Creating your guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of planning your wedding. There are so many personal things to take into consideration–friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances and more. No matter the size of the wedding, it can still be daunting for the couple. So, take a deep breath, and tackle this task with the intent of being patient.
First, you must decide on what size wedding your budget will allow, and of course, what size you and your partner feel most comfortable with. Typically, a small wedding includes 50 people or under, a medium wedding has a guest list of anywhere from 50-150 guests, and a large wedding has over 150 attendees. Once you have finalized this step, you can begin with these tips.
Let’s say money is no object… now create a list of everyone you want to invite if that was true. This could be a very long list, but don’t be discouraged… you have to start somewhere! Consider this your master list, and you can come back to it if need be. Now comes the time to start making cuts.
Small weddings–If you want to save money and are having a small affair, narrowing down the guest list, in most cases, is pretty simple. Usually people stick with family and close friends.
Medium weddings–This can be the most difficult sized wedding to tackle. You have some room to wiggle, but some will still need to be nixed. Budget will need to be your guide here.
Large weddings–Larger budgets literally mean hundreds of guests, and picking and choosing is not usually a problem. The biggest challenge here is making sure you don’t forget anyone. Always double check no matter how many folks you plan to invite.
Narrowing It Down
Below are some rule of thumb tips for you to consider. Sadly, with this trimming down of the list may come some hurt feelings. But, it has to be done.
Create categories. One way to make the process easier is to put everyone in your master list into categories: immediate family, close relatives, extended relatives, close friends, family friends, coworkers, acquaintances, etc. Then, prioritize these categories by importance. This will enable you to start crossing off guests from the bottom up.
Consider distance. The people who would have to travel long distances to attend may not be able to make it or even afford it. Traveling is complicated these days, not to mention expensive, so if certain guests aren’t within a certain distance, consider cutting them.
How long has it been since you’ve seen them? Talked to them? This can get tricky but has to be considered. Do you invite your friend from the debate team in high school just because you follow you on social media? Do you invite a second cousin who you met once briefly at a family gathering? See how easily this can get out of hand? It’s not a crime to eliminate old friends or distant family members that may have meant a lot to you when you were growing up but who aren’t actually in your life anymore.
Finally, in the end, if you indeed have pangs of guilt about not being able to invite everyone that you wanted, why not let them know that you were thinking of them, and at some point after the wedding, plan an informal gathering, such backyard party and have your own mini second wedding reception just for them!