Trimming Down Your Guest List
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Trimming Down Your Guest List

Published: 20 Jan 2012 - in organising and planning
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The guest list — probably one of the most stressful tasks of wedding planning. You’ve got your mum inviting relatives you’ve not seen since you were five years old (or you quite simply just don’t like!) and your fiancé inviting old school friends you’ve never heard of. Before you know it you’ve got a bigger guest list than Kate and Will.



The first task to complete is figuring out the general size of your dream wedding — will it be a royal-size wedding with guests in their thousands or do you imagine a quiet, more intimate ceremony which will allow you to spend quality time with each of your guests?


It is important to bear in mind your budget when it comes to writing your guest list. The number of people you invite must be relative to the size of the budget — you don’t want to end up having sleepless nights trying to work out how you’re going to host everyone on your guest list for £20 a head!


Once you’ve decided on a venue, you’ll realize the length of your guest list will be much easier to decipher — if you’re planning to have your wedding in a grand manor house or cathedral, your guest list can easily be significantly larger than if you were marrying in a small registry office.

Dividing it Up

To help reduce tension down the road of guest list writing, confirm with your fiancé the extent of both your family’s participation early on. Generally, each family invites half the guests each, however if you’re a social butterfly with lots of friends and can’t decide, why not divide the guest list into threes — one third for each family and the latter for the two of you. If worse comes to worst, sit down together and write down your must-have each, then compare and crunch. It’s all about talking, negotiating and problem solving — which will stand you in good stead for a life-time of doing so together!


If you both decide not to invite children to the wedding, it is important to outline this in your invitation — subtly. Writing ‘no children’ doesn’t sound quite right, so ensure you address the outer and inner envelopes to only the parents. If you do decide you would like children to attend your wedding, this obviously will have an effect on your budget so if this becomes a problem why not set an age limit (e.g.: only children over 12)? Or narrow it down to the children of immediate family members. It’s also a good idea to provide a ‘goody bag’ or form of entertainment for the younger members of your list to ensure they’re kept amused and won’t feel excluded from the fun.

Last But Not Least...

  1. Don’t be afraid to be brutal, to set clear-cut limits (e.g. no second/third/fourth cousins, no colleagues etc) — remember this is your day.
  2. Ensure you have an alphabetical list of your invitees, including each person’s address; phone number and email address.
  3. Congratulate yourself in completing what could be the wedding task plagued with the most drama!
Next wedding article: Your Post-Wedding To-Do List


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