bride dress shopping

Wedding planning isn’t just about you and your partner—though you certainly are the focal points. Whether you like it or not, your families and other loved ones may want to be involved, too. But when is it appropriate to include your family members and friends in your wedding planning events? Can you bring a crew of pals to your venue tour? What about dress shopping or menu tasting? There are certain wedding planning tasks that should be handled by you and your future spouse (no meddling MILs necessary), but there are others where it’s okay to bring a few special guests. 

Here’s a rundown of who to bring to all of your different wedding planning events. 

*Note: These are simply suggestions - if you and your partner want to handle planning without help from loved ones (particularly if you’re paying for your wedding yourselves), that’s totally your call.

Setting up your registry
Who to bring: Your partner

Creating a wedding registry is all about building your and your partner’s newlywed home. While selecting your favorite dishes, pots and pans, towels, and more, might not seem like a big deal, these are the items you’ll be using for years to come, and it’s important that you and your partner feel comfortable with your registry selections. Bringing a friend or family member to help set up your registry will just make the process more confusing—your and your partner’s opinions are the only ones that matter here (sorry Mom!). 

Touring wedding venues
Who to bring: Your partner, your wedding planner, and your parents (if they’re paying)

Choosing a wedding venue is one of the first—and most important—decisions you’ll make. If you’ve hired a wedding planner before booking a venue, we recommend bringing him or her along to this wedding planning event—they’ll know the right questions to ask and will be able to advise you on the best space for your event. And if your parents are paying for a majority of your wedding, they should be invited to join you on venue tours and share their opinions, since your venue will take up a big part of your budget. 

Vendor meetings
Who to bring: Your partner 

As you start building your vendor team, you’ll probably set up in-person interviews to decide which pros you’d like to hire. Typically, these meetings are handled by just you and your partner or, if you’re okay with dividing and conquering, you can attend some of these solo. If your parents are paying for the majority of your wedding, they may ask to come, too. Just remember that the more people you bring to these meetings, the more opinions you’ll have to contend with. It may be best to have your parents to pick one or two pros they’re interested in meeting, and leave the rest to you and your future spouse. 

couple looking at venues

Taking engagement photos
Who to bring: Your partner and your photographer

Your engagement photos should be a relatively private event between you, your partner, and your photographer (and maybe a hair and makeup pro if you’re so inclined). The goal of an engagement session is to build your relationship with your photographer and get comfortable in front of the camera—hard to do if your entire wedding party is watching! 

Attire shopping
Who to bring: A parent and a few close friends

Shopping for your dress or tux can be a fun group outing, but remember that the more people you invite, the more opinions you’ll receive—which can make the process of finding “the one” even more difficult. Our recommendation? Bring a parent and a close friend or two whose opinions you trust. Inviting the entire wedding party might make the day feel like a party, but in the end you’ll feel more confused than thrilled. 

Menu and cake tastings
Who to bring: Your partner and wedding planner

One of the wedding planning events couples most look forward to is the menu tasting. Remember, though, that a tasting isn’t a dinner party with an open invite list. Your caterer may only be able to accommodate a limited number of people, and really, the your menu items and cake flavors should be selected by you and your partner—no additional opinions necessary. If you’d like your wedding planner to be included, discuss it with your caterer first. 

Premarital counseling
Who to bring: Just your partner!

You’ll talk about some, er, personal aspects of your relationship during your premarital counseling sessions, so these meetings with your officiant are best kept private. 

couple flower shopping

Shopping for wedding rings
Who to bring: Your partner

You’ll likely wear your wedding rings every day, so there’s an entirely personal decision based on your lifestyle and personal style. There’s no need for anyone (except your partner) to join you as you select this important piece of jewelry.

Attire fittings
Who to bring: A close friend or family member

You certainly don’t need to bring your entire posse to your attire fittings, it’s a good idea to bring one or two loved ones to serve as a second (or third!) set of eyes. You may be so dazzled by seeing your gorgeous gown for the first time, that you don’t notice the gaping armhole. Hopefully your fitter will notice any (minor imperfections), but it’s a good idea to have a loved one present just in case. If you’re planning to bustle your wedding gown, be sure to have the person who will be responsible for bustling your dress attend one of your fittings to learn how to do it. 

Hair and makeup trial
Who to bring: No one! 

At this wedding planning event, you and your beauty pros will test hairstyles and makeup looks to find the ones you’ll wear on your wedding day. It’s a good idea to attend this solo, and allow your hair stylist and makeup artist to work their magic. While you might be tempted to bring a friend or family member along, they’ll likely get bored during the process, and you can always show them pictures of the looks you tried afterwards. 

Obtaining your marriage license
Who to bring: Your partner

Unless you’re planning a courthouse wedding (in which case you may need witnesses), just you and your partner need to appear at your city or county clerk’s office to apply for your marriage license. This is definitely a romantic milestone, so it’s something you’ll probably want to handle privately—don’t forget to snap a selfie after you’ve filed your paperwork!