Selecting your guest list can seem like a daunting task, whether your wedding is for 50 or 500 people. In a smaller guest list, it’s difficult to narrow down the people who you’re going to invite, and for a larger wedding the issue can be ensuring you’ve remembered everybody (and keeping track of your responses).
The most important thing regarding your guest list, is to keep your ceremony and reception venues in mind. If you’re inviting 300 guests and your venue only fits 150—there’s a problem! Either the guest list should be paired down, or the venue needs to be changed. And don’t forget budget! I know you’ve heard it before, and now I’m going to tell you again…guest count is the easiest way to reduce cost. By removing guests, the following items will go down (chairs, tables, linens, centerpieces, catering cost, rental items, etc) and in turn lower your financial obligation.
So let’s start with the traditional approach, shall we? The guest list would be broken down into 3 parts: bride’s family, groom’s family, and your mutual friends. If your maximum invite amount is 150, you’ll each get to add 50 people to your list. Sometimes this 33% approach can be tricky if one of you has a much larger family or only one side is local, etc. A more modern approach, as the average age of marrying couples is increasing, is to have a collaboration of your friends, coworkers, and family. No equal parts or formulas, just inviting the people who you want to witness your marriage ceremony.
A great way to start making your guest list is to ask all involved parties to come up with a primary list, anyone and everyone that you want to be there on your wedding day. Assemble all lists together and take a look at the numbers—if it’s too many folks, start pairing down by “groups” as a whole. An example would be to cut out all 2nd cousins, or all coworkers. This way some folks in that group won’t be discussing the wedding invitations and others will be left out. Of course, if you have one close friend in that “group” it’s alright to invite them. But be sure to mention that everyone isn’t on the list, so they’ll be mindful of talking about it too much.
And speaking of large weddings—how are you going to successfully manage hundreds of little RSVP cards? As a note to corralling responses, some planners will add RSVP management to your package (we do). By having your planner in charge of RSVPs, you can also relax knowing that she has the most up to date guest counts at all times. Of course, wrangling in the straggler responses will still be your responsibility.