One of the first stages of wedding planning is creating your guest list. While your wedding may not be for two or even three years, the fact is that your entire wedding hinges on it. Before you visit venues you’ll need to know your numbers. If you choose somewhere that’s too big, your room will look empty, or, if it’s too small you face the potential of overcrowding. So where exactly do you start? Check out my tips to ensure it’s a smooth running process.

Sarah Bryden Wedding Photography at Harveys Point Donegal

Who’s paying?

The first point is probably the least comfortable but it’s essential! Making a guest list can get messy, especially if both sets of parents are contributing financially as they may expect to have a little control over who is invited. To avoid family drama it’s a good idea to air your plan before you accept financial help. Or, even if you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, it’s still advisable to talk to your families so they are aware of your plans. Traditionally, if your parents are paying for the wedding, they’ll want a say in who is invited, which can greatly impact on your final numbers. Lay it all out there early so there are no surprises when plans are in place.

Think big

A good place to start when it comes to names is to create your dream list. Forget about budget and venue for a moment and jot down the names of everyone you could possibly imagine having at your wedding. No doubt you’ll need to cut it down later but for now, think big.

Wedding Photography Northern IrelandNumber cruncher

It’s the least glamorous side of planning your wedding, but it’s one that’ll save you tonnes of heartache… number crunching. The number of guests you invite will largely be determined by your budget and venue size. Every time you add on a guest your spend on food, chair covers, favours etc will rise so be mindful of this. Avoid inviting more guests than your venue’s capacity allows or you’ll hold your breath as you open every RSVP.

Apply some rules

Back to that dream list… it’s time to get realistic. If you need to trim your list a good way to do it is to apply some rules. Every couple will come up with their own set of rules but here are a few common ones:

  1. If you have never met the person or heard their name before, don’t invite them.
  2. Don’t envision children at your wedding? Have an adults only wedding.
  3. If you haven’t spoken to them in three years and they aren’t a relation, cross them off the list.

Have a ‘B-list’Wedding guest list

This is a great way of being able to have as many people as you want there without raising the budget. Firstly, start with your A-list, which should include everyone you can’t imagine not having at your wedding. Now send out your first batch of invites. Then, make a B-list. This should include names of people you would really like to be there. Then, if when the RSVPs start coming back you find there are more people who can’t attend than you imagined, you can send out invites to some of your B-list, starting with the most important.

Get organised

In the new digital age, avoid taking to pen and paper to create your list. Instead, use a system that’s easy to edit and keeps everything in one place. Have a column for addresses and keep track of RSVPs, particularly if there are menu options. This will make it easy to create your table plan and keep your venue updated on numbers.

Once your guest list is firmly in place, the rest of your wedding planning will be a breeze!

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