The Big List

Pretty much as soon as you have gotten engaged and start planning your wedding you need to talk about the guest lists. There are very few brides out there who are lucky enough to write a guest list of absolutely everyone and be able to invite them all, most couples need to whittle down who to invite to save on costs, or to accommodate a dream venue that they’ve found.

Weddings by Rachel have put together some great starting points to help you create your big list of guests.

  • The first to add to your wedding guest list are the immediate family.
  • Next are family members such as Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins who are truly a part of your life.
  • Next are those who are like family to you. Remember, when inviting close friends you should include partners.
  • Now you should look at friends who are a part of your life and are special to you on a day-to-day basis. This could include neighbours, colleagues and old school friends. It is appropriate to invite partners if you know them, however, with guests such as colleagues, it may be suitable to invite a group of colleagues and not invite any partners if you do not know them.

After creating this initial list make a total amount of guests and from there you can see if you can afford to add anyone else to you guest list. This could include anyone from family members that you aren’t so close to, or business contacts that still keep in touch.

It is definitely worth bearing in mind that parents will want to have a say into the guest list, especially if they are paying for some or all of the wedding. They will have friends that they will want to share your wedding day with. It is also reasonable to say no if you don’t have the room or if you don’t know the guests. If you are paying for your wedding day you need to keep a firm grasp on the guest list otherwise things can get out of hand.

If you are feeling the strain with the guest list don’t feel obliged to invite people who you do not have a relationship with or that you never keep in contact with. A Christmas card once a year does not justify a wedding invitation.

Once your guest list is complete now it’s time to consider who you can afford to invite. If there is a need to cut people out start from the end of the list and work your way up.  Set and stick to boundaries. This can be tricky if one set of parents is paying the bill and wants to invite more guests. But when it comes down to it, this is your event. Sometimes it’s just a matter of increasing the size of the guest list, and the parent who goes over their number of invites can pay for the overflow, but sometimes it means that one person inviting extra will affect someone else’s invitations.

All of the immediate family with input should be given the same number of people to invite, regardless of who’s paying. What that means is that if you’re having 200 guests and you and your fiancé take 100 of the invites, his family should get 50 of the remaining invites and your family should get the final 50. If one set of parents are divorced, then each of the parents split the 50 evenly. Of course, if one of you is an only child and the other comes from a family of 20, you can re-evaluate how to split up the numbers.

If you complete your list and realise that it’s far too big, use some of these tips to help you trim it down.

  • If you have never spoken to, met, or heard the name of a particular guest, he gets cut, even if dad swears they’re close
  • Anyone whose bedtime occurs before 9 p.m. will miss the cake cutting, so don’t feel bad about cutting all the under-12-year-olds.
  • Single friends who want to bring a significant other only get an ‘and guest’ if they’ve been in the relationship for a year or more (or live with the person).
  • It’s your party — if you don’t want them there, don’t feel that you have to send an invite, even if you were invited to their wedding or they are friends with lots of people who will be invited.
  • Don’t assume people will say no – always assume that everyone will say yes. You can always have a backup list to make up the numbers, but if you do this make sure that you send the first list out earlier so that you are not sending your backup list invitations too late!

For more wedding planning tips and advice, contact Weddings by Rachel.

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