7 Tips for Creating Your Wedding Guest List
You're Engaged, CONGRATULATIONS!! First things first before you can start anything you need to figure out approximately how many guests you will be inviting, yes this happens even before you set your budget as the number of guests affects how much your dream wedding is going to cost (don't worry we are going to help you create a budget later on).
Here are some tips to make this not so fun process go more smoothly:
1. Design your dream list - Why not jot down absolutely everyone you would ever want to come to your Wedding, from that third cousin you met once to a long lost friend you haven's spoken to in 10+ years. Remember this is your dream list, you'll obviously be doing some trimming but for now think big. Also, ask each set of parents for their "dream lists" and make sure you call it a dream list so they know that they may not be able to invite those guests if budget and venue size doesn't allow it.
2. Be realistic about the number of guests now so you don't have added stress later - This is the least fun part of the process but it has to be done so you can move on to setting your budget and then booking your venue. Keep in mind you have to feed every guest and for that reason your budget should be broken down per person, think $500-$700/per guest as that is the average for most Weddings for ALL of your vendors, venue, food and beverage, dress, flowers, decor, etc.
3. Now it's time to trim that dream guest list - It's time to be realistic, who should you actually invite, this gets really personal but you both (as well as both sets of parents) have to make some cuts or you are one going to be having a big wedding and two your budget is probably going to be higher than you ever planned. Think about how close you are with each guest right now, not how long you've known them but how close are you now. If you haven't spoken to someone much or at all in 6 months, they probably don't need to attend. Another thing to think about is family, yes it would be great to have them all there but that for some families that is A LOT of people. You will obviously be bringing immediate family, past that bring family members you are close to if you haven't seen them in 3+ years and they're a second cousin it's probably not necessary they get an invitation. Not crazy about inviting children to your party? Don't feel bad about having an adults-only wedding. If there's anyone who's on the list because you feel guilty about leaving them off (maybe because you were invited to their wedding or they're friends with lots of people who are invited), don't invite them.
4. Make an A-List and B-List - Having two lists is how you'll be able to invite the most people without raising your budget or having to find a larger venue. Here's how it works: Your A-list consists of the must-have invites you couldn't imagine not having at your wedding, like your family and close friends. They'll receive your first round of invitations. Your B-list is made up of guests you still really want to be there, so don't put just anyone on it. If you start getting RSVPs and it turns out you have enough no's then you'll start sending invites to your B-list. If you send your B-list invites too close to the wedding, you might as well tell those guests they're second best. Do it without being obvious. Send your A-list invites 12-16+ weeks in advance, which will give you time to send invites to your B-list 8-10 weeks before your wedding. Don't forget to print a second set of reply cards with a later RSVP date (sending RSVPs with a date that has passed is a dead giveaway that the recipients were on your B-list).
5. Don't let family drama wear you down - Boundaries—set them and stick to them. When it comes down to it, this is your wedding. Have any hard conversations face to face. You want to make sure you're sending the right signals, and when there are emotions involved, you want your point of view to be heard and understood. If it comes to budget let your mother or mother-in-law know that you will need extra money if they insist on bringing their friends.
6. Plus ones - There will always be those guests that cram additional names onto the RSVP card. We suggest you only send out a plus one to someone that is in a relationship, if they aren't then sorry no plus one so they can bring a friend, after all you are going to place them at a table with people they know. A way to avoid those additional add on's is by writing out their name on the RSVP card and/or writing out the names of those invited on the envelope addressed to them. If for some reason you still get an extra write-in, it could just be that the guest doesn't know the protocol. Don't take it personally, instead, politely call and tell them the deal: You'd love to have everyone, but budget and space mean it's just not possible.
7. Avoid Last Minute Add-On's - Whether or not you spread the word yourself, you're probably going to get a few awkward comments along the lines of, "I can't wait to come to your wedding!" from someone you're not so sure about inviting. Prepare yourself for potentially awkward conversations by coming up with a polite but firm response that can't be misinterpreted. Something along the lines of, "Of course we'd love to invite everyone, but unfortunately, with the venue space and our budget, we aren't able to." Then take the conversation in a totally different direction, hurt feelings will happen and that's life.
Need help making the invitations or any of your other Stationery? Contact one of the three amazing vendors we have in our show:
Monica + Jasmine