Planning a wedding is a massive job and there are so many details that you have to work out. You’ve got the big ones like picking a venue, choosing the food and entertainment, and finding the perfect dress. Then you’ve got all of the tiny details to work out like the table settings and the place cards. But one of the things that people struggle with the most is sorting out the guest list. Trying to decide who to invite and who to leave out is so hard and you’ve got to consider the limitations of your budget as well.
If you’re at that stage of your wedding planning and you don’t have a clue where to start with your guest list, here are a few tips to help make the process a lot easier.
Consider Your Budget
The most important thing to remember is that you have a budget to work with. If you don’t consider the budget when you’re planning a guest list and you keep adding extra people here and there, you’ll soon start spending more than you can afford. You can’t exactly uninvite people once you’ve already asked so you’ve got to think about the budget from the start. Remember that you’ll have to pay for food, some drinks, save the date cards, and invites for every person that you add to the list. Work out exactly how much you’ll have to spend per guest and that will give you an idea of how many people you can realistically afford to invite to the wedding.
Consider The Venue
Even if you can afford to invite everybody that you would like to, have you got enough space at the venue? Sometimes, it’s best to do things the other way around and draw up a rough guest list before you start looking for the perfect venue. That way, you can find somewhere that has enough space to accommodate everybody. However, if you fall in love with a venue that doesn’t have the space, you need to decide which is more important to you; having everybody there or having your wedding in your dream venue.
Factor In Non Attendance
It might be the most special day of your life, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is going to drop everything so they can attend. Your family and close friends will, of course, but the old friends that you haven’t seen in ten years might not be able to make it if they have other plans. On average, you tend to get around 15 percent of people that won’t be able to make it so you need to factor that in. That means you can invite a few more people than you can actually afford to have at the wedding because some of them won’t come.
Alternatively, you could stick to the number that you would like to attend and then draw up a list of reserves. If somebody comes back to you and says that they can’t attend, you can swap them out for somebody else.
Keep Family Lists Fair
One thing that people tend to forget about is fairness between the husband and wife when it comes to inviting family. If one of you has loads of extended family members there but there isn’t enough space for the other to have the same, it can cause some resentment and bad feeling between you, and that’s not what you want on your wedding day at all. If you both draw up a list of the family members that you would like to invite, you might find that there isn’t a problem. But if it’s too many people and you have to cut down, it’s important that you both cut your lists, not just one of you, so it’s always fair.
Make A Decision About Children
Some people are perfectly happy to have children at the wedding but some people don’t want them there. Either way is fine, it’s your day after all, but you have to make a decision now. If you don’t clearly specify that you don’t want children to attend on the invitation, some people might turn up with their kids anyway. Equally, people might assume that kids aren’t allowed even if they are, and they may decide to leave them at home when it would have been ok for them to come. Just make a decision and make it clear on the invitations what your policy on children at the wedding is.
Remember Disputes Between Guests
When you’ve got that many people all gathered together in one place, you’re bound to have people that don’t get on too well. Families are complicated and it’s not uncommon for long standing disputes to cause resentment between people. The last thing that you want on your wedding day is a big argument between difficult guests so you need to consider relationships and disputes between people when you’re choosing the guest list and making a seating plan. If there are 2 people that simply can’t be in the same room without arguing, you might have to consider leaving them off. It’s difficult because if you invite one person and not the other to avoid any problems, it will appear as though you’re taking sides and you’ll get dragged into the whole thing. It’s often better to not invite either of them. However, if they’re both people that you want there, you should speak with them before the wedding and explain that you would like them to come but you don’t want the day to be ruined by any arguing.
Don’t Verbally Invite People
Everybody that is on the list should get an invite and you shouldn’t verbally invite people. If you start doing that, it’s so easy to lose track of how many people are coming. You may also accidentally invite people that aren’t on the original list. It’s so embarrassing for you if you have to uninvite people later on because you’ve accidentally asked too many people.
Picking the guest list for your wedding is one of the hardest parts but if you use these simple tips, you can make it a lot easier for yourself.