Though the absence of civil society representatives can have devastating consequences for the legitimacy and sustainability of a peace process, peace negotiations have a strong tendency to focus on armed parties. This paper discusses why, whether and how to engage civil society, ranging from direct involvement in negotiations to the establishment of parallel fora with consultative mandates and the involvement of civil society through informal communication channels. The authors critically examine the advantages and disadvantages of each option and offer practical guidance for mediators, including a questionnaire to structure decisions.