Some of the first tasks that come to mind when planning a wedding, like selecting a venue or catering service are in fact, impossible to accomplish. That is, until you take the first, crucial step:
Making the guest list.
There are few things that are more difficult, and even controversial in wedding planning than the guest list. The problem? Even if the couple has a vision for who they’d like to invite, financial constraints, the sense of obligation, and other family members’ opinions can quickly complicate this task.
To simplify the process, take a look at GuestBoard’s top factors you should consider when it comes to inviting guests to your big day:
- Budget is key: It may not be the most heartwarming thought, but the reality is, your budget will determine how many guests you can invite. The main reason? Food. For every guest you add, you rack up expenses for dinner and cocktail hour, not to mention extra table settings, decor, and favors. The average cost per guest varies by state, but ranges from about one hundred to over three hundred dollars. Add in a full bar, and ten more people can tip your budget. The best way to determine the maximum number of people who can invite is first figuring out your overall budget, and seeing how many guests fit into that number.
- Who is non-negotiable? There are some people that should be invited in almost all circumstances: parents and step parents, grandparents, siblings, and any close cousins. Others likely to top the guest list include best friends, meaningful mentors, and close friends within the family. Make room for these guests first, so you are sure to have room and not to forget anyone (with the stress of wedding planning, it could happen!)
- Breaking the rules: On the other hand, you are by no means obligated to invite all family members, or family members with whom either the groom-to-be or bride-to-be have a contentious relationship. That means: if you have a second cousin you’ve only met once or twice, you don’t need to invite them. One note of caution: if you have a poor relationship with a family member, do think carefully about whether or not to invite them. Not inviting someone to a wedding is a serious decision. If you feel that the day will be unduly stressful by inviting them, respect that feeling. Just make sure it’s for a very solid reason.
- Navigating the maybe’s: Inevitably you’ll come to a number of potential guests you are not sure whether or not to invite. They may include people you you were once close with, like past colleagues, classmates, or friends you’ve lost touch with. There is no right or wrong approach: it depends on your wedding, budget, and personal preferences. If you want a big wedding and a budget that allows it, go for it. If you want a smaller wedding, or simply can’t afford all of these guests, try this simple rule: if you haven’t talked to that person in the last two years, feel free to cross them off your list. Chances are, they won’t feel snubbed.
- People to cross off your list right away: Ex-girlfriend? Ex-boyfriend? Cross them off. Also big no’s: anyone who you worry may cause a scene, whether that includes alcohol, other guests, or any other factors.
- And, finally, about those plus ones: A little more complicated than the guests you have in mind? Significant others. Who are you obligated to invite? The Knot suggests you only need to worry about inviting spouses, though general etiquette also suggests inviting plus one’s in the case of relationships of a several months or more. On the invitation, indicate “plus guest” , which will budget one additional guest for that person. How many plus-ones you extend is up to you.
Once you get your guest list down, keep your wedding guests informed and excited with Guestboard – an easy-to-use wedding communication tool.