When planning one of the most important days of your life, it’s normal and rather expected to get caught up in visions of grandeur. Daydreams ensue as you see yourself standing at the altar surrounded by those nearest and dearest to you. You revel in the smell of fragrant flowers while the soft glow of candlelight holds you entranced.
But just before you face the crowd, you’re snapped back to reality as you mentally review your wedding guest list. Was aunt Molly included in the final batch of mailouts? How can you be sure you ordered enough food and beverages?
Here are several best tips to keep in mind when creating your wedding guest list.
Weigh Who Should and Shouldn’t Be Invited
First things first: Locate your wedding organizer notebook so that you can create a guest list that’s divided into two columns. The first column will consist of immediate family and extended family members. Meantime, the second column should comprise friends, colleagues, and other significant people in your life.
If you want, you can extend your guest list to include a third column that includes acquaintances who you normally don’t see often but still connect with through social media and an occasional phone call. Because your guest list will affect every aspect of your wedding planning, from the caterer to the size of the wedding venue, you’ll need to prioritize who is (and who is not) invited.
Decide on Your Ideal Wedding Venue
Having your guest list already formalized will help you decide on the size of the venue that you want for your wedding day. When looking for the perfect location, you should be able to make some comparisons related to costs and the amenities that each venue offers. Of course, you’ll want to compare those options against your current guest list, which will help you decide where you need to make adjustments.
Perhaps a favorite location has a maximum capacity of 200 people, but your guest list consists of more than 225 people. If that’s the case, you’ll have to consider whittling down your guest list. Then again, if you’ve already prioritized who’s invited to your big day, this task should be less complicated.
Make Strong Considerations and Compromises
No matter how you slice it, you’ll want to plan a time when you and your fiancé can review the rough draft of your wedding guest list with both sets of your parents. Be willing to consider all parties’ input — and to compromise when necessary — when deciding on how to budget for additional guests or when to drop people from your guest list.
For example, having an additional 50 guests at your wedding may stretch your budget and leave you with less money for honeymoon expenditures. Considering what the added costs might involve and the fact that the extra food and beverage might be wasted if some of those guests don’t show up, you’ll most likely be happier enjoying a luxury spa for two aboard your honeymoon cruise!
Mail Out Your Invitations Early
Once you’ve decided on the size of your guest list, you can start separating names into two batches of mailouts. Of course, if you’re waiting to receive guests’ RSVP cards before finalizing your food and beverage order, you’ll want to send out your wedding invitations eight to 10 months in advance. Consider mailing two batches. The first batch might include your priority guest list from column one, while your second batch of wedding invitations could be mailed six to eight months in advance. If batch one responds in a timely manner, you’ll be better prepared for adding more guests.
Keep Calm — The Holiday Season is Around the Corner
Finally, take a deep breath and let the wedding blunders roll off your back. Keep these aforementioned tips in mind as you navigate the planning process. And remember, it’s ultimately your decision when finalizing your wedding guest list, but it doesn’t have to be stressful if you plan accordingly. Cheers!
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