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Making Your Wedding Guest List


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Believe us, we've been involved in thousands of weddings and we know that the wedding guest list is the number one decision that gets the bride, groom and their families unstuck.  To avoid any issues, we recommend that you can never make a preliminary wedding guest list too early.  Thinking about who you will invite and who will actually attend your wedding has a tremendous impact on your planning.

The vague number in your head may be very different to the reality, and seeing names on paper helps you to be sensible about who to invite to your wedding and who to downgrade to list B!

The difference between 100 and 130 guests may be quite considerable, when you consider three more tables, floral centrepieces, 30 more meals and wedding favours

Only you can decide whether those people make the day more special or simply blow your budget.  When compiling your guest list, consider:

  • Your complete guest list can be a combination of four lists: the bride's, the groom's, and both sets of parents.
  • Give your parents some parameters, so that they know in advance they can't invite every second cousin, business acquaintance and family friend they haven't seen in twenty years.
  • The final recipe for your guest list should comprise both realism (think budget and logistics)
    and graciousness and hospitality.
  • Never make the mistake of sending invitations to people you don't want there.
    You may find they are the very first people to accept!
  • Prioritise your guest list according to their importance to you.
  • Be consistent! If you say you won't be inviting children, don't make exceptions.
  • You can expect 10 to 20 per cent of those you invite not to attend.
  • You know your groomsmen and bridesmaids will be attending your wedding,
    but they too should receive an invitation, as should your parents.

Other considerations include:

  • Partners - if you have single friends to invite, will you invite a ‘plus one' or simply leave them as individuals?  Remember, consistency is the key!
  • In some cases, you may have a different list for your ceremony and reception.  This may be the case if you don't want children at the ceremony or for budget or spiritual reasons you want a limited number of guests at your ceremony, but a larger amount of guests at your reception to help you celebrate.
  • Spend some time talking with your fiancé and family about how you will all deal with people who are not invited to the wedding.  If you have a consistent reason that everyone can articulate well, it means the possibility of hurting people's feelings is reduced.

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