Putting together the guest list is probably the part of planning the wedding that every couple dreads the most. Not only is it an arduous task to take on in the first place, but it’s the one that often causes the most tension between couples as they plan their wedding. That’s why you need a bit of a road map to get you through it all, without ruffling any feathers. Here’s our how-to guide for narrowing down the wedding guest list.
Start your first list
Before you even start talking about budget or size, you want to write down everybody and anybody that you have ever imagined at your wedding. Both partners should do this making a column for family, friends, wedding party, and optional. There’s a good chance that everybody in the optional columns won’t make the final cut, but you want to make sure you include everyone in your initial list. Once you’re done with this list you can show one another, making sure not to scoff or get upset if things look a bit lopsided in the total count.
Start thinking about the menu
The number of people you can put on the wedding guest list is going to depend quite a lot on what you want to serve your guests. After all, there’s a wide variety of ways to feed your guests, but if you invite more than you can afford to feed, everyone will taste it in their food. It’s always better to err on the side of an intimate wedding that feels elegant and classy, rather than a huge wedding that feels cheap. So decide what you want to feed everyone and see how much that will cost.
Start talking budget
Once you’ve made your ridiculous lists that will eventually be scratched out and scribbled over, you want to start getting down to brass tacks. How much can you actually afford to spend on the wedding. You want to remember that every person on the list adds quite a bit to the total cost of the wedding. Once you start thinking about food, drinks, table, chair and dish rentals, things can really start to add up. That’s why you want to be sure to find a number that is realistic. If you plan on spending quite a bit on your dress, shoes, jewelry, etc. then you will need to narrow your list down accordingly.
Start getting picky
Now that you know exactly what you want to feed everyone and how much it’s going to cost, you can start figuring out exactly how many people you can actually afford to invite. You may be disappointed by the number of people that you have to cross off your list, but in the end, you shouldn’t worry too much about offending anybody. If you really feel bad, then you can organize some kind of an informal potluck party at a beach or park after your honeymoon so that everyone can celebrate together. For now, you want to immediately cross off as many people as you can. If you still need to lose more, then you want to go through your list and circle any names that you might be able to let go of. Keep circling until you’ve reached your ideal number.
Rewrite your list
Once you’ve circled all the names of the people that you are considering getting rid of, and you have left only the target number of people unmarked, you want to rewrite your list. Make sure that you do not include any of the circled names. Then you want to show your fiancé your circled names and let them decide if any of those people will make it to the final wedding guest list. This will be a huge test in your ability to compromise with one another. However, if you’re successful, then it is a very good omen.