Weddings are exciting and momentous occasions, so naturally you would want to share your joy and love with everyone you know. But unfortunately, inviting everyone you know is not always a practical (read: affordable) option. After all, a typical wedding has about fifty percent of the budget allocated for the reception and catering expenses alone.
There is this one little problem, though: your guest list keeps growing! Your parents insist that you have to invite an old family friend; your co-workers ask if they can bring their boyfriends. And then there is the common etiquette dilemma of ‘having’ to invite an entire group of people (rather than the few members you really like) because they would be ‘offended’.
Image Credit: Michelle Valantine Photography
Don’t know what to do? Here are some ways to get your guest list (and the cost of your reception) back under control:
1. Make a list
First of all, you need to make a list. Communicate with your parents, in-laws, and spouse-to-be to determine who makes the cut. To make the process easier, put up the “To Invite or Not Invite” qualifying question. If the answers are mostly yes’s, extend the invite. If nay’s have the majority, save the postage – and the meal cost.
2. Sort your guests into groups
If you already made a preliminary list and you are still over your desired number of guests, sort all guests into groups. For example, group people such as “aunts and uncles”, cousins, office co-workers, you get the idea… Then eliminate by groups; you may decide to invite all aunts and uncles but cut all cousins. Just make sure to cut the entire group, so you will not offend anyone.
3. Chain Invites
If you cannot invite one of your closest yoga pals without inviting the whole class, it is probably better to leave her out. Chain invites are probably where you will be able to make the most cuts without upsetting anyone’s feelings.
4. Separate work from play
The number of coworkers you have between you and your fiancé can really add up. Either invite everyone or nobody, unless you wish to incur the wrath of the uninvited. It is completely acceptable to leave out all of your office associates from your big day… Trust us, they will understand.
5. Make it an affair only for adults
Unless you want to experience some interesting moments you had not included in your wedding day dreams – like crying babies during the vows, you are better off not inviting any children to your wedding reception. Besides, keeping these pint-sized partiers off your wedding is probably one of the quickest and easiest ways to shorten your guest list.
6. Cut off long-distance guests
Your closest friends and siblings will make your guest list no matter where they live, but your old sorority mates and second cousins fall into a gray area if they live far away from your wedding venue. These ‘guests from afar’ may be unable to travel the distance to make it to your wedding reception, so why bother inviting them in the first place?
7. No “plus one”
Avoid giving your close friends and family the option to bring their own guest to the wedding. If you have some single guy or gal pals, they will have to come solo, unless of course, they are in a serious relationship. Basically, if you are not spelling out the person’s name in the invitation, they are not invited.
Needing to stay within a budget is a challenge that you will face when planning your wedding… We do not expect (or want) you to cut corners with your beautiful mermaid wedding dress but you will find that cutting the guest list will have a major impact on helping you cut costs and stay within your budget. Even if it is not about the budget and you are only trying to make the whole affair more intimate, trimming your invitation list should not feel like a burden. At the end of the day, you want to look at your list and see all the people that you care about and want to share this happy day with. All you have to do is be as consistent as possible to avoid offending anyone or hurting anyone’s feelings.