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As a bride or groom, your Wedding Guest List may be easy to compile, or may be your worst nightmare.Â This is the first time you will be combining both of your families for multiple events, and everyone has their own opinion on what is appropriate or inappropriate.Â Trimming the guest list may turn into a heated debate, yet this blog (since you cannot be with me 24/7) will fast track you to realistic solutions which work best for you!Â Your guest list WILL dictate how much you spend and your ceremony and reception location.Â If you invite 150 couples, this may easily translate into 300 guests.
The Ultimate Guest List.Â A magical number of family and friends which fits the size and style of your ceremony and reception sites, while staying within your wedding budget.
Invite Your Inner Circle of Family and Friends to Reduce Expenses.Â Your wedding guest list should be your closest, most intimate friends and family members.Â Â Focus on people who matter to you most.Â Who was your priority to announce personally you just got engaged?Â Although you may have an enormous family and circle of friends, it is important to trim the size of your wedding guest list to reduce expenses.Â Trimming your wedding guest list is the number one way to save money!Â If you havenâ€™t seen or talked to them in a few years, they may be the easiest to cut first.
Make an Extensive List.Â Ask your parents, your fiancĂ©, and his parents to compile a wedding guest list including everyone they would imagine inviting.Â Have them include and list their people in categories so it is easier when you are making table arrangements (i.e., wedding party, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family, friends, neighbors, bosses, co-workers, business acquaintances, college friends, high school friends, and distant relatives).Â Make sure everyone knows this is the â€śFantasy Wish Listâ€ť, and cuts will need to be made to stay within your budget.
Be Respectful.Â Count on one thing when deciding on your wedding guest list, disagreement.Â Everyone will have an opinion about your wedding, and especially about who should be invited.Â When you get your red pen to trim your list, make sure you are respectful to your fiancĂ©, your parents, and his parents.
Who is Paying, Divide Equally, and Apply Rules Fairly.Â If you are running into conflicts when trimming your list, consider who will be paying the bill.Â Budgeting for the wedding is something you must discuss at the beginning of your wedding planning.Â If your parents are paying for most of the wedding, they will obviously have more control of your guest list.Â Try to divide the guest list evenly.Â Make across-the-board, and clear-cut decisions on who to cut, (i.e., invite all aunts and uncles, yet eliminate third generation cousins).
Make Your MUST Have Â List.Â This is your â€śA Listâ€ť of who you MUST have at your wedding.Â This may be your parents, siblings, grandparents, and wedding party.Â The ones left on your list which did not make it to your â€śA Listâ€ť, will be your â€śB Listâ€ť.
Who Should be Easier to Cut?Â When you start making cuts, your colleagues, out-of-touch friends, and distant relatives you havenâ€™t seen or talked to in over one year should understand if you want to keep your wedding guest list to your closest family and friends.Â Donâ€™t feel obligated to invite neighbors or other brides which have recently invited you to their wedding.
Limit Your Plus Ones.Â It is up to you if you will allow a friend to bring a date.Â Common courtesy dictates if your friend lives with, or is in a serious relationship with someone, this â€śplus oneâ€ť should be invited to the wedding.Â If your friend has a different person each month, this doesnâ€™t mean they should be invited.Â Talk with your friend first before assuming, and this is an easy way to get the name of their guest.Â If they canâ€™t give you a name, probably a good candidate for â€śno plus oneâ€ť!
Realistic Guest Counts, Holidays, and Special Events.Â On an average, 15% to 20% of your invited guests will not be able to attend.Â They may have prior commitments, may not be able to take time off from work, or have other obstacles.Â Your wedding date selection is important.Â Holiday weekends are when airlines are extremely busy, and airfares will be more expensive.Â If you plan your wedding during a major sporting event like Super Bowl weekend, your guests may have a difficult time finding hotel rooms, especially if the Super Bowl is in the same city as your wedding.
Master Guest List.Â Combine your personal guest list, your parentsâ€™ list, your fianceâ€™s list, and your fianceâ€™s parentsâ€™ list into one alphabetical master list.Â Check out this free template google docs â€“ Wedding Guest List Template.Â Enter your data or download from your computer in a format which is easily sorted in a multitude of ways.Â You will refer to this list repetitively to address invitations, check off RSVPs, keep track of RSVPs NOT received, for accurate guest counts, record gifts, mail thank-you notes, and much more.Â Here are some categories to include when making your Master Guest List:
a).Â Contact information.Â Include each guestâ€™s full name, address, city, state, zip, phone, and e-mail address.
b).Â Communication Tracker.Â Keep track of who you have sent the save-the-date, invitation, and thank-you cards to.
c).Â RSVPs.Â Use a check mark or a â€śXâ€ť when the guest has RSVPed, with how many family members will be attending.
d).Â Record Gifts.Â Write down gifts received.
e).Â Out-of-Town Guests.Â These guests will need information on guest rooms, and you may want to arrange for transportation to pick them from the airport, take them to the ceremony, and return them to their hotel at the conclusion of the reception.
f).Â Multiple Events.Â If they are invited to one event, by etiquette they must be invited to the wedding.Â You may want to have various spreadsheets for multiple events such as your Engagement Party, Bridal Shower, Bachelor Party, Bachelorette Party, Rehearsal Dinner, Golf Outing, Spa Day, Ceremony /Reception, and Brunch the Day After.
g).Â Dietary Restrictions.Â Indicate if they are a vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic, and list dietary restrictions to share with your caterer.
h).Â Children vs. Adult Count vs. Vendor Food Count.Â Note the age range of children so when you give the final guest count to your caterer you know numbers for adults, children, and vendor meals.
i).Â Guest Code by Relationship.Â Â Make a code for each guest so you know who is issuing the invitation, is it the Bride (B), Parents of the Bride (POB), Groom (G), Parents of the Groom (POG), Sibling (SOB â€“ sister of bride), Wedding Party (WP), Aunt (A), Uncle (U), etc.Â This will help you with seating arrangements, and if RSVPs are missing, it will be easier at selecting who would be best to delegate to confirm their RSVP status.
j).Â Table Numbers.Â If you are having reserved seating to a table, it will be easier to group your guests before you alphabetize your list.
k).Â Handicap Guests.Â If you have anyone in a wheelchair, you may want to seat them closest to the exit door so they have easy entrance and exit options.
Copyright 2012, Kim Horn, MBCâ„˘
To hire Kim as your wedding planner, call 480.921.7891 or text your name, wedding date, and wedding planner request to 602.418.9089.
Kim M. Horn, MBCâ„˘
Master Bridal Consultant | 1 of 61 in the World
Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Phoenix and Destination Weddings
Publisher | Pres. | ArizonaBridalSource.com
AZ State Coordinator | Assoc. of Bridal Consultants May 2003 â€“ May 2012
ABC 2010 Conference Chair worked with David Tutera