Monday, 22 October 2012

Guest List Dramas

Personally this was the part of wedding planning I was dreading the most. Not because it was particularly difficult but because I was terrified of offending anyone and because I didn't have a clue where to start. However after doing my guest list, save the dates, sending invites, doing my table plan I can assure you that this can be done painlessly and with minimal offence caused. Although my first tip would be - Don't be afraid to offend anyone. Once I got used to the idea that it was my wedding, my budget and that I couldn't afford to invite the world and his wife (nor did I want to), I soon realised that so long as me and my fiancĂ© were happy with our choices then offending people wasn't the end of the world. If you need advice on how to get your guest list completed read on ... Please feel free to comment at the end of this post with any hints and tips you have or with any questions you'd like me to answer on my next post. I will do a separate post at some point on what to do when you have your guest list and people have to be removed or added, but this is just the initial guest list guide.

Top Tips To Avoid Wedding List Nightmares

  • My first tip is to get some price lists/brochures from various venues in your area. Get an idea of how much it is for the wedding breakfast, drinks package, evening buffet etc per guest. This will help you assign a proportion of your budget to the venue (mine was about 1/3 or 1/2 of the budget) and work out how many people (or heads) this is.
  • As strange as this sounds I advise you to write a list where budget and venue restrictions are no cause for concern. Write a list of all the people you would like to invite. I had a list initially with well over 200 people, which isn't do-able with my budget. But it was a good place to start and I found it helped me get to grips with who was in my fiancĂ©s family that I hadn't met yet. We both wrote down every one we could think of and had both sets of parents give us names of any family we had forgotten.
  • Then put this list away for a week. I'm serious! Don't worry about it for a week. Come back to it after some time has passed and read back over it making sure there aren't any glaringly obvious exclusions. 
  • Separate your list in to "Must Invite" and "Not Essential". The must invite list should be your grandparents, Favourite Aunts and Uncles, best friends etc. These are the people you have to invite.  The not essential should be work colleagues who won't be offended if they are only invited to the evening, friends you haven't seen in years etc.
  • Once your must invite list is complete you can add people from the not essential list who you would like to invite to the day. Try to stick to your numbers. After the Day list is complete begin your evening list. There will be cuts so don't be scared to remove your third cousin twice removed you haven't seen since you were 6. Make sure you stick to your budget and that you are both happy with the resulting list.
  • Bear in mind inviting 60 people doesn't mean 60 will turn up so you may have to invite an extra 10/15 guests. This requires a bit of sneaky inviting, you need to know who is likely to say no to make sure that you have enough people who will probably say yes to cover your minimum guest requirement (For most venues this is 50 people. If only 48 people are at the wedding the venue will usually still take your booking but will charge you a room hire charge. So it is better to try and have more guests than the minimum). Go through your list and put 'N' next to all your suspected no shows and make sure that you still have the amount of guests required for your budget.
  • Once all the numbers are tallied up, you are sure your budget all adds up and you are happy you both have the important people in your lives as part of your special day then your job is done. People will be offended, you can't invite everyone and no doubt your Uncle will be offended you haven't invited his 5 kids, and 8 grand kids but stick to your guns. Be polite and know you have every right to pick your own guest list. 
  1. If your friends & family have a lot of children, consider not inviting children. Or limit it to a certain amount of children per family. If you don't invite children, make sure your family & friends know in advance so they can get babysitters.
  2. If you have a lot of cousins, invite your aunts and uncles to the main event and ask cousins to the evening only. With larger families it will be difficult and expensive to invite everyone. So long as you both follow the same rules for both families so it is fair, there is no reason why you can't invite certain people to the evening only.
  3. Give you and your partner a certain amount of "friend" places on your list. Once filled with your closest friends explain politely to your other friends that weddings are expensive and move them on to your evening list.
  4. Don't be offended if people can't come. Especially if you don't invite children, people may find it difficult to get babysitters. Just accept that not everyone will be available.
  5. DON'T BE AFRAID TO OFFEND. DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE "CUTS". Unless you are rich or some one else is paying for the wedding, you will need to be brutal to get through the guest list drama. 

If you've got through it with out offending then well done!! Send your save the dates once everything is booked, and send your invites in plenty of time to get your exact numbers for your venue/caterer. Be prepared for last minute cancellations, or no shows on the day. It will happen, such is life! Hopefully these tips and guide on what I did will help you when it comes to guest lists. I will eventually get around to tips to stay calm during cancellations, declines and friends falling out... Don't panic though, if I can do it, anyone can! :) 

Thanks for reading!!

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