Almost There: Simple Tips for Creating a Guest List

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Simple Tips for Creating a Guest List

When I first started planning my wedding, I pinned some cool tabs that had things like "Wedding for under $500," or another "Under $6,000." 

Those both seemed like numbers in between what my budget would be (see, I never really sat down and made one of those). 

But when I started to read the advice, both of their budgets pretty different in size, I was discouraged because their tips called for a lot of compromise. Luckily, I'm stubborn as hell, and decided that I would do no such thing. I was having a big wedding, with photographers and food and dresses and flowers for a good price. Less than $3,000 and 3 weeks from a wedding, I am happy to say this is happening! 

Since most of the costs do come down to how many people you invite, choosing your guest list is a pretty important element to planning a wedding (or any event for that matter). There are tons of tips out there for helping you draft a guest list, but I'm going to share what worked for us! 

1. Consider the obvious: Venue space, etc.

Some people draft their guest list before choosing their wedding and reception venues. We did it the other way around. Partially because I knew what church I wanted to be married in and partially because we got a deal on our reception hall. Our chapel only holds 250 people, so that gave us a concrete reason we couldn't exceed the limit. 

2. Only invite people you know. 

This seems obvious on paper, but for people with big, southern families, sometimes  there are literally people in your family you don't know. This is the case for my fiance, so we decided it would help us narrow down the list. 

3. Only people you keep in contact with or have talked with in the last year.

When we first drafted our guest list (including the names our parents gave us), we came up with close to 400 people. This tip really helped us narrow the list down. When it came to some family that we are just plain bad at communicating with, we bended a little, but some friends that we had from high school and college that we just don't talk to, didn't make the cut.

4. People we think will be a part of our lives.

This was a big one, as well! It gave us a chance to really evaluate our friendships and see who we think (and hope!) will be a part of our lives for years to come. If they fit in this category there was a good chance they were at least invited to the wedding. This didn't really include our current and past co-workers though. We love them and want them to be part of our lives, but we also just HAD to keep it within the personal life circle for numbers sake.

5. Allow some leniency for keeping the peace.

Let's be real. Our parents are helping us out a ton with this wedding, and not only that, we just love them generally. So when our moms had some best friends they wanted to invite, we let it slide. 

6. Make a mission statement and stick to it.

This is the public administration side of me, but I felt we just couldn't start planning our wedding without a clear, written mission of what we want this wedding to convey. So we did that, not necessarily to show anyone but just to remind ourselves what we wanted. This played a role in who was chosen and just economically how many people we could have join us.

7. Limit the children.

I'm a Catholic, and I love me some kids! But in order to allow for more people, we limited the children invites to just our closest family. Some of the Catholic families I am inviting would easily add another 7 to the list. We were also lenient on this to some extent. Like if some of the parents had some little ones that were particularly attached to mom and dad, we of course are allowing them to come. 

8. Don't be petty.

We aren't one of those, "We have to have equal people on each side of the church." In fact, we aren't doing a side of the church type thing. We are uniting as a family, after all, not competing with each other for who has more loved ones! 

These are just some of the things that helped us out. If you have any more questions about drafting a guest list, feel free to comment below or send me a message with #hollicon on Twitter, and I'll address it for you on the blog! You can find more #hollicon posts here

—Holli Anne 

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