Though there is still some debate about what qualifies as the most difficult vendor to decide on for your wedding, the one thing that proves MOST difficult out of all the planning aspects is… The Guest List! The daunting task of hand-selecting each person who will get the privilege of witnessing your big day tends to send most brides into panic-mode. But never fear, the task CAN be accomplished, and hopefully with just a few tips, you’ll be on your way to conquering the most difficult part of wedding planning!
1. Set Up Some Budget Meetings – You and your groom schedule meetings with the family members who would like to financially contribute to the wedding. Regardless of who that includes, the two of you need to meet individually with each person to discuss how much they would like to contribute. Sometimes it’s hard for parents to decide on a dollar amount, so it may be easier for you to give them vendor categories instead. For instance, your mom may be more inclined to pay for the photographer and the flowers, while your groom’s dad may be interested in paying for the band. Of course, if your parents are still married, you can meet with both of them together.
2. Decide on Your Total Guest Count – Most wedding expenses are based solely on the amount of people in attendance. So once you have that total budget in mind, you can decide how many people will comfortably fit within that budget. You can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $250 per person when you invite them to your wedding. The individual cost will vary depending on the style and atmosphere of the wedding you choose. If you want a backyard BBQ, you can expect to spend closer to $50 per person, allowing you to invite more guests. But if you’re wanting a formal gala in a hotel ballroom, you can expect to spend much more per guest.
3. Divide Your Total Guest Count into Smaller Totals – Once you have that total guest count in mind, create separate lists for each person financially contributing to the wedding, and assign totals to each person based on their contribution. For instance, if you and your groom are paying for 90% of the wedding, you may have approximately 90% of the guest count to invite. But if your parents are providing most of the funds, it’s appropriate to allow them a higher percentage of the guest list.
4. Distribute the Totals and Start Your List – Give the financial contributors their allotted guest count, and ask them to begin recording the names and addresses of their invitees. Then you and your groom begin doing the same!
5. Build Your List – As you add names to your portion of the guest list, keep a couple of things in mind… If you wouldn’t have the guest over to your house for dinner, don’t invite them to your wedding. Or if you haven’t seen them or talked to them in over a year, don’t feel obligated to add them. The chart shown below may help you decide on who to keep and who to cut. I know this can be the hard part, but just remember this is your special day, and you don’t want to look out into the crowd and not even recognize your guests.
I know drafting a guest list can seem overwhelming, but just remember that even this task should bring you some enjoyment! Afterall, you are adding up all your loved ones and inviting them to share in the most wonderful day of your life! The moment this task begins to stress you out, take a step back and be thankful for the huge list of people who love you so much! And if you need to get some advice or just vent, don’t hesitate to come by the Wedding 101 studio… We’re here for you!