Things to Consider When Planning Your Guest List
“I love weddings because weddings are the best reunions. It’s like we’re all in college again, but even better looking and with paid jobs.” -From an Instagram caption from one of my adorable brides.
One of the first things I ask potential wedding couples is what they’re most looking forward to about their wedding day. It’s a wonderful way to ensure that I am able to capture what is most important to each individual person. I get all kinds of responses, but a common answer is is about gathering loved people in one place. This makes sense. Weddings are the one of the few opportunities you’ll have to bring together the most important people from all areas of your life.
Your guest list is crucial when you’re planning a wedding. But even before you get to the “who” of you guest list, you have to ask “how many?”
No other factor will impact your budget as much as the number of guests. The number of guests directly influences how many invitations, chairs, tables, meals, and favors you will be providing. When planning the size of your guest list, ask yourself how much you ideally want to spend on your wedding and be honest with yourselves about how many guests that budget can cover while still providing you with the wedding you are dreaming of. If you choose to stretch your guest list, you may need to compromise on some other spending choices.
You should think about guest list before you start your search for venues because most venues have a maximum occupancy. Thinking about how many people that you’re inviting may eliminate potential venues right off the bat.
Typically, a destination wedding shrinks the guest list since travel is not possible for everyone. If you’re like Jim and Pam and don’t necessarily want your office coworkers present at your wedding, Niagara Falls is definitely an option.
The size of your guest list ultimately comes down to who you imagine celebrating with you on one of the most important days of your life. Talk with your fiancé about who you both definitely want there in concrete numbers instead of ambiguous phrases like “small wedding.” It’s also helpful to decide together whether you want to include plus-ones, kids, or co-workers.
When I got married, we were selective about who was present. We invited spouses & fiancés, but we didn’t invite any boyfriends/girlfriends. I loved that everyone attending our wedding was someone we actually cared about and would see again throughout the course of our lives. But in hindsight, we were so busy running around saying hi to everyone that we didn’t have a chance to really talk to anyone, so having near-strangers there wouldn’t have been as big of a deal.
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