Your Wedding Guest List: how to create it, or cut it down

Wedding Guest List

You’ve started planning your wedding and have now reached the task of making the wedding guest list. This can be a joyful but stressful task. The first thing to consider when making your wedding guest list is your budget. Budgeting for a wedding is a complex process and deciding how big (or small) you want your wedding to be is the very first step in wedding planning and planning your wedding guest list. You and your partner  know the intricate relationships between your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. Therefore, the task of building the wedding guest list, as well as cutting it down, is going to be left up to you two.

You will want to start wedding guest list tasks early and pick a realistic number of guests, this can avoid stress later. To find that number, put a price tag on each guest, and know the bottom line of what each guest will cost. Consider everything when calculating the price tag: the meal, cocktail hour, favors, invitations, thank you notes, cake, centerpieces, any open bar or additional events,  taxes and fees. Once you have that number in black and white, it may help to decide your final guest list, and may determine if you need to make cuts. Then, when picking a venue, choose one whose capacity does not greatly exceed the number of guests you are inviting. If you’re budgeting for around 150 people, finding a venue that fits only that number can be the perfect excuse to keep your number below that.  Now that you have your number, and cuts need to be made, here are a few tips on deciding who to invite, and who doesn’t make the final list.  

Here are a few suggestions on cutting the wedding guest list and getting it where it needs to be.

  • First and foremost – Invite only people you see often, love, and want to be there. Keep it to the people who support your relationship and know they will be a part of your future. 
  • Have a policy about adding plus-ones. Determine a set amount of time that people have been dating as your cut off and be strict about it.  If you allow one guest a plus one but deny another, it could be a source of drama.  
  • Do not stress out about reciprocal invitations, just because you went to your college friend’s wedding 10 years ago doesn’t mean the situation is the same now. Go back to inviting only people you love and see often
  • Ask your parents not to go overboard with inviting their friends/colleagues who you may not know. Discuss with them your wedding guest list number, and your desire to keep things intimate. 
  • Decide whether you will have children as guests. Saying no to children as guests can be a touchy subject. But, in some cases, it can significantly cut down on your overall number. If you need to, include some local babysitting options for out-of-town guests. 
  • Cut entire groups to avoid hurt feelings. For example, not inviting anyone from work instead of trying to select one or two people. 

Cutting down on your wedding guest list is certainly not the fun part of planning, but sometimes it does need to be done. As the saying goes “It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it” and that someone is you and your partner. 

These are just a few suggestions. Keep in mind, making your wedding guest list is going to be personal to you and your partner. Once you have your number, and the wedding guest list is built, all the fun parts of planning get to start happening. 

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