When my now-husband and I got engaged, one of the first things we did was write a draft guest list. We both put down absolutely everyone we would like to invite, so we had a starting point … and it was over 200 people. That was a bit of a shock to the system! So then we went back and looked at it again, and again, and again, until we were happy with our final numbers.
Deciding who stays on the invite list, and who unfortunately doesn’t make the cut, can be a tough one. You don’t want to offend anyone, and you want to consider your parent’s opinions, but primarily it often comes down to budget. The more people you invite, the more your wedding will cost, because food and drink are usually the biggest expenses. For every person, you also need to include a chair, a setting at a table, extra centrepieces, wedding favours, place name, and this is on top of the catering.
So how do you decide who to invite?
Start the exact same way I did. Write down absolutely everyone you would love to invite in an ideal world. This gives you a basic starting point. From there, I would consider the following factors (but ultimately, the final decision rests on you two):
- If they are family, are you close?
- Are your parents paying for the wedding and therefore expect certain family or friends to be invited?
- Did you go to their wedding?
- When was the last time you spoke to them?
- Are they active in your day to day lives?
- Can you see yourselves still being friends in 5 years? 10 years?
- If they weren’t there, would you regret it later?
- Do you spend time with them outside of work, rugby, the activity you know them through?
- Have they met both of you?
It’s ok to have an A list and a B list, just ensure your RSVP date is early enough that you can send additional invites later and not have it look like it’s exceptionally last minute.
One bit of advice – don’t send Save the Dates to anyone that is a ‘maybe’. It’s frowned upon to send them one and then not invite them to the wedding.
What about plus ones?
Again this comes down to budget. If you have the money, then feel free to give everyone a plus one. But it’s perfectly acceptable not to, providing the guest will know other people at the wedding.
Should we invite children?
This question comes up over and over again, and really, it’s personal choice. Lots of people feel they need one set rule that works for everyone (no children at all, only our children, only family children etc) but that’s not the case. If you want to invite your best friends children and no one elses, then go for it! It’s your wedding after all. Things to consider are:
- If your guests have very young children (i.e. still being breastfed, or young enough that they may not have spent time away from them before), then it would be polite to allow those children to attend, or be understanding of the fact that your guests may not be able to attend as they need to put their young children first.
- If your guests have to travel, they may not have someone local to look after their children and may not feel comfortable having a stranger look after them.
- Some parents would love the chance for a child-free evening and will be completely unoffended if children aren’t invited, while others may not be used to leaving their children with babysitters and may choose not to attend if their children aren’t invited.
- With children comes the unexpected. You cannot guarantee that there will be silence during the ceremony, but you can almost guarantee that young ones will make the most of a DJ or band and dance until they crash!
If you choose to make your wedding child-free, you might like this awesome article from Modern Wedding about how to word your invitations.
At the end of the day, there is no correct way to select your wedding guests. Choose those who are important to you and that you want to share your special day with. And if anyone complains, you can always blame the size of the venue ;)
Posted: Wednesday 3 August 2016