You’re planning one of the most significant days of your life – preparing to exchange wedding vows in front of the family members and friends who you love. Oh, and then there’s that whole side of the family from Omaha who you haven’t seen since you were 10.
As you plan your special day, take control of the wedding guest list so you can experience the wedding you’ve always dreamed of with or without your long-lost relatives. Here are five tips for creating the perfect guest list.
Parents helping you pay for your special day? Great! Sit down with them before any payments are made and set expectations regarding how involved they’ll be in major decisions including the guest list.
Here’s how it has traditionally broken down:
- Couples invite 50 percent of the guests
- Each set of parents invites 25 percent of the guests
That means if you’re inviting 200 guests, you and your fiancé invite 100, your parents invite 50 and your fiancé’s parents invite 50. If that doesn’t work for you, choose a total number of guests you’re comfortable with and determine how many people each of you is allowed to invite. And not all your guests will accept. In fact, approximately 10 to 20 percent of invited guests will decline, according to The Knot. So, you should be able to safely invite 10 percent more than you would like in attendance.
Create A, B, and C Lists
One way to prioritize your guest list is by breaking it down into three lists.
- The A-List includes the people you absolutely know you want at your wedding.
- The B-List is people you want to invite but wouldn’t be heartbroken if you couldn’t.
- The C-List is people that you would invite in an ideal situation if there were no space or monetary limitations.
Now, it’s time to create guidelines and start paring down your lists. Maybe you remove anyone from the list who you haven’t talked to or seen in five years. Or eliminate those on your B and C lists who are from out of town. Go through the three lists and start removing the people from lists B and C who don’t fall within your parameters.
Consider a Kid-Free Wedding or a Smaller Wedding Venue
If you’re still over your limit, consider a kid-free wedding, which allows you to set the tone for the event while also keeping the guest list down. Or, consider selecting a venue with the flexibility to accommodate a smaller guest count by tailoring the event space to your guest list.
Prepare What to Say to Those Who Didn’t Make the List
If someone who wasn’t invited is feeling bad about it, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call them. Tell them you had to make some really tough decisions based on space and/or financial constraints.
At the end of the day, not everyone you know can be invited to your special day, and that's OK. Once you have your list pared down, don’t add people because you feel guilty. It’s your day, and you have every right to decide who you share it with.
Now, get your "Save the Dates" and wedding invites ready, so you can move on to the truly fun things, like choosing your dress!
Photo courtesy of Olivia Wagner Photography