Sharing your special day with family and friends is an integral part of your wedding, but deciding whom to invite is a whole other story!
Your guest list will be greatly influenced by your budget. Your list should be a work in progress so beginning early is a good idea.
Like many other people getting married, I thought that the creation of a wedding guest list would be a 'piece of cake'. It was only when I started listing the names that I realised what a difficult task it would be.
A guest list, which includes the names of all friends, relatives, acquaintances and co-workers could be extremely long. So how do you decide which people you will exclude?
Making the selection
• Your budget will determine the size of the reception.
• You must have a budget to work with.
• You and your partner need to list the names of all the people you each want to invite.
• You make one list, and he makes his list.
• You then combine the lists and start the selection. The numbers probably won't be split evenly down the middle so be prepared to compromise.
Many couples getting married can be easily bullied into inviting guests that their parents and future in-laws insist upon. This is your wedding and you should be happy with every single guest attending the event, but you also should consider the parents' requests. If they are contributing to the expenses, it is only fair that they should have some leeway. In many cultures, family and family's friends are very important, but times have changed and so have costs of these events. Be reasonable and fair in dealing with this area and be sensitive to the feelings of all concerned.
Categorising the guests
Have an 'A List' and a 'B List' — a 'C List' if necessary.
Categorising your guests is a great idea to help you prioritise and ensure that no one is left out.
Some categories are typical for all weddings but you can come up with your own classification. Divide the guests into relatives, distant relatives, close friends, co-workers and individuals that you have to invite either because of personal or professional connections. Friends can be sub-categorised as best friends, mutual friends, and family friends.
Additionally, you can come up with a list of people who absolutely have to be invited; those that you would like to invite but are not absolutely necessary. The final list can contain the names of some distant relatives, people you know solely by name. Additionally, include individuals that your parents and in-laws insist upon, as well as very old friends that you have not been in touch with for years but may share special memories.
You will also need to decide on your stance regarding children attending the reception. Sometimes, cutting down costs could mean a no children policy.
You must be mindful of the guests travelling from overseas to your wedding. If the family is making the trip for your wedding, then you must be gracious and accommodate them.
Editing the Lists: Tough, tough decisions
Everyone on your 'A' list should be invited to the event.
These are the people that you are closest to and the ones you absolutely want to have share in your special day. This could be your family and closest friends that are considered to be the most important. The other lists can be tweaked significantly.
Keep in mind that as guests begin replying (RSVP) you will discover that some of your 'A' list invitees are unable to make it to the event. This is when you can start including guests from the other two lists. This is why you should be prepared to send out your invitations early enough so that you can get responses. This is necessary not only for the purpose of establishing who would be attending, but also for catering arrangements, as you would need to confirm the numbers.
Finalising your list takes a lot of courage and determination. You don't choose to hurt anyone's feelings but you can't invite more people than you can afford on your budget. Some people may be offended but they will get over it.
Mala Webber is the founder
of IsleDo, a wedding planning
resource for couples planning
a Caribbean wedding.
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