Creating your wedding guest list is no easy task! What may start off as only close friends and family, can turn into pretty much everyone you have ever worked with, had a drink with, or even talked to. So where do you draw the line? Of course it’s different for everyone, but here’s a few tips we like to give our brides!
Find Your Ideal Number
Photo by Carrie Patricia Studios
The first thing you’ll want to do is set an ideal guest count. To get this number you’ll want to factor in your budget, reception size, and any per person costs your venue may have. If the venue has an average meal cost of $50 per person and your food budget is $8,000, a 200 person guest list won’t work without sacrifices. Decide on a number that is going to fit within given budgets, and make adjustments as necessary.
A, B, and C
Photo by Jane in the Woods
You have your ideal guest count, so now what? While ranking your friends and family may sound like a totally awful thing to do, it really does help when creating your guest list. You’ll have your A list which includes immediate family, your bridal party, and any other people you couldn’t imagine not having there. Your B list will consist of family such as aunts, uncles, and cousins, and the friends who you may not see all the time, but still stay in touch with and would love to have. Lastly, you’ll have a C list. The people on this list are friends of the family or friends of your parents, distant family that you haven’t seen or really talked to in years, coworkers, and any other people you may feel obligated to invite but really aren’t sure about. If everyone on each of your lists (and their plus ones) fit in your guest count, you’re golden! If not, you’ll want to start eliminating people from your C list then go from there.
Plus One or Not?
Generally when it comes to going to a wedding people assume they’ll be going with a date, but that isn’t always the case. As you’re creating your guest list do not feel obligated to give each person you want there a plus one on their RSVP. If they are in a long term relationship or are married you should definitely add the “and guest” to the invitation, but if they aren’t, don’t worry about it unless it fits in your allotted number of guests. Sometimes showing up single to a wedding is way more fun than bringing a boring date along anyhow!
The Great Kid Debate
Photo by Ben & Kelly Photography
One thing we see so many brides struggle with is if they should have kids in attendance or not. Some couldn’t imagine their wedding without them, whereas others dread the thought of little ones running around squealing all night. If you don’t want to include them, that is perfectly okay. It’ also totally acceptable to limit the number of kids in attendance to your family, flower girls and ring bearers, or whatever you see fit. One awesome option is to have a babysitting service setup at the venue somewhere so the parent’s don’t have to choose between attending the wedding or staying home with the kids, and they can get to them quickly if necessary. Order some pizza, have some games, setup a TV and crisis averted!
Photo by Bridgette Marie Photography
Still can’t get the guest list down to that original number you figured out would work with your budget? Time to make some adjustments! Sometimes the numbers just don’t add up how you were hoping and that’s totally okay. If you set a 150 person limit but can’t make it below 175 all you have to do is look at other areas in which you can make adjustments. Maybe you take money from your flower or lighting budget and move it to dinner and bar. It could be something as simple as using the chairs your venue provides instead of ones from a rental company. There’s usually always room to play with budget and move things around. After all, having the people you love surrounding you guys on one of the most important days of your life is what matters most!
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