Try not to get too wrapped-up in this process. Please remember that this is a celebration of your love for one another and the people who want to celebrate it should be the ones standing beside you.
Yay, you are engaged and it is time to start planning your big day. One of your first tasks on “the wedding checklist” is to compile a rough draft guest list. Sounds easy enough, right? Go try to make your list and come back if you need help.
Oh, hi nice to see you again!
You have a celebration to be planned and the number of guests invited is going to play a huge role in many other tasks that are listed on “the wedding checklist”. For instance, how many people you invite impacts the location of the ceremony/reception, the amount of food needed, which then runs into your budget costs and ultimately it comes down to who will be sharing this intimate day with you!
1. So let’s start with the must-haves.
Hint: most of these guests are people who will be featured in your wedding party, if you are having one. Must-haves are the people that you cannot imagine your wedding day without.
For example: parents, siblings, grandparents, best friend, and maybe even your favourite aunt or uncle. Making this list will provide you with a decent lead to comprehend how many additional guest spaces you have remaining.
2. Moving on to the extended-family category. This group of guests can consist of cousins, second cousins, great aunts and uncles, etc. While it may be important to your grandmother to invite her sister, who lives over 15 hours away and that you haven’t seen since you were in pigtails, it might not be so essential to you (after all, I heard she was extremely religious and most definitely would not approve of your sinful choice to marry the same–sex.) This is where you need to hold your ground and stick to your guns. If the decision to invite someone makes you uncomfortable, take that as a sign to cross him or her off your list! “Sorry grandma, but there is simply not enough room to invite everyone, I am sure Aunt Helen would have a hard time traveling so far anyways.”
3. Now that we have family out of the way, where are your friends at? The friends category can be broken up into many groups. For example, we all have our friends from high school, college, graduate school, co-workers, and neighbourhood friends. We even have friends of friends; the people who we tend to socialise with in a group setting, but generally like them and would enjoy having them at our wedding.
Yikes! Did your list just spike or what?
Okay, let’s calm down and regroup. Just because you have 500+ friends on Facebook doesn’t mean that they all have to attend your wedding. Most of your friends on Facebook will be able to share your wedding experience once the pictures to go viral. Though there might be one advantage to using Facebook as a guest planning tool. Go to your partner’s page and hit the “mutual friends” button. These are the people who are of equal importance to both you and your partner. Hopefully this will gear you in a clear direction as to who is relevant in your life together. For example, there is no need to invite your high school best friend who you haven’t spoken to since graduation.
4. Finally! Your list is complete… wrong. It is important to communicate the guest list with all key-stakeholders (spouse and parents), in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Make them aware of the final guest list to avoid any type of drama, once the invitations are sent out. Remember to remind them that there is no wiggle room, financially or logistically, to invite anyone new. It maybe wise to hold on to a few extra invitations that can be sent out last minute if the space clears up for your mom’s book club friend who already knows every detail of your wedding.
With any luck, I broke this enormous process down for you into 4 easy steps: must-haves, extended family, important friends, and communication. There are many different resources and rules written on whom you should and shouldn’t invite to your wedding. Try not to get too wrapped up in this process. Please remember that this is a celebration of your love for one another and the people who want to celebrate it should be the ones standing beside you.
For everyone that is already happily married and have been through the guest list battle themselves, this question is for you: Is there a guest that you regret inviting to your wedding or regret not inviting? If so, why?
You can read about my invitee regret here: Coming Out At Your Wedding