Who shall we invite to our wedding?

The guest list can be problematic if you do not think it through correctly in advance.

Think about who you really want to be at your wedding. The number of guests you invite depends on your venue, your budget and where you draw the line: many parents want to invite their own friends and business contacts, but you may only want close family and friends. It is important to make this clear at the beginning, especially if your parents are paying for most of the wedding.

First think about who you would like to invite to each part of the wedding: for instance, the ceremony, the reception, and the evening party. It is perfectly acceptable to invite guests to the ceremony and then the evening party, keeping the reception for family and close friends only. This is one way of cutting costs.



The bride and groom and their respective parents will each need to write a list, and come up with a final list that they all agree on. Be sure to tell both families how many guests they may include in their list. For instance, if you are planning to invite 100 guests in total, the bride and groom can invite 50 guests (friends and colleagues, for instance), and each family can invite 25 guests.

The lists should be divided into two groups: A and B. List A will include family, close friends, and people you have known a long time and see regularly (or are in regular contact with). List B is for people you do not see regularly, or who you are unlikely to stay in touch with after the wedding. Compile the A and B lists based on everybody’s wishes, and remember that some names will overlap.

Bear in mind that a percentage of invited guests, perhaps some 10-20%, will not be able to attend the wedding for a variety of reasons. If you are on a small budget but still want the wedding of your dreams, one way to do it is to reduce your guest list. Try not to dilute your wedding plans in order to accommodate more guests.

If you are computer savvy, prepare a simple database or list with columns for names, contact information, RSVPs received, gifts given, etc. This is a great way of keeping track of guest numbers and to help you write thank you notes after the wedding. You may think you will remember who gave which gift, but it is sure to become a blur after the wedding day!

And the kids?

You will also need to decide whether children are allowed to attend the wedding. If you decide not to invite children, be prepared for their parents to say they cannot attend either. And if you make this the rule, it needs to be applied without exceptions – if parents see that one child has been allowed to attend, they may resent not having been able to bring along their own children.

Another option is to allow children to attend, but organize childcare or entertainment near or at the ceremony venue for the little ones during the ceremony. One of the reasons couples choose not to invite children is because they do not want unexpected interruptions during the solemnity of the marriage service or while they are making their wedding vows, so this is one way of getting round this dilemma.


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