Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life. Imagining your future with the love of your life fills you with joy. Then, you remember you have a guest list to make, and dread fills you. You might wonder how to limit your wedding guest list without offending anyone.
While the average American wedding includes 167 guests, the size of your guest list is entirely up to you and your partner. However, you are likely feeling pressure from every side to invite every long-lost cousin and work associate.
Keep reading to learn how to minimize hurt feelings and create a wedding guest list that works with your dream wedding.
- The size of your guest list will help determine your venue and budget.
- Break down your guest list into smaller lists to narrow down your “A list” and “B list” guests.
- Use the RSVP card to limit how many guests from each household can attend.
How Many Guests Should You Invite?
Finalizing your guest list is one of the first tasks you must complete while planning your wedding. It can be fun to start with a fantasy guest list of every possible person you would like to invite. Perhaps you realize you only want 30 people at your wedding, or your list is creeping towards 500.
The size of your guest list helps determine a lot of other things, including the size of the venue and your budget. When creating your list, keep in mind that typically between 70% to 85% of invited guests come to a wedding. For example, if you invite 100 people, you might have 70 to 85 people show up.
Use your ideal venue and your budget to help guide you towards the ideal number of guests. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the venue have a headcount minimum or maximum?
- What is the cost of food per plate?
- What is our maximum budget?
- Is our guest list realistic?
This video has some helpful tips on how to determine how many guests you should invite:
How to Limit Your Wedding Guest List Easily
With your maximum fantasy list in hand, you can start cutting it down. While some people will be easy to cross off, others will give you a lot of anxiety. Here are some tips to help you easily limit your guest list.
1. Separate Guests into Multiple Lists
Segment your guest list into smaller lists. While you could limit it to an “A list” and a “B list,” try narrowing the list even further. For example, create a list of your coworkers, your family, your partner’s family, current friends, distant friends, etc. From there, you can choose your top attendees from each list.
2. Look into the Future
If you are struggling to narrow down your list, consider this: Will this person still be in your life in five years? If the answer is no, you can leave them off the list. Some people who might fall into this category include neighbors, coworkers, and even some friends and family. If you haven’t spoken to your cousin for five years, she doesn’t need an invitation.
3. Limit Guests to Adults Only
If you have a large family that includes children, consider leaving kids off the guest list. While this might be trickier for some parents, they might welcome a night away from the kids. If there are families who can’t leave their kids at home, they will hopefully respectfully decline the invitation.
4. Eliminate Extra Guests
No one likes attending a wedding alone. However, if you need to save space, you can ask your guests not to bring a plus one. Make this clear on the RSVP cards. If you use a seating chart at the reception, try to seat the single guests near people they know, so they don’t feel too alone. If a guest decides not to attend because they can’t bring a plus one, your guest list just got smaller.
Here is a good example of clearly defining how many people you invite in each household. Fill in the first blank with the maximum number you would allow.
5. Don't Return the Favor
Remember that wedding you went to a few years ago? Just because you went to someone else’s wedding does not mean you are obligated to return the favor and invite them. People move in and out of each other’s lives, and unless that person is still an important part of yours, there is no reason to send out an invitation.
6. Skip the Coworkers
While you likely spend a lot of your life with your coworkers, how important are they to your personal life? If you got a new job and never saw them again, is there anyone you would particularly miss? If the answer is no, you can skip sending invitations to coworkers. Plus, this eliminates any awkwardness if some people got invitations and not others.
7. Be Careful Asking for Help
Many modern brides and grooms pay for their nuptials on their own. If you are feeling tempted to ask parents for financial help, keep in mind that they may want to add to the guest list. Be careful about showing them your list as they will likely tell you that you must invite your great aunt, who you haven’t seen in over a decade, along with your parent’s next-door neighbors.
8. Allocate A Number to Each Person
Once you have a good idea of how many people you want to invite, one way to narrow down the list is to allow each person (you, your partner, and your parents) to invite a certain number of guests. This makes each person narrow down their own list, so you don’t have to do all the work.
No matter how much you try to avoid it, people will ask if you are inviting them to your wedding. When this happens, be honest with a polite response.
Create Memorable Invitations with Shine Wedding Invitations
With your guest list ready, it is time to pick the perfect invitation to wow your guests. At Shine Wedding Invitations, we have been in business since 2008 and love helping engaged couples find the perfect invitation set that fits their desired theme.
Ready to explore our beautiful collection? Request a free sample kit today.
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