their limits at the best of times despite our best attempts to economise and DIY and Cassie I imagine your big day is no exception. You mention that you could save ‘up to a whole table’ if you invited your work colleagues to the evening rather than for the whole day and this is a HEFTY chunk of money.

I’m firmly of the opinion (whether rightly or wrongly) that you should choose to invite those people that you simply couldn’t be without on one of the most important days of your life. Not those individuals who you feel obliged to ask in reciprocation for previous invitations. The same applies for bridesmaid politics too.

I’m sure, in fact I’m certain, that if these colleagues genuinely care about you then they’ll be thrilled to be a part of your day regardless of what capacity it is in – day or night.

An Ask Lolly discussion post exploring Wedding Guest List Etiquette And Who You Should Invite To Your Wedding._0002

Cassie I can’t make the decision for you but I can offer you my advice and that would be to invite them to the night-time festivities only.

If if helps then let me share my personal experience with you; we invited every single guest to our own wedding because we wanted them by our sides on such an important day but neither the boy or I invited them because we assumed and expected that we’d be a part of their own big days in turn. Where we’ve been lucky enough to have attended a wedding or two of the self same guests we’ve been thrilled and incredibly grateful irrespective of whether it’s been to the full shebang or just to the night-time entertainment.

Follow your heart and trust your gut. You won’t be wrong. Promise.

Remember guys and gals if you’ve got a dilemma of your own that you feel you need help solving then drop me an email at

Remember a problem shared is a problem halved…

All my love Lolly xxx

Author: Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.