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How To Make Your Wedding Guest List

Parents And The Guest List

How to Create Your Wedding Guest List

Alex & Frank. Sept. 6, 2014. Groton, Mass.

One of the biggest challenges was deciding that our wedding would be adults only. I had always imagined having children at our wedding, but we soon realized that it would not be feasible. Had we invited second and third cousins, we would have added 30-plus guests under the age of 12. However, since many of my cousins have children and were traveling from out of state, they thought it wasnt right to come without their kids, and did not make it to the event. This caused me a lot of stress since I wanted my cousins to make it, but could not go back on my decision not to invite children. It was simply too much money, plus we didnt feel as though the event space was all that kid friendly.

Figure Out How Many Guests You Can Actually Afford

Now that you have your guest list draft sorted, youll need to figure out how many guests you can actually afford. If you havent already determined a realistic budget for your wedding, get this done first!

Next, source some quotes from your venue and other suppliers to determine a rough per person cost. Remember, each guest means an additional cost for food, drink, invitations, place settings, chairs and cake, so youll want to determine pricing for each of these elements.

After removing any non-guest related costs from your budget , divide your remaining budget by your rough per person cost. This should give you a good indication on how many guests you can realistically afford at your day.

Youll also want to check the capacity limitations at your wedding venue itself. Some venues may have restrictions in terms of how many guests can actually fit into the space, particularly for sit-down weddings requiring tables and chairs. Your venue will likely have different capacity numbers for a sit-down dinner compared to a cocktail style wedding. If your guest list is on the larger size, you may want to consider a stand-up wedding to allow for more people.

Intimate Affairs Vs All

First things first, what do you picture when you envisage your dream day? Are you imagining a close-knit, intimate affair with just a handful of your nearest and dearest? Or does your wedding vision look more like one big party with hundreds of loved ones celebrating together?

There are definitely pros and cons to both options, so think about what feels right to you and your partner. Remember this is YOUR wedding, so think carefully about how you want the day to feel and the kind of experience you want to remember. This will be your first indication as to whether your guest list is going to be on the small side, or if you definitely want a larger group.

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Talk With Close Family Members About Who They’d Like To Invite

I made a big mistake in not taking the time to sit down with our parents in the beginning and ask for the names of people whose attendance was important to them. Sure, the subject came up a few times over the phone, but I never actually had “the talk” with them about who they wanted to be there. That resulted in our guest list creeping up slowlyalong with my blood pressure. Bottom line: Make sure your guest list includes everyone that needs to be on it. Then review it again, because there’s a good chance you missed someone!

Shoreshotz Photography

Divide The Guest List Into Categories

How to Make Your Wedding Guest List Spreadsheet {Free Download ...

Divide your list into four categories. From A to D. In the A, you should include all the people you can not marry without.

Aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends of the school you keep in touch with should go to the B list, in your list of C should include co-workers, friends of your parents, and neighbors. Finally, your list D, distant cousins, friends you lost contact with. If you need to cut your list, start with the D.

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Breaking Down Our Guest List Cheat Sheet

First things first: are they a family member? If not, are they a friend or coworker? These initial questions are huge in helping categorize and filter out potential guests. Either way, following our 3-year rule is a full-proof way to ensure that your guests will be a long-term part of your future as a married couple.

Ask yourself if youd be upset if they didnt invite you to their wedding. If the answer is no, the feeling is typically mutual, and theyre likely on the same page as you.

Lastly and maybe most importantly, will they make your wedding more fun? Having guests that will enhance your wedding are key! Keeping in mind who does and doesnt make your life more fun is sure to help cut down your guest list, crafting the perfect wedding guest list.

Needing more tips on what to do and consider when curating your most optimal guest list? Beyond our guest list cheat sheet, considering who will show up, B-lists, and other deets can get tricky. Read more about our favorite steps in making guests lists all the more easy here! Cheers!

How To Begin Your Wedding Guest List

If youve already begun searching for your wedding venue, you may have a target guest list to work to, and/or if you fall in love with a particular venue even after starting your guest list, you may wish to reduce the guest numbers to fit.

To get an idea of how many possible guests you have, even including those you probably know you wont have room for, I recommend making a list, or starting an excel spreadsheet of all of those potential guests. Every person you would potentially invite if budget, venue capacity, and even time with your guests were no issue. You may wish to do family lists each, and then go through your friend groups together. The guest list template is one of your essential wedding planning tools in the planning pack, and also included in the ultimate bundle with our best-selling wedding planner.

Once you have a list of all those you might consider inviting, you can do a quick calculation to work out how much it might cost on a per-head basis alone. For an all-inclusive wedding venue with a full-service dinner, you can expect to pay around $120-170 per guest, excluding beverages. Alternatively, take around 50% your total wedding budget, and divide it by the number of potential guests to work out how much your wedding budget would probably need to allocate, per person, to cover catering, drinks and hireage.

You may immediately see that your wedding guest needs to be cut down, either to fit your budget, or your wedding venue.

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Guest List Inspiration And Advice

Now that weve gone over the basics, lets hear a few tips from wedding professionals and real-life couples:

Create an excel spread sheet. Tara Guérard, Tara Guérard Soiree

Starting early is key. Once you have your list finalized, keep everything in an Excel sheet and update RSVPs as they come in. Most couples have last minute add-ons. Our best advice is to create a master list and be very adamant about keeping it up to date. We instruct clients that need to narrow down their list to divide their list into tiers to decide who stays and who goes.

Stick to a specific Guest Count. Lisa Thomas, Ooh! Events

Couples can opt to pay the incremental costs that come with inviting extra people. The best way to keep the list from growing is for the bride and groom to be hard and fast on a number from the very beginning and stick to it. They can give each set of parents an allotment of invites, and manage that specific number.

Dont overdo it. Hunter McRae, Hunter McRae Photography

If you get stressed, take a breath and walk away from it for a few days. Come back with a clear mind. And if youre planning something youre both not super excited about or that seems overwhelming, take it back to the drawing board. Its about enjoying this moment as a couplenot everyone else.

Take it online . Blair Menzel, Blogger, Blair Blogs

Create The List With Both Sets Of Parents And Your Partner

Creating Your Wedding Guest List | Who IS Invited To Your Wedding & Who IS NOT

Do not create your wedding guest list alone. It is essential to involve your parents, in-laws, and your partner to-be in the process. Their involvement is very important. If you try to create the list on your own, you will later keep updating the list, which is not wise. Decide when all of you are available, sit in one place, and let each one give their inputs. This is specifically important when your parents or in-laws take care of wedding expenses or a part of it.

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Crucial Tips For Making Your Wedding Guest List

Wedding planning is no easy task. There is a seemingly endless things to take care of each of which require a lot of thinking and pondering over. From the theme to the décor to the dress to the cake to the venue to the catering planning a wedding is no joke, though it can be fun!

One of the most important aspects of wedding planning though is deciding on the wedding guest list. If you think dealing with the above mentioned issues is a challenge, get ready for the worst of them all .

The number of guests that you decide to share your special day with directly affects everything from the venue to the arrangement to the numbers everything. Therefore, getting this out of the way should be one of your top priorities. Inviting everyone you know and care for is nothing short of a dream and a luxury that very few amongst us can ever imagine to delve in. For others, lists are the way to go.

To pick and choose favourites for your big day is not something anyone would enjoy unless they are hosting a private and intimate wedding. Considering the fact that there is already a lot going on for you, this is the last thing you need on your plate.

After asking within the wedding communities all over the world, one of the most popular problems was making your wedding guest list. So here are 7 tips Ive put together after some research that will help you curate your wedding guest list. Lets get started.

Avoid Offending Family And Friends Youre Not Inviting

Though it can be tempting to avoid any potential awkwardness by inviting everybody, this wont serve you in the long run. Heres a few ideas about having a smaller guest list and narrowing down your guest list. Remember, the more people you have, the less time you will have with any of them, the more it will cost, and the more you have to organise .

To avoid hurt feelings, many couples like to narrow down their list with a few rules, like no ring, no bring, no children, or not inviting certain groups, like co-workers. They may be right for you, or you may wish to work it out on a person by person basis, as rules might exclude people youre really close to.

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How Does Your Wedding Budget Influence Your Guest List

For many couples, it is the wedding budget which is the biggest determinate of your guest list. If you want to give your wedding guests an incredible experience with really great food, wine and entertainment, youll know that the cost per head can be very expensive. If faced with a limited budget and large guest list, its about finding a balance between the experience you want to provide and share with each guest, and how much it will cost you. Of course, the quickest way to reduce your catering and hireage expenses is to reduce the number of invited guests. A smaller number of guests also opens up your options for wedding venues, accommodation, transport and more.

As you may have already worked out, I am a big advocate for a small guest list, if possible. However, I know thats not always a practical reality, with big families, lots of friends, and possibly pressure from parents especially if they are contributing to your wedding budget.

So, for those of you who are grappling with a lot of potential guests, and youre not sure where to begin, read on. See also a sample of the guest list pages of our wedding planner at the end of this article.

Lets Look At Six Couples Who Have Conquered The Guest List:

How to Make a Wedding Guest List

We always wanted to have a small wedding. We talked about 25-30 people, but then when we actually started to write out our list, it added up much quicker than expected. We realized that at the end of the day, what was important to us was getting married, and who was or wasnt able to be there didnt matter much, outside of our immediate family and friends.

From there it was easy. We originally invited 55, but we had to narrow the list down once we found out that the maximum our venue could accommodate was 40. My family and a majority of my close friends are in California, which actually worked in our favor, since we knew most of them would not be able to make it, due to the short notice and cost.

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Think About You And Your Vision

Don’t forget that your big day is actually all about you and your partner – not everyone else. Which means that whatever vision you hold should be your number one priority. Try to work your wedding guest list around that vision, as opposed to working tirelessly and getting stressed over who to invite.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the experience that you’ve created, so plan your big day in such a way that it will create memories that you value with the people you love.

How To Explain To Someone They Didnt Make Your Guest List

You may not want to rush into this, just in case there is some room to manoeuvre later, but at some point you will have to tell someone that theyre not invited to your wedding. This can be an incredibly awkward conversation but there are ways to be respectful and polite.

  • Set the tone early. If you know that you will be having an intimate wedding, let your friends and family know well in advance, so they arent as likely to expect a wedding invitation and then wonder why theyre not invited.
  • Explain that your wedding budget is limited. Anyone who has ever been married will understand wedding budget constraints, and its a tough one to argue with even if you havent. If you are unable to invite a plus one then its advisable to let friends know prior to invites going out otherwise theyre likely to ask you anyway. Its best to front-foot conversations like this and set the tone early.
  • Be respectful and dont talk about your wedding at length in front of people who are not invited.

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