There are a lot of great parts about wedding planning—finding the perfect dress, seeing the excitement on your sister’s face when you ask her to be your maid of honor, wedding food tasting—but there are some other parts that aren’t so fun. One of those can be deciding on your wedding guest list. If your family is involved in the process, there can be a lot of pressure about who to invite, from your aunt’s cousin twice removed to your dad’s favorite coworker. It can be hard to try to please everyone while still staying in your budgetary limits and ensuring the guest list only includes people you absolutely want to be there.
Creating a guest list is all about collaboration. If your parents and future in-laws are insistent on helping make a guest list, follow this handy trick: you choose half of the guest list, and each set of parents chooses a quarter of the guest list. This way, everything is evenly split, and you don’t have to feel guilty about your parents paying for a wedding in which they had no say about the number of attendees. Make the list in a collaborative system (like Google Docs) so that everyone can access the most recent list of guests (with address information included). You can also use this list later on to track RSVPs. As you decide who will attend and who doesn’t make the cut, refrain from deleting people. Instead, color code the list (yes, maybe, no) and refrain from deleting someone until the decision is absolutely final.
Be realistic about your guest list, at least when you finalize it. When you start planning, you are allowed to make a dream guest list that includes absolutely everyone you’d like to attend (Jason Momoa would definitely cancel his plans to be there, right?). Once you begin figuring out your budget, the cost of food, and event space, make some strict rules regarding who can or cannot come to the wedding. For instance, one of your rules could be that if you’ve not spoken to that particular person in more than two years, they will not be invited. Or perhaps you will make it a rule that no children will be allowed to attend. Once you decide on the rules, follow them. Start trimming your dream list down to a realistic list that fits within your budget and satisfies you and your future spouse. Don’t let anyone invade these boundaries. If you’ve trimmed down your list but are still feeling upset about a few guests that didn’t make the cut, consider keeping them on your “Plan B List.” If your RSVPs come back with low attendance, you may decide you have room to invite Jason Momoa after all.
Creating your wedding guest list can be a stressful process, but we encourage you to stand your ground. You may hear from uninvited individuals about how they wish they would’ve been invited. Calmly state that you had a budget to follow and space limitations, and change the subject.