Let’s be honest, making your wedding guest list is not going to be fun. You will have to cross people from it and may end up accepting some from your in-law family, even those you never heard of before. Here are some tips to make it easier:
Before you start inviting every single one of your parents’ cousins, and all your co-workers including the whole Marketing department (even that you actually work at Human Resources), think about the kind of wedding that you want, where it would be, and how many people are you planning to invite.
Are you going to have a wedding at your family home in the countryside? Will you have a destination wedding? Or are you going for a big venue with capacity for 250 guests? If you can afford a wedding with 250-300 guests, you are lucky enough to worry only about finding a big venue.
Most of us, will have to create a guest list for 100-150 people. If you are planning to invite more than that, keep an eye on the locations, as there are not many venues for capacities over 200 guests, and you will have to book them with more time in advance.
The capacity of the venue would make a great excuse on an awkward conversation, if someone asks why they are not invited, just apologize and blame the size of the location.
Divide the list with the family
After having the venue and the number of guests, comes the time to divide this number in half, so both sides of the family have the same amount of guests to invite. This will depend on whether your parents and in-laws will assume part of the wedding cost or not.
If the couple is paying the total amount of the wedding, then it will be easier for them to adapt the list. On the other hand, if you are paying half of the wedding, your parents in-law a quarter and your parents another quarter, it will make sense to give them their own count apart from yours.
If you are planning to have a wedding with 100 guests, give them 25 guests to every family, and keep 50 guests for your list.
Family comes first
In the hierarchy of your wedding guest list, your immediate family comes obviously first: parents, siblings, step families, uncles, aunties, cousins and grandparents.
Should you invite all of your uncles and cousins? Depends, if you are going to have a wedding with 250 guests, definitely. Besides that, everything is up to you. You may not be close with all your cousins or relatives; you may didn’t even meet some of them. In that case you can choose between don’t invite them or add them to your B-list.
You can always let your parents know that you expect those relatives to be added into their part of the list.
A and B list
We understand that you would like to invite all your relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbours, but is really easy to end up with a number twice bigger than the guest list you decided. And that’s why we propose you to make a backup plan.
You can make an A list, with all those people that you cannot imagine your wedding day without, and the B list, with people that even you would like there, your ceremony would be almost the same without.
Once the invitations are sent, you have to assume that apart from your guests will not be able to attend. At that moment, you would be able to invite people from your B list in order of importance. You should know as soon as possible if someone is going to come or not, so you can send the second round of invitations without anyone knowing about your secret B list.
Friends and co-workers
You surely want your best friends to be invited to the wedding. But what about the rest? You can definitely invite everyone who is truly important for you, and you are sharing your life with, but if you didn’t know anything about them in years, you may have to cut them from your list.
For those friends that invited you to their wedding, you can invite them back as an etiquette rule, unless that you are planning to have a small and intimate ceremony.
About your co-workers, you will have to decide between all your department or none of them. If you are working with a group of 10 people, would be preferable to don’t invite them, rather than invite 5 of them.
Golden rule: It doesn’t matter how good friends you are now, forget about inviting your ex!
You can decide to have a wedding with or without children. For some people, a wedding is a family event and they are part of the family, others rather a dinner reception, in which children will not suit that easily.
Just make your own rule, it can be no children allowed at all, or no children under 10 years old. But keep in mind that some people may not attend to the wedding if their children are not invited, especially if it is far away from where they live.
If you are having problems cutting your guest list, remember that you can make a second reception for those that were not able to fit in your wedding day.