Vancouver Wedding & Event Specialists

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Planning Your Guest List

wedding guest listRegardless of how big the wedding will be, you will still have the arduous task of making your invite list. In between you have a huge number of decisions on other items that ultimately relate directly back to the guest list – how many people you have impacts where you have your ceremony, wedding reception, how many tables you need (and all the decor on the tables), how much food you need and then lets not forget the ultimate zinger: just who is going to be part of your big day? How much should your parents be able to insist on inviting certain people? Does it relate to who is paying for the wedding or are there perhaps bigger stakes that require careful thought? The guest list is tantamount to landmine territory if not treated with diplomacy it deserves. You and your partner will have to make the tough decision of figuring out who to leave off- and then letting them know. It’s never easy, but making sure do the proper thing is important as it will cut down on bruised feelings.

So here are my six (6) MUST ASK questions on how to do decide who to invite to your wedding:

1.How do you envision your wedding?

Make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page. Have you always dreamed of a small intimate wedding, or a huge bash? Do you want 300-person bash, an intimate wedding or a destination wedding? Consider your venue, figure out how many guests you can comfortably accommodate?

2.Who is so important that you can’t imagine getting married without them there?

It’s a good idea at this stage of the game to start counting family and your closest friends, and get a sense of how many essential invites you have. This can really get to the heart of whether you are just wanting to fill space and make things more festive, or whether this person is actually someone important in your life. It also reminds you this isn’t an after work happy hour you are inviting them to – this is the most personal yet public event of your lives – joining two people, two families, and starting a new marriage is not “just another party”. There are always going to be people who are dear to us but may not be “that” kind of friend.

3.What can you afford?
Be realistic. How many people can you afford to invite? Ask yourself if it’s more important to have lots of people, or to pamper a smaller amount of people with an elegant meal with all the trimmings? Remember that no matter what your style, each extra person will add to your bottom line – if you’re on a tight budget, a smaller wedding is probably the way to go.

4.Which of my friends and families I need  to invite?
Think of a guest list as a college paper. You remember those days right? You have the long list of notes with facts and points you want to add, but you have to narrow the list down to the ones that will make the paper an A+. And with your wedding, you’ll want to invite the guests who will make the day as special and fun as possible. I suggest you categorize you friends based on the following: Keep in mind that on average, about 25 percent of your guests won’t be able to make it.
Categories of wedding guests:

a. Family – immediate
b. Family – extended
For families, avoid the kissing cousin trap: “If I invite this cousin, I must invite all cousins”, and don’t feel obligated to invite people who invited you to their wedding.
c. High school friends
d. College / graduate school friends
e. Neighborhood based (grew up with them or live near them now)
f. Friends of friends. We all socialize with people who we may not actually have their phone number or been to their house but we genuinely like them and would enjoy having them at our wedding.
g.”Religious friendships” if you go to a house of worship and are connected to people there, especially if you are getting married in that institution
When it comes to weighing which friends you should invite, think of those who would appreciate being there and be happy for you. Your wedding is not a time to pay people back or make others happy, despite your own conscience. Use the one-year rule for friends: If you haven’t had a meaningful conversation with this person within the last year, don’t invite him or her. It will keeps you from inviting people who might not want to go to your wedding anyway and it also may reduce a huge number of people in one easy swoop.
h. Co-Workers

This one is usually the number one issue people have when planning their wedding. Do you invite the coworkers and boss? Ask yourself, “would I invite this person to my home for dinner person?”  or Do you hang out with co-workers away from the office? If not, don’t invite them. When you use this methodology, it will really help shape your ideas of who should be invited.
Here’s one more tip: if you aren’t inviting everyone you work with, just don’t talk about the wedding around them. Hopefully they won’t think about it and even if they do, they won’t think you are rubbing their faces in it.

5.Who is absolutely not welcome?
Now is also a good time to discuss ground rules. If you’re uncomfortable with ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends coming, even if your fiancé is on friendly terms with them, speak up now.
1.Ex-partners- either one of yours or those of your parents or friends – this is a no-brainer really.
2.Additional guest for the single and or dating people (something that can really up your costs)
Address the invitations only to those you intend to invite. If your single friend rates an invitation and isn’t seeing anyone seriously, you don’t have to include “and guest.” Rule of thumb, if they are married, engaged, living together, or have dated for more than six months, they get invited.
3.People who tend to drink too much, especially if you’re not close to them anyway
4.Business acquaintances

Exclude children if possible, make it very clear, if it is your intention, that children are not invited. Feeding six mouths as opposed to two suddenly takes on new meaning.
Once the guest list is established every couple including their parents needs to be made aware of the finality of the guest list, given their list of people they are inviting as a reminder and confirmation, and, if necessary, reminded there is no wiggle room, financially or logistically with space, to invite anyone new, no matter how important they are or pressured they feel socially. This time, early in the planning, is when it’s best to hash out the emotions and assumptions that are creating any tensions. Ultimately if emotions are running high it means you have to fix something before you can smartly proceed forward. The result may be someone increases their financial contribution, or the wedding location is changed to accommodate a different number of guests. This is where you have to play out the best and worst case scenarios and plan the best approach.
Above all remember that this is your special day and that, beyond immediate family, you don’t HAVE to spend it with anyone! You should be surrounded by people you enjoy and love who will add genuine warmth and affection to your wedding day.
And make sure you do all of the above while managing to make your parents and families feel respected and included in the process – no one said it would be easy!