Perfect Weddings: Top Five Tips for Paring Down Your Guest List

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“A gloomy guest fits not a wedding feast.” –Friedrich Schiller

Planning a wedding is a lot of hard work.

Apart from ensuring that everything goes as planned, you need to determine who among your friends, relatives and colleagues would make it to the guest list. The size of your guest list invariably depends on your budget and how much you are willing to shell out for the wedding catering as well as your wedding venue. Unfortunately, planning a wedding guest list involves so much more than just determining who you can invite, what you can afford and how big of a group your venue can hold. It also means identifying who among your colleagues you would consider close enough to invite to your wedding, if children are to be invited and how to do it tactfully and tastefully enough that no one would be offended. From all that, you can already see how paring down a wedding guest list can be a lot of work (and consequently, a lot of stress).

Sure, you would love to invite everyone if you could but unfortunately, you have a budget to stick to and inviting everyone you know including your favorite bartender would not just be practical. In any case, regardless of whether you are holding your wedding in a lush venue such as Palazzo Verde or somewhere quaint and small, if you need to cut down your wedding guest list, here are the ways you should go about it:

1.) Consider who is footing the bill

A simple way to address your qualms about paring down your wedding guest list is to consider who will be footing the bill—or at least consider who would be paying a significant portion of the overall bill. To illustrate, if your parents are footing the bill, then they should likely have more say on this or should at least leverage the final guest list. However, if you or your partner’s side would be paying then allocate a very specific number of guests for each.

2.) Think big and then make edits as you go

Start by making a big list and include all of the potential guests you wish to invite. Call this the fantasy list if you may, but leave no one behind. After you have successfully included everyone you wish to invite, be prepared to cut your wedding guest list and shape it to a more practical and realistic one. Cut it relentless until you are within budget. Sure, it might be hard to reduce and condense this list and cutting out some people may seem harsh, but it is one of the best ways to cut costs. However, this does not mean that the people who were excluded would never stand a chance of attending your wedding. Instead, put them in their own list and consider inviting them later if you realize you have more room or if you get a bigger budget. After all, some of your must-invite guests might not make it which would make room for allowances and concessions that can accommodate these guests.

3.) Consider your venue

Of course, if you have you a dream venue in mind, you have to factor this in as well. If your dream venue is a small barn that can accommodate only a hundred guests max, then you cannot reasonably expect to double that number. Unless you want to forego your dream venue and go with your dream wedding guest list, then you would have to make concessions and cut the guest list down to a realistic number. In any case, you should determine which is more important to you: a particular venue or more guests.

4.) Have an adults-only wedding

We all love kids. But let us face it, weddings are mostly an adult affair, and kids would hardly remember anything about it at all apart from the fact that they got to eat a fancy cake and ran around in a fancy dress. In this regard, you might want to entertain the idea of having an adults-only wedding. Take a gander at your guest list, and if you see that a significant fraction of your guests are aged 10 and under, you might want to consider inviting parents-only. Alternatively, you can also consider asking parents to bring their eldest children or at least only those kids who are already old enough to appreciate weddings. However, if you must invite children then consider asking your caterer to prepare children-friendly meals so that you do not have to pay for their grown-up meals and consequently, they would also enjoy the food a lot more.

5.) Do not let yourself feel guilty

Remember, at the end of the day, this is your wedding and mostly your expense. In this regard, you should not feel guilty about paring down your guest list to invite only some people that are within your budget. Realistically, you would have to make cuts. Furthermore, your wedding is not an excuse to round up every friend you have had (even the ones you had in preschool). Take note: You are under no obligation to invite anyone to your wedding. Focus on the people who matter to you now instead. If you constantly feel guilty about not inviting someone who you ran into or someone you have not seen in years, you would end up with a very long list. Plus, it would create an awkward situation for the invited guest should they turn up and end up having no one to interact with at your wedding. It is your wedding, not a grand reunion of old chums, relatives, and friends. Keep that in mind.

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7 Dreaded Mistakes to Avoid When Sending Save-the-Dates

Some brides-to-be may ask ‘do we need to send save-the-dates?’ Yes, you should especially if you want them to block their schedules on your chosen day to be there on your wedding day. Without a save-the-date card, how will you tell them the wedding will be in Santuario de San Antonio on July 22, 2015, 3pm? Would you rather hear your friends tell you ‘Oh we have to skip your wedding because of the Paris trip we planned months ago.’ Heartbreaking, isn’t it?

Now that you’ve finally decided to send save-the-dates, avoid these grisly mistakes.

1) Sending too late

The rule of thumb when sending save-the-date is the earlier, the better. Early notifications will guide your guests as to when they should file their vacation leaves earlier and arrange their travel plans and accommodations.  Wedding experts say that the best time to send save-the-date cards is 5 to 6 months before the wedding day. That’s the safest time allowance whether the wedding will be a local or destination wedding.

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2) Failing to personalize

Not because they are just save-the-dates, you will send just about anything that comes to your mind. It would better to send save-the-date cards that fit your chosen theme wedding. Look for inspiration online. Remember that the save-the-date is your guests’ first glimpse of your wedding. Build the excitement by teasing them with the design of your save-the-date card.

3) Failing to identify who is invited exactly

Don’t forget to write the names of the recipients; they will surely appreciate that you took the time putting or printing their names on the envelope or the card itself. Drop the ‘Surname and Family,’ and be specific with names. Be clear on who you are inviting.  At this stage, you may tell your guests if your wedding will be an ‘Adults Only’ event. With this, they can arrange for babysitting early on and not skip your wedding because they cannot leave their tots behind.

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4) Failing to include location details

Possibly, decide on the location first before sending your save-the-dates. Remember that your guests need to get a leg-up in planning accordingly especially if your wedding will be a destination wedding. People will assume that you will marry somewhere near your place, but this is not always true, right? There is no need to include unnecessary details such as registry info and directions.

5) Failing to include other important wedding details

Include the type of celebration, that is if the wedding is a weekday or weekend wedding and if it will be a morning, afternoon or evening wedding. If you’ve created your own wedding website, include the URL in the save-the-date. Your website will become handy in case your guests want to know about the other details of your wedding such as timeframes and pre-, during and post-wedding activities, among others.

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6) Sending save-the-dates but not invitations

Those people who receive the save-the-date cards must also receive the invites. You cannot un-invite those who receive the save-the-dates.  With this, make sure that your guest list is already settled before you send the cards. Bottom-line, don’t send the cards to anyone who you are not certain regarding inviting. If the person you sent the save-the-date to had initially declined, you still need to send him or her the invitation. Plans change, and he or she might have already regretted saying no in the first place.

7) Including response cards

Response cards or RSVP cards are for invitations only and not for save-the-dates. Save-the-date cards are for announcement purposes only. So, don’t bother asking for feedbacks just yet. Optionally, you may put the phrase ‘Invitation to Follow’ to avoid confusion.

Save-the-dates are the perfect way of pre-announcing that you are about to face a life of wedded bliss. However, you don’t send a save-the-date haphazardly; there are basic etiquettes to live by and mistakes to avoid. Hope the above information will help you in creating and sending your cards.

Image credit: OneWed.com | DestinationWeddingDetails.com | UniquelyYoursWeddingInvitation.com