Creating a wedding guest list can be tricky to get right so we’ve pulled together some top tips for getting your guest list ticked off your to do list.
Having your loved ones share in your wedding is a huge part of what makes your big day so special. From watching as you exchange your vows, to helping you dance the night away, the milestone just wouldn’t be the same without them. But creating your final wedding guest list can be a tough job, especially when you have more friends than you have budget and you have 6 cousins twice removed that according to your parents, absolutely have to attend your wedding! To help you out, we’ve put together a list of useful tips for making your wedding guest list from start to finish.
1.Create your dream wedding guest list
Between you and your husband to be, start by creating your ultimate wedding guest list. This includes everyone you would ever dream of having at your wedding, from your nearest and dearest to your old university friends and colleagues. This is your long list.
2. Review your budget and decide on a number of guests
Once you have a complete list, have a realistic look at your budget and decide on how many people you will actually be able to invite. (In deciding how many guests your budget can cater for you need to consider the size of your venue and the typical cost per head for catering.) This is where the tough part comes in – having to cut people out. While putting a limit on guests is never fun, it’s important to be strict with your numbers. When you start making exceptions things can get very expensive very quickly.
3. Create an A and B guest list
The best way to start simplifying your guest list is by creating an A-list of must-have people, such as your immediate family and close friends, and then a B-list of nice-to-have people. The A-list will receive your first round of invitations. If you start getting enough ‘unable to attend’ RSVPs, then you can start inviting people from your B-list in order of importance.
This way you will be able to invite the most amount of people possible without going over budget. If you use this technique, make sure to send your first round of invites early enough to give you time to send out more invitations if need be, without them seeming like last minute add-ons.
4. Decide which guests to invite
When it comes down to who to invite to your wedding it’s important to create some hard and fast rules in order to keep your numbers in check.
While it would be great to include everyone you are or were ever close with on your special day, inviting all of your friends, new and old, is not always an option when you are trying to stick to a budget. Create your list by writing up rules to follow. Some potential questions to ask are:
- Have you seen them in the last year?
- Are you and your fiance both friends with them?
- Can you picture yourself having dinner with them in the next year?
If you were once close but haven’t chatted in ages, move them onto the B-list. If they invited you to their wedding and you are still close it’s good etiquette to extend an invite. But if their wedding was a long time ago and you have drifted apart since then, it is completely understandable to leave them off your list.
Generally speaking, immediate family, grandparents, aunts, uncles and first cousins are always invited to a wedding. However, depending on how big or small you want to make your special day, and how big your extended family is, you may choose to either subtract or add on to this number. As a rule of thumb, group types of family members together. Either invite all of your second cousins or none at all. This will avoid hurting people’s feelings down the line.
The issue of whether or not to let friends bring a date has always been a tough one for many couples. The ‘plus one’ situation should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. If your friends or family members are in a long-term relationship, engaged or married, it is polite to extend an invitation to their partner. However, if you make an open invitation for anyone to bring a guest, you run the risk of having a bunch of strangers at your wedding that you will end up paying for. Put a rule in place to make it easier to choose who can and can’t bring a date.
Whether or not to invite children to your wedding is another tricky one. It is completely acceptable to not want kids at your celebration, but take into consideration the needs of your guests. If you are having a destination wedding it may be difficult to exclude kids from your big day.
Again, pick a rule when it comes to inviting children and stick to it. Older children are generally better behaved, so putting an age limit on your invitations can help make sure you avoid temper tantrums on your special day. If you don’t want kids at the wedding, let your guests know ahead of time so that they can arrange a sitter. If you don’t want to invite children to your wedding, find out how in our blog post: How to get away with not having children at your wedding.
If you want to include children in your wedding but aren’t sure how to keep them entertained, check out our blog on 7 Budget Friendly Activities for Children at Weddings.
And if all else fails in keeping you sane in creating your guest list then read our post It’s ok to… Guests. Once you’ve decided who to invite, invite them in style with our guide on How to use Printable Wedding Invitations to Wow Your Guests. Plus, to keep everyone happy at your wedding we’ve also pulled together some top tips on How to entertain your guests between your wedding ceremony and your wedding breakfast.
We hope this post helped you put together your wedding guest list. We’d love to find out from you, do you have any advice for creating a guest list that doesn’t go over budget? Tell us in the comments section below!
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