Yeah! You are engaged! Congratulations! Now let’s get started on planning that wedding! One of the first things you and your affianced need to consider is the guest list. Why? Simply put you need to know how many people might be at this shindig to determine your budget and other items such as space size for the ceremony, the reception and a head count for the caterers. So how do you pair down that guest list when you and your joint families want to invite everyone from the dog walker to your elementary school teacher?
First, keep a level head. Everyone on both sides of each of your families is excited about this big event. They want to invite everyone just like you do to share in this special day. That is all well and good if you have an unlimited budget. Traditionally whoever foots the bill for the wedding has the most say but these days with the couple and the families pitching in it makes this line a bit more blurred. If you are like most people you need to be a bit more realistic and the guest list is a great place to start. Do you want a small or a large wedding? Have you picked a venue? How many people can it hold? Stick to your guns about this if at all possible. I mean it. If you can’t afford a large wedding don’t run yourself into debt just so your fiancé’s third cousin’s old school chum can join in the fun. Ditto for those friends you haven’t seen or kept in touch with in the last few years.
Go ahead and use The Knot’s Guest List Manager and fill out the easy to use template. It helped me a great deal. It’s a great way to actually see who you want to invite, who your families want to attend and divide the guest list up in concise lists. It even allows you to update RSVP’s. It also helps you out in putting people in categories like the A list, B list and C list. Harsh perhaps but it works. My mother wanted to invite great aunts and uncles who I hadn’t seen since the age of four and they immediately were deemed C list. What is also great about a template like this is that when someone from the A list RSVP’s no you can immediately invite a B list person and no one is the wiser. You will be amazed how your small wedding balloons to a rather large affair so having this type of template really keeps one organized.
You can also look at your guest list in another way. Keep all the family on the list and start pairing down your colleagues and/or friends. Sure it would be nice to invite each college roommate you ever had, but if you haven’t talked to them in the last few years it will be alright if the invite isn’t extended. They will understand. It might be nice to invite that fun guy from accounting but he won’t be offended if he doesn’t get to enjoy the Electric Slide during your reception. You can also eliminate children if you want to go that route. This might take care of some parents as well. Again stick to your guns if you say no to children or it could cause a major conflict on the big day.
The best thing to do is to know that this is one of the hardest parts about planning your wedding. Do it early and be steadfast. Sit down with your fiancé and make your lists. Ask your individual families to create their list. Call this a wish list if you must because these lists will be a compilation of everyone you would just love to have at your event. Then pick a number that you can afford to have at the event and begin pairing it down. It might prove easier than you think. Always go over the lists with your fiancé and keep in touch with your families on the updated lists. If needed ask your families not to extend verbal invitations to anyone. That is an easy way to create drama later.
Finally, remember this as you begin your guest list overhaul. A wedding is a celebration of your love for each other but it is not supposed to make you bankrupt nor is it the time or place to catch up with people you haven’t seen since pre-school or your high school drama club. Save that for actual reunions.