Budget will often dictate how many people you invite to your wedding. If you have your heart set on a small intimate wedding, the guest list needs to be small and intimate as well. If parents are contributing to the cost, they will also have a say in who attends of their friends. If you have already chosen a venue, that too will determine the number of guests attending. You can sometimes stretch a budget by changing the time of day of your wedding, whether there is a elegant luncheon, classy cocktails or formal dinner. There are options like excluding: children, co-workers, distant relatives and reciprocal invites. It is not unusual to have an ‘A’ list and a ‘B’ list. Normally about 25% of invitees on the A list will not be able to attend. Keep this list quiet as to not offend guests.
A few things to remember. Always invite a guest/family members significant other. If you have friends that are not in a committed relationship it is acceptable to exclude ‘and guest’ from their invitations. Also, and in spite of possible family arguments, invite step-parents if your parents are there, and both parents if they are divorced (even if they don’t get along). It is up to them to behave as adults and decide if they want to attend or not!
Remember while there needs to be consideration of others, this is your day.