So you’re planning your big day. Isn’t it stressful? What wedding reception hall to pick, which photographer to go with, who will be my maid of honor? These can be stressful times, and we understand that. That’s why we’re here to provide some tips for one major decision: the wedding guest list.
For many people the wedding guest list can be quite stressful, and that’s understandable. After all, who you invite shows quite a bit about who’s important to you and who you prioritize in your life. It’s a big step that can cause stress and even some arguments between you and your fiancé.
Well, don’t fret. We’re here to help you with your guest list and hopefully alleviate some of that stress for your big day. We’re going to provide you with seven tips to make the perfect guest list for your wedding.
1. Know Your Budget
This is a critical first step in helping to shape your guest list. Understanding how much you can spend is going to help immediately cut out those distant people in your lives that you see once every two years. The budget should set the foundation for your list, and from there you can start picking and choosing the lucky people who will be a part of your big day. We recommend creating a free account at WeddingWire.com and using their wedding budget calculator.
2. Which Relatives Will Make The Wedding Guest List?
Let’s start out with your closest relatives. Of course your immediate family will be there. Next, it’s likely an easy decision to add your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and first cousins and their spouses.
From here is where it can get tricky, and where you’ll need to start picking and choosing. We recommend that you group these distant relatives together and either invite them all, or don’t invite any. For example, don’t invite your second cousin that you see from time to time and then not invite her sister. That can make it awkward the next time you’re at an event. If you’re going to invite one, then invite the other—or don’t invite them at all.
It’s also important to separate the two sides. Don’t treat each side equally. If he’s really close with his distant relatives (can you even call them distant if you’re close with them?), then let him invite them. But don’t let that dictate you inviting your distant relatives that you hardly ever see.
3. Should You Invite Co-Workers?
It’s going to depend a lot on your company and what kind of business you’re in, but we can make one big rule for coworkers: invite them all, or don’t invite any of them. Now, there are definitely some caveats here. If you work somewhere in which you routinely interact with 150 people, you’re obviously not going to invite them all. If you work in a much smaller place where you interact with about 20 people, then you can make your all-or-none decision.
An exception to this rule will be if you work with someone that you’re much closer with than the regular office-room banter. If there’s someone which you see outside of work, then you can consider them a friend and should therefore extend an invite.
We can group in your boss to this category as well. If the boss of your company is someone you rarely ever interact with, then there’s no real need to extend an invite. However, if you routinely speak and work closely with your boss, we recommend extending an invite to them. It would look poor on your behalf to not at least make an invite. If they come, that’s great! If not, no harm on your behalf.
4. Inviting Children To Your Wedding
This one can cause grief and angst for some, and is an easy decision for others. It’s perfectly fine to not include children on your wedding guest list. You’re likely going to make an exception for your close relatives—especially if they have a child that is in your wedding—but for other guests, you should make a decision and a cutoff age.
If you’re going to allow children, we recommend cutting off the age at 13 years old. At this age, they’re more likely to be well-behaved compared to an eight-year-old.
You can relay this message to your guests on the wedding invitation by offering a quick and sincere note. We recommend using something like, “We respectfully request no children under the age of 13 at the reception.” This keeps it short, sweet, respectful, and gets the point across. For relatives that are getting an exception, make sure to relay this information to them.
5. Have You Seen Them Recently?
After close relatives and friends, it starts to get a little more difficult for your wedding guest list. One guideline we recommend is doing a one-year test. If you’ve seen or spoken to someone within the last year, there’s a better chance of them being invited. If you haven’t seen them in over a year (unique circumstances being taken into consideration), then there’s less of a chance that you should invite them.
6. Do Neighbors Make The Cut?
Just because they’re your neighbor doesn’t mean you should invite them. If you hardly ever talk other than a, “Hey, how’s it going?”, then no need to invite. Cross them off your wedding guest list. If you’ve become closer and speak frequently and even hang out from time to time, we’d recommend extending an invite to them.
7. Did They Invite You To Their Wedding?
A good guide to follow would be if they invited you to their wedding. If they invited you and you still keep in touch somewhat regularly, we’d recommend including them on your list. If they invited you to their wedding six years ago and you hardly ever speak, then we think it’s okay to skip their invite.
Keep in mind: most of these are just guidelines. None of these are hard-and-fast rules for your wedding guest list. Your budget will help in the creation of the list on how many people you’re going to invite and who will attend. And remember, just because you invite them doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll attend.
Don’t let this stress you out. This is a wonderful time in your life, so make the best of it!