Every aspect of a wedding can hold an argument as to why it is the most important aspect of a couple’s Big Day. The cake, the dress, the location, even down to linens and flowers; all parts hold equal weight when making that dream come true moment.
A practical, less exciting piece to the wedding puzzle is putting together a guest list. The guest list influences a major part of the wedding budget. The number of people you invite to parties or the overall wedding extravaganza influences the location, food, room set up, etc.
Before making your list:
- Know your budget
As stated above, it is important to know your budget and stick to that budget. The number of guests you will invite affects the amount of money you will spend on the reception. The number of attendees is how most reception venues establish the full price of a reception; every added guest or plus 1 adds more into that overall amount.
- Set a definite headcount
Once you have a budget, you will be able to determine how much you can spend per person. This will give you an exact number of people and headcount to stick with. Once this headcount is established, it is important to not veer from the desired number. Extra guests can always pop up at last minute, so consider setting a slightly higher budget, but lower guest list number to allow for this possibility.
- Remember +1’s
When inviting cousins, friends and so on to your wedding, it is proper etiquette to allot them a plus one for their significant others (if it’s in your budget). This added attendee is incorporated into your overall number and headcount for the wedding.
- Set numbers for parents and in-laws with a specified due date
Once the budget and practical number for the guest list is set, decide a number of invites that will be given to each of the couple’s parents for their own invites. This will most likely involve any family members that will be invited and their significant others. Select a “due date” for the parent’s guest lists. This gives them enough time to flesh out the details and will give the couple enough time to lock down locations and caterer information for the reception.
Things to remember when creating your guest list:
- Start with closest friends and family and work your way out from there.
- Consider those who have invited those to their wedding or had you as a member of their bridal party, but reciprocation is not mandatory unless you are close to that person.
- Work and business colleagues and contacts are also not mandatory. Just because you invite close work friends does not mean you have to invite everyone (just be mindful not to flaunt invitations in front of non-invited coworkers).
- Anyone invited to related parties and showers must be invited to the wedding.
- Excel spreadsheet or websites
Putting all of the guest list information into an Excel spreadsheet gives extra organization to a chaotic element of the wedding. This allows you to add addresses; plus 1 information; separate each into family, friends or bridal party categories; a list of gifts given and many more options. There are countless websites dedicated to guest lists like WeddingWire.com or The Knot.
- Alphabetical order: by city if out-of-town guests
Alphabetical order is just another great efficient organizational tool to use when working with a long list of information. This can be largely utilized when the couple is dealing with out of town guests. It’s easier to find everyone and makes searching for information a little easier.
Creating a guest list can bring up stressful moments during the planning stages. If you go in with an effective plan of attack, stick to budgets and utilize all organizational possibilities it will make the process much easier and allow less room for error. You will be dancing the night away with a number of beloved family and friends in no time.