St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | What NOT To Do For Your Wedding: The Guest List
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What NOT To Do For Your Wedding: The Guest List

Now that the budget has been sized up (or down, for that matter), you have a realistic view of what you can do for your wedding.  Depending on how you allocated your funding in the budget segment, a majority of what you can do will revolve around the your guest list.  Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look…

Gorgeous Reception?  Guest list intensive.

Stunning Invites?  Guest list intensive.

Memorable Favors?  Guest list intensive.

You get my point.  Keeping your dream wedding and your budget in mind, let’s look at what not to do…

What NOT To Do:

  • Invite your uncle’s daughter’s mother-in-law’s cousin’s neighbor’s dogwalker.  We understand it’s a festive occasion, but really…limit your list to family and friends
  • Consider “I.O.U’s”.  If your friend from college invited you to  her wedding, that was awfully kind of her.  You, however, are not obligated to do the same– especially if you are not close.  (This is also true for the bridal party…but we’ll drive off that bridge when we come to it)
  • Make your single friends come stag. Sure, they love you. But at some point in time in all of our lives we have been to some seminar, workshop, camp, training, etc. where we had to get up and introduce ourselves and play silly games.  No one wants to do that at a wedding. Make your single friends feel comfortable by letting them invite someone they know! If you do opt to nix the “and guest” for your single friends, try to pair them with someone they know in the seating arrangements.
  • Argue about the guest list. This is criticial. The guest list development should happen at the very beginning of your planning.  You don’t want to embark upon the rest of your planning period in a huff with your fiance, future in laws or parents

What To Do:

  • Develop rules that everyone has to play by for the guest list.  And no cheating!  So if this means each set of parents get 25 guests, then each set of parents get 25 guests.  Don’t sneak an extra 7 on your parents’ side…Crystal and Alexis from Dynasty will have nothing on your Mom and FMIL at the wedding.  If no co-workers are to be invited, your honey will just have to do with not having the guys from payroll there.  Likewise, these rules could certainly attach to other situations: no children, only first cousins, no guests, etc.
  • Create an A and B list.  I hear some people say that this is tacky.  IMO, it’s only tacky if you TELL the guest they were on the B list (i.e., “Hi Aunt Martha, my friend Janet couldn’t come. I wasn’t going to invite you initially, but you can have her spot”).  Develop your guest of must-have people for your wedding.  These will be your A list.  Next, make a list of your “Would like to come, but won’t shrivel up and die if they don’t” people.  Needless to say, this is your B list.  In some instances, brides make C lists, as well.  So let’s say someone from your must-have list can’t make it.  Be sure to zip an invite to your B list person.  Typically, the initial guest list is made up of a combination of the two:  no guest list is ever full of just “A list” people. 
  • Remember you can do more for 50 than you can for 250.  If your budget is moderate, but your hopes are high and guest list is long, really consider what is most important to you.  Do you want a fabulous, memorable wedding or a party that is a blur?  If you want a unique experience, pare down the guest list.   Just by doing this, you may be able to add a few more courses to your meal, opt for a better reception site, etc.  Otherwise, you could find yourself serving tea sandwiches at 8:00 p.m. at the local VFW. 
  • Remember the rule of thumb: 10-25% of your guest list will not show.  Either overcompensate in your guest list to get the number of people you want there (be sure to prepare yourself budget-wise if you get more than expected!)  or you can supplement your list to get your desired amount once your RSVPs come in (ex., go to your B List).  You could also take what you can get, and if it falls under your desired amount, splurge on everything else!
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