By C. Spinks
Many couples would say that building and finalizing your guest list can be one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning. From deciding on a maximum guest count to determining who you can't extend an invitation to, there is a lot of careful thought that needs to go into this process. Here are a few suggested tips before slipping those invitations in the mail.
Where To Start
Before you start building your list, determine what your wedding budget is. Create an itemized estimate for how much you intend to spend in areas like the venue, food and beverage, decor and so on. Having a good idea of the approximate costs in these areas will give you a good starting point on the total number of guests you should invite. Adjustments can be made as you are further along in planning, but we suggest always being mindful of your coins.
See Also: I Do... Take You As My Wedding Planner
What's Your Reception Style?
If you are having a reception, one way to narrow down your guest list count is to decide what kind of reception you want.
Having a formal reception with a plated dinner will usually require the couple to pay per person, and this cost can quickly add up depending on the venue and guest count. If this is the reception style you prefer, your guest count should be strictly guided by your food and beverage budget. Decide what you are comfortable spending per person, then build your guest list accordingly.
Semi-Formal or Casual Reception:
In a less formal reception setting, you may decide to have food stations. This may allow the couple to invite more guests as you're usually charged a food and beverage minimum rather than held accountable for the dinner price per person.
Many couples can appreciate this option because it allows the guests to choose between a variety of food options, rather than what can be limited on a plated dinner menu.
How To Address Plus Ones
There are no set rules on who should get a plus one for your wedding. However, we do suggest that your plus one criterion is consistent for all guests. For instance, if you decide that non-married guests cannot bring a date, then there shouldn't be exceptions to this rule. This can alleviate any guests feeling offended that they weren't extended a plus one offer.
If you want to offer plus ones to all guests but still have a manageable guest total, we suggest assessing which groups you can remove from the list. Do you really need to invite your second cousins or that former co-worker who you haven't spoken to in three years? Every personal circumstance is different, so make the decision that's best for you as a couple, in addition, to your finances following your wedding.
How did you go about narrowing down your wedding guest list? Let us know in the comments below.