The Wedding Post | Choosing Your Initial Guest List

*Image sourced from Pinterest
This is something we put together fairly early on, before we look at venues, and I did actually find it easier than I thought. However, I know it can be really tricky to narrow it down and justify your choices. To help choose your perfect venue you need to know how many people you want for your ceremony and wedding breakfast to start, and then a rough idea of evening guests. But how can you make sure you've got the right people?

The first thing about choosing your guest list is not to worry about offending people. At the end of the day, it's YOUR day and YOU are paying for the amount of heads. This is what we did...


BRAINSTORM
Well, kind of. We wrote a list of every person we could think of that we know - ignore whether or not you think you speak to them, how you know them etc at this stage. Then cut out anyone you actually haven't spoken to in a year (unless they're family). 
I then went through the contact list on our phones and facebook lists to make sure we hadn't forgetten anyone we knew we'd regret leaving off later. That is list number one.

SELECT LIST
Next you write another list. Have two columns - one for him, one for her. Then in each column write down

  • Family - parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins
  • Wedding Party - bridesmaids, ushers and their plus ones
  • Family Friends - make sure these are ALSO people you consider to be a friend, not just someone your parents would like you to invite as they are their friends
  • Friends - anyone you can think of that has been a big part of your relationship in some way or another
  • Work Colleagues - anyone you work with that you speak to outside of work and have a good relationship with.
Now tally it up and see how many you have. Cross reference this list with your first list and cut out anyone who doesn't appear on both. If they weren't important enough for you to think of in your select list, then they aren't important enough to be there.

DIVIDE
Now you need to decide who will be at the day, and who will be just at the wedding. We've done it so that work colleagues are purely evening guests, and family friends are split between day and evening. Again with friends, we have some coming to the day that we still talk to and see regually, and others that we speak to every now and then are on our evening list.
You do have to be pretty cut throat here. We decided on 60 for the day, and up to 100 for the evening (so 40 extra). This was based on who we REALLY wanted at the day and who we weren't too bothered about - they went into our potential evening list. This was also based on our plus ones as well....

WHEN TO PLUS ONE
This is a tricky one. When I was invited to my cousins weddings my fiance (boyfriend then) wasn't invited as a plus one. However, we didn't live together at the time so I didn't see it as an issue. This is how we've tried to think about it. Here is where we deemed plus ones/inviting partners acceptable:
  • Wedding Party - two of my bridesmaids have live in boyfriends who we've know for years anyway so they were always going to be invited. The others in the party are single or newly in a relationship but we have given them a plus one as a courtesy for being party of the wedding party
  • Siblings - our siblings are part of our wedding party so it goes to say they get plus ones as well.
  • Relationship Status - what I mean by this, is if they are living with or engaged to their partner then they are invited as well. If someone has a partner but they aren't living with them or engaged, then we haven't added them to our list.
  • If We Know Them - kinda goes without saying, but if you know them as a couple of know their other half well as well - then invite them.
CHILDREN
To invite children or not to. We decided that children weren't going to be a part of our wedding. We haven't explicitly said this to anyone really, however when we send the actual invite out this will be mentioned to anyone we know that has children. For us it was a personal choice, we don't have any and we're not that close to anyone that has children. One of my cousins is in his teens so he is invited, but any other children have not been included.

SAVE THE DATES
We weren't sure who we were meant to send our save the dates to at first. But when we really thought about it our evening list isn't really finalised. We don't plan to send our proper invites until early next year so there's time for things to change. Because of this we only sent our save the dates to those we put on our day list.

If you are stuggling to cut your list of flitting between people there are a couple of pins I've found on pinterest that will definitely help. Go through everyone on your list against these flow diagrams and soon enough your list will start to choose itself.
  • Guest Listed by Invitations by Dawn [click here]
  • Guest List in 30 Seconds by theoverwhelmedbride.com [click here]
I hope you found this helpful! Please let me know if there's any wedding/advice feature post you'd like me to do in the future as well! Next week I'll be talking about probably the second biggest decision to make (behind the dress).... The venue!

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