Planning your wedding guest list is fun, but it isn’t without its own unique challenges. Your list affects each part of your wedding, from the catering menu to the venue’s capacity. Determining who to cut gets harder when you’re trying to stay on budget.
For all you brides and grooms out there, keep these five rules in mind while finalizing your wedding guest list.
1. The Tiered System
You can’t invite everyone, so your budget should dictate the number of guests you can invite while keeping within your numbers. This is probably the most important to rule to remember when drafting your wedding guest list. The first thing you should do is separate the musts from the shoulds and the coulds.
Creating a three-tiered list is common practice. Start with family, continue to extended family and close friends, then finish the list with other friends and any coworkers. Dividing the list into a tiered system means you’ll ensure the people you want there have the first pick. As people decline, you can move down the list.
2. Don’t Feel Obligated
Simply put, you don’t have to invite anybody you don’t want to. It’s your wedding, and your wedding guest list should include the people you want there. Coworkers or that friend you only catch up with every six months don’t need an invite, despite how fun it would be to have them celebrate with you.
If you’re on the fence about some guests, consider the relationship you have with them on a deeper level, noting whether you’ve talked in the last year or if you’re friends outside of work. These answers can help you decide if the person deserves an invite.
3. Parents Don’t Rule the List
Most couples’ parents have some say in parts of the wedding, and the wedding guest list is definitely one of them. It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, it’s your wedding, and not all of their guests are going to make the cut. Regardless of whether it comes down to budget or keeping a small head count, their list of invites is less relevant compared to yours.
Consider compromising on certain guests, inviting a small number of people they want there and putting the rest of their list in the last tier of invites. As declines come in, you can then send the last tier their invitations. Your parents’ input to the guest list is important, but you can certainly draw the line with their guests who mean less to you.
4. Remember Your Budget
Each head counts in the grand total, so you want to make every invite count. Know your limit in terms of what you can spend so you don’t go over budget before you even book the venue. Your wedding guest list affects more than just your venue. It plays a part in rental items, such as chairs and glassware, and a larger list could mean scaling back on other areas of your wedding.
The complete head count tends to be the biggest wedding expense. When tallying a final number, first think about your wedding menu and how much you can spend on food. Venues have maximum capacities and caterers charge per plate. Keep this thought front and centre when determining how much you can spend in the overall budget.
5. Keep Your Consistency
If you’ve placed certain rules like “no kids under 18” or “no plus ones for single guests”, then you need to enforce them amongst all your guests. When everyone on the wedding guest list follows the same rule, it’s easier to keep things consistent.
Consistency also makes it easy to explain your guest list decisions without hurting anybody’s feelings. If you avoid making exceptions for some guests, you won’t have to worry about any unforeseen action on your big day and can focus on celebrating with the people who mater most.