9 times out of 10 we would say that our client's number one concern when planning a wedding is the BUDGET! Furthermore, 9 times out of 10, the GUEST LIST directly correlates to the budget. Weddings bring out all types of emotions from people you least expect it from. It can be very overwhelming and stressful to come up with a list of people to invite to the most important day in your life without breaking the bank. Everyone loves you and has been there for you in some type of way in your life so it is completely natural to feel obligated to let everyone share in your special day. So what do you do when the budget doesn't allow you to invite that old college roommate, your 2nd and 3rd cousins, your uncle and his family of five, or your parent's list of co-workers? You trim GRACIOUSLY :-)
Food and beverage expenses at the reception are always 48%-55% of your overall wedding budget. Because this is the biggest item, the guest list makes or breaks the budget. Not to mention that you are also paying for a favor, napkin, chair/chair cover, menu card, etc. per guest and as those numbers go up you are also increasing your table count, linens, centerpieces, and cake size needed. The fact of the matter is some people just cannot be invited. They may be slightly offended or not. The good news is they love and care for you so they will soon understand and get over it. Don't let guest list drama get the best of you or take away from the positive, fun experience of wedding planning. Finalizing your invited guest list is all about being organized, diplomatic, and realistic.
Here are a some suggestions that help our brides avoid stress and cut down on the guest list:
- Determine priorities: immediate/close family and close friends.
- Remove whole categories...no children, no co-workers, no relations beyond 1st cousins.
- Limit the number of additional guests. For example, if your girlfriend Sarah is casually dating and is not in a serious, committed relationship you know of for any significant time, she does not get a plus one and will sit at a guest table amongst people she knows.
- Hold the wedding on a non-traditional day/time. Friday and Sunday weddings are becoming more popular. Weekday weddings are also becoming options for couples.
- Hold the wedding at a distant location. Money and traveling will deter people from attending.
- Ask yourself questions such as, "Would I be offended if I weren't invited to their wedding?", "When is the last time I spoke to this person?"
- Organize your guests into an A list & B list. Send out your A list first and for every no you receive, send out an invitation from your B List.
- Communicate honestly. If someone is offended about not being invited, don't get offended or defensive. Simply respond, "Though we would love to have you there, our budget only allows us to have a certain number of people share this special occasion with us. If something changes, you will be the first to know."
- Stand firm. If your number is 200, don't make exceptions. If you make an exception to 201, then 202....you will soon be at 220 because you will keep making exceptions.
Photo Image: Google Images