Creating your wedding guest list
When I think back to planning my own wedding, I remember that the most difficult and stressful part of the planning process was definitely deciding on a guest list. I must have written at least 10 guest lists before settling on who was to be invited. I have compiled a few tips from my own experience to try and help you with the process.
Are your parents helping out?
First of all, will you be getting any financial help from your parents? If so, they will like to have some influence on your guest list, after all they could end up paying somewhere between £30 or £150 per head depending on the venue and package you've chosen. Make sure to ask them if there is anyone they would like to invite, but you could give them a limit so that they don't go over the top and take up most of the guest list. It's still your day!
Write your first guest list
To start off, write down the names of everyone you can think of that you might like to invite. This could be old friends you might not see as much anymore or cousins you've only met once or twice at family get togethers. This doesn't mean that they'll be included in the final guest list but it gives you a starting point. Plus, later on if you suddenly think of another person and you never thought of them at the time of creating this initial list, then you'll know they won't be getting an invite!
Now your initial guest list is probably looking pretty big, as you'll both have thought of sooo many people. From old friends and distant family members to millions of work colleagues. You're going to need to keep a budget in mind for your guest list, as you already know part of your venue cost will be based on feeding each person. Not only that, you need to bare in mind other factors such as favours, chair covers, the size of your wedding cake and possibly any other food suppliers such as candy carts. You also need to think about how much room there is at your venue, the same goes for if you're having a church wedding.
Trimming your guest list
So now you need to start getting that number down! This can be the hard part.
Remember that you will need a separate guest list for the evening. The head count will be cheaper for this as it will be based on a buffet without the added cost of favours etc. and due to some tables being put away there will be more room in your venue. I found that I could add some people to this list if there wasn't room on the day guest list.
First of all I decided that if I hadn't seen any old friends in a few years and didn't really hear from them anymore (seeing and liking their Facebook posts doesn't count!) then they weren't getting invited, it feels harsh at first but it's got to be done. If it was a friend who I saw occasionally, maybe a couple of times a year then they were added to the evening guest list.
If you have a family member that you only see at family gatherings and have said nothing more than hello to then maybe they don't receive an invite (unless they are invited by your parents).
When it comes to work colleagues, unless you're particularly close with a couple of them then they could get put onto the evening guest list.
If there are a lot of children linked to your guests, you might consider having a child-free wedding. I personally think it's lovely to include them, seeing them in their cute little outfits, they add a little bit of charm however this can come with an added cost of providing something to keep them entertained whether it's little goodie bags or hiring an entertainer or on-site childminder. Check out my other blog post on whether to have a child-free wedding or not.
Remember that if you invite the partner of one friend/family member then you'll need to do the same for everyone else or possibly face offending someone.
Sending the invites
Now that you've trimmed down your guest list it's time to send out those invitations.
Make sure you write the names of who is invited on the envelope or the invitation itself so that there is no confusion.
I'd recommend that you either post or hand deliver them directly, from personal experience. I decided to post the invites of my mum's cousin to my great aunt along with her own invite assuming that she'd pass it on. When it came to chasing up R.S.V.P's I called her and she said she'd be coming but her son and his partner would be on holiday. Our wedding day arrived and she didn't show and I later heard her son was offended that he was the only cousin not invited! Unfortunately, much later on we found out she had the early stages of dementia at the time but no one knew.
Be prepared for some backlash after sending out invites.
For example, as I mentioned earlier, if you have missed out someone's partner you might have some people contacting you to ask to add someone onto the list especially if they've heard about other partners getting invited (I found this to be pretty stressful).
If this is the case, you could mention that the budget is tight/there's not enough room in the venue but add that if someone else drops out then you can certainly add them on.
I have heard of some people saying they won't attend if their partner doesn't, if they aren't bothered about missing your wedding day then maybe they're not someone you'll want to have there anyway.
I hope these tips might have helped out in some way, good luck!