Planning 101 – Establishing the Guest List

Damask seating chart

The holidays are a wonderful time of year – and what better way to ring in the New Year than with an engagement ring! Some couples delve right into the planning, others will wait a while before trying to figure out all the details. Either way, starting with the guest list is a must! All images in this post from Gourmet Invitations.

“A guest list consist of a magical number of family and friends that (1) suits the size of your ceremony and reception sites, (2) corresponds with the level of intimacy desired for the wedding., and (3) can be accommodated within your wedding budget – an important reality.” Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette 5th Edition. Thank you card Gourmet Invitations

  • Put Away the Bullhorn: Though you’re super excited, you may want to keep it on “the hush” until you have an idea how extensive your guest list will be. Once you announce you’re engaged, everyone wants to know a date and if they’re invited; some will invite themselves so handle with care. If it’s a short quest list, explain it as a small intimate affair.

Gourmet Invitations playbill wedding invitation

  • Who’s Who? Your wedding is one of the most memorable days of your lives together. When you stare into the crowd, it’s a great feeling to know each and every person staring back. Unless they are close to you, don’t give in to the pressure of inviting every one of your second cousins.
  • Be specific: Name your guests on the response card to avoid extras being written in.

Gourmet invitations RSVP card

  • Kids R Us: Kids are fun and adorable. They can also be a distraction if banging keys on the pew during your vows. If you’re open to inviting kids, you may want to consider hiring a sitter for the duration of your event or have a designated area with games and activities to entertain them. If you prefer a more mature crowd, specify it in the invitation or give a courtesy call expressing your preferences.

Gourmet Invitations Rattlesnake Club wedding with TwoFoot creative wedding planner

  • Something’s Gotta Give: If you plan to invite 200 guest but you’ve found a venue that you’re absolutely in love with that only accommodates 150, weigh the options as to what’s more important to you.

Gourmet Invitations purple and charcoal wedding

  • Who’s Paying? Whoever is footing the bill, or most of the bill, has a little bit more pull when it comes to adding names on the guest list.
  • Keep It Even: Avoid the drama and split your invites evenly. If you’re inviting 200, the bride and groom should have 100 invites and each set of parents should have 50 invitations.

Gourmet Invitations belly band RSVP

  • Stick To Your Guns: Everyone has opinions but yours matter most. You don’t want to look back on your special day thinking “Everything was just the way THEY wanted it.”
  • Minimize The Mess: Instead of numerous lists written on paper, use an online guest list manager. Youll never have to worry about losing your written list and its easy and to update. There are plenty of free ones on sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot.

Gourmet Invitations amber invitations

  • Categorize: A (immediate family), B (extended family), C (family friends), D (Bride and Grooms’ Friends), and E (Parents’ colleagues). In the case of cutting down your list, you’ll know where to pull from first.
  • Adding and Subtracting: Having a huge invite list for ceremony and minimal invites for the reception can be sticky and insulting to many. Try minimizing your guest list so there’s no need to separate or have a smaller ceremony and expand the reception invite list.

Gourmet Invitations letterpress

  • Prepare For No-shows: About 15-20% of guests tend to not make it due to random circumstances. If you decide to invite a few more after your guest count has been given, check with catering to make sure they can accommodate them or any last minute guests that show up on the day of the wedding.

Gourmet Invitations pink lush

  • United Front: If you have exceeded your guest limit, explain it from a joint perspective. Instead of saying “My fiance said we can’t go over our limit, sorry.” It’s better to say “We’ve decided to not exceed this number.”
  • The News Is Out: Once your list is finished, send out invitations around 2 months in advance. If your special day falls on a holiday, send invitations up to 6 months in advance.

Written by Ashley Mason – TwoFoot Creative|Grand Rapids

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