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How To Tackle Your Wedding Guest List

If you thought planning your wedding was really easy, then we’d like to bet you probably haven’t yet attempted the guest list yet. Nothing tests your resolve for getting married like the experience of writing that list of names of people to include, and by extension exclude. It doesn't have to be stressful though, you just need to set aside a little free time together to ruthlessly make decisions together.

Here’s how it goes. You start off thinking - 'it’s our wedding, so obviously we’ll just invite our best friends and just keep it simple'. Then you realise you’d better invite your parents, and any grandparents, and of course your sister will want to be there. Then your parents might remind you they are making a financial contribution, so they’d like a say. Or even if they’re not, you’ll realise that there’s no way you can get away with leaving out Auntie June, her new partner and their 3 kids. And so it goes on. What about your brother’s girlfriend if they’ve only been together for 3 weeks? Or your next door neighbour who offered to make the cake? Very soon your estimate of 15 guests can become an easy 140, or at the very least a conservative 45. Once you have a definitive number, you'll be able to really get the ball rolling in the planning process, you'll know how many wedding umbrellas you'll need to order, how many seats you'll need in the venue (or venues) and how much food you need to order. Getting this out the way in the early days of planning is very good idea.

What can you do to solve this? The A to D list is one way. Next to everyone’s name make an objective decision about why you’re thinking of inviting them. The As are those closest to you can’t bear to leave out. Bs might be wider family. Cs could be people you work with, or who live in the neighbourhood. Ds are probably everyone else. That should help clarify things when you need to cut down your numbers. If you are lucky enough to have a budget that caters to everyone, then this process will be a lot simpler. It is your day though, so remember to invite who you really want to be their, and try not to worry to much about leaving people off the invite list, they are sure to understand.

Another tip is to be really clear about adding extra guests, such as children, or ‘plus ones’ for single friends. You should try to make a decision right at the beginning whether the choice of guests is going to be yours alone, or a negotiation with parents. There’s likely to be some strong opinions at stake, so communicate clearly and stick to your decisions unless there’s a really good reason to change.

Finally, when you’ve solved the guest list and think it’s all plain sailing, you’ll be faced with the joys of the seating plan. But lets save that for another day…!

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