Q&A: Must you invite the entire family? - Wedding Etiquette - Wedding Planning

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Photo Credits: Larissa Cleveland, Next Exit Photography, Tara Connor Photography, Nicole Dixon Photographic, and Lindsay Flanagan Photography.

Must you invite the entire family?

A You absolutely may invite only the adult members of a family, or any other configuration of family members you prefer, although it would be impolite to expect that a married person would attend without their spouse. If you wish to invite only the parents, address the invitation to them, and do not include their children's names. (If any person's name is included, they are considered invited.) Many guests are unfamiliar with invitation etiquette, and even if you have addressed the invitation such that they should know that their children are not invited, they may presume otherwise. When they RSVP, you may be faced with the need to correct the situation. You might decide to verbally, or better yet, with a note, let them know that the event you have planned is for adults only or that you just don't have space to accommodate the people they've RSVP'ed for. It might be good form, in the same conversation, to extend an invitation to the entire family to join you and your betrothed for an alternate event, such as a dinner, picnic, or barbecue.