BECAUSE EXPERIENCE SHARING IS THE BEST KIND OF WORD VOMIT
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ARTICLE BY COLLECTIVE MEMBER: LAUREN O’BRIEN OF LAUREN O AND CO.
Ah, the wedding guest list. The task that you’ve been dreading but must happen. We know, we know. We want to plan the pretty too but the wedding guest list happens first. You see because we know you hired a dope wedding planner, and you’ve taken the time to hammer down the budget that you know the wedding guest list is the greatest factor in keeping that budget in check. It’s quite simple – more people = more cash! So, we’re here to help you create a wedding guest list that honors those you love while keeping your budget in check and your wedding planner super happy.
Since we’ve locked in the budget, we know how much we can afford. This is important because you’ll need to know how much you can spend before you know how many you can invite. Way too many couples start things off wrong by first booking the venue and then thinking about the budget and then the wedding guest list. While the venue is important it’s not the first thing you decide on.
Picture these real-life scenarios – Couple spends all their money on dream venue. Then the couple figures out the budget and guest list. The couple then cries in poor as they realize that they only have the coins to invite their parents, wedding party, and siblings.
Or, couple books venue then does guest list. The couple then discovers they know way too many people and their venue only has space for half their wedding guest list. Now they have to have an awkward conversation with all of their extended family. Don’t be like these couples.
Think big. Keep in mind not everyone will be able to attend. Start with immediate family and go from there. You can always trim the guest list later on, but forgetting someone important will leave you feeling stressed.
Then, trim. Start with the friends on your list. Ask yourself, “What does our friendship look like in the next five years?” If you know for sure a friend listed is more of an acquaintance. Don’t. Invite. Them. Sounds harsh but the reality is you – you want to be surrounded by people who have played and will continue to be a large part of your life. While good coffee is clutch, the barista at your favorite coffee shop doesn’t need to be invited. This rule also applies to college friends you haven’t seen since your grad night and your exes. Trust us. You are not Prince Harry and Chelsea Davy, inviting your ex will go poorly.
Now we know this wedding is all about you. but let’s be fair. Your boo can invite a guest…or two. Make sure you sit down with your beloved and combine those lists – then check your egos because this exercise requires openness and humility. If your fiance has twelve sisters it’s just not fair to ask him to only invite half so that you can invite your work bestie – even if his oldest sister insists on calling you by his exes name. Sigh. That’s still his sister and while he needs to get her in check, sis still trumps works bestie. While you’re at it, make sure you’ve also sat with your families to make sure you aren’t offending any of the elders.
The next hurdle – the dreaded who gets to bring a plus one. Make sure you are prepared to spend lots of time debating this one. Yes, your cousin is invited but is his girlfriend he met two days ago and immediately went Facebook official invited? I say no, but you know your cousin way better than I do. On the other hand, if you know your favorite aunt is super sensitive about her new husband being included, he will turn away an invite to anything he is not invited to. Then go ahead and invite New Uncle just so she will feel comfortable with accepting. Balance is the keyword here. Weigh the outcome of excluding a plus one.
As you’re working to finalize your wedding guest list, keep in mind that the number of guests invited directly impacts the budget. It’s all fun and games until you realize that inviting your besties from yoga means adding another reception table, another linen, another expensive as hell floral arrangement, and let’s not even talk about the cost of the meal. Keep the budget (remember you’ve already hired a wedding planner and nailed that budget down, right?) at the forefront of your mind.
The guest list can seem tough, but if you know your max budget and you’ve sat down with your family and fiance to manage expectations – the task is doable. We recommend using The Knot’s guest list tool if you’re looking for a spreadsheet to begin collecting those names and addresses.
Photos courtesy of Amy Anaiz Photography (Instagram: @amyanaizphoto).
The best form for keeping things on track & PROVING to your clients that you did, even the PITAs.