Wedding Planning MAYhem: Part IV
You probably already have a good idea of who would like to be there and I’m sure your parents and closest friends and family do, too. Before we start narrowing things down, list everyone you, your parents, and others in your circle would like to invite. Put it all on one list so you and your fiance have it one place.
Let’s look at the priority list and budget to figure out the maximum number of people you can invite. Maybe it is more important to you that a small group of people have an out of this world experience, or maybe, to you, what makes an experience out of the world is having everyone there. Decide what that number is and let this be your headcount.
With the headcount in mind, now we can create a set of guidelines to help figure out the final guest list.
First let’s talk about your friends. Think about the last time you spoke to each friend on this list. If you haven’t spoken to them in a year or more, or you haven’t heard your parents mention their friend in that time frame, they probably don’t need to be invited. This rule can be a harsh reality, but if you haven’t felt the need to keep in touch over the last year, why should you take the time in the busy upcoming year to rebuild the relationship?
Now, draw the line for family. If you have a large extended family, it may be hard to invite everyone. That may mean you only invite your grandparents, immediate aunts, uncles, and cousins. For you, family could also be non-negotiable and all family members will be invited. Either way set the rule and follow it. Keep in mind, with family you can’t bend the rules. Once one second cousin is invited, the rest of your family will find out and that could stir a pot that doesn’t need stirring.
Finally, your colleagues. This one, in my opinion, can be the trickiest, because you see these people 5+ days a week. If your co-worker is someone who you have hung out with outside of work and would invite over for a weekend barbeque, by all means invite them. If that colleague, though, is someone who has never met your fiance and you are not texting about non-work related things, they shouldn’t be expecting the invite. You might feel this will make things awkward at the office, but trust me when I say, the people close to you know where they stand, just as well as the people who are not.
Once your rules are in place, it’s time to play the elimination game until you hit that magic number, headcount.
Remember, you need to budget everything based on the total number of guests who will receive an invitation. While, yes, you typically expect 10-15% of guests not to make it, you can’t count on that estimate. There is always a chance every single one of your guests will be able to make it. As you build your guest list, don’t allow yourself to get into the mindset of “we will invite him, but he probably won’t come because…” Stay firm with the guidelines that you created for yourself while you go through the first round of eliminations.
These rules and guidelines that you create are for you. If you go through that first round and suddenly fall well below your maximum headcount, of course, you can start adding people back in.
Most importantly, above all of these guidelines your created and everything I said above, this is your wedding day and you should celebrate it with those that matter most to you and your fiance. If you set your guidelines, and it excludes someone who is special to you, invite them. This your day, not your jealous co-workers or your crazy cousins.
Once you have this final step under your belt, you are ready to start tackling all the fun stuff, the details.