Wedding Guest List Planning Tips

What’s the single biggest expense at your wedding?

Your guests. The final cost of the venue really depends on the number of guests you’re inviting.

It’s not just the cost of the wedding breakfast (if you’re doing it the traditional way), there’s the drinks package, the evening buffet, the size of the venue, extra centrepieces for extra tables, more invitations and stationery, favours… the list goes on and on. The guest list was something I really struggled with, and I know it’s an issue for lots of brides. It’s tricky because you might have chosen a small venue, or have a tight budget – and then it gets trickier because suddenly the whole family seems to have an opinion about who you should invite!

So here are some ideas to help you through this thorny issue:

1. Make a list

Create a list with the following headings (they’re in order of importance):

• Closest family
• Best friends
• Family you’ve seen or talked to in the past year
• Friends you’ve seen or talked to in the past year
• Family you haven’t seen or talked to the in the past year
• Friends you haven’t seen or talked to in the past year
• Colleagues

Tip: it’s a good idea to ask yourself, if you’re struggling to decide on specific guests, if you’ll still see this person in five years.

When I look back at my own wedding, there are only a handful of people who came to my day do whom I or my hubby no longer see. Sure, there are friends we’re closer to now – but at the time they weren’t so close and you have to draw the line somewhere.

2. Ask the family

When you’ve got that sorted, let your family have some input. Don’t get into big discussions at this point. Once you’ve looked at all your numbers and your budget, you can present your ideal wedding day and decide just how many guests you CAN invite and WANT to invite.

3. What’s most important?

Identify the things that are most important on your wedding day. Do you want a small, intimate wedding – or is your dream day a big wedding with all your friends and extended family? If it’s a small wedding you’re after, you’ll need to be really selective about who you invite. If you want a big wedding, but have a limited budget, you’ll probably need to get creative to accomplish this.

Of course, there’s always the option of eloping with your nearest and dearest, then having a big party when you get back!

Just remember: it’s your wedding. Try not to worry about upsetting people. If they’re real friends, they’ll understand you can’t invite everyone you’d like to if money wasn’t an issue.

If they object, you know you’ve made the right decision anyway!