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How to Plan your Wedding Guest List

wedding terms made from scrabble piecesWhen people are asked what the most stressful part of planning their wedding was, you may expect to hear finding the dress, planning the music or choosing the photographer. In reality, many newlyweds say finalizing their guest list was the hardest part of the planning process. Deciding how to plan your wedding guest list can be daunting, especially if not everyone agrees with your decision to enter into a same-sex marriage, but keeping these things in mind may make the process easier.

Consider Your Budget

Remember, the more people on your guest list, the more money you can expect to spend on a large enough venue, food, drinks, invitations, wedding favors and more. If you are on a strict budget, ensure your guest list fits within that budget.

Determine the Size of Your Venue

If you already have your heart set on a specific venue, ensure your guest list will fit inside of it. A very small venue may only fit your immediate family.

  • For a small wedding, invite up to 75 people.
  • For an average wedding, invite up to 150 people.
  • For a large wedding, invite 200 people or more.

Decide How to Divide the List

Traditionally, the bride and groom’s parents use some of the guest list spots to invite people they feel should be there. If you intend to divide the guest list with your parents, decide who gets what percentage. For example, you might allow each set of parents to invite 25 percent of the guest list while you and your partner invite 50 percent.

Divide Your Guests Into Categories

Divide your guest list into four categories: family, close friends, professional friends and significant relationships. Family should include everyone, even those you rarely see. Close friends are just what they sound like, and professional friends are people like coworkers, clients and mentors. Significant relationships include friends from high school and college, people in your book club or those affiliated with any other organizations you’re a part of.

Assign Each Guest a Letter or Tier

Once you have created your list, prioritize it. For example, you may assign the letter A to close family and friends that you want at the ceremony no matter how small it is. Those who are in group B include additional friends, extended family members and others whom you would like to have there if your venue is big enough. Finally, group C would include people you like but will only invite if both space and budget allow.

Knowing Who to Cut

Chances are you won’t be able to invite everyone on the list, so it’s important to have an idea of whom you want to cut. For example, if you don’t have kids of your own, you may not want them at the ceremony or reception. Don’t feel bad about an adults-only wedding, especially when you consider how much money you could save by not paying for catering for so many extra mouths. You will probably also cut anyone you don’t know in person but feel obligated to invite, such as your parents’ work friends, as well as people you haven’t spoken to in years or those who are only on the list because they know a lot of people you actually do want to invite.

Keep in mind that when it comes down to it, your wedding day is only about you and your partner. If your parents want to invite Great Aunt Maude, but Great Aunt Maude has made it clear that she disapproves of your same-sex relationship, don’t invite her. You are under no obligation to make yourself uncomfortable on your special day just to avoid hurting the feelings of others. Those who truly care about you will understand not being invited due to budget or space issues, and those who you don’t invite due to a lack of communication probably won’t notice anyway.

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