ASK CARLEY: Trimming the guest list

Q: We're trying to cut down our guest list. I have a group ofrelatives who I almost never talk to (in fact, we haven't been intouch for over a year). Do we have to invite them just because they'refamily?

A: This is a tough one -- while it's easy to draw thehaven't-talked-to-in-a-year line with friends or acquaintances, it'sdefinitely not as simple when it comes to relatives. The best solutionis to decide on a cutoff point and stick with it -- for example,aunts, uncles and first cousins only. It's tough but fair.

Another thing to consider: You say you're distant from them, butdoes your mom or dad talk to these folks on a regular basis? Thoughyou might consider them safe to cut, you might risk upsetting yourparents. If it's just too troublesome to cut your relatives from theguest list, consider trimming another group, say, co-workers or yoursingle friends' dates.