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Wedding Guest List Planning

Guest List Planning – is there really a formula for success?

Vintage Wedding Guest List PlanningOne of the most contentious and stressful elements to wedding planning is undoubtedly the writing of the Guest List, so why do so many couples struggle to agree on who to invite and share their big day with?

A big factor in this issue is who is paying for the wedding. So many brides have regaled me with stories of parents demanding 40 guests for their daughter’s wedding. If they have to pay for the wedding they should be allowed to bring their own guests, right? Wrong! I think that it is important that when you look around the room on your wedding day that you see people who are there to love and support you as a couple, not a faceless friend of the family who is there for a free supper! Importantly though, you mustn’t forget that your parents will want to share your happiness and success with their nearest and dearest, so more often the trend is becoming to allow both sets of parents one table or a percentage of their own friends for the day, which appears to be a reasonable solution to this issue if your budget can accommodate it.

It seems that agreeing on the attendance of direct family members is rarely a sore point in Guest List planning, but more markedly the number of friends and their partners. If one fiancé has more friends than the other, how do you decide when and where to draw the line? Many couples choose to ‘split the difference’ in the remaining numbers after family places have been allocated. This seems logical but can cause tension over the issue of mutual friends - who belongs to who? Also, most couples will not have equal numbers of friends, which may lead to resentment over the cost of the other half’s posse attending the wedding. Guest List Planning forces you to classify your friends, which is extremely uncomfortable but necessary if there is a budget to adhere to. Try to remember that most married couples will understand if they do not make the final cut as they have been through this process before and will undoubtedly sympathise. In most cases, as long as you are upfront and honest about whether you are able to offer them (and their plus one) an invitation, most friends should appreciate the situation, just be sure to not ‘cut them off’ or ignore them until after the wedding!

Are you inviting children? This is another issue that can cause stress during Guest List planning. I have been to weddings where children have equally added and taken away from the celebrations, so I cannot offer a firm solution. However, it is important that the invitation shows clearly whether or not children are invited to avoid embarrassment and seating issues on the day. Again, most friends with children will appreciate the upfront honesty and ultimately, as the old adage goes, “those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter”.

Whether you decide to use percentages, division or subtraction to plan your Guest List it will only ever be easy if you have no budget or no soul! Don’t be surprised if the process makes you feel uncomfortable, just try and find a formula that works for you and stick to it.

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