As most brides know, the guest list is often the most difficult issue to overcome when planning a wedding. Couples have budget and space limitations, as well as pressures from family, and a wish to share their special day with the people close to them. Hopefully this article will help a few brides-to-be get their guest lists under control. Here are a few common scenarios and possible solutions.

Couple Paying For Wedding; Parents Guest List Too Big

Many couples are choosing to pay for their own wedding so they can have the final say on issues that are important to them. Because most young couples aren’t as financially secure as they’d like to be, this often limits the number of guests they can invite. One common solution is to allow each set of parents a certain number of invitations based on what the couple can afford. Unless one family is exceptionally larger than the other it would be wise to give each set of parents the same number of invitations.

Bride’s Family Paying for Wedding; Guest List Too Big

For as many couples paying for the wedding themselves, there are an equal number of brides whose parents are paying for most of the wedding. As they are footing the bill, the bride’s parents have final say on the number of guests and who gets to invite whom. If there is a dispute over the guest list, the best way to handle it would be to sit down with everyone involved and discuss it. If the groom’s family would like to invite more people than the bride’s family has indicated they will pay for, the groom’s family must either offer to pay the difference or trim their list to the allotted amount.

Equal Contributions to Wedding; Guest List Too Big

Many couples choose to pay for their wedding themselves, but with contributions from both families. This situation can be tricky, but if handled correctly will ensure everyone is satisfied. Let’s assume that all parties involved have agreed to contribute the same amount of money towards the wedding. Etiquette dictates that each party would have the same amount of input towards the wedding. The easiest way to handle this situation would be for the bride and groom to decide the maximum number of guests they would like at the wedding. This can be done based on ceremony/reception space limitations, if the space has been booked. If the space hasn’t been booked, a maximum number can be determined by the overall type of wedding the bride and groom would like to have, small and intimate or large with numerous guests.

Space Limitations; Guest List Too Big

The couple may not know how large their wedding will be when booking a ceremony/reception site. This can result in a space too small to accommodate the total number of guests from all parties. If this is the case, the bride and groom may wish to find another site to reduce the stress involved with reducing the guest list. If another site is not available, the couple should split up the total number of guests the site can accommodate among the families, based on the rules above.

If you’ve determined your guest list is too big, for whatever reason, it will have to be reduced. This is obviously not an easy task, if it were none of us would have guest list problems. A useful method is the A/B method. The guest list is divided into A guests (who you absolutely have to invite) and B guests (who you would like to attend, but don’t have to). Send out your invitations 2 months in advance of the wedding to all the A guests. The RSVP date should be approximately 2 weeks prior to the wedding. As you receive “regrets” RSVPs, immediately send out an invitation to a B guest. It is important to ensure that you send out invitations to the B guests so they have enough time to respond before the deadline. No one likes to receive a last minute invitation. You may want to have two sets of invitations printed with two RSVP dates. This will allow you to send the invitations to the A guests and as you send B guests invitations the RSVP date will still be reasonable.

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