Managing that Pesky Guest list: Tips and Tricks

True Stories from the Wedding Wars

Picture this, you just got engaged to the man or woman of your dreams and you just told your immediate family, friends, and couldn’t resist posting it to social media. Now the messages of congratulations are coming in and you are so overwhelmed. Then that one friend of a friend sends you message saying, “I am so happy for you, I can’t wait for the wedding!” … now what??

Moving forward from the best day ever you have just realized you now have to plan an entire wedding and the panic sets in. One of the first steps after getting engaged should be creating a budget followed by your guest list. In your dream world where you have been visioning your wedding since you were little, you have everyone and anyone at your wedding because you are so excited and want to share it with the world. However, reality soon sets in and you must create a realistic list of guests. There is input from your family, your fiancés family, and random acquaintances that are assuming they are invited. The best way to move forward is having a strategic plan of action to avoid stress and everyone’s input.

Start by creating a A-list and a B-list

It can be hard to decide who to invite and who not to invite but you have to be realistic about your figures. To help make it easy on you create two separate lists. A-list should consist your immediate family and close friends. Those you couldn’t imagine not having there. Your B-list should be consisted of those you still really want at your wedding but may not be able to afford the extra guests. Moving forward from this you have your numbers of your A-list so send those RSVP’s first. When you start receiving declined invitations then start sending out invites to your B-list but in order of importance. For example, your best friends’ parents who are second parents to you should get priority over your friend of a friend who you went to college with.

Cutting out plus ones

You want your guests to be happy, but it is also your wedding they are attending. You do not have to extend a plus one to everyone! You may have a close friend who has been with their significant other longer than 6 months, but do you still invite them? Well, have you personally met them? Have you spent time with them and know them? If you or your fiancé have not really met them then there shouldn’t be an extended invitation sent out. Consider only giving plus ones to those close friends who are already married, engaged, or you are confident they will last. Settle on a cut off time as far as dating so when you do send out invitations no one’s feelings will be hurt. Does that mean you should invite your maid of honors new boyfriend whom they’ve only been together for 4 months, I would say no.

Say no to children

This can be a very tough decision, and one that is not made lightly. By choosing not to have children this will help to keep your guest numbers low. Depending on your venue there may even be some limitations on children attending at all. Considering your venue is on a yacht, children under 4 are free but those who are 5 and older must be accounted for in your guest total, meaning you must pay for them. You may have a child of your own that you want there and that is okay but does not mean you have to extend the invitation to your friends and family who have children. Some people will be upset and may decline your invitation but that is their decision. This just means your list will get even smaller!

Include names on response cards

The standard RSVP cards that are sent out have a line where you write your name and accept or decline the number of seats reserved. To avoid any mishaps with guests adding additional people have their names printed on the response cards prior to sending them out. This will hopefully make it impossible for anyone to force an invite you. If you do happen to have someone not understand the concept of preprinted names, then kindly call them to explain you’ve only extended the invite to 2 of you not 5.

Know your venue limits

After creating your A-list and B-list you have a general idea of your guest numbers and with this number in mind you can get a better idea of cost for your venue. No matter your budget you need to know the maximum capacity of your venue and the cost per head. For example, you have 175 guests on your list but now you know the figures from your venue and soon realize you can only afford to have 100 to 130 guests.

A few final tips would be to avoid verbal invites, last minute add-ons, invite those you truly see being in your future, and if you haven’t seen or spoken to them in the last 4 years don’t invite them.

Your parents and future in-laws will have a say in the list as well and if they are paying for the wedding than rightfully so. However, set boundaries! Do not allow them to overpower you and your fiancés list. Bend now and you will continue getting more requests.

Wedding planning can be stressful but don’t let this be the thing that gets you down.

Finally, remember that it’s easy to get lost in what you “should” be doing… throw that out of the window and do what YOU want to do!

Surround yourself with people who get you!!

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