Weddings are expensive and the larger the wedding, the more expensive they are. One way to help keep the cost of your wedding down is to make intentional decisions about who to invite to your wedding with a focus on keeping the list in check.
While most people want to invite their closest and most important family members and friends, it can quickly get out of hand and then be hard to reign in. So, it's important to have a strategy in place of how you are going to tackle this very important (and often stressful) part of your wedding planning.
To help you with this task, we have listed 10 ways you can cut down your guest list:
- Set A Strict Criteria For Who You Want To Invite
- Invite Some Guests To The Ceremony Only
- Don’t Invite Children
- Don’t Invite Your Parents’ Friends
- Don’t Invite Plus Ones
- Don’t Invite Work Colleagues
- Book A Smaller Venue
- Don’t Feel Obliged To Return A Previous Invitation
- Have A Destination Wedding
1. Set A Strict Criteria For Who You Want To Invite
Setting a strict criteria that you agree on is an important first step in managing the guest list. It is important that the same criteria apply equally to the family (and friends) of both members of the couple. You may agree to allow a certain degree of flexibility as all families are different in both size and how close their relationships are but setting criteria is a good base to start from.
Setting criteria means that some people who may have thought they would be invited may miss out. This can be difficult for everyone involved and lead to disappointment and even strained relationships so it needs to handled with kindness and sensitivity.
2. Invite Some Guests To The Ceremony Only
Inviting a proportion of guests to the ceremony only is another way of keeping your guest list down. It is worth considering as it allows you to invite everyone that you would like to be at your wedding but limits the number of guests who attend the reception (which is often the most expensive part of the wedding).
It is a great option if you have a large family or friendship group or are struggling to keep your numbers down and you just want to invite EVERYONE!
Most people are quite accepting of this and are usually just happy to be invited to your wedding. You may like to offer light refreshments after the ceremony with the rest of the guests staying on for the reception held later.
3. Don’t Invite Children
Excluding children can be another way of managing your guest list. You can respectfully specify that your wedding is for adults only. Might sound a bit harsh especially with family or very close friends but it might be worth considering especially if there are a lot of children you would have to invite otherwise.
You will usually find that friends who have children wouldn’t necessarily expect that their children would be invited but family may, so it’s worth looking at. For every child you don’t ask it, may mean you can invite another important adult in your life – or just save the money.
4. Don’t Invite Your Parents’ Friends
Choosing not to invite your parents friends can contribute to reducing wedding guest numbers. Broaching the subject can be difficult however, especially if your parents are making large contributions to the cost of the wedding, so it is important to handle sensitively.
At the end of the day, it is your wedding – the focus should be on your close family and your important friends rather than friends of your parents but tread carefully!
5. Don’t Invite Plus Ones
Limiting the number of plus 1's to your wedding can have a significant impact on the overall number of guests. It may also mean that you can invite other important people that may have otherwise missed out.
Not inviting plus 1's is quite a common occurrence and you will generally find that most couples are quite accepting of it, especially if the situation is explained to them before sending out the invitations. This means they don't get a shock when the invitation arrives and you have to go into damage control afterwards.
It can be difficult to determine who to invite and who not to as some people may be in longstanding relationships or some you may know better than others. The issue of plus 1's would definitely benefit from applying a pre set list of criteria as this takes the emotion out of it (maybe with the addition of a degree of flexibility as well).
6. Don’t Invite Work Colleagues
The question of work colleagues and weddings is a tricky one. Simply put though, just because work colleagues are people you see at work every day doesn’t mean you have to invite them to your wedding. If they are not friends and you don’t spend any time with them outside of work hours then they should probably not be on the guest list. If they are work colleagues but ALSO close friends (or close friends that you happen to work with) then the situation is different and you may want to invite them. Again, most people are understanding of this situation.
7. Book A Smaller Venue
Booking a small venue is an obvious but great way of limiting the number of wedding guests. Venues have guest limits so if you think it may be difficult to make decisions about your guest list yourself, this will give you the perfect excuse to keep numbers down without having to take any ‘blame’ personally. It puts a clear and unchangeable cap on numbers and takes the emotion out of having to intentionally cut down a large list. So this might be another wedding guest list saving option that is worth considering.
8. Don’t Feel Obliged To Return A Previous Invitation
Just because you were previously invited to someone else’s wedding doesn’t mean that you have to invite them to your wedding. Their wedding may have been a long time ago and you may not be as close to them as you once were or you may have even lost contact with them.
If so, it is unlikely that they would be expecting an invitation anyway and most likely you wouldn’t if the situation was reversed.
9. Have A Destination Wedding
A destination wedding can make attending a wedding difficult on several fronts including cost of travel, accommodation, being able to take time off work and having other commitments to attend.
This is particularly so if the destination is a long way away or the flights and accommodation is particularly expensive. This will keep the guest list down to only those that can manage these things.
So if the thought of having to keep your guest list down seems too much this is the perfect way to guarantee a manageable guest list - you may even decide to invite everyone you can think of knowing that most may not be able to attend,
Our final thought and a sure way to keep the wedding guest list right down is to elope. Maybe have it at the back of your mind if all else fails!
This option is certainly not for everyone though and there are many disadvantages including not sharing your special day with the people you love and who are important to you.
It also means that they miss out on your wedding as well which may well cause a lot of disappointment in your family and close friendship group - but eloping definitely helps to keep the cost down!
Deciding on your guest list is a difficult task and can get out of hand quickly if not well managed. There are a number of things you can do that will help you put together a list that focuses on keeping the numbers down.
As you compile your guest list, remember that you will have to pay for every person that comes to your wedding, so do it with thought, care and wisdom. Invite the people you love the most and with whom you want to share your most special of days - and be brave enough to rule everybody else out.
We wish you all the best with your wedding planning! We hope that this article has given you some help and insight into how to reduce your wedding guest list.
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