6 Easy Ways to Manage and Trim Your Wedding Guests List
After you have booked your wedding venue, photographer, got your dress sorted out, hair and make up, catering, now its time to work on your wedding guests list. Who to invite, who can you not invite, and how to please everyone?
So why do you need to trim down the list?
Every wedding venue has a number restriction. If you invite up to the upper limit of the venue seating capacity, the place will be cramped, which may or may not be a bad thing. If the venue requires transportation, such as ferry or bus rides, this will create extra planning headaches, especially with a bigger number. For farm weddings, or those that are held on private properties and where wedding marquees are required, the seating capacity will restrict the number for health and safety reasons.
Lastly, how to fit this within your wedding budget (go here if you would like to use our own wedding budget tool). Each person requires catering cost, as well as alcohol/beverage cost. For wedding venues where there is no DIY, the alcohol cost can be very significant, especially if you are paying for the bar tab. Managing and trimming your guests list is a quick hack to lower your wedding cost.
It is all about a balancing act for the bride and groom, which can be quite stressful trying to please everyone on both sides of the families, from the new friends to the old relatives, and of course the two immediate families.
How Many Guests are typical at a wedding here in New Zealand?
From our discussion with vendors and brides, the typical guests number is 80-100, which tends to be quite a comfortable number with many wedding venues around New Zealand. Anything over 120 will tend to require a hall or much bigger facilities that tend to host conferences and events. Asian weddings tend to have much bigger wedding guests number, which can easily go over 300, and sometimes even over 500 guests.
So how to trim down your wedding guests lists? Here are 6 easy ways and real bits of advice from real brides on how to crop your wedding guests list without facing guilt or hurting feelings.
1. Create a “cutting rules” and stick to it!
Creating a guests list is messy and tiring, that is just the nature of the beast. This is especially true if one or both sets of parents are involved. One of the easiest ways to crop your wedding guest list is to come up with firm rules and make sure to stand by it. So what do “cutting rules” consist of? Start by excluding those people you and your future spouse haven’t spoken to for years, or someone both of you haven’t heard their name because they are a friend of your parents, don’t include them on the list. Though if your parents are footing some of the bills, that is another story. Another rule to include is if you are just adding this person or this couple out of guilt because they have invited you to their wedding. This is your day; your wedding should be surrounded by the love of your family and friends.
Tips: Remember, the more people you invite, the more time you have to spend saying hi to everyone. Thus, it’s always good to be surrounded by your loved ones only and by fun and laughter.
2. No co-workers allowed
If you are trying to watch your wedding budget and stay away from office drama, it is just practical not to send out wedding invites in your workplace, even if you are just giving it to one. Keeping wedding talks to a minimum is always a smart move.
Tips: If you can’t avoid inviting the person you are very close with, give them the wedding invitation outside your office to avoid stress from questions of your other nosy co-workers.
3. Consider an “Adults Only” wedding
More and more wedding couples are opting for an “Adults Only” wedding affair. Whether it is a spacial issue or a budget issue, it is your wedding and you can take this route if you are more comfortable with it. If you think about your bridal party, it’s definitely okay to have kids in your wedding party then still have an adults-only wedding.
Tips: Just keep in mind to be careful to not make exemptions and let other family members or close friends carry their children to the wedding reception. If not, some of your wedding guests might get upset. Remember, set the rules and stick to it.
4. Be strict with “plus-ones”
As you can imagine, the plus ones can increase the guests list quite quickly. This is certainly an area that you can control without the guilty feeling.
Tips: Offer plus-ones to your wedding guests who are: 1. who’s married, 2. who’s engaged, 3. who is in a long-term relationship and, 4. who lives together. You can extend a plus-one to your wedding party as a courteous gesture. But for those who are casually dating and single friends who just wanted to bring a date, do not need a plus-one.
5. Make a priority list and a non-priority list, your A and B lists
There will always be the most obvious people that you must invite to your wedding day, even if they are half the world away. These are the people you can’t imagine not seeing on your wedding day. These are your family members and close friends and they should receive the first round of wedding invitations. On the other hand, your non-priority B list is the people you might be able to skip. It’s not that you don’t like them but those who cannot be extended an invitation in the first round.
Tips: Once you started getting RSVPs and it turns out you still have enough space for more people to invite, you can start sending a second round of sending wedding invitations to your non-priority list in order of importance.
6. Be upfront with the parents if you are getting financial help
As mentioned before, when parents are involved in the guests list process, things can spiral out of control very quickly. If you can pay for the whole wedding by yourself, then of course this tips is not required, as it is much easier to request their absence from the decision process. However, if you need and are taking financial help to cover the wedding cost, then it would be much more difficult to decide everything by yourselves.
Tips: It is therefore important from the beginning to upfront, set out expectations and communication guidelines to avoid problems later on. For example, you can invite 50% of the guests while the parents can invite the other half. Set the rules and stick to them.
Drafting your wedding guest list can be tough especially for you are following a wedding budget or if your dream wedding reception only allows a certain number of attendees. It can be stressful and painful at times but remember, this is your wedding, don’t allow negativity ruin your bridal glow. If you hear family members not being happy about your decisions, shrug it off because if they really love you, they will understand you. Of course its always good to be open and compromise, but at the end of your day, it is your and your partner’s wedding. Be happy. Make the planning journey a happy one. Allow the list to be a reminder of the people whom you will get the chance to catch up, say hello, and celebrate with.
Share your own thoughts and tips on how you trim your wedding invite list
Do you have other tips and stories to share on how to cut down the number of people in a wedding guest list? Share your thoughts and stories in the comment section below.