Whether you intend to have a small, simple, and intimate wedding or a large, elaborate, and lavish wedding, preparing a wedding guest list is a nerve-wracking task. Confusion is bound to happen as the groom doesn’t know every important person in the life of the bride and vice-versa. On top of it, the couple also tends to oblige their parents by inviting the people from their social and professional circles.
Amongst many other aspects which demand your attention, such as food, drinks, wedding car, and decorations, wedding guest list is definitely not worth arguing over, especially when the other person in the argument is your future spouse. Making a list of guests is more difficult than most of the other components of the wedding, as along with the sentiments of the couple, the sentiments of the probable guests are also involved.
Well, we know that you might not be an expert in creating a wedding guest list. Therefore, we have mentioned seven essential steps which will certainly help you in eliminating the drama from your wedding preparations.
1. Write Down the Names of Everyone You Know
Begin with writing down the names of every person who has been or is a part of your or your partner’s life – from relatives and friends to colleagues and neighbours. Don’t forget to include you and your partner in this list as most of the times couple fails to realize that they need to count themselves also. Now, you are not going to invite everyone whose names you have written. You will just get an idea of the maximum number of guests that could be at your wedding if you invite each and every person you know.
2. Get a Ballpark figure with Careful Consideration
Consider all the factors, viz., your wedding style, the size of your ceremony and reception venues, and your budget to determine the ballpark figure for the guests you can accommodate and treat well. If you plan to have a destination wedding, an intimate wedding or an adults-only wedding, the guests will be less as compared to a big wedding. Some couples choose the venue after arriving at a rough estimate, whereas some couples book the venue they love and confirm the wedding guest list accordingly.
3. Categorize the Wedding Guest List Properly
Take the list wherein you had included names of all the people you know and categorize them according to your relationship with them. You can create sub-lists of immediate family members, extended family members, school friends, college friends, colleagues, ex-colleagues, neighbours, friends of parents, colleagues and ex-colleagues of parents, gym friends for both you and your partner. You can use colour coding system as well as online tools for dividing your list into small parts.
4. Draft and Finalize the Wedding Guest List
Depending on the number of guests you want to invite for gracing the occasions of your wedding ceremony and celebration with their presence, prepare a draft for the guest list. Make more than one lists – ‘A’ List which includes the people without whom you cannot imagine your wedding day, ‘B’ List which includes the people who may or may not be invited, and ‘C’ List which includes the people whom you are not interested in inviting unless you get vacant spots.
Now that you have all the lists ready, send out the ‘Save the Date’ invitation cards to all the A-listers. Make sure to send the first invitation at least three months before the wedding day. Then, three weeks ahead of your big day, send out the invitation with RSVP cards. As soon as you start receiving the responses, you will get a clear picture of who can make and who cannot make to your wedding.
If guests from ‘A’ list send their regrets to your invitation, you can invite B-listers, as now you can accommodate them in your venue. However, you may also choose to send an invitation to people from ‘C’ list or not send an invitation at all. Make sure to talk through phone or meet in person those B-listers and C-listers whom you are inviting as they are receiving the invitation late than A-listers.
Once you receive the confirmation of acceptance from guests, you can finalize your wedding guest list. Take a note of the final count as you will need this number for ordering meals and wedding favours. This figure will also be helpful for booking accommodation and transportation if you have planned a destination wedding.
5. Resolving Conflicts and Establishing Rules
A wedding happens only once in a lifetime, and so, you, your partner and both sets of parents would wish to invite maximum people. But it’s essential to stick to your budget and invite only those guests with whom you really want to share this special day. If you are inviting extended family members, invite everyone or no one, as inviting a few and leaving others will create problems and make your future encounters with them awkward.
Communicate with the immediate family members regarding the number of guests they can invite from their professional and social groups. Establish ground rules for whom they can invite and whom they cannot, for example, they can invite their old friend, but not someone they met last week in the local bar. Make it clear to everyone that the final wedding guest list will not be changed.
As far as colleagues are concerned, it’s best to either invite everyone from your office or don’t invite anyone. However, if you have planned an extravagant wedding and your colleagues are few, you can invite them, as it would not make much of a difference in your budget. Instead, it will strengthen your relations with them.
6. No-Kids Rule, One Year Test, and Plus One Rule
If you don’t want kids at your wedding, mention it in a clear and polite manner on the invitation card, so that the invitees don’t feel insulted. If you know someone with whom you have not been in touch for at least a year, no need to invite them, as your wedding is not a family or friends’ reunion. If you want your guests to bring someone with them to keep them company, mention the same on their invitation card.
Though it is important to keep the rules same for every guest, you are allowed to make exceptions. For instance, if you have a friend or colleague who is engaged, you can definitely tell them to bring their partner with them.
7. Weddings Attended and Early Wedding Presents
Just because you have attended weddings in the past, you should not feel pressurized on inviting everyone who has invited you to their wedding. The same principle goes for the people who have given you early wedding presents. You can reciprocate by giving them a ‘thank-you’ card. Standing firm on your decision will help you to stay within your budget otherwise you might end up having a never-ending wedding guest list.
In the end, we will just like to say that whether you are inviting a few people or an entire town, be ready to answer the questions regarding not sending invitations to some people. You must be able to give frank and honest replies to people who question your judgement about your wedding guest list.