Write a Guest List and Establish Numbers
You may be thinking I have no idea who I want to invite to our wedding at such an early stage in the planning. This is very true, that is why this is simply a preliminary guest list that will be used when searching for venues and getting a better idea of the total quantities required. It is used to establish numbers and will be used in many ways throughout your search for suppliers. Although you do not know exactly who you want to invite yet, especially as far as friends and perhaps family friends go, you will be able to write out a list of family members for both the bride and groom. This is a fantastic starting point and will in most cases be the majority of the guests at your wedding.
Knowing Your Wedding Budget
One of the very first things we discussed on the lissylane wedding checklist was setting a budget. Every aspect of the wedding planning will come back to this, including the guest list. Your budget will play a massive part in determining the amount of guests you can afford to have at your wedding.
You may have a limited budget that means you may also have to limit the amount of guests you have attending your wedding. However, you may have a generous amount of money set aside that allows you to invite a large group. Either way, you will have a general figure in your head as to what you can afford; small and intimate, a huge gathering or perhaps something in between.
Break the Guest List Down into Categories
The best way to to start is by compiling small, categorised lists that will then be discussed and combined. As mentioned before, family members make up two of these lists. The following categories will help you get going and on your way to completing a preliminary wedding guest list.
The Bride’s Family
The Groom’s Family
The Bride & Groom’s Friends
The Bride’s Parents’ Guests
The Groom’s Parents’ Guests
Questions to Ask Yourself when Writing Your Guest List
In writing a guest list you will have to ask yourselves a few important questions, these will help determine who you both want in attendance to witness this special day of your lives. These questions will help you to put the above five groups into three categories; definite, maybe and not allowed (the people you are not comfortable inviting for one reason or another). Some of these questions include the following:
- To what extent do you want to include extended family? (Immediate family only, aunties and uncles, cousins, distant relatives)
- Do you want children in attendance at the wedding? (You may like to consider no children at the ceremony but invite them to the reception)
- Will you invite work colleagues?
- Will you invite old school friends? (Perhaps you haven’t seen some of these in years)
- Do you want your single friends to be able to bring a ‘date’? (Making your wedding invite only is totally acceptable, as you generally only want people that you know attending your wedding)
- How long ago did you see the person? (If you haven’t see someone in over 5 years do you really want them at your wedding?)
- How much does it mean to you, your fiancée or your parents to have them attend? (If they are only being invited out of obligation then they most likely shouldn’t be on the list)
Process of Elimination to Finalise Your Guest List
When reducing your list try not to eliminate one individual but the entire group, for example, decide if you will invite work colleagues or not. If you are selective from a particular group then you may cause tension and offend a singled out individual. However if you do not invite anyone from a selected group you can simply explain that you are having an intimate wedding.
This method will also help you to cut your list down a lot faster and allow for the more important guests. When you look back in 10 years you want to know that you were surrounded by the people that meant the most to you both, not those you felt obligated to invite.
Children are a very tricky subject and can not only offend the parents of the children but make it difficult for the parents to attend if they have to find a babysitter. And again, if you do it for one, set the rule for everyone and do not make exceptions. Saying to one family they can bring their child and no to the rest will only cause more hassles than it is worth. Which ever way you decide to go find out from the venue if they can do a special package for children to save paying a fortune for the catering. Tread lightly and ensure to explain your feelings clearly, after all it is your wedding.
Work together with finalising the guest list and be considerate to your parents’ wishes, especially if they are contributing financially to the wedding. They may have people in particular they would like to attend the wedding, so be respectful of their wishes. Remember this day is special for them also.
Establishing Numbers for Your Wedding
By now you would have established a fairly comprehensive list of who you would like to attend the wedding and will have determined the number of guests. This is a preliminary guest list and can be altered a little later down the track if need be.
This number can now be used for helping to select a ceremony or reception venue based on its size. Is it large enough to cater for your guests, or perhaps far too big and not suitable for the number of guests? The guest list will furthermore determine how many table decorations are required, bonbonnieres, invitations, pretty much all of the wedding planning requires you to know an estimate of people attending.