Ok, so you are now engaged (YaY!!) and other than that damn budget, one of the first things you should to tackle is the guest list! Does thinking about compiling your guest list just make you itch a little because your mom has already handed you a list of “her” friends that she wants to invite and you just had someone come up to you and say “can’t wait to get my invite in the mail”; however, you didn’t even plan on inviting them? Sound familiar?! Well don’t going running off with hives, I have a few tips to help you tackle the guest list.
During my planning, the guest list was the ban of my existence. When we finally had all of the names written down, we had 319 people. Yes you read that correctly. My mother is like the unofficial town mayor. She knows EVERYONE in Georgetown and felt like she needed to invite half of the town. Luckily, Brian and I’s reception venue only held 300, so that helped buffer some of the people my mother could invite. Even with this cap, I knew we didn’t want to fill the venue to capacity.
Many of my clients get overwhelmed when I tell them they need to finalize their guest list fairly early in the planning process. I am not saying that you can’t add a few people plater on, but in order to secure the perfect venue or receive an accurate quote on catering cost, I need to know how many guests will be at your event. Now in “finalizing” you guest list, you don’t need all of the addresses right now, but you do need a pretty accurate count of how many people you will be inviting. Why? Because you guest list dictates what size venue you should use and how many people to budget for. You want a venue that will accommodate all of your guests comfortably, but also not so large that you feel like your wedding is being swallowed in the space. Also you guest list really determines how far your budget will go. If you have a $30,000 budget and inviting 200 guests, you have roughly $150 to spend per person, where if you only had 100 guests you have $300 to spend per person. Three hundred to spend per person creates a whole different kind of guest experience in comparison to the $150. On average couples spend around $225 per guest. Your guest list pretty much affects EVERYTHING!! From how many centerpieces you need to linens, invitations, chairs, dinnerware, favors… the list goes on and on.
One of the hurdles that many couples face is how many people do we let each family invite. There is no rhyme or reason to how this is divided out. However here are some things to consider: (1) start with family and close friends – start with all the MUST invites (2) who is contributing to the budget / there are no rules – if someone (parents) are contributing maybe they are allocated a certain number of guests based on how much is contributed (3) create an A & B list – however, I am kind of against this. If you weren’t going to invite the person in the first place, why do so now since someone else said no.