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So here’s the one thing where you are more or less on your own – the guest list. Figuring out who to invite or not is possibly the most difficult part of planning your wedding. Unfortunately, it’s the part where no one else can really help much, because ultimately it’s up to you to decide who you want to be there.
Here’s the advice I can give:
- Make your guest list first, before you decide anything else except maybe your budget. The size of your party will guide a lot of your decisions, especially your venue and food selections. Balancing budget and guest list is a giant challenge, I’m not gonna lie, but I truly believe you should decide who you want at your wedding before you decide what your wedding will look like. You may need to make cuts and compromises to other things in order to invite everyone you want to; believe me when I say that you will remember WHO you spent your day with far more than the food, fancy clothes, and flowers.
- If there are people who you know will not be able to attend, but you would definitely invite them if they could, invite them anyway. They will appreciate it, and undoubtedly celebrate it with you in their own way – and that’s really the point, isn’t it? To celebrate with the people you love most.
- Be warned: Parents may expect to be able to invite a bunch of their friends too, so discuss this upfront, and make sure you know how many guests they anticipate will come.
- Don’t forget your wedding mission statement! Was it to have an intimate gathering? Then stick to your guns and only invite those people who you just can’t get married without. Or is your goal a big, fun party? Then maybe you need to forego fancy centerpieces so you can feed them all.
- Keep track of it! I recommend a spreadsheet with columns for name, mailing address, email address, phone number, meal selection (if applicable), and their RSVP status at minimum. Optionally, you may want to track guests by household, in which case you’ll want to add columns for the number of adults and children as well. This is a good spot to keep track of gifts and note when you’ve sent a thank you card as well.
…And yeah, that’s really all I’ve got for guest list advice. Hopefully knowing that it’s just as hard for everyone else will help you get through it!
→ Need more help? We can create a custom guest list spreadsheet with online access, track RSVPs and meal choices for you, address and mail invitations, and more. Schedule a consultation time here.