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Paul Spano

Perfecting the wedding guest list is no easy feat. Although it can be tricky to choose guests carefully once you begin writing down names of friends, coworkers, and family members, several tricks exist to arrive at that perfect number. Simplify your wedding guest list with these helpful tips.

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Limit the Plus Ones

Not every invitation needs to come with a plus one. Fill the room with people you know well for celebrating your big day. Don’t feel bad about being selective. If you barely know the guest’s partner or they aren’t seeing anyone at the time, said guest is attending solo.

Give Your Parents Guidelines

Reigning in the parents is often the hardest part when creating the wedding guest list—they likely have been cultivating their own guest list. And who can blame them for wanting to show off their son or daughter’s big day? Before they get their hopes up, set expectations by giving them a guideline indicating how many invitations they can extend.

You also want to make sure they’re inviting people you know. Their input is valuable, but at the end of the day, you have final say.

Create Levels  

Whether you divide the wedding guest list into tiers or two groups, each guest has a distinct ranking. This hierarchy is a safe solution to ensure the people you really want there have first dibs for RSVPs.

People generally create three tiers, beginning with family, moving to close friends, and ending with acquaintances. Simplify your list of attendees by separating your guests into groups: group A is the “must invite” category, group B consists of the second round of invitations. With this distinction, you’ll have no problem justifying your wedding day decisions. Once declines start coming in, you can extend the invitation to guests in another group.

Are Kids Allowed?

You’ll clear up room on the guest list by saying no to all children. You may have even envisioned a wedding where kids simply don’t fit the picture. When fighting to make space work in the wedding guest list, removing everyone’s children from the list is a simple solution.

If you can’t imagine your big day without little ones toddling around, be considerate of your guests and extend invitations to children. A kid’s menu can help you save money on food costs and ensure your guests feel welcome with their family.

Avoid Coworkers Altogether

To solve the coworker dilemma, it might be easier to avoid inviting them altogether. There’s no doubt you have a closer relationship with certain colleagues, but you may be uncomfortable inviting some people from the office and not others. Keeping all of them off the list eliminates any awkwardness caused from selective invites.

Consider the size of your office before you make this choice—will leaving people out cause a commotion at the water cooler? Is your workplace big enough that some people will hardly notice? As with all wedding decisions, it’s up to the discretion of you and your soon-to-be spouse.

Think About the Venue

Each venue has a maximum capacity, which dictates the final guest list number. Think of the venue as an anchor to which the guest list and the plate count for the caterer are tied. It’s easier to plan a wedding when the venue dictates how many people you can invite. You don’t even have to fill the venue to its maximum capacity; you can use it as a guide to stay in line and on budget, adjusting your guest number with the venue’s total in mind.

Set Your Number First

Before you even begin to jot down names, consider setting the number first. You’re less likely to get carried away with guests when you have a pre-determined figure in mind, and you’ll find it easier to eliminate people later. Unfortunately, you can’t just write the list and then begin planning with that random number. Approaching the wedding plan with a set number ahead of time helps you stay on track for overall head count and venue capacity, not to mention keeping a reign on your budget.

Wedding Planning Checklist

Paul Spano

With over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Paul was the driving force that brought Seventh Heaven together back in 2001. Having started his career in the kitchen, Paul’s passion and thirst for knowledge helped him move quickly through the ranks. He is now Seventh Heaven’s Senior Sales Consultant, Event Planner, and Director of Venue Development. Managing different venues that seat 750 to 1800 guests, Paul brings exceptional operational skills to his role. No matter what you envision or what your dreams and desires are, Paul makes them a reality by getting it done. According to Paul, there is no greater joy than surpassing all of your clients’ and guests’ expectations. His expertise and passion make him one of the pillars of Seventh Heaven.
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