One of the more controversial aspects of planning a wedding can be around who you are going to invite to share in your big day. There are a number of aspects that can influence your guest list including budget, venue capacity, expectations of family members and your own desire to have or not have certain guests at your wedding.
Often couples I work with will ask what the ‘norm’ is when it comes to deciding on the guest list and while I advise that each situation is different, here are a few things that I give them to consider.
Start with a wish list
Sit down and write down everyone you could possibly invite to your wedding; relatives, close friends, old friends, colleagues etc. From this list you can start to whittle down to a couple of lists – the must haves and the maybe’s. These initial lists will act as the starting point for budget planning and venue selection. It is worth noting that it costs on average $100 for each guest that attends your wedding by the time you factor in food, beverage, venue hire, styling and entertainment.
Will you still be close to these people in ten years?
While you may be tempted to invite all your work, gym and old school friends to your wedding, it is worth considering if you are still likely to be in each other’s lives in ten years. Be realistic and if you decide that you are not as close as you think yet you still want to include them, consider inviting these guests to the wedding dance rather than the whole event. This will help to keep your catering budget in check too.
Is this an adult’s only event?
By now you may have a number of friends with kids or even children of your own. Decide from the start if children will be included on the guest list. Some couples invite children for the ceremony and pre reception celebrations and others include them for the whole wedding or not at all. If you are having children at the wedding you may like to think about how they will be entertained so their parents are still able to enjoy your celebration. Kid’s tables and entertainment packs can be excellent options for keeping young children’s minds occupied!
Plan your guest list around your venue
If you have your heart set on a certain venue then this may help you to firm up the maximum number for the guest list – if your budget hasn’t already! While you will want to have an idea of numbers before you start your venue search, you may decide on a venue that requires to you reduce or refine the guest list from your initial wish list.
Are your parents or other family members financially contributing to the wedding?
If your parents’ are contributing to the wedding expenses you may offer to give them a certain number of guests they can each invite. Depending on the contribution or size of your families this could make up around 50% of your guest list. Your parents may have certain relatives or close family friends they would like to invite so giving them a number to work with from the start can alleviate tension down the track from adding extra guests to the list.
Avoid last minute invites
With sound budgeting and guest list planning you will be able to avoid last minute invites. Not only can these additions add hundreds to the cost of your wedding; presuming your venue will allow for the increase in numbers, you won’t run the risk of offending anyone by inviting them to your nuptials late in the piece.
Whoever you decide to have join you on your wedding day, the most important thing to remember is to invite those that you love to have in your lives and will bring a warmth to your heart when you look back at photos of your wedding day in the years to come.