A wedding without guests is nearly bland! However, the most demanding and harrowing of all is the task of creating a wedding list in wedding planning. If yours is a big fat wedding, there is always a room for almost every guest, but the real situation occurs when you want to keep it low or want to celebrate your big day with just a limited number of people. You have your friends to invite, then your colleagues, then your relatives, then your partner’s friends and his/her colleagues, his/her relatives, your parent’s friends, their colleagues (if any), your partner’s parents’ friends, and the list goes on!! OMG!! I understand this is the most taxing task of all. So, what is that which can be done to make it easy or let me put it like… How to make a wedding guest list without having to spend extra dollar on guests.
First things first, remember that your wedding invites always depends on the size of your wedding, venue of your wedding, and most importantly the budget that you have set for your wedding. There are people you’ll have to invite. And there are some you would really want to skip. And there definitely be people who would want to force invites. Yeah, it happens!! But the most important question is – how to decide who to invite and who to cut? Well, if you are also confused about whom to invite to your wedding, then this post is for you.
Here are the best tips to create a wedding guest list. Check it out…
1. Follow the thumb rule
First things first, before you involve your families, make a tentative guest list with just your partner. It’s a thumb rule to start your guest list with your immediate families, after that you add those close family members you really want to have at your wedding. Then comes your closest friends — basically the ones you simply can’t imagine getting married without. If you will start this way, you will not miss on inviting the most important people in your life for your wedding.
2. Who is sponsoring the wedding?
This is crucial! Making a guest list can get messier, if one or both sets of parents are involved in the planning or contributing financially. Yes, if your parents are contributing financially or sponsoring your whole wedding, then surely half of the guest will be theirs. If you really want to have just a few people or only those who you think your wedding would be an incomplete affair then be clear about your expectations before you accept help from them.
3. Involve your parents now
Even if you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, do involve your families and talk about the guest list so there are no surprises later. Also, deciding on number of guests beforehand and sticking to that number is a great idea. Let your families also know that these many people can only be accommodated, and accordingly you all can add to the guest list.
4. Decide who to cut from the list—and stick to it.
When you set to invite your relatives or extended family members, then the general rule of thumb is, if you invite one aunt, all your aunts and uncles should be invited, and the same goes with your cousins and second cousins. If yours is a small family then definitely there will be no problem, the problem occurs when the extended family is large, this can add to your guest list! So, best is start with closest relatives first!
Then there is a rule to go by, have a look at it:
- Don’t invite people from extended family if neither of you has spoken to or met them or heard their name before.
- Do not invite people who are not in talking terms with you for past three years or more.
- Don’t invite people out of guilt of leaving them, because they invited you or maybe because they are friend’s friend or whatever.
5. Have same number of guests from both sides.
Your guest list should evenly be divided between both the families. For instance if you are planning to invite 100 guests at your wedding then it should 50 each side.
6. Let your parents also have some extra slots
While you prepare your guest list, make sure your parents also have some extra slots to invite their friends or whoever they want to. Your wedding is an important event for your parents too. They must also have a few people who they want to be at your wedding. Maybe your mom wants to have her best friend be her side on your wedding day in order to have support.
7. Take a call about children in your wedding
If you are not so kid friendly… ☺ ☺ Then it’s entirely up to you whether or not children should be invited to the wedding. Make sure you decide it beforehand – whether you want little ones at your wedding or looking for an adults-only celebration, and then accordingly add to the list. Kids under 12 are considered as children guests. But make sure you apply this age rule for all, which means in the process you cannot leave your cousin’s 12 year daughter and have your best friend’s 8 years son that will be really awkward. You will have to be determined about the rule. Stick to the rules strictly.
8. Turn to return the favor
You might have attended lots of weddings till date, and somewhere you must be feeling to return the favor, which is true of course. But believe you me, this one’s tricky! You cannot invite all those who have invited you till date. In that case you can simply apply a rule, which is – don’t invite people who invited you say 5 years ago, doesn’t matter even if you were a bridesmaid in there. You simply have to see how many people you are connected today in real life. It doesn’t matter if you two are Facebook friends, you guys are not talking… Right?? If you have really attended any wedding in the past 1 or 1.5 years, that couple should be on your guest list, for sure.
9. Set your boundaries and stick to them
Don’t let your or your partner’s parents wear you down, set your boundaries and stick to them religiously. See keep it simple, after all it’s your wedding and it should happen your way. And if your parents are really keen to invite some extra people, then the solution is simple – ask them to pay for the overflow. For instance, if your father is keen to have his club member at your wedding and the venue you have chosen has capped the guest list, then you or your partner will end up forfeiting some of your guests. So, the best is to be clear in the first place.
10. Be pragmatic and thoughtful about the number of guests
Of course, you would not want any stress later, so it’s good to be pragmatic about the number of guests in the first place. Though, cutting on guests is not a nice idea, but the fact remains you can avoid the number as well. You cannot go beyond your venue size and your wedding budget. Remember, each guest will cost you! They will add to the number of plates your caterer will prepare, chair rentals, favors, and not to mention the size of the wedding cake. Keep your number on the conservative side, there is no point having guests more than your venue size and regretting later.
Tip: Make it easy on yourself and use The Knot Budget Calculator to play around with the numbers and see how much you can save or spend by subtracting or adding from your guest list.
11. There is always a list-B ☺
Yeah… you read it right!! Have a list B. You know having two lists allows you to invite the most people that too without raising your budget or having to find a larger venue. Don’t get confused, I’ll tell you how it works: The A-list will contain all the must-have invites that you couldn’t imagine your wedding without, such as your immediate family, relatives, and close friends. However, your B-list will have guests you still want to be at your wedding, so put names wisely. Now, here is the catch – send your A-list guests first round of invites and if you have enough “regrets,” from your A-list then you can start sending invites to your B-list.
And yeah, don’t send the same reply cards to your B-list guests, make sure you print a second set of reply cards with a later RSVP date!!
12. Make a system in conjunct
Well, there are a lot of different ways to create your wedding guest list, but the best is to make a system in conjunct, so that anyone with input can edit or make changes in real time and have the most up-to-date guests list all the time. There are many wedding guests list apps, where you can create your wedding guests list and keep it updated in real time, and also you can track your RSVPs and create a seating arrangement for your wedding. So, it is recommended to have everyone’s contact details all in one place!
13. You can include names on the response cards
To avoid any force invites the best solution is to print the guests’ names onto the RSVP card. And even after that you get an extra write-in, don’t take their indiscretion personally. Rather, be clear – call them politely and tell them that you’d love to have them, but due to budget and space constraints it’s just not really possible!!
14. Have your own rules
While you make your guests list for your wedding, be clear that there is no set protocol to follow. It is your wedding and you have all the rights to decide who to invite and who to cut! Remember, you’re not at all obligated to offer your every guest a “plus one” for your wedding. For instance, your cousin is dating someone and it’s her third relationship in one year, and she wants him to be in your party, you are not at all obligated. Mind it! Only if they’re in a serious relationship of any sort like, engaged, living together etc., then you can include their partners. Otherwise, you know what to do… ☺ ☺
15. Say NO to last-minute add-ons
Be prepared to get some vexatious comments such as “Oh! I am so happy to know about your wedding, and I always wanted to see you in your bridal outfit” or maybe “I wish I could be the part of your wedding celebration” and so on so forth, from people who you are not sure about inviting to your wedding. DO NOT be enticed to add on guests to your lists. Or maybe suddenly your mom got emotional upon getting a call from her distant sister after ten years, and now she wants her on your wedding. Well, these things will keep on going until you get married. So the best is to stick to the norms which you made in the first place.
It is your wedding, go by your discretion. Be clear about your wedding budget and venue size while preparing your guests list. Remember, having too many people at your wedding will not add to the celebration, in fact having the important and the closed ones will make it more celebratory and an extraordinary event.
Thanks for reading… I hope the list helps… ☺ ☺