The guest list can be one of the most difficult aspects of planning your wedding. You will be navigating everything from family politics to workplace gossip. You will need to be on your A-game if you are to avoid any missteps.
The most important thing is to never let yourselves get lost in any of the stress that comes with planning your wedding, whether it is deciding the venue or ordering the party rentals. After all, it is going to be the happiest day of your life so you need to make it as stress-free as possible.
So, how do you curate a guest list that makes everyone happy, including you? Read on for some great tips to help you out.
1. Decide how many people you can afford
If you are paying for the wedding yourself then you need to start with a budget. Everything will come down to that. So, starting with your budget you need to make sure that once you have the number of guests that you can afford you stick to that number.
2. Getting financial help? Don’t give them a blank cheque
If you have been offered financial help by one or more of your family members then you really need to start thinking about how you are going to divide up the guest list. You need to be upfront with your generous family members about exactly how much influence they are going to be having on the guest list.
Traditionally, what is done is that the bride and groom select half of the available invitations and each side of the family’s parents take a quarter each. If you make this clear before you accept any financial help then you will be off to a great start. It is often the case that those providing financial assistance assume that they are able to invite as many people as they like, simply because they are contributing to the wedding. This can cause friction so be careful.
3. Make sure that you have your bases covered
While you don’t want to hand over the control of your wedding guest list to anyone else you should absolutely ask for some input. After all, you may need a reminder on distant relatives that deserve an invite at lease. Even though they probably won’t be attending.
4. Don’t delete any names halfway through the planning
When it comes time to start trimming the guest list down, be sure to not delete any names. You can simply move them to another column or highlight them in another colour. This allows you to keep track of who you have removed from the guest list. Why is this important? If you have not invited Uncle Greg, this may mean that you should also not invite his sister, Aunt Mary. Wherever you decide to have your cut off for the extended family it is important that you are consistent.
5. Get the dream list together then work backwards
This can be a fun activity to get the ball rolling. When you start building your list, jot down the names of everyone you could ever imagine attending your wedding. This could include old friends and colleagues, or distant relatives. You can trim this down later, but there should be nothing holding you back when you get started.
6. Take notes on why you cut people
Not that anyone would be rude enough to ask why they’re not invited of course… right? Many couples are surprised by how blunt people can be if they feel slighted by not being invited. It is a good idea if you keep your reasons fresh in your mind. “We just wanted immediate family” or “The venue is really small” are really good deflections that allow you to avoid any follow-up questions.