Can You Have a "B List" for Your Invitations?

You wouldn't want your guests to find out.

If you’re careful and diligent in your efforts, it is possible to pull this off without anyone being the wiser.

Photo: Valorie Darling Photography

can you have a b list for your wedding, b list for wedding guest list

Photo by Maitha Lunde

The guest list is probably the hardest part of wedding planning. There is so much to consider when finalizing the list of attendees. You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, you have to be cognizant of your budget and your venue, and so many rules regarding etiquette relate to the guest list. There is also the fact that there is really no way of knowing how many people will RSVP yes to your celebration. It can be frustrating to have to cut friends from your guest list to make room for your extended family, only to have those relatives not show up on the big day. 

There is a solution to this issue, but it’s fairly controversial in the etiquette world: The B List. Yes, if done wrong it can be a disaster full of faux pas. However, if you’re careful and diligent in your efforts, it is possible to pull this off without anyone being the wiser. 

For starters, it’s vital to make sure those on the “B list” are from the same social circle. If some college friends get their invitations before others do, there’s a chance the news will get out. This strategy works best for complete groups, such as coworkers, your book club, or former teammates. 

Once you have figured out your “B list,” you’ll need to have a second version of your response cards. Send your first batch of invitations early, with an RSVP deadline well ahead of time. This way, once you receive your respectful declines, you can send out your second batch with an RSVP deadline closer to the big day. You certainly don’t want to send an invitation with a response card dated in the past. That’s a surefire way for a prospective guest to know they didn’t make the original cut. 

If all else fails, there’s always the “Your invitation must have gotten lost in the mail!” gambit, but that’s really only believable for one or two guests. 

For more advice, find out how much you should talk about wedding planning and which vendors to tip.