The Guest List

Wel­come to the hard­est part: de­cid­ing who you’ll cel­e­brate with.

New Zealand Weddings Planner - - Editor’s Letter - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY EMILY ADAM­SON

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”.

02.

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.

03.

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.

04.

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.

05.

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.

06.

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.

07.

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.)

08.

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).

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