Wedding Guest List and How to Handle it | #WeddingChatter

Happy Monday(and new month) my darling readers! Today we would be reviewing the last #WeddingChatter topic which was all about the guest list; how to address it, to cut it and some other situations many couples run into when planning their wedding.

Why a small wedding?

For starters, I always love to clarify the “Why” question. So why would someone want to have a small wedding? A lot of times the two major reasons are budget or the couple’s personality. It has been said over and over again that one of the easiest way to have a wedding without breaking the bank is to cut the guest list. Since many weddings are paid by cost per head, obviously having fewer people would bring the cost down.

The second reason people opt for a small wedding most times have to do with their characters/personalities, you know they are just not “the people type”. These could also be the people who believe occasions like weddings should be very intimate and open to only family and close friends only. These people may not actually have so many people in their lives, so “cutting” a guest list may not be as difficult compared to others.

Regardless of the reason, one take away point from the #WeddingChatter was for couples to find a way to put things into perspective by remembering people are much precious than things. A couple should think hard about the people before making rash decisions by grading things (that would probably die after the wedding) over relationships that are meant to last a lifetime. There are other ways to save for the wedding; time of day, food served, smaller wedding party, but that topic is for another day.


Drawing the list

Now that we have dealt with the reason behind wanting a small wedding and cutting the guest list, how does a couple begin? I always recommend starting with a budget before anything else. A couple should know the amount they are willing to spend on their wedding, do some research to have an idea of the cost per head, and then finally do the math to know how many people they can host.

Once that is all done, a couple can then divide the number into 2 and start their list. Another way could be dividing the list according to who has the bigger family/friends especially in cases where it is very obvious. Starting the list should always start with family, close friends, vendors and then others.

Who is getting cut?

As they say, “to every rule there’s an exception”, that holds true even when deciding who stays on the list or who doesn’t. These are some of the most common ways couples make this decision;

1. Relationships: Keeping the guest list to just family and close friends or a certain level of relationship a couple decides to have present.

2. Time: Cutting the list based on the last time a couple was in contact with a person. For example, a couple can say “if we haven’t seen/been in contact with person A in the last one year, person A does not make the list”.

3. Children/Additional guests: Having a kid-free wedding or reducing the additional number of guests an invited guest can bring to wedding is another option to keep a couple’s guest list short. This is easily done by stating things like “Adult event only” on the invitation (and wedding website) and explicitly writing (on the invitation) the number of additional guests allowed per invited guest.

While all these methods are good ways to address the guest list situation, I always recommend that a couple leave some room for those emergency situations when it comes to the guest list. If your list is 100, having a 105 budget might give you some peace of mind should those “emergency” guests show up.

Dealing with difficult people

We know when the word of a wedding gets out, nobody really says “shh it’s a secret”, so eventually it would get out even to those not invited. That way a lot of people get to hear about the wedding and sometimes they may expect an invitation. What happens when the invitation never gets to them and some get offended? For couples facing situations like this especially if they are confronted by such people, honest communication is always the best way out; say the truth about your decision and hope they would understand.

Also there are cases when the family members are the difficult ones, cases where they are pushy about bringing more additional guests. I believe this is the most common situation which could get really awkward sometimes – because it’s family. But a couple should always remember to be cautious, respectful but firm with their decision. Giving them the reason why you have decided on cutting the guest list might help them understand better. In cases where these family members are the ones paying for the wedding(or most of it), I believe a couple could show some appreciation by allowing them a privilege of having some extra guests.

What not to Do

The question was asked during the chat; “Is it ever okay to invite people to showers without inviting them to the wedding?” It was a resounding “NO” from all parties present at the #WeddingChatter. Nothing says “hey, I want your money but not your presence” more than this situation, which is never a good look. Regardless of who is hosting the showers, a couple should always have the final say with the guest list of the showers. This can be done by handing the wedding guest list to shower host (if it is not the couple) early enough to avoid such situations.

So what do you do when the shower host mistakenly invites someone to the shower who was not on the wedding guest list? At that point there is really not much the couple can do but to invite the person to the wedding at that time. If the wedding is very close to the shower time-wise, the couple may not have enough time to send out an official invitation and would have to do the invitation by word of mouth. It is definitely an awkward situation and really, it’s best to avoid it.

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Thanks to Mallory, the editor of Bummed Bride who rocked as the perfect co-host for this #WeddingChatter. Next one is this Friday (3 pm est) and the topic would be decided soon, hope to see you there!

Photo Credits: Thanks to Nicole Chan Photography for the original image which comes from this beautiful White and Blue Boston Wedding we covered a while ago here on Knotsvilla.

About The Author

Wedding Blog Editor & Consultant

Gee || Jesus Lover || Wedding Blog Editor- KnotsVilla (Blog for theme-ful, Prop-ful, Color-ful & Culture-ful Weddings || Wedding Planning? I'd be the best e-friend you ever had!

4 Responses

  1. Charmaine (Rustic Folk Wedding

    Cutting the guest list is one of the essential ways to cut the costs of the wedding because as you said most vendors charge per head. And I couldn’t agree more about the “What Not to Do’s”! Really insightful article Gee:)


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