You’ve got the ring and you?ve set the date- what’s next?
The next step in wedding planning should be creating your guest list. Creating a basic guest list prior to booking your reception and ceremony can save you time and money in the long run, and help with the overall planning of your wedding. Developing your guest list early can help you be prepared when it is time to book your caterer, reception hall, and ceremony location. Many times, churches and halls may have capacity limits, and this will be one of the major factors in creating your guest list. Here are a few tips for developing your guest list:

Get together with both sets of parents. Discuss the budget for your wedding and
how the costs will be distributed. Base the size and formality of your wedding on the budget you have developed.

Choose the type of venue and meal you would like for your reception. This may put limitations or expand the opportunity for your guest list. If you are choosing a small garden for your reception that only has space for 100 guests, then this may set the number of guests for you. The same goes if you choose a large park or hall, you may want to invite more guests so that the location seems full.

Keep in mind that catering costs are often calculated by a per-person basis. If you have a set budget and you get several catering estimates, this may help you choose the number of guests for your wedding.

Get both sets of parents to create a guest list. Then, create your own. This can be your “master” list.

Know the ABC’s of making a guest list. From your “master” list, make an “A” list of people you must invite, like grandparents, close friends, etc., a “B” list of those you would like to invite, like work colleagues, parent’s friends, etc. and a “C” list of those guests who remain. The ideal guest list should include 1/3 bride’s family and friends, 1/3 groom’s family and friends, and 1/3 couple’s guests.

Base the number of guests on the ABC’s and what is feasible for your budget. This will help you choose your church, reception location, and caterer.

Invest in index cards and a mini file box. Use the index cards to record each guest’s name, address, and phone number. This will make addressing invitations and thank you notes much easier. Furthermore, you can continually use the file box as a reference for Christmas cards and other correspondence further on down the road.

Don’t fret about hurting someone’s feelings. If you are on a limited budget, tell those you cannot invite the budget situation, and more than likely, they will understand.

The above tips should make creating your guest list a bit easier and less frustrating. Remember, don’t let the small stuff stress you out- IT’S YOUR DAY!

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