Weddings have become a bit more complicated these days and narrowing down the guest list will be one of your most challenging and important wedding tasks. The size of your guest list will greatly affect your overall wedding expenses. It’s a rare bride and groom who don’t have to edit their original list, whether dealing with 30 or 300 guests.
Most likely, you, your fiancé, and both families will be contributing names to the list, and each party will have their own ideas about who is necessary and who is not. Be forewarned, if more than one person controls the guest list, things can get stressful. Preparing the list and keeping all family members happy, requires diplomacy and tact.
To help, try these list-cutting strategies:
Start by setting a goal for your list size. Base this on your budget, on space limitations or both. Have everyone involved submit a list of the people they’d like to attend. From the top, they should rank the names in order of importance. Then, cross off any duplications. Add up the names and compare that number with your goal. If your count is over the limit, determine how many need to be eliminated. Then, cut a number of names from each list starting at the bottom, until you reach the desired amount.
Since most reception halls and caterers don’t need a final head count until the week before the wedding, you have the option of creating an “A” and “B” list. Make two groups on your list: “A”, the people you really want to attend and “B”, the people you would like to see there, but aren’t quite as significant as “A” list guests.
Send out your entire “A” list invitations first (preferably several weeks earlier than normal) and wait for your responses to come back. For every “no” response you get, immediately send out an invitation to someone on your “B” list. It’s important not to make it obvious that someone on your “B” list was “2nd choice”. In other words, don’t send out a “B” list invitation a week before your wedding!
Experts with years of experience in wedding planning say approximately one quarter of those invited won’t attend, so you can safely invite more people than you actually expect. Another rule of thumb, if you haven’t seen or spoken with a person in two to three years, take them off your guest list. Save the spots for the most important people in your life now, rather than your best friend from summer camp twenty years ago.
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