Creating a Guest List

One of the most difficult things you will do while planning your wedding is creating your guest list. There are different things you have to consider when making the list.

First of all, what is your budget? If you made a rough draft list of guests and it was 350 people and your caterer quotes you at $20 per plate, you’ll end up spending $7,000 on just food alone. Another thing to think about is your budget for décor. If you are set on having chair covers and the average cover costs around $2.50 per chair and you plan on 350 guests, that is $875.00. Budget concerns might make you take a second look at the first list you made and make some cuts.

Secondly, you need to pay attention to what your venue can adequately hold. If the venue tells you it can comfortably hold 300 people, but you want to try to squeeze 350-400 in the space, are your guests going to enjoy themselves if they can’t move around the room? Cutting 50 guests in this scenario might make for a more pleasant evening for all invited. Make sure not to under-invite as well. If you chose a venue that holds 300, but are only inviting 100 the room might feel pretty empty even if everyone on your list shows up.

Are you going to allow guests to bring plus-ones? If so, plan on even more guests attending than your list shows. It is difficult to allow some people to have a plus-one, but not others so make sure whichever you decide you make the rule for all. You can’t guarantee that the guest won’t bring someone along with them or fill out the RSVP card correctly.

Kid free receptions are gaining in popularity. This is one way to cut your guest list significantly if a lot of your family or friends have children. If you do decide to cut kids from the list, you need to eloquently state this somewhere on your reception card. For example, “We respectfully request this remain an adult only affair.” Keep in mind you might offend someone, but if you let anyone that causes a fuss about it know that it isn’t because you don’t like kids you just want it to be adults only so all of the parents can enjoy themselves, it might help ease the tension. Word to the wise—if you say adults only, keep it that way and don’t make exceptions. At the end of the day this is your decision so stick to your guns in order for it to be exactly the way you want it to be.

Coworkers can be a tricky decision, but unless you have a friendship outside of the office or a very small team, there is no obligation to invite them and they shouldn’t expect it. Just think, if you have 15 people in your office and they each get a plus-one; that is 30 extra people on your guest list that you didn’t necessarily want or need.

Lastly, make sure you work together as a couple to create a list you can both agree on. Make sure to ask your parents for their must-have lists (especially if they are paying for most of it). There are helpful tools online to guide you in making the tough decisions, but rule of thumb, if you haven’t seen or talked to the person in question in over a year, they don’t need to be added to the list.

Think about you both as a couple, how do you envision your big day? Do you see the room filled with hundreds of people or do you want a more intimate, scaled back reception with just a few of your closest family and friends? The day should be exactly what you both want. Create a guest list that embodies this vision and have the BEST DAY EVER!


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