Organizing your wedding is meant to be one of the most exciting, albeit exorbitant, times of your life. But it can also be pretty stressful when some friends and family don’t see eye to eye, and long-standing beef and individual personality clashes are more likely to be heightened by hours of drinking and high emotions.

A wedding is the kind of subject where everyone wants to have an opinion; who can bring a plus one? Is it alright to include kids? Which guests want which seats? Drama, drama, drama!

If you are a married person reading this, I’m sure you can sigh in nostalgia at all the stress you went through. And if you are part of a couple about to get married or helping someone plan a wedding, this is for you.

Who Should You Invite?

The pressure of a guest list more often than not results in tense situations even in trouble-free families. In fact, most times, weddings can be a catalyst for long-simmering family tensions (like how that mummy Ayo has been holding a grudge for not being invited to your sister’s wedding, and you think you will skip her for yours? No oh!).

But really though, relationship experts say that when you write your guest list, try to start with all the VIP people who hold significance in both the bride and groom’s lives – those that make the couple who they are – and then start adding from there.

Your priority should be to ensure that you are on the same page with your partner, rather than picking sides with your parents or your in-laws. A lot of issues tend to arise, especially when the parents are paying and they, therefore, feel that that gives them a right over the guest list, and so uncle Emeka must be invited.

Feeling that you ‘should’ invite people, can cause a lot of problems and guilty feelings. If you are having trouble filtering out the people you feel obligated to invite but actually rather wouldn’t, it’s better to replace that ‘should’ invite to ‘could’ invite.

While this may not give you the answer you’re looking for, but it opens up possibilities and decreases your guilt about non-invites.

At the end of the day, it’s best for couples to stick to the people who bring out the best in them so if it means that grumpy uncle misses out, but the chatty aunty who has been making your morning every day for more than a year makes the cut, then that’s your choice.

Be proud of it.

Who Should You Not Invite?

Now there is also the question of who shouldn’t get an invite. Ultimately this depends on you. I know many people who invited old crushes and ex-partners. But if the presence of any specific guest is going to make you or your spouse feel uncomfortable, then don’t invite them.

Your wedding is all about celebrating your love for each other with the people you care about the most – if you use this as a rule of thumb, you cannot go too far wrong.

Always tread carefully, especially around areas of potential conflict. If there are some family members who really don’t get along, you should consider the situation very carefully. Divorced parents, still raw with emotion, new husbands or wives trying to show off or even feuding cliques where things might get confrontational, are all potential scenarios that can make it difficult to know what to do.

Should You Brief People On The Guest List?

This might seem like a strange idea, but if having a conversation beforehand can help avoid any potential surprises or conflicts on the D-day, then it is worth considering. Nobody likes nasty surprises on their wedding day so if there are guests who don’t get along, tell them well in advance. If they then decide not to come, that will be their own choice.

Alternatively, they can choose to show up, but be civil for the wedding.

Be careful how you frame that conversation though, you know how the elders especially, in the Nigerian society takes things like this. So tell them in a way that shows that you are giving them a heads-up, and not entering into a debate or asking for their permission. If you’ve decided on a guest list, then, by all means, stick to it.

Don’t forget to brief the photographer or the people in charge of seating people for the ceremony so that they don’t mistakenly force feuding guests together and create a terribly awkward scene.

Should You Drop Sensitive Parts Of The Wedding?

These days, some elements of weddings, like the speeches or family members accompanying the bride and groom, can be quite tricky to navigate if you prefer not to do them with the people who are traditionally responsible. So how do you navigate them?

If there are family situations that the traditional elements of your wedding day feel awkward, then it is best to reconsider the structure of the day or compromise. This could mean, for example, the bride asking her stepdad to walk her down the aisle while her father gives the speech, or asking her mother, or walking down the aisle by herself.

Another relationship expert states, “Weddings are historically riddled with tradition but they cannot be a one-size-fits-all, there really are no hard and fast rules… it is your day.”

So don’t try and take complete responsibility for your guests once your mind is made or else you’ll miss out on fully enjoying your wedding. Find yourself a team of “yes” people who would be your cheerleaders throughout.

In conclusion, things might go wrong, someone might trip on their high heels and splash water on you but that’s all part of the fun. If you and are your partner discuss any potential pitfalls you might experience, you have a greater chance of getting through your wedding unscathed.

The key to having a breathtaking wedding is not letting it take control of you.

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