Choosing who will attend the big day is one of the biggest planning headaches! Keep costs and tempers to a minimum with our top tips for cutting your wedding guest list…
The guest list is often one of a bride’s most dreaded wedmin tasks, as the number of guests you have for your big day can make or break the budget. If you have too many names on your list but are struggling to cut numbers, don’t despair
– here’s our stress-free guide to cutting your wedding guest list, without offending anyone… (hopefully!).
Learn to prioritise
First off, sit down with your fiancé and make a list of everyone you would potentially want to invite to the wedding – regardless of venue size or budget. Then, go down the list and assign each guest a letter. ‘A’ means that you absolutely cannot imagine your wedding without that person there, ‘B’ means that they won’t make or break the day, but that you’ll miss them if they’re not able to attend, and ‘C’ means that they’ll add to the fun of the day if they can attend, but you probably won’t miss them if they can’t. Everyone on your A-list should automatically get an invite – that’s a no-brainer! Your B-list should also receive invitations, but that’s the list you should start looking at if you need to start to make cuts before the invites go out due to budget or venue restrictions. Your C-list won’t receive invitations until you’ve sent your A and B-lists and have started to receive RSVPs. Have invitations ready to go so that you can start to work through this list straight away. The best bit about this system? Your guests never know what list they are on!
“Remember that the number of regrets is proportional to the size of the wedding,” says wedding planner Cat D. “If you are planning a larger wedding with 200+ guests, expect approximately 20% to regretfully decline, whereas an intimate wedding with around 50 close family and friends normally sees a much lower number declines.”
Don’t invite out of guilt!
It can be tough, but try to not invite people purely because you were invited to their wedding, or because they’re old friends that you haven’t seen for years. Every wedding and couple is different, and you may not have the budget to accommodate people out of a sense of obligation.
“This is your special day and if you wouldn’t have considered inviting them previously, then think twice against doing it just because you feel obliged,” says Cat. “Every couple’s situation is different and most will fully understand. If you feel you really should return the favour, there’s always an evening invitation to consider.”
The same goes for inviting work colleagues or your boss – only do it if you’re genuinely friends outside of work! If you’re close to a few work friends but can’t invite everyone, do ask your lucky recipients to keep it on the down-low at work to avoid hurt feelings.
Make the occasion adults-only
It can sometimes cause controversy, but more and more couples are excluding children from the guest list.
“With child-free weddings, you want to ensure you are clear on the invitations without being too direct, as this can be a sensitive point for many families,” Cat explains. “A good idea is to address the invitation only with the names of those invited, as well as on the RSVP. Phrases such as ‘we’d really like everyone to be able to let their hair down, so we politely request that no children attend’ are also worth considering. You will probably find your guests will respond positively and arrive ready to party!”
Children can add a lot of fun to a wedding, but they can also cause disruption, and you might find that many parents will enjoy having a night off being ‘mum and dad’ for the night. Speak to the couples it affects before you send the invites out to prepare them in advance, so they don’t get an unexpected shock.
Remember that it’s about balance
The reason that cutting the guest list can be so difficult is that you want to invite as many of your loved ones as possible, but doing so limits the amount of money you have to spend on other important elements of the day. Unless you have an unlimited budget (and most brides don’t!), you’ll have to learn to balance these two.
“I always recommend my couples make a list of which things are most important to them and then use this as a starting point to decide numbers,” says Cat. “Remember that it’s about quality not quantity. You don’t want to over-extend your finances for the sake of numbers. If I were to choose between an incredible photographer that ‘gets you’ and produces photos you will never tire of looking at versus 10 additional guests… well, there’s only one winner!”
Thanks to the wonderful Cat D for her top tips. Visit lovecatd.com to book her expert planning services for your big day.