In the initial stages of planning, one of the hardest decisions may be agreeing on the number of guests to invite to your wedding. Whether your favorite venue or budget (or just personal preference!) is determining the number of guests which can attend, having the discussion with your parents, future in-laws and fiance from the start will save you big headaches later on.
Of course the number you invite will be higher than the number actually attending. We recommend using about a 15% decline rate but this can vary on each individual situation – where the majority of guests are traveling from, time of year for your wedding and your guests’ own personal budgets. We advise our clients individually on a percentage to use.
Three Easy Steps to Master Your Guest List:
1) A key point to address and not to tip-toe around is how you will divide up this total number of invited guests. We have seen lots of scenarios – half for the bride side, half for the groom side – is the most common. Or depending on who is paying. Sometimes couples marry later on in their careers and find themselves contributing substantially to their wedding day so a three-way split is acceptable between both sides of parents and then the couple themselves. Or perhaps four ways, both parents and then a list for each of you.
2) However you split the master guest list, sit down and compare your personal lists as you may likely have a few overlaps and common invitees. This will open up a couple of spots! When making your list, start at the top with your family and friends that you cannot imagine not having there on your wedding day. As you add to your list, widen the circle of must attends. This will help if you have to cut (yes, it does happen) guests from your invite list if you are exceeding the total number of guests to invite. You will have done your work and eliminate from the bottom up.
3) Equally important is sticking to this guest list! The master guest list is easily the biggest source of contention for everyone throughout the wedding planning. Depending on the length of your engagement, you may hit it off with a new work colleague, your third cousin has returned from their world trip or you ran into your long lost childhood friend. Each wedding is different and if in your situation it works, then the more the merrier, but if it doesn’t, then you need to stick to your guns. If everyone added 4-6 guests, then you could suddenly be looking at an additional 20 guests and so the problems begin.
Spend a little time at the beginning to agree on a course of action and this will save you a lot of stress, contention and potential arguments later on. After all your engagement is your first big test of ‘compromise’ with each other and your new family. Make it a successful one!
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