By Sharon for The Bride's Avenue
A few years ago, planning your wedding guest list would mostly have been straightforward; leave out your enemies and invite everyone else. Okay, so maybe guest lists weren’t that huge, but they didn’t cause the agony and agitation they seem to be responsible for now.
So you have decided to have a small wedding and that’s cool. Or maybe your wedding isn’t really small, but you don’t want several hundred people turning up either. The basic rule of thumb is to invite only those that mean a lot to you. That rule is great, unfortunately, it’s not always practical.
To make things easier for you, here is a quick guide on how to plan your guest list with tips on who to invite and where to draw the line. You can thank us later ;)
Work with your budget
Whether you are paying for everything yourself, or you are accepting financial help from your parents, you already have an idea of how much you can realistically expect to spend on your reception. So if your budget can only cater for 100 people, you already know that you simply can’t afford to invite more than that number. This will help you in picking who you really want to attend your wedding.
Divvy up the list
Yes, your wedding is about you and your partner, but we’ll let you in on a secret. It’s also about the parents. So regardless of whether they are giving financial help or not, you will break their hearts if they are not allowed to invite their own guests. The traditional way of doing things is to divvy up the list. The couple usually gets half of the list and the other half is split equally between both sets of parents. But for your peace of mind, the knot advices that you split the list evenly three ways.
Who to invite
Family: When it comes to inviting family, this is fairly simple. The parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents. If you’re going to invite cousins (first or second) then you either invite all or none.
Friends: Offbeat Bride suggests that you should only invite people you both know, and that both or one of you cares about immensely. A childhood bestie who you haven’t seen or spoken to in several months should not make the list.
Co-workers: For co-workers, the rule is the same as distant relatives. You either invite everyone in your department, or no one. Of course if there is a co-worker that you see socially outside work, then that person has become a friend. Oh, and feel free to invite your boss as well, particularly if you interact often. It would be bad politics not to.
The Plus-One Issue: Ah yes, this one is usually a touchy issue. Should you let your single guests come with their plus ones? Unless you are having a really huge wedding, the answer is no. The reason is simple; it could increase your budget by up to a couple of thousand dollars. Do you really want to do that for people you don’t even know? I wouldn’t.
The only exception is if that person is in a serious long-term relationship or has a partner. Then that person is automatically invited. Also, you could let your bridal train bring their dates as a courtesy. Except for those, if you decide that there won’t be plus-ones, be sure to implement that rule across board.
Kids or No kids? Generally, most people don’t expect to have their kids invited to weddings. That’s just the norm. Whatever you decide on this issue, be clear on what you want and stick to your decision. Martha Stewart Weddings suggests that you might want to have an age threshold or restrict it to just your immediate family.
You were at their wedding or they’ve sent you gifts: if you are not close friends anymore then you are not obliged to invite them to your wedding.
At the end of the day, there might still be some ruffled feathers, you really can’t please everyone. But as long as you do your best to be fair and you surround yourself with people you love and actually like, then that is the best you can do.