One of the biggest obstacles facing our clients when ordering wedding invitations is how many people they are going to invite. Pulling together a guest list can be hard and messy process, but with a few guiding principles it can be a lot less stressful.
Focus on Guest List before Money.
Pulling together a guest list without financial constraints allows you to really focus on the people you want at your wedding, not those you may feel pressure to invite. Think about those that have played an important role in your life, relationships you wish to rekindle, and most importantly, the people that bring love into your life. The result is hopefully a walk down memory lane and a mindset of what your wedding day should be about, fun, love, and new beginnings.
Set Realistic List
After the fun of pulling together the list, let it sit for a week. Do not edit the list in the meantime, use this period to think about what kind of wedding you want. Plus, daily emotions often cloud our judgement so let it breathe. Put yourself in your wedding day, are you overwhelmed? are you and your partner fine with all the attention? are there potential conflicts that can arise from guests and conflicting personalities? Do you want an intimate ceremony with an afternoon luncheon? a traditional ceremony and reception? a destination wedding? Make sure your lists lines up with your wedding day expectations, and start pairing down to meet those expectations. Hopefully, you have one shot at this, so take it seriously.
Pay to Drive
Now that you have YOUR guest list, it is time to line that up with your families. Now despite your hard work and thoughtfulness there are bound to be differences. Communicate the reason for your guest list, but leave room for your moms friend from book club or your dad's golfing buddy. You want them to be happy! Now, it is time to start talking money... If you are lucky enough to have parents or family members flipping the bill you will have to open up that eye of the needle, just don't let it turn into a hula-hoop. There are some that say your parents should get a shot at 25% of the guest list combined. Again, communicate your feeling and expectations. Ultimately, you should come to an agreement through reasonable discussion and by placing a tactful emphasis on this is YOUR wedding day, 25% or not. Remember, if you want more control you can always pony up for the privilege, but that doesn't mean you get to rule the list like a dictator. Remember, your parents are proud of you and want to show you off! Your mother gave birth to you and your dad endured errant crotch shots while teaching you to swing a bat, it's the least you could do.
Build a guest list based on love and expectations, not money. More often than not you will pair down that list without having to use money as the reason. Be sensitive to your family and their wishes, but don't let them dominate the process no matter if they are paying. Ultimately, communication is the key to a great wedding day and a more enjoyable marriage.