Article by Lillian Crouse

“Close family and friends only.”

It starts out so simply, with those five innocent little words. Expectations of 50, maybe 100 people (you do have a big family after all). Soon the guest list has swollen out of control into 200 plus people, half of whom you have only met once, or perhaps not ever. Do they all really need to get a wedding invitation?

We are there, we are in the trenches with you; we too are digging through piles of people, maneuvering through proper etiquette and not wanting to offend dear old mom. How in the world are we doing it without offending others but still getting what we want? Here are some tips that we have found to be helpful.

What do you want to happen at your wedding?

Are you looking for a big blow out? Do you want a full bar with shots flowing freely and your best friends dancing on the tables? Or are you looking for something more laid back? Are you dreaming of a calm celebration filled with laid back conversation and guests playing small party games? Your answers to these questions will help dictate who you are inviting.

Your cousin Marie who insists on bringing her three children under the age of 10 is probably not going to want to be drunkenly booty dancing to Pitbull all night; similarly your recently graduated Frat brothers may not enjoy playing bean bag tic tac toe with Marie’s kids. It’s all about time and place, decide on your vibe and look at the appropriateness of each individual guest.

What is your budget?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have enough money to feed and water and fill 500 people with enough cake to send them home happy? If you had that kind of budget, this whole guest list issue would be non-existent. Figure out what you can afford to spend, and how much you want to spend. What do your catering and venue options look like for this price? With price per head catering, and limited venue seating, do some looking at what you can afford and give yourself a hard limit on a number to invite.

Who do you want to come?

I know, it seems pretty basic but seriously sit down and look at your list. How many people on that list do you and your fiance truly want to be there?  Your fiance’s third cousin whose name he couldn’t quite remember without prompting? Your boss’s boss? Your mom’s college roommate? Are these the people that you want to be surrounded by as you proclaim and commit to your love for one another?

This is what it truly comes down to. You are starting a new part of your life together, decide together on who you want to celebrate this with. If this includes your mailman, then fantastic! Invite him! If this simply includes your siblings, parents, and closest of close friends, then great! Those are the people you need to have on your list.

With these three simple questions, we have been able to simplify our guest list and make it into what we are looking for. Sit down together, have a cup of tea (or wine) and have fun deciding on who will be there to share in your special day.

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