The guest list
Originally published in Wedding Album magazine
In terms of wedding decisions, choosing who will – and won’t – be in attendance on the big day is right up there with the date and the dress. Unless you’re in a position to cater for 500 of your closest acquaintances, you’re going to have to be selective. So ... who makes the cut?
Start with what you know
Ultimately, the maximum number of invitations you send out depends on your budget and the size of your venue. Once you know how many guests you can afford or accommodate, you can start tailoring the guest list to match.
Tip Don’t forget to include your photographers in your plate tally – they need to eat too!
'You remember Aunt Sandra'
Family is where you’re likely to run into trouble; it’s a mire of obligation and potential for someone to take offence. This is where blanket rules become handy. For example, not inviting family members you haven’t seen in years, or who haven’t met your fiancé. Sticking to rules leaves little room for those who don’t make the list to complain.
Don't play a numbers game
A 50-50 split between you and your fiancé sounds logical, but don’t be constrained by ratios. You’ll definitely have some friendships that overlap. Plus, if one of you has a smaller family, there’s no point filling that ‘side’ with nice-to-have acquaintances while the other person has to tell a beloved uncle that there’s just no more room.
Business and pleasure
It’s a reality that you spend as much time with your colleagues as you do with your fiancé. But do you want them at your wedding? Do you ever socialise with them other than after-work drinks? Do your topics of conversation start and end with bashing that annoying client? Have they met your husband- or wife-to-be? Do you see them still being in your life if you changed jobs? Be tactful in inviting those who do pass muster by keeping wedding office chatter to a minimum.‘
It's my party
Your parents and future in-laws may expect to have a say in the guest list, especially if they’re helping to pay for it. They may want to invite friends who watched you grow up – or maybe just want to show off to the Joneses across the street. Allocate the parents an equal number of guest suggestions, but let them know the final decision rests with you. And stick to your guns – the only people you should invite are those you couldn’t imagine celebrating it without.
A lesson in being ruthless
- ‘My number-one rule was that I wouldn’t meet anyone for the first time on my wedding day,’ says Storm Wilkinson, who put a ring on it in 2013. ‘I’m sorry if you’ve been dating for “like a million years” – I don’t know them, they’re not coming. Budgets are a harsh reality.’
- Once you’ve worked out a per-head cost, apply it to any guests you’re on the fence about. If spending that figure on that person makes you go: ‘Pffft,’ take their name off the list.
- Avoid fake-smiling on your wedding day. ‘You don’t want to have anyone at your wedding that you have to pretend to be happy to see,’ says Aleisha McCormack, host of The Bridechilla podcast. ‘Ditch them.’