The Guest List
Welcome to the hardest part: deciding who you’ll celebrate with.
LARGE OR SMALL?
Large events have a sense of grandeur. They also allow you to be much more inclusive when compiling your guest list, which means you’re not forced to leave anyone out. However, big weddings often come with a hefty price tag to match.
Large- scale weddings can also mean that your guests get lost in the crowd. A reception can only run for so many hours, so the more guests you have, the less one- on- one time you’ll have to spend with each friend or family member in attendance.
Though it can be tricky to limit your guest list, there are plenty of reasons to have a small wedding. Intimate affairs allow guests to spend more time with the newlyweds. And, because you’ll have fewer individuals to accommodate, you can justify splashing out on creating a more extravagant celebration.
DECIDE HOW YOU’RE DIVIDING YOUR GUEST LIST
Many couples opt for half and half: half the groom’s guests, for example, and half the bride’s. Others allocate a specific proportion to both sets of parents, too – particularly if they are the ones footing the bill. Decide what works best for your situation.
SETTLE ON A BALLPARK NUMBER
Sit down with your fiancé and work out who you’d both include on your “ideal” guest list – imagining that money is no object. Ask your parents to do the same. Tally up the final number and decide whether it aligns with the level of intimacy you want for your wedding. As suggested figures: extra intimate (<60), intimate (61-100), average (101-200), or large (200+).
CONSIDER YOUR BUDGET
Catering will make up a large portion of your total wedding spend – if you’re trying to keep things tight, that 260 guest list might not be a good idea – refine it slightly.
LOOK AT VENUES
You might have a dream venue in mind, in which case your “ball park number” is pre- determined. If not, once you know your guest list you can look at appropriate venues, and solidify the final count accordingly.
REFINE THE LIST
Now that you know the venue you have to fit into, it’s time to tweak and refine your guest list to settle on that perfect number. Easier said than done, we know. W
HOW TO CUT A GUEST LIST 01.
Have they met your fiancé? Unless in special circumstances (friends who have been living overseas, for example) guests should be acquainted with both of you ahead of “I do”.
No obligations. Just because they invited you to their wedding eight years ago, doesn’t mean you have to invite them to yours. Think of it like this: if you wouldn’t consider inviting them for dinner, it doesn’t make sense to invite them to the big event.
Think future, not past. Will they be in your life in five years’ time? Don’t feel obliged to invite school or university friends if you haven’t been close since. You don’t want to look back on photos and wonder who that person was, or why they were there.
No kidding. Invite kids only if you’re extremely close to them. If any parents ask questions, explain that you want to give everyone the chance to relax and have fun – including them.
Is context key? Apply the “if it wasn’t for” test. “If it wasn’t for work, would I ever see this person?” Save hurt feelings by eliminating entire groups (for example, colleagues or team mates) at a time.
Consult your calendar. When was the last time you saw them? If you live in the same area and it’s been more than a year since you got together they should be a no.
Is that plus one necessary? Unless you have socialised with the couple, there’s no need to invite both halves. (Possible exceptions: a guest who won’t know anyone at the wedding, or the other half has been on the scene for a few years, but the couple lives out of town.)
What do they mean to you? Review any guests on your parents’ list – if you don’t recognise the name, they deserve at least some scrutiny (unless your parents are paying for absolutely the entirety of the bash).