Wedding legend has it, the guest list and the table plan are two of the most stressful parts of any bridal To Do list. Luckily, they aren’t tasks that need to be done close together, unless you are getting married very quickly.
Dean and I knew we were never going to be having a huge ceremony with 150-200 guests. We researched a few venues and because some had a maximum of 50, 80, or 100 guests we knew we would have to produce a rough guest list early on to make sure we found a venue that could accommodate.
It was important for us to have everyone present at our wedding that we loved and cared for; it was this reason we chose not to marry abroad, something that was an early possibility for us. We have both said we would love a vineyard ceremony in California (where my Mum is from, and half of my family live) but unfortunately it just wasn’t practical to send elderly relatives in the UK on a 12 hour flight.
I highly recommend starting with three lists:
List One: Family members and close friends you wouldn’t get married without.
List Two: Cousins, old friends stay in touch with but don’t speak to on a daily/ weekly basis
List Three: Family friends, neighbours, parents’ friends, and any others.
Now look at your favourite venue: is there a minimum or maximum number of guests required? Then look at the cost per head (food, drink, evening buffet etc) and times that by the number of people on your initial list. Can you afford to invite all of them? Do you want to? Start with List Three and eliminate upwards if you need to reduce your numbers.The flow chart below may be of some assistance!
Remember there will always be people you have forgotten, and if you get married over a year away, you may meet new people between now and then too so save a few pounds in the budget just in case.
Dean and I made an initial list of approximately 70 people. We found a venue we fell in love with, which could only cater for 50 guests. Try as we might we could not get our guest list below 58. We soon realised it wasn’t the perfect venue if our loved ones couldn’t all be there! Having now booked our perfect venue, our guest list has reached the high 80s. My parents suggested a few family friends that we were happy to include, and we realised there were around five guests with ‘plus ones’ that should be invited too (now that is another post!)
The key thing to remember is THIS IS YOUR WEDDING DAY. I like to think we were brutal, but actually, looking over it we have happily got everybody involved that was important to us. I was adamant that I wanted to look back over my wedding photos and exclaim with friends and family how different we now look, what a beautiful day it was, and show any future children of ours or friends. I didn’t want to look back and think “Who was that?” And I certainly don’t want to be introduced to anybody knew on my wedding day; if they receive an invite, I will certainly meet them before the day itself!