Compiling your wedding day guest list can be a lot of fun – you, as a couple, can think of all the friends and family who will gather to watch you become newlyweds! But this process can also be a tricky one, especially when you’re trying to decide how many people you can host at the wedding, taking into account your budget and bearing in mind that parents and in-laws may have opinions about who makes the list. Plus, it can be simply difficult to narrow down the guest list when you’re spoiling all the important people in both of your lives.
“Even before you sit down to create a guest list, spend quality time asking yourself some important questions,” suggests Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. “First, analyze your budget. How much can you spend per person for this wedding? Once you have a figure in mind, you’ll be able to have a realistic amount of people you can invite to the wedding without overspending. Even if the venue’s maximum capacity is a certain number, only fill the room with people you can afford to have there and who you really want as guests.”
There’s a lot to think about, but Glantz stresses that couples should remember that at the end of the day, it’s about love and celebration. “While creating a wedding guest list can be stressful, it’s always important to remember that your celebration should feel joyful, meaningful and intimate, no matter how many guests are there,” says Glantz With that in mind, we talk to her about wedding guest list mistakes to avoid during the planning process.
Don’t make the initial list too small
Even if you’re having a smaller wedding, Glantz stresses that when you sit down to make your initial list, make it dense! It’s easier to narrow down a long list than to work backwards. “Make a list of everyone you can think of that you’d like to invite. Make a long, dense list. Put everyone on it,” she advises. “Then write a number next to each name: 1, 2 or 3. Use ‘1’ if you’re inviting this person because you really want them to be there and can’t imagine your special day without them. Use “2” if you’re not sure how you feel about having or inviting this person, and “3” if you feel some kind of pressure to invite them and list why,” she explains.
By doing this, you can make sure you have a complete list of everyone important in front of you, and then you can have conversations around the people you feel less sure about and narrow down the list from there.
Avoid having a B-list
It might be a hot idea, but Glantz suggests avoiding a B-list altogether. “If a person hasn’t made the main list, chances are you don’t really want them at your party. If you do end up having room, before you send them an invitation, ask yourself if you really want to invest in having them at your wedding, because every person you invite is an investment because you’re paying for them to be there.” It might seem strange to think of guests as a financial investment, but this is an important consideration when creating your guest list as you allocate your budget.
How to tastefully navigate your wedding guest list B-Your wedding guest list
Don’t wait too long to send your B-List invitations
If you choose to create a B-list (perhaps the venue has a set number of people you can accommodate and you’re not sure all the guests on the original list will be able to attend), don’t wait too long to send out the second round of invitations. “Send the first round of invitations earlier than you expect (perhaps seven to ten weeks before the wedding) so you can get responses as soon as possible,” Glantz explains. “And start sending out [B-list] invitations once you have available spots.”
Avoid inviting too many people you’re not close with
When it comes to choosing whether or not to invite people with whom you’re not close but might feel obligated to invite (this is often the case with extended family members), Glantz advises couples to have a set number of extended family members (or guests in a similar category) to invite. “Let’s say you want to invite 100 people, so maybe reserve five spots for extended family members,” she says. “Setting a limit will help you really narrow it down and focus on who you’d like to have there versus who you feel obligated to invite but don’t really want at your celebration.”
Don’t ignore your instincts
Ultimately, your wedding day is about you as a couple. Trust your gut when it comes to the guest list! “Only add a name to the guest list if, deep down, you want to be with that person on your special day and hug and say hello,” suggests Glantz. “Do what’s right for you, your partner and your wedding celebration.”