How To: Set Your Wedding Guest List

In Planning & Tips

Setting your wedding guest list is no easy task. Follow these tips to make the process a little bit easier.

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 2.12.43 PM

♥  1. Ssshhhhhhhhh! Keep guest list discussions to just you and your fiancé, until you have decided on your budget and what kind of wedding you want.

♥  2. Decide on the budget of your wedding. You might want to decide on a nice happy number AND also a maximum ceiling number that you vow not to go over!

♥  3. Decide on the feel of your wedding – which will depend largely on the size of your party. Do you want it to be a huge, fun mingling party where all the people who have ever been friends with you or worked with you are under one roof, a medium sized party where you can spend a little bit of time with everybody, or a super intimate party with your closest friends and family? Generally the more people, the more $$$ you’ll spend.

♥  4. Decide on the theme and venue. Do you want it to be outdoors or indoors? Do you want to have a destination wedding? Do you want it to be rustic, romantic, exotic, fun? What kind of venue would you like? Generally the more exotic the locale, the more $$$ you’ll spend.

♥  5. Balance between the size of the wedding and the theme. Do you want to put more money towards inviting more people, or towards a more exotic and luxurious locale? Matching your capacity requirements and venue requirements is one of the trickiest parts of planning a wedding – expect to take a bit more effort and time on this step!

♥  6. Consider the quality of the wedding. Don’t forget that the little things count! A $20,000 wedding for 50 people can be a lot more luxurious than a $30,000 wedding for 200 people.

♥  7. Based on steps 2-6, decide on the number of wedding guests.

♥  8. Start with the people who you absolutely want to have at your wedding.  When you get to the “maybe” people because they have to travel far, or because you feel obligated to invite, be okay that they will stay on the “maybe” list for awhile until you can decide for sure whether they’re a “yes” or a “no” – it’s also good to have some leeway in case you have some cancellations.

♥  9. Review with your family. If you get outside input too soon, you set expectations for who will be invited. Costs can go up dramatically and you may sacrifice on the experience or the quality of the wedding.

♥  10. Draw a line. If it’s a destination wedding or a really intimate wedding with family only, people won’t be offended that they weren’t invited. You might also want to decide on some other guidelines to make eliminating people and explaining later easier – for example “sorry no kids, adults only”, “sorry, no colleagues, just friends/family”, “sorry, we are only inviting people who we’ve heard from in the last year”. Once a rule has been set, stick to it so no one takes it personally.