The Wedding Guest List: Advice from brides, experts and blogs

guest list blog picWhen my husband and I were planning our wedding we settled on a total number of guests and made an excel spreadsheet, placing invitees into three categories. Category 1 was reserved for immediate family members and our closest friends. These are the kind of friends who you take road trips with, call up or text on a regular basis and can see yourself having dinner with in the next 12 months.

Category 2 was for more distant family. For example, neither of us is very close to our cousins, but they’re family, so they don’t belong in Category 3. Category 2 is for friends whose weddings you may or may not have attended, but who are in your same social circle. Co-workers also find themselves here, but usually only because not inviting them is awkward. Based on the number of hours you share space with them they warrant consternation.

Category 3 is reserved for friends you have lost touch with but whom you have known for many years.  This category also includes people with whom you only have one kind of interaction. Let’s say you play volleyball with a team. If you are only seeing them on Tuesday nights and your mingling is limited to the grass courts of Washington Park, it is understandable if they may not make it onto the guest list.

Category 3’s were not invited to our wedding, but 1 and 2 were. Our total number was 75. If your number is lower perhaps only 1’s will receive an invite. We paid for the wedding ourselves and did not have to factor the people our parents may have wanted to invite.

What do blogs and wedding etiquette experts have to say?

Many want you to decide on a total number and individuals by always keeping in mind, “Who is paying?” If it’s the couple, allocate that each person gets x number of guests. If it’s the bride’s family and they want a 50 person guest list, money talks and your list becomes leaner.

Other considerations center around the locale. If it is a destination wedding, typically fewer guests are going to be able to pack a bag and take time off for your nuptials.  Or if your must have wedding venue can only accommodate 50 people and you aren’t budging, your guest list decision will become more cutthroat. It’s worth noting that the Franciscan Event Center is equipped to handle large or small guest lists. Whether you select 50 guests or have 300 invitees including second cousins, our indoor and outdoor spaces will suit your needs.

Stressing over a guest list is unnecessary when you write in some ground rules like these. If you have any questions about guests lists or whether to invite your ex (really, you want to go down that road?) stay tuned for future blog posts.