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How To Trim Your Wedding Guest List


A wedding guest list directly reflects the size of your venue, how much money you spend, and the intimacy of your ceremony. Start with a guest list when it comes to wedding planning. However, big families, social butterflies, and overbearing parents cause complications in creating a reasonably sized list. Even a wedding that is intended to be large needs a definite list to keep the structure. Here are the best tips for how to trim your wedding guest list.

How To Trim Your Wedding Guest List

Outline Decision-Makers and Your Limit

The first step to making your guest list is to set parameters. Pick out who is allowed to give their input. Parents want to include those close to them but these people may not have a bond with you. You don’t have to invite them. If your parents are paying for all (or some) of the wedding then they have decision making power.  Just make sure to limit the amount of power.

The other important step before starting your list is to set your limit. Having a small budget or not wanting to stress about entertaining too many people leans towards a smaller wedding. A big and actively involved family, however, tends to enjoy a large wedding. Set your maximum number and inform your decision-makers.

Make a Master List with Priority Order

Once you have these two rules set, start making a master list. Include everyone that you want there no matter if it crosses the limit. This is when you ask your others if you choose to include anyone else in this process, their opinion on who should be written down as well.

After all decision-makers put together your prospective lists, prioritize everyone. Color code the names.  Start with a “must-have” section like parents, siblings, and close friends. Move to a “want” section for other friends and family members. Finally, your last section is the “maybe” section. These are the people you originally wrote down but are not invited if you are over your guest limit.

Cut the Obligations

Do not include anyone that you feel obligated to. If you are on the fence about writing someone down, ask yourself why you aren’t sure. Inviting your great-uncle because your mom says so is not a good reason to include him on your list. Not every family member or past friend must attend.

Also, do not feel like you have to include anyone who has invited you to their wedding before. Each couple has a different vision and budget for their wedding. Don’t give up valuable space at your reception to someone who isn’t that important to you.

Set Rules

Another really great way to cut down on a guest list is to set rules for your guests as well. Decide if you want to allow children at the reception. Not only does this play a role in how many “extras” a person brings but it also eliminates some couples. Be upfront with your expectations.

Similarly, choose who has a plus-one. Not every guest needs a plus-one because that is another person you have to pay for that you sometimes don’t even know. Allow friends and family that have a relatively long term partner to bring their plus-one. Otherwise, make it clear that your invite is only for the named guests, no plus-ones.

It is difficult to decide not to invite someone to your wedding, especially family or those who have invited you to their weddings. It is important to be open and honest with everyone. Have no shame in telling someone that you are looking for a smaller or more personal feel but that you would love to celebrate with them another way. With these tips, it is easy to trim down your guest list and stick to your plans to make you and your partner the happiest on your big day.

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Author: Kaylee Burnham

Complete Weddings + Events, Fort Lauderdale’s leading provider of event and wedding photography, DJ services, videography, lighting  & coordination services

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