One of the hardest parts of wedding planning is deciding who makes your guest list. If you haven't argued, debated and despaired over this little hurdle, you're one of the lucky few! Up until this point, planning your big day has probably consisted of browsing beautiful bridal mags, swooning over dresses and dreaming up a colour scheme, so be prepared to come back down to Earth with a thud when the time comes to separate the invitees from the B-list! We've put together 10 top tips for allocating your wedding guest list, as well as a handy little flow chart to help you move anyone from your 'maybe' pile to a definitive yes or no...
(Image by S6 Photography)
Follow these top tips to help you nail your wedding guest list without too much stress...
1) Consider who's paying the bill. If it's your parents, they'll probably want a say in how big a wedding it is, which venue you choose and how many will be invited. Your folks may also like to have a few spaces allocated for certain people - be sure to have these conversations and decide what kind of wedding YOU want, and what budget you're working with before you make the list.
2) Start with an 'if-only' list. So imagine there were no restrictions on numbers - write down everyone's name and then you can start trimming it down.
3) Focus on the present. Friendships aren't always meant to last forever and though you may have cherished memories of some childhood friends, if they're not in your life now - consider whether it's really important to you to invite them.
4) Make it balanced. Try to divide the total number you can accommodate between you and your other half so your guest list will be balanced, it's a celebration of the two of you after all.
5) Decide whether kids are invited. You can find heaps more info on that here.
There are no hard & fast rules when it comes to planning your guest list, and a lot of it comes down to trusting your instinct. But there are always a few people in the 'maybe' pile who you just can't make up your mind about. Use this handy chart we've designed to put things in perspective...
6) Keep some reserves. Be aware that for most couples, 10-20% of guests will unfortunately decline the invitation for various reasons.
7) Don't forget the 'plus ones'. If you're getting married in your late 20s or early 30s, you may have lots of single friends on the guest list. It's generally expected that their long term significant others would be invited too, but you don't need to worry too much about allocating a 'plus one' for those who are newly dating, or single.
8) Don't feel obliged. Just because you were invited someone's wedding 5 years ago, don't feel you have to return the favour. If that's the only reason you're tempted, they should definitely be on your 'no' list.
9) Sending 'Save the Dates' too early can be tricky. With engagements getting longer, it can be tempting to send out your Save the Date cards really early for the sheer excitement of announcing your big day! Consider though that in reality, some friends & acquaintances may change before the day arrives (especially if you're moving jobs or similar). The ideal time to send our your Save the Dates is usually between 10-12 months before the wedding if your marrying abroad or expecting guests to travel, or alternatively 8-10 months beforehand.
10) Do colleagues count? Don't be tempted to invite colleagues unless you genuinely consider them to be friends outside of the workplace too. Although you may need to brace yourself for a few awkward moments when the penny drops that your co-worker's invitation wasn't lost in the post after all!
Do you have any other top tips for us? We'd love to hear from you.