The Importance of a Guest List

The guest list is one of the most important elements of your planning process. There are the obvious components to consider: inviting folks who will appreciate your exchange of vows, will support you and your partner in your life together, and who will be a great addition to the reception (if you are having one).

Inviting your favorite friends and struggling with the decision about whether or not your dad’s sister will make the cut, however, is only half of the process!

The guest list is key in helping you to answer several important planning questions:

* How many guests can we afford with our budget?

* What size venue can we use for our ceremony and/or reception?

* How personal do we want the ceremony to be?

It is also important to first begin by asking yourself about what kind of wedding you want to have. In other words, you and your partner should sit down and talk about what the event will look like. Do you want it to feel more personal (build a smaller guest list) or a big, inclusive yet less personal event (invite away!)?

It’s important to take a look at what you can afford. You may want to invite 250 people, but when you look at the costs for invitations, venues, caterings, etc., you realize that the cost would be out of your range. Nothing like the truth of the cash involved to make trimming the guest list a bit easier!

Or, perhaps you’ve found a place you’d love to get married or exchange vows, but then realize that you can only have 50 folks for a seated dinner or 75 for a buffet and you want to invite 110 guests.You’ll need to revise your list or revise your expectations to move forward!

Once you have a basic sense of the “vision” for your day, build the guest list (and break it into several tiers if you have to!) to get a sense of a ballpark number. If you have 250 guests on your list, then this will rule out a number of venues quickly.

You can also play with numbers: what if we spent $50 per head at the reception? $100 per head? This can help you get a sense of what you can afford based on the number you invite and give you a sense of what price range to aim for as you hunt for the perfect location for your Big Day!