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Navigating the Guest List: Who Will Make the Cut?


Deciding who will receive an invite to the most important day of your life can be one of the more challenging tasks that come with planning your wedding. From distant relatives you rarely see to coworkers and your parents’ friends, it can be quite overwhelming to sort out who will make the cut—especially when feelings are involved. However, by keeping in mind the size of your reception site and your budget, it is possible to solidify your guest list while keeping the peace.

Finalizing the guest list for your Big Day can be as simple as following a few strategies and basic rules of etiquette. Start by determining your global budget, which “allows you to understand the financial commitment that is available to produce this wonderful celebration,” says Phyllis Jablonowski, CEO of Queen of Hearts Wedding Consultants and Eventricity, a full-service event planning company that can coordinate your day from beginning to end. Taking into consideration the catering budget for the reception will be useful too—the cost per head that you’re able to spend will help establish the number of guests you can invite. Throughout the process, it’s important to stick to this number and not over-invite because you’re depending on regrets.

Before you begin eliminating guests from your list, you have to actually create one. An easy way to start is by grouping potential guests into four separate categories: The first for close relatives and other people you can’t imagine getting married without; the second for aunts, uncles, cousins, and old friends you’re still in contact with; the third for coworkers, longtime neighbors, and your parents’ close friends; and the fourth for distant relatives and people you’ve lost touch with. Once your total hits its limit, begin by cutting names from your fourth list.

There are a few other helpful tips that will make the process of creating your master list flow smoothly. First off, if either set of parents is paying for the wedding, it’s essential to consider the guests that will matter most to them—even if these attendees aren’t on the top of your list. “The discussion on the number of guests for each group, parents and bride and groom, should be agreed upon early in the process,” says Jablonowski. “The later decisions are made the more emotion packed they become.” Next, when contemplating the idea of “plus ones,” it’s customary for the fiancées, live-in romantic partners, and long-term significant others of guests to be invited as well. Lastly we come to the question of whether you have to invite someone if they invited you. If you’re still close with that person, absolutely invite them. But if your friendship has faded since their Big Day, don’t feel obligated to add them to the list.

For more information about Eventricity and how they can help you manage your guest list from start to finish, visit here.