Six Savvy Secrets to Wedding Guestlist Serenity


Six Savvy Secrets to Wedding Guestlist Serenity
The torture of creating the wedding guest list is real, but there are ways to make it less painful!

For some reason when we get engaged we cannot fathom the drama of figuring out who to invite! Since we really only have access to our own family and friends and who we want to attend, it can be rattling when there isn’t completely agreement with your fiancé, your parents, and his parents. What’s a girl to do to have the wedding she wants without too many, or too few, in attendance?

Here are seven secrets to wedding guest list invitation bliss. Take bits of wisdom from each and come up with your own recipe for family harmony.


Conquer Categories

This is the most common advice but we’re going to take it a step further. Assuming the key stakeholders are you, the groom, your parents, and his parents, brainstorm on the “categories” of potential invitees. What this does is let you know what the playing field looks like. Common ones are: family, coworkers, school friends, neighbors, religious-based friends, hobby friends. The hope is that you are able to treat everyone with fairness by potentially wiping out entire categories of people from everyone’s bucket. This makes a much easier narrative to explain why people aren’t invited.

The Full Brainstorm List (with Ranking)

Another option that really gets it all out is to ask the key stakeholders to list everyone they might potentially WANT and rank them by “must”, “maybe”, and “if there is room.” This forces everyone to think now rather than never really asking, only to learn of an entire group of people that “must” be invited after you’ve ordered the invites, food, and have no actual space for them. It’s vital to be clear to everyone that even the “must’s” are not a guarantee, but will greatly help in forming the real vision and budget for the wedding.

Equality vs Justice

Not to get political here, but it’s not possible to have equality and justice. This is ever clear in wedding planning land where you may give each parent 20 guests they can invite. One parent is a bit of a recluse and ends up inviting old neighbors from 10 years ago while the other parent has a big family, runs a business, and has to say no to really important, close friends or family. The goal is an articulated balancing act, if possible, among relationships people have, money they’re contributing, and attempt to be in the middle between equality and justice.

Show Me The Money

In the most crass form, money really does talk. In some countries weddings are planned by table. Each table costs X dollars, so that money is presented if families want to add a table, or two, or three, to the wedding. As you run numbers, figuring out roughly 60% of the wedding is fixed costs no matter the size, then you’re able to better articulate where the wiggle room is, if there is any. Be clear if you’re open to being offered more financial assistance in exchange for a bigger guest list.


The Probability Game

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